Little Orphant Annie comes home
August 03, 2012 | view archive
We are all kinds of excited about a stained glass window preparatory design from the Tiffany Studios Ecclesiastical Department, signed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It's coming up in our Art and Antiques Auction on Saturday, August 11th. According to Andrea Hastings, Vice President of Inventory and Client Services at Antique Helper, this gauche on paper design is based on Ethel Franklin Betts’ original illustration for Riley’s “Ef you don’t watch out,” published by Bobbs Merrill in 1908 and may have at one time come from the Bobbs Merrill Company.
Louis Comfort Tiffany preparatory design for Little Orphant Annie memorial stained glass window; to view full description, click here
It is believed that this window was created for Riley Hospital for Children, founded in 1924 which was originally named Orphant Annie Memorial Hospital. “We can’t find evidence that this window was ever actually built but, based on our research, we think it’s possible that it could have been designed for the hospital, says Hastings.
Riley’s Orphant Annie character was based on a real person, named Mary Alice Smith, later Mary Alice Gray (1850-1924), a young orphan who, at the age of ten, worked for the Riley family in Greenwood, Indiana during the mid-19th Century. She came to, in Riley’s words, “… wash the cups an’ saucers, An’ brush the crumbs away.” As part of her duties, Smith looked after the Riley children, and told tales of goblins. Though she was only with the family for a year, the girl left a lasting impression on the Hoosier poet. Smith is buried in Philadelphia, Indiana. “I don’t think a lot of people know that there actually was a real Orphant Annie,” says Hastings.
This long lost work of art has deep Indiana roots. “We think it would be wonderful if this artwork could stay in the Indianapolis area,” says Hastings. “Riley is such a beloved part of our Indiana Heritage. It would be nice if this piece of history could remain here for Hoosiers to appreciate and enjoy.”
LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE
by: James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)
INSCRIBED WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION
To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.
ITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you