Stories — Who Made Me?

My aunt, artist and jewelry designer Jessica Rose

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My aunt, artist and jewelry designer Jessica Rose

My aunt Jessica was my mother's half-sister. Jessica's mother was my grandfather Garth Williams' second wife, Dorothea Dessauer, known as Dolly.  Dolly came from an affluent Austrian Jewish family.  She and her brother were sent to England when they were teenagers to escape the rise of fascism. She didn't see her parents again — they were both killed in Auschwitz.  Dolly and Garth had met in London,  and were married in New York after the war. They had two daughters... ...my aunts Estyn (my namesake, also an artist) and Jessica, who was born in October 1950.  The family moved to Aspen. The...

Read more →


My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 3

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 3

When I talk about my aunts and uncles on my mother's side it gets confusing in about a second. My grandfather was married four times and had six children. And my grandmother also remarried and had a second family. So my mother, who is the eldest child, has four sisters, three brothers and a step-brother, and her youngest sister is nearly forty years younger. Like I said, confusing. Family reunion with Grandpapa Garth and all his daughters. From left: my aunt Jessica, my mother Fiona, my brother Garth, Grandpapa Garth, his wife Leticia, me, my aunt Bettina and her son Darren....

Read more →


My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 2

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 2

My maternal grandfather, Garth Williams, didn't live a life that can be summarized in a blog post. He lived in at least five countries, married four times, had six biological children and a stepson over a span of nearly forty years, played classical guitar, restored an old hacienda in Mexico, and illustrated dozens and dozens of children's books including classics such as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, the Little House in the Prairie series, the Rescuers series, the Cricket in Times Square series, and Bedtime for Frances. Listing those book titles makes me feel antsy, because so many other books are missing. Equally delightful books....

Read more →


My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 1

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 1

Many artists have to carve our their career path in families where no one understands their creative urge. Not so for me.  The most objectively successful person in my family was an artist  ...my grandfather, children's book illustrator, Garth Williams. My parents' wedding invitation, illustrated by Garth Williams. Detail of my parents' wedding invitation — Garth Williams self portrait, sleeping under a tree.  "Grandpapa Garth" was already living in Mexico when I was born. He had already illustrated Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, the Little House in the Prairie series and many other books.  We didn't see each other often. My family lived in...

Read more →


My artist great-grandparents

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My artist great-grandparents

I'm still reeling from the discoveries I made last month about my ancestors. It's a little hard to know how to move on from there since there's so much more to learn and read about slavery and the sugar trade in the West Indies, but I'm committed to this project of exploring my family history and writing about new members of the family each month. This is probably a good time to draw a diagram to show who's who. This diagram only shows the relatives I've written about so far, and how they're connected to me, so some names and great chunks of...

Read more →