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Sharing Sunnyshore Studio with Grandpa Ron and Grandma Grace for the first time

The mission of Sunnyshore Studio is to share the beauty of Camano with the world. But it took a full year before Grandpa Ron, and Grandma Grace, the parents of Jenny Dorsey to stay at the studio after work on it had been completed in December 2016.

It was especially exciting because they arrived in Stanwood in glorious fashion: on the train! Jenny and Jackie were on pins and needles as the train pulled in on Tuesday, December 26th.

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We hauled Ron and Grace’s bags to our car and drove out to the Studio.

It was so special to drive up to the Studio with the Christmas lights all aglow.

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Ron and Grace were so enthusiastic about seeing the Studio and our kids were happy to be able to share it with them. And so we camped out the next four days together, enjoying the beauty of Camano, and most importantly, being together.

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Our Top Ten List of Thanks

It’s been almost a year since Sunnyshore Studio’s Grand Opening on December 2nd, 2016. Here’s our “Top Ten” list of thanks as we look back over this past year.

10. We are thankful for the five art shows we have been able to host over the past year, our sponsors who have made those shows possible, and the thousands who have stopped by to view them. 

Sunnyshore Opening Poster w. sponsors 1

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9. We are thankful for the opportunity to do creative work beyond just art. We’ve been able to publish three book and make one documentary! 

 

8. We are thankful that the Studio is becoming a place where we can encourage, mentor and train other artists. 

 

7. We are thankful for the Colony of Artists on Camano Island who support, encourage, and help each other in so many ways. 

 

6. We are thankful for the many friends who have stopped by to visit with us. We love sharing our Studio and Camano Island with you. 

 

5. We are thankful for this beautiful place that we call “home”, Camano Island.

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4. We are thankful that this decades old dream of building an art studio to showcase our family’s art legacy has come true. 

 

 

 

3. We are thankful to our friends, collectors and patrons who have supported our family of artists since 1969.

2. We are thankful for our family and the opportunity  to work together as a family to do art and to share beauty with the world.

 

1.  Finally, we are thankful to God our Creator and Sustainer and Redeemer whose beauty, love and grace inspires all we do.

Happy Thanksgiving From Sunnyshore

 

 

 

Fun opening weekend for second annual Dorsey Family Christmas Show

We had a fun opening weekend Sunnyshore Studio’s Dorsey Family second annual Christmas show, “Christmas on Camano.” Here are some of the highlights.

My brother Jed and I cut down our Christmas tree. Our plan is to “home grow” the Studio’s tree each year!

Jenny decorated it beautifully.

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And, as she always does, mom made the space so beautiful with her gift of decorating and all the pretty things she has.

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On Friday night Jenny led the “unveiling” of my  Dad’s annual Christmas painting and cards.

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It’s a lovely scene from the Cedarhome area.

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There was art from every family member. Fairie’s by Fanny Y. Cory.

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Watercolors by Jack Dorsey.

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Ann Dorsey had her bright acrylic paintings on display, as well as her new Camano Island poster!

The siblings all had paintings too. Jason’s watercolors.

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April’s acrylics and mixed media.

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And Jed’s acrylics.

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Jed had top sales for the opening (no surprise there!), which we were all very happy at as he makes his living as an artist. He has quite a fan base in Washington, and his art is prized by collectors.

Jed painted live on Saturday, and it was impressive to watch his painting take shape.

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The finished product is really quite impressive. I can’t show it here. But it will be for sale on Saturday for a mere 900$.

Most special was seeing friends and artist colleagues from Camano. We are trying to build community through art, and it’s awesome to see that happening.

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We’ll be open the follow five Saturdays from 10:00am-5:00pm. We’d love it if you would stop by, view the art, shop for gifts for friends and family, and enjoy one of Mom’s cinnamon rolls.

 

I was able to attend one day of Jed Dorsey’s October workshop

I was able to attend the first day of Jed Dorsey’s October workshop at Sunnyshore Studio that took place Wednesday through Saturday of last week. Jed started off the day with a mini-lecture on what it takes to make a good artist: (1) desire, (2) opportunity, (3) encouragement, and (4) practice.

