Queer Places:
E Parkway Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54901

An informal head and shoulders portrait of Helen Farnsworth Mears (1872-1916), left, and her sisters Louise Morilla Mears Fargo (1866-1925), center, and Mary M. Mears (1870-1943). The photograph is mounted on an album page. Helen Mears was a recognized sculptor who had studied with Augustus Saint Gaudens; her sister Mary was the author of four published novels and several short stories. At the time of this photograph, Helen and Mary were living together in New York City. Louise was the wife of Lake Mills businessman Frank B. Fargo.Mary Mears (1870 - November 23, 1943) was the author of four published novels and several short stories. In 1907, Mears, and her sister, sculptor Helen Farnsworth Mears, were the first colonists at MacDowell Colony.[13]

Mary Mears was born in 1870, the daughter of Elizabeth Farnsworth, an author of several minor publications under the pen name of Nellie Wildwood, and John Hall Mears. She, with her sisters, Helen and Louise, attended Oshkosh public schools and was a graduate of the Oshkosh Normal school (later the Oshkosh State Teachers college). The Mears family resided on Parkway street (in early days it was known as Polk street when the Mears resided there.) She followed her mother's footsteps by writing short stories, novels and newspaper articles. Some of her writings appeared in Harper's, Forum, and McClure's. Her four published novels were entitled Emma Lou, the Breath of Runners, The Bird in the Box, and Rosemound of the Second. One of the better known of her books and articles was the novel, Breath of Runners, which she used, more or less, to describe the life of an artist and sculptress, her sister, Helen Farnsworth Mears. She was also a frequent contributor to the Christian Science Monitor, a daily publication.

In 1900 she moved to New York and set up at art studio, residing with her sister Helen Farnsworth Mears until her sudden death February, 1916. She photographed many of Helen's works with a large format camera. Following Helen's death, Mary become Helen's most ardent promoter until her death in Boston in 1943.


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