Selection of the Month
Woman Reading in a Rocking Chair is a carving about four inches high, created by Hermania Anslinger (1915-2011) of Spokane, Washington. Ms. Anslinger was born in Haubstadt, Indiana, lived in North Dakota and Montana before coming to Spokane in 1942. She began carving miniatures out of wood and later created carvings from precious stones and ivory.
Woman Reading in a Rocking Chair is made of carved wood, the woman has white hair, wears wire spectacles, and a green dress covered by a white apron. She is reading a miniature book which is made out of a piece of newspaper. There is another figurine by Ms. Anslinger in the collection, Black Americana Preacher, also a wood carved figure, 4 inches high.
Ms. Anslinger is a Hall of Fame recipient of the Miniatures Association. In the Spokane Daily Chronicle (8/5/1968) she is described as "perhaps the only custom carver in the United States." A sea-horse made of coral, a toad of green jade, and a panther of black jade, all custom made for clients who sent her a photograph and materials to create miniatures. She once made a Victorian style desk for a dollhouse that had 94 drawers, all within 3 inches by 5 1/2 inches.
The Mathes Reading Figurines Collection is a gift from Miriam B. Snow Mathes, who donated over 200 figurines to Special Collections. All the figurines depict persons, and animals, reading. You may see photographs of the figurines, including descriptive information about them in their online collection at this link:
A display case in Wilson Library, on the 2nd floor, exhibits figurines from the collection, and the figurines selected for the display are changed every three months or so. And of course you may always see them in Special Collections, Wilson Library 6th floor.
Peter Smith, Special Collections Librarian