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Jed is an engaging and encouraging speaker. I was struck by one of the goals for the workshop that he shared. He said that one of his goals was that people would feel loved as persons, not just for their artistic performance. I thought this was great because deep down we all want to be valued not for what we do but who we are.

I sensed that the workshop participants did feel loved.

It was fun to hang out with my dad and my sister, April, who both participated in the workshop.

Having Dad in a workshop is like having a second instructor because he spends a lot of his time going around and chatting, sharing tips, critiques, etc.

Jed demonstrated throughout the day. You always learn a lot by watching another artist paint. And he’s pretty good.

Everyone worked hard on their art paintings throughout the day.

And ended up with some great paintings!

Plus we had time together to visit and just be in community.

All in all it was a great workshop…We’re already planning for another Jed Dorsey workshop in October.

Here’s a fun little video I made up of our time together. Enjoy.

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

 

 

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 .

Grunt and Groan Art Club postcard, Mar 4, 1957, Meetsy to Margaret resized b

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 

 

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.

Queen Cover - FINAL

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!

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

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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

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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

 

 

HISTORY OF F.Y. CORY PUBLISHERS, INC. By Sandra and Robert Dodgson, August 1st, 2017

In 1947, a year after her husband Fred Cooney died, 69-year-old Fanny Y. Cory purchased a cabin across the street from the farm where her daughter Sayre and family lived on Camano Island, WA. It was to be used as her part-time residence during the sweltering Montana summers.

This cabin was originally attached to a garage further back in the woods and Grandpa George Dodgson sawed the “cabin” from the garage and moved it closer to the high bluff and built the brick fireplace. Later neighbor Bill Smith added a bedroom.  While Fanny was still in Montana she corresponded with Sayre about putting in an oil furnace and a big picture window. While she was in residence at her cabin, she continued her hectic daily schedule of creating her “Sonnysayings” and “Little Miss Muffet” cartoons.

Fanny moved to Camano Island permanently when her ranch near Helena, Montana was flooded in 1952. Even though her primary residence was then Camano Island, for a number of years she rented an apartment in Helena for extended periods to visit family and friends there. She continued her cartooning career from wherever she was, until the age of 79 years in 1956.

Living in the more mild climate of Washington State suited Fanny. With a longer growing season she grew  flower gardens as well as asparagus and other vegetables and enjoyed the apples from her fruit trees. Mostly she enjoyed her daughter Sayre and her family who lived so close and interacted with them on a daily basis. Her grandchildren fondly remember her homemade Snickerdoodle cookies and her imaginative reading of the classics to them or telling of original stories. An outgoing, social person, she made friends with her neighbors and others in the community and attended the local Episcopalian church. Modest to a fault, she never bragged about her world-wide fame and most of her friends and acquaintances did not realize the celebrity of their interesting, friendly neighbor.

FYC enjoying morning at Montana Beach a

Even after she retired from her career of cartooning, Fanny continued to paint for enjoyment in watercolors and even tried her hand at oils. The location of her cabin overlooking Saratoga Passage toward the Olympic Mountains and views of the woods and her gardens provided her endless subject matter for her many paintings. She was a great encourager of her daughter Sayre in continuing her art education by drawing and painting and encouraged her grandchildren to paint as well.

Over the years, Fanny had shown various family members, along with her other paintings, her original 26 watercolor paintings with verse that came to be known as “The Fairy Alphabet”. She had said how she always wanted to have them made into a book but because of the elaborate colors and the limitations of the printing systems of the time, she had always been told that making them into a book would be too expensive.

Fanny Y. Cory, Daffodils

In her later years, after her eyesight and hearing failed and she could not safely live alone, she went to live with her daughter Sayre and family in the nearby town of Stanwood.

FYC, Stanwood, Mike Cooney

Even though she lived full-time in Stanwood, she loved to be taken out to her cabin on Camano for visits. It still contained all of her familiar things just as she had left them.

In about 1968, in Fanny’s heavy, old sideboard drawer where she had stored much of her artwork over the years, mice had nibbled edges of paintings and in the bottom of that drawer, in a box with a hole nibbled in the corner, Robert and Sandra retrieved the aging but still beautiful original watercolor paintings of the “Fairy Alphabet”. In fact there was an extra “D” painting showing daffodils with girls’ faces that was painted at the same time as the other Fairy Alphabet paintings but because Fanny thought it did not fit in with the other fairies, she painted the Dryad painting to replace it (you can see this painting above). By this time, these painting were about fifty years old and although the paintings had been kept out of the light, the paper was beginning to show damage.

