Willey Fromm, renowned Tamworth artist who passed away in June of 2010, has been honored with a biography by her dear friend, Barbara Abendschein. The Friends of the Library are selling illustrated copies of this lovely tribute to Fromm’s renown as an artist for $15.00 each.
In the excerpt below, the author says of her friend;
My primary source for this biography was Barbara herself. During our conversations over the years, she shared stories and clippings collected during a long career. When I read newspaper accounts and interviews, I often see my own words, taken from brochures I had prepared for her. When I finally sat down to prepare a text, however, I found the need for additional information and was extremely grateful for the work Jean Ulitz had done in creating the Genealogy Department of Cook Memorial Library where Barbara’s records remain.
About the author: Barbara Feeney Abendschein teaches writing composition for international students at the Daytona Beach campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She lives in a 1950s era Ormond Beach “hurricane house” with her dog Jose.
In 2005, Barbara “Willey” Fromm gave fourteen pieces of art from her collection to the library. These woodcuts, oils and watercolors are proudly displayed on the walls of the library, upstairs and down, on a semi-permanent basis. Come in anytime the library is open to see this wonderful collection. Other ephemera from the Willey Fromm collection includes her easel, photographs, letters, handmade Christmas cards, and family papers.
Jean Ulitz’s words about Barbara, written as a Foreword for Barbara Abendschein’s new 2012 biography of Willey Fromm:
Tamworth, New Hampshire, has been the chosen home for many artists – undoubtedly due to the scenic beauty of the mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers which surround this small country village. Barbara “Willey” Fromm was one of these artists, but she and her husband Louis “Woody” Fromm settled here in their retirement years not only for its natural beauty but because they were coming back to their roots – where their families had first settled generations ago.
Barbara was an outstanding artist, a keen business woman, a considerate neighbor and a loyal friend. She was proud of her New Hampshire heritage, loved their historic old home, the small village and its very independent people. She and Woody were down to earth people. Barbara was a soft spoken and amiable woman but would stand firm and speak her mind for the principles in which she believed. They had no children, but Woody and her art were the important elements in Barbara’s life.
Barbara and Woody partook of village life wholeheartedly. They enjoyed giving small parties or dinners for friends. Woody loved to cook and was known for his varied menu garnered from their constant moves throughout the country. They both loved our small local library and helped in its growth over the years. Woody was an insatiable reader and more books were checked out to him than to anyone else in town. Barbara was an active member of the Friends of the Library for many years, helping to raise funds on behalf of the library. She was a longtime member of the Onaway Club, one of the oldest social organizations in Tamworth.
Barbara’s warmth and thoughtfulness were evident many times. I brought my husband home from the hospital after a brief stay and, on our doorstep, we found a lovely water color of our house to welcome Bernie home. My favorite woodcut of the Cook Memorial Library (No. 1 print) was personally presented to me by both Fromms (Woody had framed it) for they knew how much I love our library.
My friend Barbara is gone now, but she left us her art in all its forms – oils, watercolors, woodcuts, even sculpture – to remind us of her. A fine collection of her works can be seen at Cook Memorial Library and small collections can be found in many private homes in Tamworth (including mine) and throughout the country.
Jean M. Ulitz