Education: Mount Holyoke College
Lived: Manchester, VT 05255, USA (43.16361, -73.07228)
Find A Grave Memorial# 161802046
Books: Ghosts, ghosts, ghosts, Speed, speed, speed, more
Clara Sipprell was a Canadian-born, early 20th century photographer who lived most of her life in the US. She was well known for her pictorial landscapes and for portraits of many famous actors, artists, writers and scientists. In 1915, Sipprell and long-time family friend and teacher Jessica Beers moved to New York, where they shared an apartment on Morningside Drive. In the late 1910s, Sipprell met Irina Khrabroff, who became her friend, traveling companion and, later, dealer and business manager. When they first met Sipprell still shared her apartment with Beers, but when Beers moved out in 1923, Khrabroff moved in. Later that year Khrabroff married Feodor Cekich, and the three of them lived together. In 1937, Sipprell moved to Manchester, Vermont, and soon after, she met Phyllis Fenner, a writer, librarian, and anthologist of children's books. 14 years younger than Sipprell, Fenner soon became Sipprell's housemate and traveling companion. They had architect Harold Olmstead build them a house in Manchester. Sipprell’s ashes are buried in a plot near an outcropping of rock in Manchester. Attached to the rock is a small bronze tablet on which, in accordance with her wishes, are engraved her name along with the names of Jessica Beers and Phyllis Fenner.
Together from 1937 to 1975: 38 years.
Clara Estelle Sipprell (October 31, 1885 – April 1975)
Phyllis Reid Fenner (October 24, 1899 – February 26, 1982)
Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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Clara Sipprell’s ashes are buried in a plot near an outcropping of rock in Manchester. Attached to the rock is a small bronze tablet on which, in accordance with her wishes, are engraved her own name along with the names of Jessica Beers and Phyllis Fenner.
Address: Manchester, VT 05255, USA (43.16361, -73.07228)
Type: Historic Street (open to public)
National Register of Historic Places: Manchester Village Historic District (US 7A, Union St., and Taconic Ave.), 84003438, 1984
Manchester is a town in, and one of two shire towns (county seats) of, Bennington County, Vermont. The population was 4,391 at the 2010 census. Manchester Village, an incorporated village, and Manchester Center are settlement centers within the town. Manchester has become a tourist destination, especially for those from New York and Connecticut, offering visitors factory outlet stores of national chain retailers such as Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren, as well as many locally owned businesses, including the Northshire Bookstore, one of America’s leading independent bookstores. The town was one of several chartered in 1761 by Benning Wentworth, colonial governor of New Hampshire. It was his custom to name new towns after prominent English aristocrats of the day, hoping they might adopt a patronly interest in their namesakes. Wentworth named Manchester for Robert Montagu, 3rd Duke of Manchester. First settled in 1764, the town was laid out in 1784. The land was better suited for grazing than tillage, so by 1839 about 6,000 sheep roamed the pastures and hillsides. Other industries came to include iron mines, marble quarries and mills, and lumber companies. The arrival of the railroad from industrialized centers like New York City brought tourists, drawn by Manchester’s historic architecture and beautiful setting among mountains. Following the Civil War, the town developed into an affluent resort area, which it remains today. Between 1812 and 1819 Manchester was made famous by the Boorn–Colvin case, called "America’s first wrongful conviction murder case,” the subject of several books and still studied today. In 1850 Ward Manor was built on the now Ward-Equinox Estate on the 200 Acre well known Equinox Mountain. Bought by Rutherford Ward from Poplar Bluff, Missouri he moved here as threats of a Civil War was being whispered through the south and the southern part of the mid-west. It is the only brick structure ever to be built in the town’s history. It was abandoned until 1950 when Rutherford’s grandson the well known Industrialist Farmer, Dewey H. Ward renovated it and called it home during the summers. When he passed in 2002 it was left to his daughter well known jeweler and founder of Marchesa Jewelry, Louise O’Kief-Trout and his great grandson Nicholas Silvestri. Orvis is a family-owned retail and mail-order business specializing in high-end fly fishing, hunting and sporting goods. Founded in Manchester in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis to sell fishing tackle, it is the oldest mail-order retailer in the United States. Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards, perfected snowboard design in his garage in Manchester. The company operated out of Manchester until 1992 when it relocated to Burlington, Vermont. The town has three distinct state-recognized historic districts—the Depot district located on Highland Avenue and Elm Street, Bonnet Street, just north of Main Street, and Main Street itself.
