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Release Announcement of Queen of Montana Beach: the story of artist Fanny Y. Cory.

Sunnyshore Studio announces the release of Toni McCarty’s biography of artist Fanny Y. Cory, Queen of Montana Beach.

In this fast-paced, engaging, captivating biography you will discover Fanny Y. Cory, one of the top illustrators and cartoonists in the twentieth century. You will watch her overcome great sadness and bring smiles to people across America. There is something in this book for everyone! Artists will be inspired by her artistic career, motivated by the desire to provide for her family. History buffs will enjoy snapshots of New York City at the turn of the century, life on a ranch in Montana during the years of the Great Depression, and life on Camano Island in the 1950’s and 60’s. And people who love children will be delighted at a woman who captured them in all of their innocence and whimsy.

You can purchase a copy at our Studio or our online store: https://sunnyshorestudio.com/store/Queen-of-Montana-Beach-The-Story-of-Artist-Fanny-Y-Cory-p93479315

 

 

Thanks for Fanny Cory by David A. Day

Margaret Day, the granddaughter of F.Y. Cory and her husband Kenneth embarked on an incredible life adventure with their family starting in the late 50’s. Their relationship was forged in the fire of God’s love by the joining of 2 very different people who committed to one another to live life and raise a family in harmony with His plan.

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Our family consisted of 5 children, 2 girls (Debbie and Beth) bookending the 3 brothers (David, Daniel and John).

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Reflecting back on our experiences growing up, it now seems that just about everything in our lives did not conform to the societal norms. We wore hand-sewn clothes, rode in used cars that had been bought from someone Dad knew (never a new car), ate home-made foods (rarely went out to eat), drove 30 miles to church, and were encouraged to think and dream expansively.

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Our parents wanted to do the best job they could in raising our family, and committed to sending all 5 of us to a Christian school in Mt. Vernon through 8th grade even though it was a big sacrifice. Mom and Dad did not want our brains to turn to mush – so no TV was allowed in our house for many years. Without the numbing influence of TV and secular radio, mom and dad intended for us to be creative and self-sufficient. I don’t remember any idea being squashed, or dream not having being attempted – we built tree forts, tanned a goat hide in the basement on the pool table (unsuccessfully…), made a wind tunnel and chickens were raised in the bathroom for science projects, Mom sewed a Daniel Boone outfit for Daniel out of a deer hide. By the way, this is just scratching the surface.

I didn’t realize how much Fanny Cory influenced my mom until sitting down with her earlier this year to ask her about her memories of her grandma and what she was like. Mom’s eyes lit up as she told me about the summers she and her siblings spent at the Canyon Ferry Ranch in Montana with their grandma and grandpa, and then the times spent at ”Meetsy’s” (Fanny’s nickname) Montana Beach cabin on Camano Island later in life.

I had made the commitment to my cousin Jason that I would write a tribute song to honor my great-grandma Meetsy to be sung by The Day Brothers at the celebration in honor of her 140th birthday. This song became “Thanks for Fanny Cory”

Music has played such an integral part of life in the Day family that it is impossible to even picture our life without music. Dad was an incredible singer, and had an infectious enthusiasm that drew people to sing along with him – whether leading congregational worship at church, playing his guitar or gathering around the piano to sing with the family. Mom loved music, and encouraged our musical adventures, but she was disappointed in her own musical contribution. We all took piano lessons until we could play a hymn of our own choosing, and most of us played musical instruments in school. All 5 of us can sing, and we can harmonize intuitively which is how our Dad sang – he could pick out various parts, and could sing with any of us, mixing in a harmony part that fit in to fill out the harmonious sound when singing with him. One of our special traditions in the Day family is to sing this grace acapella to the tune of the Doxology: Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may strengthened for Thy service be. Amen.

We sang 4-part harmony to hymns in church or for special occasions as a family, but the 3 Day Brothers didn’t sing together until much later in life. I was 4 years older than Daniel, and while growing up didn’t work very hard to do things with the “little kids” (Daniel, John and Beth) and moved out of the house the day I turned 18, and was married to Karen by the age of 19! Daniel and John were only 1 ½ years apart and did many things together, and Daniel and John started singing and writing songs in high school and college. Our journey singing together as the Day Brothers started a decade ago when the 3 of us sang “Day by Day” at the church in Bellevue that John pastored. One of his parishioners heard us sing, and suggested that our strong vocal presence and harmony would lend itself to singing bluegrass.