Worrying about the fragility of the original paintings, and with the permission of Fanny and Sayre, Robert made protective sleeves for each painting, hand-press lettered each verse on its sleeve and carefully inserted each fragile painting into its protective sleeve.  It became obvious to him that it would not be long before these beautiful paintings would be destroyed and lost to posterity.  Also there were discussions of what would happen to the Fairy Alphabet originals when Fanny was gone. Some family members thought they should be divided among family members. Thinking about what Fanny had said about her desire to have them made into a book and given Fanny’s advanced age and hoping to get a book published while she was still living and while the originals were still together, Robert and Sandra began to brainstorm as to how to get published  this work Fanny had so lovingly created. With modern printing techniques maybe it would be possible to have them finally made into a book. Thinking that anyone who saw this artwork would be anxious to publish it, with Fanny and Sayre’s blessing, Robert photographed each painting and Sandra agreed to hand carry the photographs and pitch them to a publisher when she was in New York in route to Europe in 1969. She had already researched how to get a publisher and had corresponded with many of them to no avail.

It was not lost on 26-year-old Sandra when she arrived at Grand Central Station, having traveled across Canada and down to New York City by train, and clutching the photos of “The Fairy Alphabet” in her hand, that she was about to embark on the same path Fanny had taken to see a publisher when she was only 18 or 19 years old. With her bags stored in a locker at Grand Central Station, Sandra called a taxi, handed the driver a piece of paper on which she had written the address of the publisher and sat nervously on the edge of her seat as the taxi headed for the derelict Bowery district. She was more than a little apprehensive when the taxi stopped on a deserted city block and the driver pointed to an old tall, dark building. Sandra exited the cab, paid the fare and headed to the flight of stairs leading up to a big, heavy door. She couldn’t decide whether she wanted the door to be locked or not. If it were locked, she could retreat to the cab that was still waiting below and escape this scary adventure. The door was unlocked, however, and she entered into a dark, cool vestibule with another flight of iron steps, steeply ascending to a higher floor.

It was totally quiet and Sandra could hear her footfalls on the iron steps that were worn in the center from so many hopeful souls having traversed them over the years. And they were slippery!  Sandra thought of Fanny’s story about her coming to see this same publisher (Harpers?) to get started as a commercial illustrator and realized that she was now putting her feet in the same footprints previous made by Fanny about 70 years earlier.

From what she could see, the building seemed deserted but when she reached the higher floor, there was a door with the name of the publishing company lettered on its translucent window. As she had prearranged, she met with the publisher and showed him the photographs of the paintings.. She presented all the reasons he should publish the Fairy Alphabet book not the least of which that his company had published her work in the past.

Recognizing Sandra’s naiveté, the publisher kindly explained some of the facts of publishing to her. The biggest stumbling block the family was going to encounter, he said, was the fact that there was no single authority to deal with the publisher. They would need the owner of the material to work with or if not the owner, than whosoever the owner gave such authority to. Also, the age of Fanny being by then 91 years old was a problem for a publisher who would worry there could be some disruption during the publication process. If Fanny were to give authority to someone else, it needed to be in a legal document, naming also a third person who would then have authority to speak for the owner. Sayre was then about 62 years old which the publisher said was also too old to be the sole entity.. “What about you?” he asked Sandra. He explained that having a young person with the authority to sign contracts and negotiate conditions would be an advantage in getting the book published. When Sandra pushed for some commitment by the publisher that if she got all of his suggestions implemented, that he would be interested in publishing the book, he politely declined. It was not the kind of book that would fit in with their current list of published works he said. It was a discouraging setback and nothing further was done with the Fairy Alphabet for a few years more.

In 1972, Fanny died at the home of her daughter, Sayre, and was taken back to Helena, MT, to be buried beside her husband Fred in the Cooney family plot. Fanny’s house and all her possessions including her paintings were inherited by her daughter Sayre.

