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History of Cambria County, V.2

    The description of a painting stolen from above the altar of a Dominican church at Loches, France, and now unaccounted for in the recorded Rubens paintings, tallies very nearly with the “Madonna” in question. Shortly before Rev. Paul Glasow's death in April, 1897, Mr. Ambrose MacNeil, a Scottish artist, gave a very comprehensive opinion on the painting, which he verily believed to be a genuine Rubens. The picture is painted on six panels of wood, and portrays the Madonna seated with the Christ-child on her lap; behind her stands Joseph, who watches with intense interest the effort of the little John the Baptist to place a bunch of grapes within the hand of the sleeping babe, and with her arm around the little John, as if to support him, kneels Elizabeth. Aside from the glory which the name of Rubens would attach to it, this painting calls forth the admiration of all who see it.

    The Johnstown Art League, the senior women's club of Johnstown, was organized by Miss Baker and Miss Alexander, two instructors in the English and Classical school, whose schoolhouse stood on the site of the Episcopal parsonage on Locust street.
    They and eleven young ladies - pupils, graduates and friends of the school –– met one evening in the in the chess room of the Cambria Library, in February, 1884, and founded the society, which adopted for its motto, “Vive l'art.” These charter members were Mrs. Emma Baker Cabot, deceased; Miss Clara Alexander, M. D., now of Boston; Miss Columbia A. Horne, of Philadelphia; Mrs. Elizabeth Tittle Arnold, of Chicago; Mrs. Gertrude Chandler Sahlin, of Brussels, Belgium; Mrs. Mary Rachel Dibert Torrance, of Allegheny; Mrs. Lilian McConaughy Wakefield, of Uniontown; Mrs. Caroline McConaughy Farnam, of Grafton, Massachusetts; Mrs. Lillian Rosensteel Coolidge, of Philadelphia; Miss Florence M. Dibert, of Johnstown; Mrs. Jennie Hamilton Wener, Miss Nannie Elder and Miss Jane Potts, the last three of whom died May 31, 1889.
    From this propitious number of thirteen the roll has steadily increased until it now numbers forty-seven, fifty being the number to which it is limited by its constitution.
    The theme for the first evening's program was “The Symbols of Art,” and the remainder of the winter was devoted to the study of Grecian mythology and Italian art. During the two decades which have followed the programs have

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Created: 26 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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