At that time, I didn’t know what bluegrass was, and didn’t particularly think anything of that suggestion – but Daniel and John took that ball and ran with it. John started a bluegrass gospel jam in the basement with the help of his parishioner Mike who made that first suggestion. Daniel would drive down from Stanwood to go to that jam once per month and it was a howling success. Our dad had suffered a severe stroke that had silenced his voice – he would have loved this bluegrass adventure, but never got to participate with us in this endeavor. My melancholy perspective from watching my dad suffer and the death of my father-in-law changed my perspective on music. Prior to this, I was a strong advocate of contemporary music in the church, and was a worship leader with great enthusiasm for the role of music and worship in the church. But I found that as time went on, for the first time in my life, the response of my heart responding to music and worship had stopped. I would just sit in church – and be silent! That had never happened before. Dan and John invited me to drive up to Bellevue to their bluegrass gospel jam, and let me come bringing an electronic autoharp that I had bought to play something (at that time, I didn’t play any acoustic stringed instrument). I will never forget the experience of sitting at that jam, and as we sang songs like “Pass Me Not” or “In the Garden” tears would well up in my eyes, and my heart would leap once again as I thought about this amazing God who sent his Son to die for a lost world! My heart wasn’t dead after all it just needed a different perspective! For me, my journey to bluegrass was really a journey back to God.

The Day Brothers really jelled as we sang to comfort our brother John’s heart as he went through a very difficult season in his personal life. We found that as we sang together, time stopped, and we were transported to a very special realm where God was able to comfort and console. We now look for opportunities to share songs with others that move our hearts, and our hope is that by sharing these songs, it will touch the souls of our listeners. While John has been writing songs for years, Daniel was the next to add his voice in creating songs, and I have now dipped my toe with great trepidation into that adventure more recently. We love giving voice to experiences that have impacted our lives – our songs can be tender and heart-felt, tongue-in-cheek or even ironic.

Our great-grandma’s creative energy has flown through us in other ways. Daniel and I are now building instruments – this part of the journey started when Daniel moved to Oklahoma and found a luthier who taught a class on guitar building. I was able to find a similar program in Portland, and each of us now have built 6 or 7 instruments. It’s almost like we want to give new life and purpose to the wood from the trees, and we are especially interested in the quality and character of the instrument’s tone, while featuring the beauty of the wood.

One of the things that struck me while reflecting on Meetsy was that as she observed the world, she was able to see nuances of expression that she could somehow convey through her drawings. As I look at her painting “The end of a perfect day”, in my mind I can actually picture many times our family returned from some exhausting adventure or quest, and feel that tired satisfaction of having provided an experience for my family that they will never forget. That picture is the one that I was imagining while writing the chorus for “Thanks for Fanny Cory”. The first verse was taken from my conversation from my mother as she would share about how fun-loving and engaging that Meetsy was. She must have had an incredible imagination – and just maybe a part of her is influencing me since I am enjoying creating instruments that are unique and unlike any other instrument. She saw animals that existed, and imagined others that she saw with her mind’s eye – and brought us into that whimsical world. This is what I was alluding to in the 2nd verse of the song. My hope is that this song will speak to your heart, and like my great grandmother Fanny Cory, you will see the best in people, and that your curiosity about life will drive you on an unending, incredible quest for adventure.

Sunnyshore Opening Poster

The Grunt and Groan Art Club

I personally don’t remember not having my wonderful Grandma Meetsy  (Grandma Meetsy = nationally known illustrator, comic strip artist, Fanny Y. Cory) living across the road and down a lane from our Camano Island farm home.   I was the youngest of her daughter, Sayre’s, four children.

Dr. D, Bob Cooney, Mar D, Carol, FYC, Bud, Rob, Ted, Kay, Jean, Ann

Family picture with Fanny’s daughter, Sayre Dodgson’s, and son, Bob Cooney’s, and their children at the Dodgson farm on Camano Island. Ann Cory Dorsey is the little girl in the white dress, bottom right. Margaret Day  is standing third from the left in the back row. Fanny Y. Cory is at the top, far right. 

I also don’t remember there NOT being a “Grunt and Groan Art Club” but it was something that came to be after our grandma moved near us from her Montana ranch.   I grew up with it being an important part of our lives!

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Painting of a Grunt and Groan Art Club Member fast at work by Fanny Y. Cory

My older sister, Margaret Day, recalled her memories of the club’s early days, and how it came to be,  in a letter to her granddaughter, Amanda Day.  I could not say it better and being the youngest, I do not even know all these early details – and so I will share my sister’s story.

Margaret wrote, “Whenever we went over to her (Grandma Meetsy’s) house to visit,  we would sit around the big round oak table… which looked out on a lovely view of Puget sound.  There were always watercolor sets, brushes and Strathmore board small pieces sitting out and while we visited, we’d paint the view we saw.  We’d ask each other how we were doing on the sky, tree, sound, mountains and usually the only answer would be a congenial grunt ‘um hah!’”.  Or, as Margaret continued,  “One of the artists would exclaim over a less than perfect effect with a low ‘oh no!’ groan.”

Hence came the “birth of the ‘Grunt and Groan Club’” of which she was a charter member.  Of course, Meetsy and her daughter, Sayre, were the high officers.  My brothers Bud and Robert were probably charter members too .

