Janvrin, Aldrich, and Neese family papers
Scope and Contents
- Other: Date Not Yet Determined
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research; however, certain materials are fragile and require Archives staff for handling, or use may be restricted altogether.
Biographical / Historical
Born February 17, 1889, Laura Janvrin Aldrich was the only daughter of Jennie Dora Janvrin and Alonzo Aldrich. At a young age, Laura was a gifted child. Daughter of one of the cofounders of the Beloit Corporation, she was able to gain an education while also pursuing her interests. At Beloit High School, she showed promise by winning an art award and becoming valedictorian. She then went studied at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where she was again valedictorian. Laura attended Beloit College with the class of 1912. She was a strong student, receiving the highest grades and reports. Continuing her art education, she studied at the Chicago Art Institute and took private lessons from her artist friends. To improve skills and techniques, she attended drawing classes throughout her lifetime. On June 16, 1914, Laura Aldrich married Elbert H. Neese. Two years later, they had their first child, Elizabeth J. "Betty" (Moore); in 1921, they had their second child Alonzo A., nicknamed "Lon," followed by Elbert H. "Ebbie" in 1923 and Laura A. in 1925.
Laura had a very active life as a mother but also as a philanthropist and artist. While her husband served as president of the Beloit Corporation (now known as Iron Works), she worked closely with the Beloit Foundation, the First Congregational Church, and the Art League of Beloit; she even founded the Beloit Family Service Association, still going strong today. In 1941, she also became the first female member of the Beloit College Board of Trustees, remaining a zealous lifelong trustee for over twenty years. In addition to Laura's volunteer work, she was an active artist. Galleries across the country exhibited her paintings and watercolors for more than twenty-five years. In 1952, Beloit College awarded Laura an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts for her commitment to the discipline of art and for her longtime service to the college.
Because of her service, support, and care, Laura made her mark on Beloit College. She donated all her proceeds earned from sales of her artwork to the Wright Museum of Art. With the money, the museum created the Neese Fund, which became an acquisition fund for annual purchases. The college also named the gallery of contemporary art in the Wright Museum of Art in her honor. And in 1975, the Laura Aldrich Neese Theatre was a dedication to the recently deceased artist, alum, and trustee. Laura died on January 24, 1967 in Beloit.
4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Existence and Location of Copies
- Janvrin, Aldrich, and Neese family papers
- Amara Pugens'13
- June, 2013
- Language of description