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Alice Collingbourne Winn

20th Century
Life city:
LaPorte, IN
re: Alice Collingbourne Winn -

  • LaPorte County

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The following biographical was submitted by Richard S. Collingbourne:

Alice Collingbourne, born about 1863 in Chicago was the sixth child of Thomas Pitman and Eliza Collingbourne of Milwaukee. Three siblings born in Milwaikee in 1858, 1859 and 1860 died at birth or within twelve days. Her parents married in 1851 in Leicester, England in the chapel at Gallowtreegate Road, came immediately to the US and settled in Milwaukee along with th e parents of Thomas Pitman Collingbourne and the mother (a widow) of Eliza. In Leicester, Alice’s grandfather, Thomas Collingbourne had been a pub operator and painter. His card advertised graining (simulated wood), marbling (simulated marble), bronzing and enameling on glass, in addition to coach and ornamental work. Alice’s father became a very successful businessman in the later half of the nineteenth century, operating a large store on Broadway Avenue and a luxury house on Biddle Street; he sold artist supplies and had a painting/decorating wallpaper service. He was an artist himself and reference is made to a large painting of his in Milwaukee (The Cream City). He also contracted with a Chicago dealer to create paintings and send them to Chicago to be sold. Alice’s sister, Annie Louise Gregg was also and artist as was Alice’s uncle, Frederick Collingbourne, who worked in her father’s business. Alice’s brother, Albert Collingbourne was a musician and noted singer. He died at age twenty-three. On March 3, 1880 Alice got a certification as a substitute teacher in Milwaukee. At some time before her first marriage she is said to have become pregnant and had a child. She was sent abraod to further her education and studied under noted artists in Italy, Germany, Holland and England, including Sinibaldi at Capri and Eivert Pietut in Amsterdam. She married Erving Severance, a dentist, in Milwaukee on November 8, 1880 and had two sons, Charles and Erving. Charles had two daughters, Florence and Alice Collingbourne Severance, named for her grandmother. The latter became an airline hostess in the middle 1920’ when she completed high school in Elgin, Illinois. Alice’s composition, Calve Waltes, was published by Joseph Flanner of Milwaukee in 1896, consisting of five waltzes for piano. On the cover it stated, “Respectfully inscribed to Mme. Calve, the World Renowned Carmen.” This work was played by th eSousa Band at the Chicago World Fair of 1893. Alice also composed “Easter Song” Alice’s father dies in December 1897 and soon thereafter Alice left her husband and two sons, moving in with her widowed mother, whose health was starting to fail. On March 15, 1905 she married John E. Winn, a corporate attorney. Her mother died on May 4, 1905 at which time Alice and her husband were in Europe. Alice and her sister, Lou Gregg, were named co-executors in the mother’s will. Lou Gregg discovered that all her mother’s jewelry and all available moneys could not be found. When Alice was contacted in Europe she refused to return any of the missing items and stated she had a signed deed from her mother which conveyed the house to Alice alone. Under pressure from the Probate Court in Milwaukee to return for a court appearance, Alice had an authenticated letter sent from the consulate in Spain stating that she was receiving necessary medical treatment in Europe and could not return. Under further pressure she resigned as co-executor, returned the deed and renounced any further claim on the estate. This all took a couple years to resolve and delayed the probate of her mother’s estate. Alice and her husband, John E. Winn settled in LaPorte, Indiana in 1910 where he was attorney for M. Rumely Company. He later became a judge and encouraged her to continue her artistic work. She taught art in LaPorte until her death at age 77 on or around 11-10-42 Alice is listed as a Hoosier artist (Impressionist) in “Womans who’s who of America” by Laura Bond and in the “Dictionary of Women Artists” by Chris Petteys.

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