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A letter from Fanny Y. Cory to Margaret when she was at Nursing School in Chicago keeping her informed of the latest on the Grunt and Groan Art Club. 

However, personally as the youngest sibling, I remember worrying about painting something worthy enough to get myself into actual membership.  As I recall, I felt that I had achieved standing in the club with a piece I considered an exceptionally good art effort when I was about 12!

One thing about this art club, it was for fun.  It was not an instructional time at all.  I only remember two things about art that my Grandma ever told me all the years I knew her.  I treasure them like gold!

Some of Meetsy’s paintings during the “Grunt and Groan” sessions.

The club was resurrected many years later at my mother’s home in Stanwood.  Again young artists gathered around the same oak table.  This time it had been carefully covered with plastic tablecloths and on a certain day of the week for some months they all practiced painting with acrylic.

My mom, Sayre, now in her late 90’s was a happy observer, Margaret and I joined right into the fun one more time.  The youngsters were mainly Margaret’s grandchildren.  It ended up, some days at different times, there were maybe 9 of them who enjoyed this extra time of community art.  We older members gave some guidelines to the younger members, and we all did the proper amount of “grunting and groaning” as we attempted our great artist endeavors !

Once in a while, my husband, artist Jack Dorsey, stopped by and couldn’t resist giving an art pointer or two.  Unfortunately I can’t find photos of our larger group days together immersed in art – but did find photos of one day.

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Anyway, may the “Grunt and Groan Art Club” live on forever at least in heart, as young people are encouraged to just try their hand in this wonderful world of color, form, design, creativity called “art”.

by Ann Cory Dorsey in collaboration with Margaret Day 

 

FANNY, the artist who made America smile showings

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to share upcoming showings for our new documentary on artist Fanny Y. Cory. This is a powerful, poignant film about a woman who had many sadnesses, but overcame them. By the age of 19 she had broken into the “man’s world” of illustrating in New York City, and was one of the top illustrators in the nation.

A newspaper article once quoted her. “I’ve always had hard times” she [Fanny] said, “but I’ve always enjoyed them.”  “That pretty much sums up her life” her grandson Robert Dodgson says on the documentary.

Sunnyshore Studio, Camano Island, Saturday, October 14th

The first public showing of Fanny, the artist who made America smile is Saturday, October 14th at Sunnyshore Studio (2803 S.E. Camano Drive, Camano Island, WA). It will be shown at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm and 5:00pm.

Sunnyshore Opening Poster

The Day Brothers will be playing a song in Tribute of their great grandmother before each showing of the film on Saturday the 14th.

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Floyd-Norgaard Cultural Center, Stanwood: Sunday, October 15th

We will show the film at the History and Hors d’oeurves program at the Floyd-Norgaard Cultural Center (27130 102nd Ave NW, Stanwood, WA) on Sunday, October 15th. Come by for Hors d’oeuvres at 4:30pm and enjoy the Day Brothers bluegrass. At 5:00pm there will be a short presentation by Ann Cory Dodgson (granddaughter of Fanny Y. Cory) and then the showing of the film.

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Riverpark Apartments, Redmond, WA: Monday, October 16th

There will be a third showing of the film on Monday, October 16th at the Riverpark Apartments (15791 Bear Creek Parkway, Redmond, WA). The doors of the lounge and theater will open at 7:00pm. Ann Cory Dorsey will read from her grandmother Fanny’s classic Fairy Alphabet children’s book at 7:30. The film will be shown at 8:00pm.

To enter Riverpark Apartments park in the main garage next to the Hyatt House Hotel (Riverpark Apartments are on top of the garage). Go to Elevator A. There will be a host to assist you in getting to the second floor lounge and theater.

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We are very excited to share Fanny’s remarkable story with a wider audience through this film.

Special thanks go to Robert Dodgson who shared so much amazing historical video footage from so many years ago.

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We also want to thank Ann Dorsey who provided most of the photographs we used in the documentary and who has preserved the memory of Fanny so well through her story-telling. Ann also gets the distinction for coming up with the title of this movie. Here’s an example of footage we did not end up using…but could have.

We also want to thank the grandsons and granddaughters of Fanny – Robert Dodgson, Bud Dodgson, Margaret Day, and Ann Cory Dorsey – for telling their stories and passing on Fanny’s legacy to the next generation. It was so sweet to see the precious memories of the past flow from your hearts and onto the screen!

Grandkids swim at lake Sewell, Robert, Bud, Margaret, Ted Cooney

A special thanks also must go to the Day Brothers who wrote a beautiful song of Tribute to Fanny. David Day caught the vision for this project early on and we are so thankful for his enthusiastic support.

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Chris Wyatt, who is a gifted filmmaker, is serving as the artistic editor of the product. The final outcome – at least what is good in it – is chiefly due to his labors.

