Dean Arthur Stone's family reconnects with the J-School

J-School student Kathleen Stone with Paxson print.When Kathleen Stone was in high school, she received an assignment to write an essay about a relative who had done something interesting. She asked her parents for advice and her father Andy told her that his great grandfather had started a journalism school somewhere up north, probably in Montana. Kathleen did some research and learned about Arthur L. Stone, the founding dean of the University of Montana School of Journalism.

Kathleen always loved writing. When the time came to look for a college, she decided to visit Missoula from her Salt Lake City home and immediately knew this was the place for her. She is now a sophomore in the journalism program and thriving. Her branch of the Stone family became disconnected when her great-grandfather died and her great-grandmother moved her children to California, essentially severing ties with the rest of the Stones.

About the time Kathleen was considering UM, then-interim dean Denise Dowling received a message from George Stone, a grandson of Arthur’s. George wrote that his sister, Ann, had some mementos of Arthur’s she wanted to give to the School of Journalism. Ann shipped a valuable Edgar S. Paxson watercolor and promised to bring other items to the centennial celebration in the fall of 2014.  Ann died before she had a chance to come back to Missoula.

The Paxson painting was unveiled as part of the tribute to J-School deans during a weekend of celebrating the 100th birthday of the school. The monochromatic work, “Fording in Buffalo Skins,” was created in 1901 by Paxson. The appraisal calls it  “an exceptional depiction of activity, done with sensitivity to the Native Americans he admired” and “one of his best works in this medium.”

Paxson moved to Montana from New York in 1877 and painted scenes from the Battle of the Little Big Horn and the Lewis and Clark expedition. He’s known for his murals that grace the Missoula County Courthouse and the Montana State Capitol Building. His work is in great demand and his watercolors are rare.

Kathleen, her parents and her sister were on hand for the dedication on September 26. The painting will be on display in Dean Larry Abramson’s office in Don Anderson Hall this year before returning to its permanent home in the Montana Museum of Art and Culture. 

- posted on 10/22/14 -