Who: Clara Sipprell (October 31, 1885–1975)
Clara Sipprell was a Canadian-born, early XX century photographer who lived most of her life in the United States. She was well known for her pictorial landscapes and for portraits of many famous actors, artists, writers and scientists. In 1915 Sipprell and long-time family friend and teacher Jessica Beers moved to New York, where they shared an apartment on Morningside Drive. The big city better suited Sipprell’s growing bohemian tastes, which quickly came to include smoking cigars, and pipes; drinking bourbon, driving fast convertibles, and wearing capes, exotic jewelry and embroidered Slavic clothing. One friend recalled that she "did not make her work her life, but instead crafted a life that was a work of art." Within a few months Sipprell established a portrait studio and soon established a long list of clients due to her already well-known artistry. Over the next forty years she would photograph some of the most famous artists, writers, dancers and other cultural icons of the time, including Alfred Stieglitz, Pearl S. Buck, Charles E. Burchfield, Fyodor Chaliapin, Ralph Adams Cram, W. E. B. Du Bois, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Granville Hicks, Malvina Hoffman, Langston Hughes, Robinson Jeffers, Isamu Noguchi, Maxfield Parrish and Eleanor Roosevelt. In the late 1910s Sipprell met a young Russian woman named Irina Khrabroff, who became her lifelong friend, traveling companion and, later, her dealer and business manager. When they first met Sipprell still shared her apartment with Beers, but when Beers moved out in 1923 Khrabroff moved in. Later that year Khrabroff married a man named Feodor Cekich, and the three of them lived together in the same apartment for many years. In 1924 the threesome traveled to Europe, where Sipprell photographed the Adriatic Coast and, through connections with the Khrabroffs, members of the Moscow arts community. Later these same connections gave her access to many Russian expatriates whom she also photographed, including Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Sergei Koussevitzky. Two years later Sipprell and Khrabroff, without her husband, traveled again to Yugoslavia, and Sipprell made another series of photographs of the countryside and the people. Throughout the 1920s Sipprell continued to exhibit and have her work published, and in 1928 and 1929 she was given her first one-person shows, at San Jose State Teachers College. She also continued her friendship and living arrangement with the Khrabroffs, even after they had a daughter in 1927. However, around 1932 tension developed between Sipprell and her close friends over the rise of the Stalinist government in Russia. The Khrabroffs remained loyal to the ousted czarists, and they felt Sipprell’s continued association with some who were sympathetic to the Stalinists was intolerable. By 1935 the friendship was over, and Sipprell started living on her own for the first time. In 1937 Sipprell moved to Manchester, Vermont, at the suggestion of Vermont poets Walter Hard and Robert Frost. Soon after she met Phyllis Fenner (1899–1982), a writer, librarian, and anthologist of children’s books. Fourteen years younger than Sipprell, Fenner soon became Sipprell’s housemate and traveling companion. This relationship continued through the final thirty-eight years of Sipprell’s life. In the mid-1960s, they had architect Harold Olmsted build them a house in Manchester, which included the first darkroom that Sipprell ever had in the same place she lived. Clara Sipprell died in Apr. 1975 at the age of eighty-nine. Jessica Beers had died in 1957 and is buried at Acacia Memorial Park (14951 Bothell Way NE, Seattle, WA 98155).
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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