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Finally, a shout out has to go to Julian Dorsey who spent so much of his time this summer shooting and organizing video footage. Thanks for all you did to make this project happen!

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As the Director of Fanny, the artist who made America smile, I’m honored to weave this story together, a story with so much good, beauty, grace, and smile.

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Showcase of Fanny Y. Cory one month from today… ready or not!

One month from today we will showcase the life and cultural legacy of Fanny Y. Cory whether we are ready to do so or not. Here are a list of the jobs still to be done.

Can we do it?

Complete Fanny: The Artist who made America smile Documentary

We are creating a documentary movie that tells the story of Fanny Y. Cory titled “Fanny: The Artist who made America smile.” My son Julian and I shot footage in Montana this summer, and we interviewed the four grandchildren of Fanny. We have also collected a lot of old video and photographs. Now comes the task of weaving the footage and interviews and photos into the compelling story that Fanny’s life is.

Here’s an example of some of the raw footage that we have.

(1) footage of the old studio, bunkhouse and windmill that was moved to higher ground in 1952 when the water of Lake Sewell was raised which left the old ranch completely under water.

(2) Footage of a morning sunrise over Canyon Ferry Lake (once called Lake Sewell).

(3) Footage of our interview with Amanda, Curator of Collections at the Montana Museum, in the vault where Fanny’s original Fairy Alphabet paintings are stored.

My friend Chris Wyatt, who is a film critique and film maker has promised to provide some consulting on pulling together the final product. But there is a lot of work still to go. Can we do it?

Release of a new biography of Fanny titled, Queen of Montana Beach: the story of artist Fanny Y. Cory by Toni McCarty.

The least of our problems is picking up the 600 copies of the book on my day off, Monday, October 2nd. The much bigger job before me is arranging two book signings in the Seattle area. I’m happy to say one is nailed down in Redmond on Monday, October 16th, and will include a showing of the documentary film. Besides this there is setting up an account on Amazon as an individual seller, nailing the on-line pre-release of the book on October 1st, and all the other promotion that will help us sell all 600 copies before the end of the year.

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Preparing the Display

Because this is a showcase of the life and cultural legacy of Fanny, there is a lot of work still to be done to create a visual showcase telling her story through photographs, timelines, newspaper articles, etc. There are letters to go through, many magazine articles and newspaper clippings to present, all with the goal of telling the story of this amazing woman. Besides all of that there are 24 fairy prints to frame.

And if that was not enough…

Hanging the Show

We have to collect the art and hang the show. This is where Jenny the “collager” shines. But she will have her work cut out for her.

She will find a way to showcase the 24 paintings of the Fairy Alphabet.

Fanny Y. Cory, Daffodils

She will display the over 40 books that Fanny illustrated. She will showcase “Sonny” which was a nationally syndicated daily cartoon that ran in newspapers all over the country – and world – for 35 years,

and “Little Miss Muffet”, another syndicated cartoon that was King Syndicate’s rival to “Little Orphan Annie.”

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She will find a way to show the beautiful paintings of Fanny like this one of a rose.

Cottage Roses by FYC

She will display the many magazine covers and illustrations that Fanny’s art was featured in like these.

And also show the sweet illustrations of Fairies that Fanny made in her late years. They show Fanny’s decline eyesight and less control of the brush that came in her 80’s, but still they sparkle with her vivid imagination and love of beauty.

And if that was not all, Jenny will find a way to demonstrate many of the hundreds of paintings that Fanny did looking out her window on the southwest side of Camano Island, onto Saratoga passage and the Olympic Mountains beyond. These paintings catch the changing seasons that Fanny witnessed, and show the overflow of her creativity.

It will be in short, an incredibly rich and strikingly beautiful show.

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Those who are able to visit Sunnyshore Studio on Saturday, October 14th and October 21st, will be treated to an amazing display of creativity, beauty and imagination that was Fanny Y. Cory!

Can we pull it off? By God’s grace, I hope we can!

Dear Meetsy by Megan Weidler

Dear Meetsy,

As a girl, when I didn’t know what to do or where to go to find peace, I would go sit on the sand cliffs and look out over the great waters of Puget Sound. The music of the waters lapping at the shore would quiet my heart. When I close my eyes, I can still see across the waters to the distant shore and forested peaks of Whidbey Island rising up to the sky.

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Can you guess where I was? I was at Montana Beach, your home. My parents Robert and Sandy moved there from their Seattle houseboat on Lake Union a year after you passed away. My sister Heather, who you held as a baby, was two years old then. As I was born in 1974, you and I never met.

Yet, throughout my life, I’ve heard stories of you from Grandma Sayre (your daughter) and my parents. As long as I can remember, I’ve always known you were my great grandma. Just recently I heard the lilt of your voice for the first time. It was on a voice recording Dad had made. You were telling stories about your early years in Montana as a girl and time in New York City. I feel like I know you now, so I wanted to write to tell you a little bit about me, my favorite memories from Montana Beach, and your legacy in my family.

