Years ago when I was living and studying in Paris I used to like to go to the bookstalls along the Seine. Having been very interested in Rodin's sculptures at the time I was happy to find this volume for sale at a price even a student on a shoestring budget could afford. The real find however, was the inscription on the inside of the book. At Christmas in 1917 it had been given to Julie Chamberlain Nicholls as a gift from Harry King Tootle. At the time I could only wonder who these people were and what their relationship might be. Until yesterday I hadn't thought about or read the inscription for years. I was going through my old collection of art books that I keep in the upper part of a secretary (those that I refer to on a regular basis I keep on a shelf in my studio) looking for another book but took this one down because I had the desire to thumb through it. Once again I read the inscription and was touched by the words. This time, however, I had a search tool. I headed straight for the computer and looked up both names and was surprised to rapidly find information on both.
Julie Chamberlain Nicholls (Yates) was an American born sculptress who went to Paris to study with Rodin in the 1890's. When she returned home she lived and worked in New York where she exhibited with the Society of Independent Artists and was a member of the National Arts Club. She died on Governors Island in 1929. Harry King Tootle graduated from John Hopkins University in 1903, became the Personnel Director for the New York Times and was a short story writer published in the Argosy and Cavalier literary magazines. He lived in Newton Connecticut and died in 1961. Given the fact that World War I was recently over I understood why he chose the words he did about a new era of beauty. I would like to think it would make them happy to know that the book has been owned by a fellow artist for all these years. I have included the inscription here and I hope you take a moment to enlarge and read it. I think it is beautiful!