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Redding, Connecticut's Famous People :: Edward Steichen  

Help me add to this section. Submit your ideas or articles to bcolley@snet.net

Follow the hyperlinks to view :
Joel Barlow, Anna Huntington , Charles Ives, Mark Twain

Steichen, Edward (1879-1973), American photographer, who sought an emotional, impressionistic rendering of his subjects and strove to have photography recognized as a serious art form.

Steichen was born in Luxembourg on March 27, 1879, and brought to the United States as a child. He began working in photography at 16, and went to Paris to study painting at 21.

In New York City he joined (1905) the American photographer Alfred Stieglitz in establishing a gallery that became known as "291," where many important 20th-century painters received their first American showings. The following year Steichen returned to Paris, where he experimented with painting, photography, and the crossbreeding of plants.

Combat Photographer World War II

In 1923 Steichen returned to New York City as chief photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines. Among the famous people he photographed for Vanity Fair are the American actor Greta Garbo and the British actor Charlie Chaplin.

In 1938 Steichen retired to his West Redding, Connecticut, farm. During World War II he directed a U.S. Navy combat photography team.

In 1947 Steichen was appointed director of photography for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He prepared The Family of Man, a photographic exhibit (1955) that later toured the world and in book form sold 3 million copies. His work is collected in the Museum of Modern Art and Eastman House, Rochester, New York. He died in West Redding on March 25, 1973.

View examples of his work- Steichen Photographs.

Edward Steichen
by Joel Smith, Edward Steichen

Topstone Park
Oliver Goulston

A group of Redding citizens has provided the town with 270 acres of open space, including the town's swimming area. The citizens, calling themselves Redding Open Lands, Inc. (R.O.L.I.) initiated the idea in 1970.

The year before, Axel Bruzelius, who was an alternate on the Planning Commission, became interested in a project in Lincoln, Massachusetts. A whole farm in a suburb of Boston was purchased by local citizens, The property was subdivided into several large acre lots, which were sold, and which produced sufficient money to pay back the purchase price. The excess land was given to the town. Mr. Bruzelius decided Redding needed a similar organization.

At about this time Edward Steichen, the renowned photographer, decided to sell all but 38 of the 421 acres he owned on Topstone Road. Before Mr. Steichen put it on the open market he gave the town the right of first refusal. A group of twelve citizens decided to form an organization and attempt to accomplish the same thing that had been done in Massachusetts.

R.O.L.I. began with the idea of building a park on Mr. Steichen's property. Believing in R.O.L.I.'s idea, eleven more citizens joined the group. James Jenkins was elected Presient of the first meeting and William Karraker was elected chairman of the organization. Their plan was to alter the size of the parcel so that the land available for the town's purchase would be valued at under a million dollars. They agreed that if R.O.L.I. bought enough acreage, the remaining land's value would be brought under a million dollars.

R.O.L.I. was able to negotiate a bank note for $350,000 dollars to be secured only by the signatures of the 23 members of R.O.L.I. This enabled R.O.L.I. to buy 117 of the 387 acres. The note was signed on March 1, 1971.

The town did indeed buy the other 270 acres, and it is now used for open space and a natural park.

But R.O.L.I. had to get its money back. They decided to sell their acreage in plots. The smallest being 2.8 acres and the largest being 10.6 acres. They sold all 15 plots and ended up with a profit. These profits have been used to help the Conservation Commission and the Land Trust.


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