FYC ranch, Margaret Dodgson

In 1976, Mom and Dad formed a corporation called F. Y. Cory Publishers to preserve your Fairy Alphabet watercolors as a set and endeavor to publish them as a book. Grandma Sayre and Uncle Bob (your son) also joined the corporation with their spouses Tom and Carol.

When I was around three years old, we invited all of our local dearies to Montana Beach and took pictures. We got a great portrait of Grandma Sayre and Grandpa Tom. Family photos were taken for each of their kids (your grandkids): Margaret, Bud, Dad, and Ann. There was even a photograph taken of all sixteen of us grandkids (your great grandchildren) on the steps of the cottage. Looking back on it now, I realize this took place around 1977, one hundred years after you were born in Waukegan, Illinois.

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Over the years, F. Y. Cory Publishers had cards and prints made from your Fairy Alphabet paintings which adorned the walls of our cottage and filled my young heart with wonder. I always thought “B” for Baby looked like me trying to put on my socks. Since I was five years old, my favorite has been “L” for Lullaby. As you wrote in the accompanying rhyme, “L is for Lullaby the robin sings, while the old gray spider the hammock swings.”

During Summer, I would spend as much time as possible down at the beach with my parents, sister, or cousin April. It reminds me of the rhyme you wrote for “N” of your Fairy Alphabet. “N is for Nymph, who lives by the sea, where the waves go ‘boom’ and the gulls go ‘skee.’” I remember sunning myself in the sandy slopes and then racing to cool off in the icy waters.

On rare and most treasured occasions, Dad set up his Marx electric train set on the cottage living room floor. He would tell how you gave it to him and Bud for Christmas when they were boys. I would watch with amazement at the working front light and how it sparked as it went flying around the metal track. He even showed me how to work the transformer to make the train go forward and backwards.

In our family, there is a most famous tree that stands tall as a legend. In your seventies, fresh from your ranch life in Montana, you decided a particular tree on your Camano Island property needed to be cut down. So, you set your ax at the base of the tree. Each time you walked by the tree to your garage or back to your cottage, you took a single swing at the tree trunk. Eventually, you felled the tree. I remember this story from time to time when there is a daunting task before me and smile.

Great Grandma, you and I were born almost 100 years apart and forty-three years have passed since my birth. So much has happened. In 1986, my family moved from Montana Beach to a home in Bothell, Washington where my parents still happily reside. F. Y. Cory Publishers successfully published your Fairy Alphabet book in 1991 and again in 2011.  What a labor of love it has been for my parents to preserve and share your artwork with the world for these past 41 years.

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Lord Jesus gave me a strong and kind husband named John in 2008, just over nine years ago now. We have a seven-year-old son named Johnny who knows you are his great great grandma.  He also very much enjoys that Marx electric train set on the rare and treasured occasions we have played with it.

I miss you.

Love,

Megan

Written by Megan Dodgson Weidler for her Great Grandma Fanny “Meetsy” Cory Cooney 

On Fanny Y. Cory’s taste for fine clothes and hunting and turning in the manuscript two days early.

My great-grandmother made it big in New York City in her early twenties, even though her mother had died when she was ten, her formal education had ended in the eight grade, and she had to support her sister who had contracted tuberculosis (and at times her father as well).

In digging into her life I’ve been surprised by how regularly she was written about in the NY Times and other large newspapers. I’ve also noticed from her photographs that she enjoyed dressing nice. Even though she lived for fifty years on a ranch in Montana, with no indoor plumbing or running water, she carried herself with grace and elegance, and liked nice clothes as these pictures testify.

FYC, dressed in fur trimmed winter coat, hat, gloves

She also loved the wild, going on long camping trips, spending days fishing, and hunting too. I hear she was quite a shot. Here is a picture of Fanny Y. a hunting party at the ranch (she is second from the left).

Ted, FYC and unknowns, hunters

And here is a picture of Fanny with a deer she’s shot.

 

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Her story is of a remarkable woman who overcame great odds, motivated by a a deep love for her family and a remarkable gift of art.

And I’m thrilled to share that I turned in the cover and content of her biography to the printer TWO DAYS ahead of schedule. The wonderful, fast-paced, engaging biography of Fanny Y. Cory will be released on Saturday, October 14th at Sunnyshore Studio.

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The Queen of Montana Beach Team: Interviews with Toni McCarty (author), Sharilyn Stachler (editor), Jacob Dorsey (layout), and Jason Dorsey (graphic design).

Enjoy these interviews with the “dream team” that brought Toni McCarty’s wonderfully researched and written biography Queen of Montana Beach: The story of artist Fanny Y. Cory to completed form. It will be released on Saturday, October 14th at Sunnyshore Studio, Camano Island, WA.

