Charlotte Partridge and Miriam Frink

2017 - ongoing

 

I learned about Charlotte Partridge (1882-1975) and Miriam Frink (1892-1978) in 2017 while doing research for Iris Haussler who had an upcoming exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, where I had just become the assistant curator. After spending time with their papers housed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ Archives Department my interest was piqued. The combination of their roles as founders and co-directors of the Layton School of art, the Wisconsin WPA, numerous community groups, and their partnered relationship of over 50-years is a mostly untold story. Their papers are dense with Wisconsin milestones and queer history, with many contradictions to unravel and parse out.

With online resources I created a bulked out timeline of their combined lives. In order to establish their undervalued roles I began updating Partridge’s existing wikipedia page to encompass a more wide vision of her impact. Frink, often working in the background, didn't receive as much attention and will be next on my list. 

 

In 2022, I traveled to Milwaukee to spend a week with the papers looking specifically at correspondence between Miriam to Charlotte and their photographs. I’ll be thinking through the scope of where I want to go with my research and am excited to talk with others interested in their history or working on scholarship surrounding their lives.

Charlotte and Miriam at the Layton School of Art, 1954

Charlotte and Miriam at the Layton School of Art, 1954

Courtesy of the Charlotte Russell Partridge and Miriam Frink Papers, 1862-1980. Housed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ Archives Department

Charlotte, ring investigation

Charlotte, ring investigation

Courtesy of the Charlotte Russell Partridge and Miriam Frink Papers, 1862-1980. Housed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ Archives Department

Miriam with Charlotte (seated), 1965

Miriam with Charlotte (seated), 1965

Courtesy of the Charlotte Russell Partridge and Miriam Frink Papers, 1862-1980. Housed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ Archives Department