It’s very likely that you’ve never heard of the Iowa artist – Harriet P. Macy of Des Moines. Living in the same time frame as Iowa City artist Mildred Pelzer, and Iowa’s own Grant Wood, Harriet Macy was a gifted art teacher for 38 years at East High School in Des Moines. But, she accomplished so much more!
A woman with Quaker roots, Macy saw the face of God in every aspect of creation – particularly in the faces of diversity. In 1908, Harriet provided beautiful illustrations for a series of children’s books by Emilie Blackmore Stapp, including The Trail of the Go-Hawks, published by C. M. Clark Publishing of Boston. The books were very unique for its time – featuring Harriet’s artwork that included numerous people of color – a taste of diversity rarely found in books of this era.
Over the years, Harriet – who loved Iowa history – traveled throughout the state – particularly the eastern section – sketching many historic sites. Before she died in June 1968, she was gathering many of these sketches and hoped to publish them in one volume. While she never was able to complete that project, her friends – including many of her students from over the years – pulled the project together, and in 1969, the Iowa Art Guild published 500 copies of a beautiful hardcover book entitled – Sketches of Historic Iowa.
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