Interview with Toni McCarty, Author

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Sunnyshore Studio: Toni, how does it feel for you to have Queen of Montana Beach about to be released in a few months?

Toni: It’s the fulfillment of a dream to have Fanny Cory’s intriguing life story available to today’s readers.

Sunnyshore Studio: In our shooting of the documentary of Fanny’s life, I came to the conclusion that her story is worth telling. In your own words, why do you think that is?

Toni: Cory was one of the most sought after and highest paid illustrators in the Golden Age of illustration. However, when she moved to Montana to marry rancher Fred Cooney—and to raise three children—she fell out of contact with publishers back east. Eventually hard times fell on the ranch, forcing her to find a new way to support the family. She came up with the idea of creating cartoons and comic strips and soon became one of the first women to succeed in the male dominated field. She was nationally syndicated until her retirement in 1957.

Always devoted to family, she valued her role as mother above her worldly achievements. Her strong spirit and sunny disposition served her loved ones well–and pulled her through her own personal tragedies. Fanny Cory claimed, “There’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it.”

Sunnyshore Studio: How was it for you to work with Sharilyn as editor? Tell us something about the editing process you worked with Sharilyn on?

Toni: Working with Sharilyn was a dynamic and rewarding experience. Her strong skills and infinite patience helped recover “lost” chapters and wayward citations, and her thoughtful suggestions were certainly appreciated.

Sunnyshore Studio: How do you feel about the “look” of Queen of Montana Beach now that you’ve seen it in its final form?

Toni: I was thrilled with the look of the book when I saw the handsome layout created by Jason Dorsey (with help from his son Jacob.) Fanny Cory, an accomplished artist herself, would surely be pleased with the final product—and she’d be extremely proud of her great-grandson for bringing her story to life!

Interview with Sharilyn Stachler, editor

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Sunnyshore Studio: Sharilyn, tell us something about yourself? Who are you, and how did you get started as an editor?

Sharilyn: I am a reader! I taught myself to read before kindergarten ever started, and have been reading ever since.  I love words that evoke images in fresh ways, and I love beautiful language.  A few years ago I offered to help a friend by editing blog posts for her business.  Then her husband started a publishing company and, when he needed more editors, I was delighted to become part of that team. As an editor, I love to organize and order words, while keeping the author’s voice intact.  I was privileged to help Jason publish a pair of art books recently, and he asked me to help with Queen of Montana Beach.   

Sunnyshore Studio: You played a pretty big role in giving Jason the “green light” to do the book. He trusts your opinion, and when you said it was a good story and worth being published he decided to move forward with the project. Why did you think the book should be published?

Sharilyn: While any manuscript is rough on the first read-through, it doesn’t take long to get a feel for the ideas and the language being offered.  Toni’s narrative voice is lively and engaging, and I knew it would be an interesting and appealing read.  And of course, who better to publish the story of Fanny Y. Cory than her great-grandson, Jason, and Sunnyshore Studio.

 Sunnyshore Studio: How would you describe this book? Why does it matter? Why are you excited about it being published?

 Sharilyn: The more I read this book—and as editor, I’ve read it many times!—the more I admire Fanny Y. Cory.  She was an amazing person who lived with intention.  And through it all, she had fun.  Whether Fanny inspires you to live better, yourself, as she does me, or you simply enjoy reading about her storied life, you will not have wasted your time reading Queen of Montana Beach.

 Sunnyshore Studio: What was it like working with Toni and Jason on this project?

 Sharilyn: Jason is fun to work with on any project.  He has so many ideas, with so much enthusiasm and energy to throw behind all of them.  I am truly flattered by his confidence in my work; when we faced some hiccups on this project he simply said, “Then I’ll just trust you.” And Toni gave me a huge amount of trust as well.  It’s a painful thing to let somebody alter your hard work! She was amenable to almost any change I suggested, and quick to respond to anything I asked of her. In the end, I think we’ve created a book that anyone will thoroughly enjoy reading.

Interview with Jacob Dorsey, Graphic Design

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Sunnyshore Studio: Jacob, tell us a little about yourself.

Jacob: My name is Jacob Dorsey, oldest son of Jason and Jenny Dorsey and great great grandson of Fanny Y. Cory.

Sunnyshore Studio: How did you get involved in this project? Was it planned or spontaneous?

Jacob: Near the middle of August, I took a vacation from schoolwork and my summer job during a week and a half vacation in Redmond Washington once my summer class ended. Originally, the book was of secondary concern to me, as my father wanted me to work on an animated logo for Sunnyshore Studio. This changed, however, once he asked me to do some of the technical grunt-work of copying over the 34 chapters from the final draft of FYC’s biography.

Sunnyshore Studio: What did your dad – Jason – ask you to do on the Queen of Montana Beach?

