Rumsey Family - Table of Contents ....................... Cary Family - Table of Contents

Evelyn Rumsey Cary

Florence Julia Bach
Portrait Study of Mrs. Charles Cary
, c.1925

The Spirit of Niagara

Give Her of the Fruit

Evelyn Rumsey Cary was the artist who designed the Art Nouveau Pan-Am poster [(he Spirit of Niagara) depicting an Indian princess at Niagara Falls (the original Maid of the Mist). She was the wife of of Dr. Charles Cary (married 1879) and aunt of sculptor Charles Cary Rumsey.

Evelyn Rumsey was the daughter of Bronson C. Rumsey of #330 Delaware. A women's. suffragist, artist, and patroness of the arts, she painted The Spirit of Niagara, official emblem of the Pan American Exposition in 1901, and the portrait of Charlotte Mulligan in the Twentieth Century Club, which Charlotte founded.

Charles and Evelyn first resided at #210 Delaware, former home of Julius Movius, and 1867-1870 the first site of the Buffalo Club, a few doors north of Castle Cary. By the 1890s they were at #340 Delaware next to where Evelyn had been born and raised.

Rumsey Award: Established through the generosity of Buffalo painter (and niece) Evelyn Rumsey Lord, the Rumsey Award is to be used for travel for artistic and personal enrichment or for tuition assistance for a summer studio art program outside UB.

She is buried with her husband's family  in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Section X, Lot 1.


Evelyn Rumsey Cary: Artist, Philanthropist, and Suffragette
By Martha Neri
"The Compass" newsletter of Explore Buffalo, March 2020

Evelyn Rumsey Cary (1855-1924) was born in Buffalo in 1855 and was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bronson C. Rumsey. Following graduation from the Buffalo Seminary high school she became the wife of Charles Cary, M. D. in 1879. In 1891 she exhibited her works at the first Buffalo Society of Artists annual show.
For the founding of the Twentieth Century Club, in 1894,
all the members of the club were invited to submit a work of art whether it was a tapestry design, sculpture, portrait or wallpaper. Cary designed the coat of arms: “Facta Probant” (Let Deeds Tell) when the Twentieth Century Club was founded. The club is considered to be one of the oldest and most historic private women’s clubs in the United States. It was the first club run by women, for women, in the United States.

In 1895 Cary designed the cover for the Women’s Edition published by the Buffalo Courier newspaper.(1)  Reviews called the edition: “ . . . mammoth in size; creditable in appearance; well and carefully edited. In every department the women did their work excellently, making a paper of the greatest interest.”

Attribution for the cover artwork was given to Cary, as well Alice Russell Glenny, in several newspapers.(2) A search of the Library Congress database, The Buffalo History Museum catalog and other sources state the work was by Glenny. It is possible that the misattribution occurred because both women were friends, attended high school together worked together in organizations such as the Buffalo Artists Society and the Fitch Creche, the first childrens’ day care for working women. Also in 1895 The Buffalo Courier reported that Mr. Pascal P. Pratt purchased original design for the cover of the Women’s edition for $50.

In 1901 Cary painted “The Spirit of Niagara” that became official emblem of the Pan-American Exposition. Capturing the spirit of Niagara Falls, the feminine figure in the piece has been deemed the original maid of the mist and is perhaps Cary’s best-known work. The maid appears at the crest of the falls with the skyline of the City of Buffalo behind.

The Board of Managers and the Women’s Board of Managers wanted to promote the talents and treasures of the citizens of Buffalo. Several different designs were chosen to promote the event. The managers of the exposition advertised the event as much as possible. 121,000 copies of this poster were printed and distributed to every corner of the United States beginning one year before the fair’s grand opening.

Cary created the Woman’s Suffrage poster (c. 1905), which depicts an exquisite, feminine figure rising from the earth in front of a prominent building,
Albright Art Gallery, representing women as an essential part of nature and crucial members of society. Inscribed on the poster are the words, Proverbs 31:31 “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.” The poster was an essential visual tool in the Woman’s Suffrage movement and was featured on magazine covers and in pamphlets. Referendums in western states had gradually awarded women the vote, but in the East multiple state referenda failed, significantly in New York. Now, women looked to take national action with a Constitutional amendment. Finally in August of 1920, the 19th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution giving women the right to vote was passed.

In the ensuing years Evelyn Rumsey Cary continued to be very active to meet the needs of all manner of Buffalonians. In 1924 she passed away after a brief illness. She is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

(1) May 9, 1895, 40 pages profusely illustrated, as well as the beautiful cover, designed by Mrs. Charles Cary,

(2) Please note that after this article was written, Amy Miller from the Buffalo History Museum confirmed that it was Alice Russell Glenny who created this poster as her initials ARG are in small print in the lower left corner.

Evelyn Rumsey Cary at the Pan-Am

In Gallery F stood the original painting by Buffalo artist Evelyn Rumsey Cary, "Spirit of Niagara," which was one of the two images utilized in Pan-American advertising. This painting now hangs in the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo, NY

The Women's Building was the only "recycled" building on the  Exposition Grounds. The land leased by the Rumsey family for the Exposition had partly been utilized by the Country Club of Buffalo for golf and polo grounds. That organization constructed its club house in 1889-90.  The structure was turned over to the Board of Women Managers for use during the Exposition.

It was a large wood-frame building with broad, shaded verandas on three sides located in the southwestern area of the
Exposition grounds, outside of the Exposition plan. Surrounded by the gardens of the Horticulture exhibit, many found the area to be restful and beautiful compared to the grand scale of the Exposition buildings.

Board of Women's Managers

When the Board of Women Managers took possession of the building, they asked one of their members,  Evelyn Rumsey Cary, to provide interior decoration. The result was an assemby room capable of seating 125, offices, tea rooms, a reception space, and a "fainting room" among other spaces.

--Source: Doing the Pan: Women's Building Design  (online March 2020)

"The Spirit of Niagara"

There is a Woman's Building, but, sure! St. Patrick never swept the Emerald Isle as clean of snakes as the Pan-American Woman's Building is clear of exhibits. Now that the Exposition is open, the Women Managers have settled down to one role. They are entertaining, not exhibiting. Their building is in reality their club-house, and they do the honors therein.

In being a club-house, it is true to its traditions. Before the Exposition it belonged to the Buffalo Country Club, and it still looks its original part. It was taken over by the Pan-American directors and given to the Women Managers to be used as their headquarters. As a club-house it is a success, and it has at least a touch of the all-pervading feminine which made the Chicago Woman's Building worth studying. The whole house at Buffalo has been decorated and furnished by Mrs. Charles Cary, who also designed the Exposition poster, "The Spirit of Niagara."

-- Source: Women and the Pan-American Mary B. Mullet Harper's Weekly 1901  (online March 2020)

"Give Her Of The Fruit"

Lithograph 41" X 23 1/2"
Color and gold leaf

Click on image for larger size

Women's Suffrage Poster Designed by Buffalo, New York native Evelyn Rumsey Carey in 1905, this poster supporting women's right to vote depicts an ethereal, almost celestial figure emerging from the earth like a tree, with her hands outstretched and her fingers intertwined with tree branches and ripe fruits. Behind her is an image of the White House  [Albright Art Gallery] and written underneath are the words," Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates." The poster was one of the most prominent visuals utilized in the women's suffrage movement.
-- Source:   Great Political Posters That Changed U.S. History (online March 2020)

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