A Free Spirit

My wife’s aunt was Dorothy Dwin. She passed a long time ago and I never met her. In a plastic box is what we have of her. Where are art work is now I do not know. But we have the newspaper clippings of her exploits and she seemed to exemplify the spirit of the thirties in America.

She traveled over from Russia in the twenties. She was a spirit of the road.

She had a talent that she used all her life. She could sketch a persons portrait very quickly and in extreme detail. Her portraits were her road to a small amount of fame.

In the thirties she got into her head to travel the country with another girl. They walked and hitchhiked from one town to another. Upon getting to a town Dorothy would go to the city hall. She would trade her ability to sketch for meals and a place to stay for both girls. She was about twenty at the time.

Imagine a female Jack Kerouc. She had guts. Most towns loved the change of pace. They fed the girls and usually the room was a unused jail cell.

As she traveled and sketched she got better and better. She got so adept at it she was at the Worlds Fair in 1933 which was held in Chicago. She had a booth there and sketched some big names. She did the Mayor and personalities of the time period.

When World War Two came she lent her talents of drawing to the government. She drew weapons and transportation ideas on paper to later be used by manufacturers to put the ideas into actual works. It was hush hush at the time. Her brother, my wife’s uncle was William Dwin. He was killed in I believe a B52. We have his air medal and purple heart. My wife’s dad, my father-in-law volunteered to be a spy in South America. He ended up doing translation for the government because of his ability to read and write foreign languages. He traveled the world and had been to places that people only dream of. He was a little like Harrison Ford the explorer, Indiana Jones.

This was my wife’s family. A little different but each gave flavor to the thirties and forties. They are gone now, but there are the memories in a box.

Below is a picture from Playland showing her sketching.  If you go to http://collections.westchestergov.com/cdm/search/searchterm/Dwin,%20Dorothy/mode/exact  you will see more pictures of her.Kinsella, Walter  is the man in the picture.  He was an actor on Perry Mason

2 thoughts on “A Free Spirit

  1. Interesting. I have a portrait of FDR in pencil by Dorothy Dwin. It’s also signed by FDR. I’m planning to list it for sale on ebay–which is why I did an online search for info on her.

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