Jacob: The finer details of arranging the chapter number in the correct location, changing the style to drop capital for the first letter of each chapter, and making sure that the font was uniform in style were also part of my contributions to the book.

Sunnyshore Studio: Jacob, what did you enjoy about this project? What do you have to say about Fanny Y. Cory?

Jacob: I have heard tales of FYC throughout the years, most vivid of which are her marriage and of how she went door to door to different publishing companies in New York looking for illustrating work, and I especially enjoyed learning new bits and pieces about her life as I read through a few of the chapters.

Interview with Jason Dorsey, Artistic Director

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Sunnyshore Studio: How did Sunnyshore Studio decide to work on this project?

Jason Dorsey: In the winter of 2017, my wife Jenny suggested that Sunnyshore Studio do a show to honor the artistic legacy of my great grandmother, Fanny Y. Cory. I began to look at dates for that show, and noticed that her birthday was in October (October 17th). I figured out that October 2017 would be the 140th anniversary of Fanny’s birth and we decided to do a show then.

I had heard about Toni McCarty and her book on my great-grandmother. So I contacted her and asked if she would be interested in letting me read it to see if Sunnyshore Studio would be interested in publishing it. She sent me her draft, I read the first few chapters and liked it a lot, but wanted a real professional’s opinion so I sent it on to Sharilyn. Sharilyn said that it was a great story that would have a wide appeal, so I was sold on the project from that point on.

Sunnyshore Studio: What has been most enjoyable about the project.

Jason: It’s been fascinating for me to get to real dive into Fanny’s life. I knew some of the stories but I had no idea. I mean, this woman was being written up in the gossip column of the New York Times and other major newspapers regularly. I had no idea how famous she was, nationally and even internationally. But what I enjoyed most was being able to see some of myself in her. It was like discovering a part of my story.

Sunnyshore Studio: What do you see of Fanny in you?

Jason: Her determination, and she was very results oriented, fast-paced, a mover and a shaker, but all the time she had a deep love for her family and a loyalty to her friends and loved ones. I hope that these things, to some degree, are characteristics of my life too.

Sunnyshore Studio: What was hardest about the project.

Jason: It was super great working with Toni and Sharilyn. They are both amazing and did a great deal of work without me in the loop at all. What was most challenging for me was just creating the basic design of the book and the cover graphic. I know my family paid a price for the stress I was under. But at the end of the day, it was just a joy, a pure joy to be part of this project.

The Story of “My Grandmother’s House” Video by Robert Dodgson

 

This Judy Collins song inspired me to make this video because she said perfectly how I felt about my grandmother’s house.

FYC looking at pet bird, ranch

My first video version of this was done in the early 1980’s using VHS tape editing but thirty years later the old video tape did not transfer well to the digital format. With Sunnyshore Studio’s publication of the new book “Queen Of Montana Beach” by Toni McCarty, I was encouraged to create a new digital revised version using the same great Judy Collins song.

My grandmother and grandfather, Fanny Y. Cory Cooney and Fred Cooney were known to their family as “Meetsy” and “Popsy”.

Meetsy and Popsie, F Y Cory and Fred Cooney

The video opens with Meetsy and Popsy greeting us as we arrived at their Montana ranch on Lake Sewell from our home which was then in Utah. The Cooney ranch had no running water or plumbing and the only electricity was from batteries and a little gas generator to charge them. However to us kids this was the best place on earth. From 1940 to about 1951, my Dad, Dr. Thomas Dodgson, took the old movies of our visits there with a hand-wound, spring-powered, Bell and Howell 8 mm movie camera.

 

You can see how much fun the lake was. There was also horseback riding, camping, shooting practice, story reading, story telling and cousins to play with. All the while that we kids were having the times of our lives, Meetsy still had to keep producing to deadline her weekly cartoon strips “Sonnysayings” and “Little Miss Muffett” for King Features Syndicate. She was a world famous cartoonist and illustrator but we knew her as a loving grandmother and the best storyteller ever with the most dynamic readings of classic books like Ivanhoe, David Copperfield and Tarzan.

Grandkids swim at lake Sewell, Robert, Bud, Margaret, Ted Cooney

Sadly, in 1952 that wonderful ranch was flooded to expand the Canyon Ferry Dam. All that was left of the ranch was Meetsy’s log studio, the old bunkhouse and the windmill that had been moved up to higher ground, and left standing like an abandoned sentinel on the hill, still bravely fighting the ravages of time.

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The white picket gate at the head of the gravel driveway leads down through the evergreen trees to the summer house that Meetsy bought on Camano Island in 1947 and which she made her permanent home in 1952 after her ranch was flooded. This little 630 square foot cottage was on the bluff overlooking the Saratoga Passage. It was on 2-1/2 acres and included 100 front feet of private beach. Meetsy named her new home “Montana Beach” and it was there that she rebuilt her life and continued her cartooning until she retired at 79 years of age in 1956. On Camano, Meetsy continued having outdoor picnics and parties and enjoying the beaches and company of many new friends on the Island as well as old Montana friends who came to visit. I was raised across the street from Montana Beach on my parents’ farm. Meetsy was and still is the most inspirational person I have ever known.

