Discovering Mabel Dickinson Pond

Pond, Mabel Dickinson (1869-1960)
Mabel Dickinson Pond was born in Worcester on August 14, 1869. As a painter, she is known for her landscape, mountains and regional scenes, and also teaching her craft. Through her extensive diaries, held by the Worcester Historical Museum, we know that she had an early interest in art.  She studied at the Boston Art Museum, and later at the Academy of San Diego, San Diego, California.  Pond also taught at the Douglas Seminary in Waterford, Maine, and the Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Holden school systems. Her paintings were exhibited at the Art Museums of Boston, Providence and Worcester. 

Kristine Gustafson of the Shrewsbury Historical Society has been discovering Mabel through her diaries that span decades, and she wants you to know, you can read them too!

“Everyone LOVES a good story…especially when it’s true! If you’re looking for adventure, arts, travel, local history, or inspiration, look no further than the journals of Worcester’s own Mabel Dickinson Pond. You’ll find no greater heroine!

These journals are a real page turner! With the assistance of librarian/archivist Wendy Essery, researchers can access Mabel’s journals from 1919 to 1958. Best known as a dedicated artist, Mabel primarily painted New England landscapes, and exhibited at the Worcester Art Museum and other galleries. She was also a beloved art educator.

Mabel’s journals take the reader on a journey. As her life unfolds you may wonder: How did her art lead to true love?

What social, cultural and educational opportunities were available to her? Where were the destinations that inspired her art? How did her passion for the natural world influence her work? What was her response to notable historic events that took place in Worcester? Finally, what is her legacy? 

Ultimately, Mabel’s journals convey a story of struggles and triumphs during a time of global pandemic, economic crisis and world-wide conflict. Sound familiar? The lessons learned through her journals still resonate today!”

~Kris


2 thoughts on “Discovering Mabel Dickinson Pond

  1. My Grandmother was Mabel’s caretaker in the last years of her life. Being of an artistic bend she and Mabel became fast friends. We have some of her paintings and two pieces of pottery that my grandmother gave my Mom.

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  2. Thank you for your comment, Thomas! Mabel’s journals, provide valuable insights into her life and work. She wrote about how fortunate she was to have wonderful friends and companions. We also know from her journals that Mildred Nutting Harlow of Shrewsbury was her companion in the late 1950’s. Might she be your grandmother?

    As detailed in her journals, Mabel’s paintings held great personal meaning. She often wrote about her inspiration and the creative process involved with her work. Most paintings were framed at Denholm’s on Main Street in Worcester. The journals also indicate which specific paintings were shown in galleries and exhibitions throughout New England. By referencing the title, subject, and year of the paintings in your possession, I can share the background from her journals, as well as any related ephemera from her photograph album and scrapbook, in a future post.

    Mabel treasured the memories associated with her art. In later years, she wrote that she wanted to make sure each piece went to a special person, with the ones on display in her home studio being the most precious. Those gifted to your grandmother show that Mabel held her in high regard.

    -Kris Gustafson

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