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Elizabeth Haskin Collection on the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio


The Outer Banks Gallery and Studio was founded in 1952 by Dorothy Bowie. Bowie's longtime companion, Pat Donnan, served as the business manager for the gallery, and Elizabeth Haskin served as acting director in the 1970s and early 1980s. Bowie used the space to sell her own work and teach art classes to area students in the summer. The Elizabeth Haskin Collection on the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio, 1941-1992 and undated, contains materials collected or created by Haskin during her time as acting director of the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio. The collection contains Christmas cards designed by Dorothy Bowie; clippings about Bowie and Donnan; photographs of Bowie, circa 1960s-1970s; letter ... (more below)

Title

Elizabeth Haskin Collection on the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio

Collection Number

PC.5152

Date(s)

1941-1992 and undated

Box 1Box 2
Language

English

Physical Description
Cubic feet
0.47
Abstract

The Outer Banks Gallery and Studio was founded in 1952 by Dorothy Bowie. Bowie's longtime companion, Pat Donnan, served as the business manager for the gallery, and Elizabeth Haskin served as acting director in the 1970s and early 1980s. Bowie used the space to sell her own work and teach art classes to area students in the summer. The Elizabeth Haskin Collection on the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio, 1941-1992 and undated, contains materials collected or created by Haskin during her time as acting director of the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio. The collection contains Christmas cards designed by Dorothy Bowie; clippings about Bowie and Donnan; photographs of Bowie, circa 1960s-1970s; letters from Bowie and Donnan; records of attendance and sales at the gallery during Haskin's tenure; and a scrapbook.

Physical Location

5B5-5B6

Creator

Haskin, D. Elizabeth "Betty"

Repository

Outer Banks History Center


Materials arranged chronologically within folders. Original folder titles have been retained when possible.


Materials arranged chronologically within folders. Original folder titles have been retained when possible.


Available for research.


Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by the United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying these materials.


Processed by Samantha Crisp, December 2017.


The Outer Banks Gallery and Studio was founded in 1952 in Kill Devil Hills by Dorothy Bowie. Bowie's longtime companion, Pat Donnan, served as the business manager for the gallery. Bowie used the space to sell her own work and teach art classes to area students in the summer. The classes became so popular that in 1958, Bowie and Donnan purchased a 100-year-old fisherman's house on Colington Island and moved it to Kill Devil Hills to serve as a dormitory for 10 full-time students. That year, over 2,000 people visited the gallery. By the 1970s, Bowie and Donnan were both declining in health and suffering financial difficulties, making it increasingly difficult to travel to Kill Devil Hills from their permanent home in Virginia and keep up management of the gallery during the off season. They hired Bowie's niece, Elizabeth Haskin, to oversee the gallery's operations. By the late 1970s, Haskin had all but taken over the gallery, using it to exhibit her own work and teach classes, although Bowie and Donnan retained ownership of the space. The Outer Banks Gallery and Studio closed in 1981. The gallery was located on Colington Road (present-day Ocean Bay Boulevard) between Highway 12 and the U.S. Route 158.

Dorothy Bowie was born 14 August 1904 in Louisville, Kentucky. She studied at the Art Center of Louisville, Kentucky, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Eliot O'Hara Watercolor School in Maine, and the Jerry Farnsworth School of Painting in Massachusetts. She was briefly married to Neil Arntson, but the marriage had ended by 1941. In 1946, she worked briefly in the Graphic Arts Department at Fort Lee, Virginia. In 1947, Bowie purchased a home with her companion, Pauline "Pat" Donnan, with whom she lived for the rest of her life. The home was located at 415 St. Andrew Street in Petersburg, Virginia, and they called it "Pumpkin Hill." Bowie studied with Alexei Brodevitch at the New School in New York before founding the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio in 1952. She focused most of her attention on the studio for the next twenty years, hosting annual exhibitions of her students' work in Petersburg and continuing to create and sell her own artwork out of the gallery.

Donnan suffered from an extended illness throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. In her letters, Bowie frequently remarks about Donnan being sick and having "bad days." The letters also regularly mention Donnan's nurse, Mattie. During this time, Bowie desperately wanted to return to the Outer Banks, but was unable to do so due to the care she was providing for Donnan and financial difficulties. Additionally, Bowie's own health was in decline. Bowie's letters make frequent references to struggling to pay bills to keep up the gallery, and Donnan (who appears to have handled the household's finances) closes most of her letters by describing her attempts to sell the Kill Devil Hills property so that the pair didn't have to worry about the bills any longer. After making repeated pleas to Haskin to purchase the gallery from them, the couple finally closed the gallery and put it on the market in 1981. Donnan died in 1983 at the age of 78. Bowie died in 1988 at the age of 84. The two women were buried next to each other in Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg.


[Identification of item], PC.5152, Elizabeth Haskin Collection on the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, U.S.A.


Donated by Elizabeth Haskin, June 2016.


The Elizabeth Haskin Collection on the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio, 1941-1992 and undated, contains materials collected or created by Haskin during her time as acting director of the Outer Banks Gallery and Studio. The collection contains Christmas cards designed by Dorothy Bowie; clippings about Bowie and her companion, Pat Donnan; photographs of Bowie, circa 1950s-1960s; letters from Bowie and Donnan; records of attendance and sales at the gallery during Haskin's tenure; and a scrapbook.

Correspondence, 1972-1981 and undated, primarily consists of letters sent to Haskin by Bowie and Donnan. The letters deal with routine matters (Bowie instructing Haskin about sales, supplies, and inventory and Donnan inquiring as to the status of bills and operational affairs) in addition to personal updates about Donnan's and Bowie's lives. In a letter dated 12 May 1980, Donnan describes her religious beliefs and reactions to the Washington for Jesus March held in Washington, D.C., in April of that year. Donnan frequently suggests in her letters that Haskin should purchase the gallery outright, which Haskin tentatively declined in 1980. By March 1981, Haskin seems to have definitively declined to purchase the gallery. The final dated letter from Donnan reflects on the three women's relationship over the years and declares that the gallery will be put on the market.

The scrapbook, 1952-1970, includes advertisements and flyers for the gallery; clippings about Bowie, the gallery, and events in the Outer Banks; photographs of Bowie's students painting; and clippings about Ward Jackson (one of Bowie's students).


  • Bowie, Dorothy Elizabeth, 1904-1988
  • Donnan, Pauline Powers, 1905-1983
  • Jackson, Ward, 1928-2004
  • Outer Banks Gallery and Studio (Kill Devil Hills, N.C.)
  • Artists--North Carolina
  • Christmas cards
  • Women artists--North Carolina
  • Art--Study and teaching
  • Kill Devil Hills (N.C.)--History--20th century