Objects play a prominent role in the interpretation of historic sites. This holds true at the Martin House, where furniture, art glass, and other works of art designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Martins—as well as the family’s own personal belongings—help tell the story of this very special place.
Many objects and photographs from the Martin House’s rich collections are not currently on view. These works reveal stories in the lives of the various people who lived and/or worked here—artists, artisans, family members, or household staff—which taken together broaden our understanding of the Martin House.
Ashbel Merrel Leonard started a nursery in 1885 in his backyard in Piqua—a small town located north of Dayton, Ohio. Years later, by 1912, he and his sons, Parker and Stanley, formally established A.M. Leonard as a nursery and landscaping company. The business expanded in 1928 when Leonard and his youngest son John founded an enterprise dedicated to wholesale horticultural tools and supplies.
A 1939 edition of an A.M. Leonard & Son trade catalogue, viewed in the image collection below, illustrates the company’s full line of nursery and garden tools. A penciled inscription on the well-worn cover indicates that the catalogue was the personal copy of George Henry Fellows (1877-1972).
Fellows was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, and was employed as a Martin House gardener between the years 1913-1916. He lived in the Gardener’s Cottage with his wife Euphemia Seatter McKay (1876-1957), born in Burray, Orkney, Scotland. Euphemia also worked for the Martins, serving as a governess and upstairs maid. While living in the cottage, they raised their baby daughter Jane (1913-1999).
Jane Harriet Fellows kept a small collection of photographs mostly from the period when her family lived at Martin House. When she passed away, a close friend donated the images from “Aunt Jane” in 2014. A few examples of these black-and-white prints are shown here.
Hand Book: A.M. Leonard & Son, Hand Book of Nursery and Garden Tools: Greenhouse, Orchard and Tree Surgery Tools, 1939
Gift of Susan A. Duchossois, 2019 [MHRC.AC.0267]
Portrait of George and Euphemia Fellows, ca. 1900
Gift of Susan A. Duchossois, 2014 [MHRC.AC.0268.4]
Euphemia Fellows [top center] and Other “Help,” ca. 1913-1916
Gift of Susan A. Duchossois, 2014 [MHRC.AC.0268.8]
George and Euphemia Fellows Holding Baby Jane, ca. 1913
Gift of Susan A. Duchossois, 2014 [MHRC.AC.0268.17]