Archived Story

Art ran in the Hormel family

Published 4:49pm Saturday, May 25, 2013

By Holly Johnson

Hormel Historic Home

While looking into the art at the Hormel Historic Home last week I came across some information about another artist-this time in the Hormel Family. John and Susanna had twelve children and all of them had unique gifts and talents.

Their first child, named Elizabeth, was born on Nov. 14, 1857, in Buffalo, N.Y. Sadly, she died just two weeks later. On Dec. 2, 1858, John and Susanna had another little girl and they also named her Elizabeth. Known as Lizzie, this daughter grew into a fine artist as described in this Austin Herald article from April 29, 1981, “Elizabeth Hormel spent many years in Austin, teaching a group of women in oil and watercolor painting. She also did china painting and helped organize a group of women to study the arts to make their lives more meaningful. She became the first president of the Art Club, which became the Art and Travel Club.”

Lizzie’s passion and talent for the arts was inspired by her parents but was not her first career path as told by George in his autobiography Three Men and a Business. Lizzie, her mother’s chief helper, had spent much of her life helping to care for her younger siblings and had not had much opportunity for schooling. When the appropriate time came, however, she bought a typewriter and enrolled in secretarial school. Her parents, recognizing the difficulties that Lizzie might encounter working 12-hour days in an environment where women were not generally accepted at this period of time, encouraged her to enter art school in Toledo. John, who “loved pictures and frequently visited Toledo’s new fine arts museum,” gave to all his children an appreciation for line and color, but he saw the greatest artistic talent in Elizabeth.

George records that his father said to Lizzie “If your mind isn’t fixed on going into business, perhaps you would consider giving your mother and me the great pleasure of sending you to art school. We should like to have an artist in the family.” So Elizabeth sold her typewriter and became a teacher of art in Toledo. She never married and moved to Austin with her parents, and those who learned from her appreciated her presence here.

Kickoff to Summer Concert

Downtown Stage, May 31

Shop downtown merchants, enjoy food vendors and the Austin Jaycee’s Beer Garden plus live entertainment on stage from 5-7 p.m. Six Mile Grove will perform at 7 p.m. sponsored by the Hormel Historic Home. Event hosted by Vision 2020 Destination Downtown Committee.

Gopher Road Trip Chalk Talk 2013

Monday, June 3, 5 to 7 p.m.

Gopher Road Trip Chalk Talk 2013 will be held at the Hormel Historic Home. Scheduled to appear are Norwood Teague, Jerry Kill, Don Lucia and many others. The event is free. Pre-registration is required at or by calling 1-800-846-7437.

Garden Concert

Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 p.m.

First of four free Garden Concerts in 2013. For the second year Twin Cities duo KooKooKangaRoo will perform their energetic blend of the Beastie Boys and Sesame Street. This will be fun for the entire family.


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