Helen Frances Newhard

Honored by:Her niece, Nancy Newhard Melton Ray, Ph.D.
Brick location:D:17  map

Helen F. Newhard July 25, 1908-July 25, 1992 was a 1929 honor graduate in art and home economics from Iowa State College in her native Ames, Iowa. Her collegian years were filled with activities including Women's Guild; Women's "A" Fraternity (basketball and field hockey); Women's Athletic Association (president); Delta Phi Delta (art fraternity); Phi Upsilon Omicron (home economics fraternity); Chi Omega (social sorority); Bomb Key (1929 Associate Editor of The Bomb of 1929); Jack O' Lantern; Hec Vodvil; Veishea Night Show; May Fete (business manager); and Mortar Board (an honorary society for senior women in recognition of leadership campus service and scholarship).

She taught Smith Hughes Home Economics for one year in Bonesteel, South Dakota before moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1930 where she taught weaving to enthusiastic adult classes at the Vocational and Adult Education School until her retirement in 1963. She earned a master's degree in education at Marquette University in 1945 and studied painting with Charles Thwaites Robert von Neumann and Forrest Flower and others.

In 1952, her mother, Mrs. Lena Pitts Newhard, retired from the City Clerk's Office in Ames, Iowa and joined her daughter in Milwaukee where the two lived at, 2213 East Stratford Court in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house, that was built in 1924.

She became a devotee of enameling when she and Miss Evelyn McKinley (who taught microbiology to student nurses ) attended a demonstration at Wisconsin State College. The two bought a small kiln and their resulting work sold well in a Christmas sale at the Milwaukee Art Institute. Consequently the McKinley-Newhard Crafts business was born in the basement studio of the Newhard home. In 1953 the partners spent their summer vacation from teaching in Rockport Mass a resort and artists' colony where their perfectionist beautifully-hued jewelry bowls and dishes and silver jewelry were enthusiastically received by customers at the J.W. S. Cox Gallery.

While both women considered teaching at the Vocational School their primary interest they moved their summer Enamel and Silver shop to Central City, Colorado, in 1955. Evelyn retired from teaching in 1960 to start their winter shop in St. Augustine, Florida. In 1963, Ness Newhard retired from teaching and she and her mother moved to Florida. The McKinley-Newhard Crafts partnership continued in Colorado during the summers and their studio at 59 Hypolita in historic St. Augustine was operational from 1960 until Miss. McKinley’s death in 1969. Mrs. Lena Newhard died the same year.

Although she took time out to travel around the world in 1970 and to the South Pacific in 1973 Miss Newhard continued the business at the Florida location alone through 1977. After selling the studio she continued to create for consignment to a craft shop in the St. Augustine Restoration area for many years.

Miss Newhard was a professional member of the Wisconsin Federation of Hand- weavers, she served as president of the Wisconsin Designer Craftsmen in 1952-53, and was membership chairman and bulletin editor of the Mid-West Designer Craftsmen in 1954-56. She was a life member of Delta Phi Delta honorary art fraternity.

Exhibits of her work included the Wichita National Crafts Exhibit; a one-man show at the Milwaukee Art Institute; and in the Wisconsin Designer Craftsman Exhibitions annually from 1947 through 1963. Her work was displayed at the Wisconsin State Craftsman's Fair; the Wustum Museum Racine, Wisconsin; the Kenosha, Wisconsin Museum; Wisconsin Designer Craftsman Traveling exhibitions, Two man traveling show with Evelyn McKinley throughout Wisconsin sponsored by the Milwaukee Art Institute Midwest Designer Craftsman Traveling Exhibition of the work of professional members 1955; Applied Art Graduates at Work Exhibition at Iowa State College Ames, Iowa 1955; University of Iowa Invitational exhibit 1955; and the Chicago Public Library Art Room Invitational 1962. In addition, Miss Newhard's weaving was included in two traveling crafts exhibits of the Smithsonian Institution.

In Florida she served as the corresponding secretary of the first St. Augustine Arts and Crafts Council which started the Palm Sunday Arts and Crafts Festival in the Plaza. She was a member of Florida Craftsmen beginning in 1963 and served for several years as editor of the newsletter.