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A romance from the past

By Staff | Feb 16, 2014

Shepherdstown has a connection to Ira Glackens, who, along with his wife Nancy, had a residence in town. The couple adorned their home with a collection of approximately 200 works by “The Eight,” a group of artists including Ira’s father William Glackens. The collection has been valued at more than $50 million.

But long before Ira and Nancy came to Shepherdstown, a love story began between William Glackens and Edith Dimock.

The Dimocks were a very wealthy family who made much of their fortune with the Corticelli Silk Company, which made spools of silk thread. Their wealth allowed Ira Dimock to purchase the Vanderbilt mansion in Hartford, Ct.

The mansion, commissioned by Cornelius J. Vanderbilt under the direction of architect John C. Mead, was built in 1879. Vanderbilt never resided in the 27 room house which was huge by any standard. The house was painted chocolate brown and had wide verandas, a porte-cochere, a conservatory, mansards, gables, bay windows, dormer windows, turrets, spires, stained glass and a cupola that stretched five stories high.

There was a great wide central hall where a man reportedly could drive a horse and buggy and turn around to get out. The “Old Gold Drawing Room” was on the right and the “Pink Drawing Room” was on the right. In the Pink Room, the furniture was upholstered in pink brocade as were the walls. The ceiling was painted with stars and garlands of flowers or cupids on rosy clouds by artists from Italy.

It took a ton of coal to keep the mansion warm in the winter.

Ira Dimock was able to purchase the mansion in 1888.

Ira’s daughter, Edith, desired to become an artist and traveled to New York City where she met William Glackens, an illustrator, sketcher and painter. The two fell in love and on Feb. 16, 1904, were married at the Vanderbilt mansion.

The wedding was said to be the most lavish and extraordinary wedding Hartford had ever known. Ira According to research by Charles L. Miller in his 1987 publication “Vanderbilt West Hill which is West Hartford’s First Subdivision,” Dimock financed a train from New York to Hartford and back again so that the couple’s New York City friends could attend the wedding.

Later William Glackens became famous for his participation with New York’s Ash Can School for his curatorial achievement in the organization of the 1913 Armory Exhibit in New York. He also, along with Robert Henri, John Sloan, George Luks, Everett Shinn, Arthur B. Davies, Ernest Lawson, and Maurice Prendergast, formed a group of painters known as “The Eight.”

Edith Dimock Glackens went on to become a well-acclaimed artist as well.

The couple resided in a Greenwich Village townhouse where they raised their children, Ira and Lenna.

William Glackens passed away suddenly while vacationing on May 22, 1938. Edith Glackens died in Hartford, Ct. in 1955.