Guerrillas and Outlaws
The Missouri-Kansas border war, prior to and during the Civil War, resulted in larger than life legends: William Quantrill, Jesse and Frank James, and William "Bloody Bill" Anderson. These infamous men captured the imagination of many people, including two artists who chose to memorialize some of Quantrill's Guerrillas, the James-Younger Gang, and others associated with them like Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby.
This digital collection consists of 52 charcoal portraits created by artists Anna Lee (Dillenbeck) Stacey and Elmer Stewart. Unfortunately, the provenance for the drawings is unknown. A 1992 library office memo indicates they came to the library many years ago, and that some of the drawings were displayed in the library around the late 1980s. At one time, the portraits were been mounted and perhaps framed, but the mat boards were removed before digitizing. They are now part of the Missouri Valley oversize works (MVO), a collection of various types of art work such as paintings, sculpture, drawings and sketches, large-size photographs, posters, and other miscellaneous items.
A prominent Chicago artist, Anna Stacey was born Anna Lee Dey in Glasgow, Missouri, in 1865. Anna studied at the Kansas City Art Association and School of Design in the late 1880s and early 1890s. She likely completed these portraits at the time, signed under her first married name of "A. L. Dillenbeck." In 1891 she married a second time to John F. Stacey, an instructor at the school. The couple soon moved to Chicago where Anna enrolled at the Art Institute there. She graduated with honors in 1896, and quickly became a major local artist. Her impressionist watercolors and oil paintings of portraits and landscapes appeared in multiple exhibits and were highly regarded among critics, women's clubs, and the general public. Anna Lee (Dillenbeck) Stacey died in 1943 in Pasadena, California. Of the 52 guerrilla portraits in the collection, she drew 36.
In contrast, few details have been found on the second artist, Elmer Stewart. He lived in Kansas City, Missouri in 1893, the same year he completed his drawings for this collection. Stewart may have also been a student at the Kansas City Art Association and School of Design, taking up the project where Anna Stacey had left off.
The artists did not identify any of the men in their drawings, but someone, perhaps library staff, added names at the bottom to some of them. If the portrait was identified, the record in this digital collection includes a biographical note. The sources used for the biographical note have been included in this collection as a separate record. This short bibliography of references represents only a few of the materials and resources in the Missouri Valley Special Collections related to border warfare and the Civil War. Search the online catalog as well as the Digital Gallery for more.
A lithograph of Jesse James by George Warfel, also part of MVO, was included in this collection, bringing the total images to 53. The 54th record is the list of resources used for the biographical note.
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