By Michelle Shocklee
My latest novel, Count the Nights by Stars, takes readers to the Tennessee Centennial Exposition held in Nashville, Tennessee in 1897. My research for the book led me to so many interesting tidbits, I had to share them with you in posts about the expo, the Parthenon, and the food visitors enjoyed.
Today, however, I want to share about a woman whose artistic talents were on display at the exposition in a very BIG way!
|Enid Yandell, photo from Find-a Grave|
Enid Yandell was born in Louisville, Kentucky on October 8, 1869. She was the oldest daughter of Lunsford Yandell, Jr., a prominent physician from Louisville, and Louise, the daughter of a wealthy landowner from Nashville. Enid's artistic talents were evident from a very young age. At the age of four, she modeled a clay figurine of Eve and the biblical serpent as a gift for her mother. Throughout primary and secondary school, she continued to model and ventured into woodcarving as well, receiving training at the age of twelve from Benn Pitman, a famous woodworker from Cincinnati.
|Enid Yandell, photo: Martha's Viney|
|Enid Yandell with her Pallas Athena, Wikipedia|
Working in her studio in Paris, Enid based her design on the Pallas de Velletri, found near Rome, Italy, in the eighteenth century, which was itself a copy of an ancient Greek statue. It depicted Athena with one arm raised victoriously and the other arm with upturned palm in a gesture of welcome. The 40-foot sculpture was shipped by train to Amsterdam in three sections. It was then secured on the deck of a steamship and sent to New Orleans. It's final journey to Nashville was by train. The statue was assembled on the expo grounds and stood in front of the Parthenon which was the the Fine Arts Building. Like other statues in the exhibition, Yandell's Athena was made from staff, a non-permanent building material. The sculpture was never cast in bronze and within a year it deteriorated to pieces.
|The Parthenon and Pallas Athena at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, 1897; Tennessee History archives|
Michelle Shocklee is the author of several historical novels and is a Christy Awards and Selah Awards finalist. Her work has been included in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazines, and blogs. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of two grown sons, she makes her home in Tennessee, not far from the historical sites she writes about. Visit her online at www.MichelleShocklee.com
1961. After a longtime resident at Nashville’s historic Maxwell House Hotel suffers a debilitatingstroke, Audrey Whitfield is tasked with cleaning out the reclusive woman’s room. There, she discovers an elaborate scrapbook filled with memorabilia from the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Love notes on the backs of unmailed postcards inside capture Audrey’s imagination with hints of a forbidden romance . . . and troubling revelations about the disappearance of young women at the exposition. Audrey enlists the help of a handsome hotel guest as she tracks down clues and information about the mysterious “Peaches” and her regrets over one fateful day, nearly sixty-five years earlier.