Legacy

"MacDowell imparts a tremendous sense of history. When one enters the grounds, it is instantly apparent that others have come before, that they have sat where you have sat, they have finished, they have signed their names. There is a tremendous sustaining power to this." -- Sarah Broom

This disconcerting time for us all requires a new way of witnessing what we may have always taken for granted. The strange isolation and unknowingness challenges us in unimagined ways.

The one constant during these difficult days, is that MacDowell continues supporting artists and offering ways to provide inspiration even as it temporarily shutters its physical campus and its storied studios. As expressed by MacDowell Fellow Sarah Broom, our legacy inspires us to share with you over the next few weeks some of that power Sarah refers to above in the wealth of words, images, and music that have been, in fact, created by MacDowell artists since 1907 - when the first official resident, Edward MacDowell began composing in the Peterborough woods, at the bequest of his wife, Marian.

Dan Millbauer photo

Composer Louise Talma

Louise Talma (1906–1996) composed in a distinctive, often neo-Classical style. She wrote many vocal pieces, and had more MacDowell residencies than any other Fellow.

Learn about and listen to Talma's music

Celebrating Virgil Thomson

Fellow and Edward MacDowell Medalist, Virgil Thomson composed in almost every genre of music, producing a highly original body of work rooted in American speech rhythms and hymnbook harmony.

Discover Virgil Thomson

MacDowell's Tombstones

Each artist before departing adds their own name and dates with pencil, pen, paintbrush, collage, carving knife, or burning tool.

Learn about our tombstones

The Genius of Amy Beach

Beach does for the Romantic piano piece what Ives did for the symphony: express human longings for nature and the divine through a polytonal mix of natural and artful sounds.

Read about Beach's use of the hermit thrush's song

Reflect on Benny Andrews’ Art

For more than four decades, he dedicated himself to activism and education in the community as he continued a prolific output of artwork.

Learn about Benny Andrews

Etheridge Knight’s Poetry Gives America the Truth of Being Black

“I died in Korea from a shrapnel wound, and narcotics resurrected me. I died in 1960 from a prison sentence and poetry brought me back to life.”

Discover Etheridge Knight

Alice Childress’ Plays Offer Indispensable Insight into Black Lives

“Any list of great American playwrights is incomplete without Alice Childress (65) — her cool eye saw deep into history, into the theater, into blackness, into whiteness,” writes MacDowell Fellow Helen Shaw (14) in a January 2020 essay for Vulture.

Learn About Fellow Alice Childress

Audre Lorde’s "Sister Outsider" As Relevant Today As Ever

Monday is the 36th anniversary of the publishing of Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, a collection of 15 essays and speeches by the poet, essayist, and activist, written between 1976 and 1984.

Read a Fellow-penned Reflection, and More

Miyoko Ito: Abstract Painter was Internment Camp Detainee

We honor Miyoko Ito, an American painter known for her nuanced abstractions. Following studies at UC Berkeley and Smith College, which were interrupted by her imprisonment in an internment camp, she earned an M.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

see work, learn more about Miyoko Ito

Writer Leon Srabian Herald Works Rare, Welcome Discoveries

Leon Srabian Herald (25) emigrated to the United States from Armenia in 1912, attended college in Wisconsin, and was the first Armenian to create literature about the Armenian Genocide in the English language.

Find out about Leon Srabian Herald

Discover the Global Influence of Eileen Chang's Writing

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we celebrate the immense impact Eileen Chang (Ailing Zhang) (54, 55) has had on American and Chinese literature.

Read the works of Eileen Chang

Read Poetry by Early Social Trailblazer Lola Ridge

Lola Ridge (20) was a poet and champion of the working class. Politically active before socialism became fashionable among New York intellectuals, Ridge participated in protests, marches, and pickets with ferocious spirit.

Discover the Writings of Lola Ridge

Discover the Contemporary Importance of Activist Pauli Murray's Proud Shoes

MacDowell Fellow Pauli Murray (4x 54-59) was an American civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, Episcopal priest, and author. While at MacDowell, she worked on a family history that became a “major African American genealogy [that] showcases the racial and social dynamics between the union of a free black family from the north and a mixed-race family of the south."

Learn About Proud Shoes

View Productions of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town"

Fellow and author Thornton Wilder (9x 1924-1953), famously penned his seminal play Our Town while in residence at MacDowell and, in fact, based the fictional world of Grover’s Corners on the town of Peterborough itself, circa 1937.

View Our Town Productions

Listen to Edward MacDowell's "Woodland Sketches"

Woodland Sketches was composed when MacDowell was reflecting and interpreting the natural beauty surrounding his Peterborough summer home.

Listen to Woodland Sketches

We Are Here

A new weekly series of recommended work from our Fellows who are either self-isolating or under official requests to shelter in place.

Visit We Are Here