A Portrait of Alice Dean by John Clark Tidden, c 1920

Recently Edward Summers ’59, the great nephew of Miss Alice Dean, Rice’s first librarian, generously presented the Woodson with her portrait. It was done by John Clark Tidden, an early member of the Rice art and architecture faculty, probably around 1920 and I think it captures something quite lovely about her. It will hang, I believe, on the third floor of Fondren:

Hired by William Ward Watkin in 1914, John Clark Tidden taught architectural drawing, freehand drawing, and painting at the Institute until 1925. Here he is in an undated but early photograph:

Young and energetic, he was a great favorite of the students, particularly for his dedication to the Dramatics Club, which he shepherded through its early years as sponsor and frequent director. The 1925 Campanile is dedicated to him:

During his time in Houston Tidden was also a productive artist. This photo turned up in Julian Huxley’s papers–here are Tidden (left) and Huxley (right) sketching a scene near San Antonio in 1914:

And this clipping from the end of this tenure at the Institute gives some sense of the scope of his work, mostly portraits and landscapes, and the popularity of this work in Houston:

Bonus: Miss Dean’s great nephew was last seen in these pages as the University of Texas delegate to the Rice Centennial celebration. Love the big grin!


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4 Responses to A Portrait of Alice Dean by John Clark Tidden, c 1920

  1. Grant Youngman says:

    Is there much information available about Tidden after he left Rice and went to NY? There were positively glowing articles about him in the Thresher when he left —https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2c7d/d2a82604469cb10baa1f80b528b6ce0c5383.pdf

    … but not much bio available afterwards that I’ve been able to find on the web except for a few images of his paintings (maybe in the subscription services such as the Benizit Dictionary of Artists?).

    • Michael Ross says:

      In June, I looked around for info on John (Jack) Tidden after Norie Guthrie posted on the “What’s in Woodson” blog an image of a painting he’d made for the 1916 Campanile: https://woodsononline.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/memorabilia-monday-original-campanile-painting/

      I found quite a bit; his extended family family is interesting. Norie encouraged me to post it as a comment … which I didn’t have the time to do at the time. But now that I’m reminded of it, I will soon do so on that Woodson blog.

      The highlights will include:

      In 1915, John Tidden married a fellow Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts alum, Agnes Lilienberg. After settling in Houston, they had two children: Mary (Molly) Stuart Tidden Bissell (1916-1959) and Robert Edward Tidden (1920-1973).

      John Tidden “left Houston to return east in 1925 as his marriage to Agnes Lilienberg Muench (1895- 1968) faultered (sic). After leaving Houston, and after an only partly successful effort at establishing a career as a painter, he pursued a career as an illustrator. Soon after her divorce from Tidden, Agnes married Julian Muench (1901-1965), artist and former Tidden student.” (Source: Note 23, HETAG: The Houston Earlier Texas Art Group Newsletter, September/October 2017, p 15. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/contentdm/file/get/hetag/3/11.pdf)

      John Tidden married Lois Adele Little in Manhattan on March 3, 1930. She was born in Missouri into a Kansas farming family and came to NYC at age 19.

      Lois is mentioned on pp 33-34 (and her 2nd marriage to Tidden on p. 34) of the 2017 book, “Ruby A. Black: Eleanor Roosevelt, Puerto Rico, and Political Journalism in Washington” by Maurine H. Beasley.
      (https://books.google.com/books?id=5AmLDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA33 ). Lois’ older brother, Herb, was Ruby Black’s husband.)

      (Lois’ first marriage was to noted journalist St. Clair McKelway, who mentions his honeymoon with Lois in a Sept. 11, 1965, New Yorker article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1965/09/11/this-world-we-live-in )

      According to the 1930 Census, John’s occupation was portrait artist. He & Lois were living in Mt. Vernon, Westchester County, N.Y. No children are listed.

      The 1940 Census gave a Manhattan address, and John’s son, Robert (aged 20), was living with them. John’s 1942 Draft registration had a Greenwich Village address and said he was employed by Gardner Displays, Inc.

      John Tidden died in Brooklyn on May 29, 1957, and is buried in Green Wood Cemetery.

      It’s also interesting to note that the son of Agnes & Julian Muench — Nils Lilienberg Muench (1928-2011) — was a notable Rice grad (’49; M.S., physics, 1950; PhD, physics, 1955). He was Chief Scientist at the Army’s Rocket and Guided Missile Agency in Huntsville, Ala.; worked 30 years at General Motors, rising to the position of executive director of research for all of physical sciences at GM; and was director of research of MIT’s Leaders for Manufacturing program. He was honored as a Distinguished Rice Alumni in 1999 (http://news.rice.edu/1999/05/13/distinguished-alumni-recognized/).

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