 

This video provides a glimpse into my life during childhood with Meetsy and Popsy and visits at the ranch with my young parents and my siblings. It includes my Uncle Bob Cooney and his wife Carol and their kids. The video then transitions to Camano Island, WA, with Meetsy at her new home where she lived for another twenty years. After she died in 1972, my wife Sandy and I had the opportunity to buy Montana Beach, remodel the house and raise our two girls there where they interacted with their nearby grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Bob and Carol Cooney and my Mom and my Dad, who were then the grandparent generation are shown visiting us, the young parents, at Montana Beach.

The circle of life goes on. Once a small child at my Grandmother’s house in Montana, today I am a 75-year old grandparent myself. Through the generations, all who entered Meetsy’s door were fed, entertained, inspired and enriched by their time spent at my grandmother’s house.

Praise of Toni McCarty’s Queen of Montana Beach: The story of artist Fanny Y. Cory

Toni McCarty has written a wonderful biography on the matriarch of our family of artists, Fanny Y. Cory.  Here’s some of the early feedback we’ve received for this book. Sunnyshore Studio wants to thank Trina, Kirby and Robert for their support and encouragement in this project.

Trina Robbins

trina-robbins

Trina Robbins (born 1938) is an American cartoonist. cartoonist. She was an early and influential participant in the underground comix movement, and one of the few female artists in the fledgling underground comix movement. Both as a cartoonist and historian, Robbins has long been involved in creating outlets for and promoting female comics artists. Among her many accomplishments she is the author of Pretty in Ink, North American Women Cartoonists, 1896-2013. You can read more about Trina in this Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trina_Robbins

Trina writes this about Queen of Montana Beach: the story of artist Fanny Y. Cory

“One of a handful of early pioneering women cartoonists and illustrators, Fanny Y. Cory has remained undeservedly obscure compared to her more famous sisters like Rose O’Neill (The Kewpies) and Grace Drayton (The Campbell Kids).  She has long needed a book of her own, so that readers can finally appreciate her talent in illustration and comics, and now she finally has one.  Thank you, Toni McCarty!”

Kirby Lambert

 kirby lambert

Kirby Lambert is a Western historian, Charlie Russell scholar, and long-time program director at the Montana Historical Society who has advanced public humanities immeasurably. In 2015, Kirby was recognized at the Governor’s Humanities Awards Ceremony with five other Montanans for their excellent work in the humanities in Montana.

Kirby wrote this about Toni McCarty’s Queen of Montana Beach.

“The Queen of Montana Beach provides a delightful look at one of the most captivating figures from Montana’s past. In the middle of the twentieth century, F. Y. Cory’s creations were beloved by cartoon-readers across the country. Today, although her fame has faded, Cory’s art and wit continue to offer engaging, humorous, and high-spirited glimpses of daily life.  McCarty provides a richly detailed, highly personal account of Cory’s life and her beguiling contributions to the art world. This book fills an important dual role of introducing Cory to contemporary readers and helping to ensure her rightful legacy for future generations.”  

Robert Dodgson

Robert Dodgson

Robert Dodgson is a grandson of Fanny Y. Cory and the President of F.Y.C. Publishers, Inc. Robert and his wife Sandra were catalysts in the forming of F.Y.C. Publishers, Inc. who were instrumental in the publication of Fanny’s exquisite A Fairy Alphabet watercolors in book form. You can read more about that here HISTORY OF F.Y. CORY PUBLISHERS, INC. By Sandra and Robert Dodgson, August 1st, 2017   Robert has also unofficially served as a family historian, recording videos and audio recordings of Fanny Y. Cory and others to tell the story of her life.

Robert Dodgson has this to say about Toni McCarty’s Queen of Montana Beach: The story of artist Fanny Y. Cory. 

Fanny Y. Cory’s life was an incredible testimony to what can be done when you refuse to accept your limitations. She had the rare gift of bringing humor out of misfortune and joy out of the shadows. Toni McCarty has exquisitely captured the essence of this loving, resourceful and humble pioneer woman and the world in which she lived. Thank you Toni for your dedication and skill in bringing this inspiring story to life.”

Book cover finished

We are also happy to announce that the cover of the book is now completed. Thanks to everyone who provide Sunnyshore Studio Artistic Director Jason Dorsey with so much great feedback. We were able to get all the above blurbs on the back cover and it looks great!

Queen of Montana Beach: The story of artist Fanny Y. Cory  is due to be released Saturday, October 14th.

Queen Cover - FINAL

 

 

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