2004 Dorsey Family Vacation to Yellowstone and Montana 008

In late 1972, Sayre sold her mother’s cabin and property on Camano Island, WA, to her son, Fanny Y. Cory’s grandson, Robert George Dodgson, and his wife Sandra. Because the house was still full of Fanny’s belongings, Robert and Sandra began to pack them up and transport them to Sayre’s house in Stanwood. There had been so many years where no one had lived in the house that the mice had taken over. There was a mouse nest in the back of the stove and at night, little mouse feet could be heard scurrying across the linoleum floor. Although Robert was a full-time and then some, self-employed designer, marketer and builder of model sailplane kits that enjoyed international distribution, he began to immediately remodel Fanny’s 630 square foot cabin of three rooms into a two-bedroom house with separate kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and utility room. Their daughter, Heather, was two years old when they moved from their houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle to “Montana Beach” on Camano Island. Their second daughter, Megan was born in August of 1974.

The opportunity to have the “Fairy Alphabet” published in Fanny’s lifetime had been missed but living in her house, surrounded by memories of her life there and some of the scenery that inspired so many of her paintings, once again encouraged Robert and Sandra to consider how they could get the “Fairy Alphabet” published. Sandra had seen first hand that her father and aunt had formed a family corporation to handle the real estate and orchards they inherited from their mother. Also she had worked in law offices and  experienced handling corporate documents and  maintaining corporations and was also aware of liability issues of businesses and corporations. The idea of forming a family corporation to publish the “Fairy Alphabet” was starting to take shape.

Sayre repeatedly voiced her great desire to have “the Fairies” published in a book. Having inherited the original paintings from her mother, she offered to give them to the corporation so that they could be made into a book as her mother had always wanted. After Robert and Sandra talked to Sayre and her husband Tom and Sayre’s brother Bob Cooney and his wife Carol, it was decided that the family of Fanny Y. Cory Cooney should form a corporation and act as the publisher to get the “Fairy Alphabet” made into a book. Sayre’s other family members as well as her brother Ted and wife Virginia were invited to join in the venture but they all declined. A lawyer was hired to draw up the legal documents to create the corporation.

F.Y. Cory Publishers, Inc. (The Corporation) is a Washington Corporation, formed in July 1976 by Sayre and Tom Dodgson, Bob and Carol Cooney and Robert and Sandra Dodgson. The Corporation was formed for the purpose of getting published the Fairy Alphabet by F. Y. Cory in book form. To accomplish that end, The Corporation self-published the paintings as 4” x 5” cards and as 8” x 10” art prints to increase interest in the prospective book and to bring some income to The Corporation to meet its expenses. The cards and pictures were printed by Craftsmen Press near the south end of Lake Union in Seattle. Robert and Sandra supervised the process, giving approval at various steps. Each printing could do four designs of the large size and four copies each of the same four designs of the cards. The Corporation got a total of twenty four designs of the twenty six printed. The Shareholders above named each contributed $2,000 to get The Corporation started. Later, different Shareholders loaned money for various printings. After enough product was sold, all the Shareholders were reimbursed with interest for their initial investment and all their loans.

In 1986, Robert, Sandra, Heather and Megan moved from Camano Island to Bothell, WA. The official address of The Corporation is therefore: 21230 Damson Road, Bothell, WA, and Phone Number is 425-776-8067. It is crucial to keep the Montana Historical Society apprised of the current address of The Corporation so as to avoid their automatic trigger of taking of property if they cannot contact the “owner”. The Secretary of The Corporation, therefore,  confirms with them annually the current official corporation address and phone number.

No one in The Corporation received money for all the work they did on behalf of The Corporation through the years. It was an organization driven by the shared desire to see the artist’s work published in a book. The only expenses paid by the corporation were taxes (sales and corporate/annual report/license), storing the original paintings and printing costs, envelopes, plastic card packets and other materials sold for income as well as some postage to mail correspondence and product. The Corporation has not paid for storage of product since the date of inception nor gas money for sales trips to promote its products to individual shops nor gift show fees of thousands of dollars. Members of The Corporation always paid for expenses individually or volunteered their own time and energy: Sandra kept the records and met the legal requirements of meetings, minutes and the annual report. She and Robert manned gift show booths in Seattle and San Francisco and paid all the attendant costs themselves. Carol personally visited shops in Helena and got orders and reorders. Bob and Carol’s acquaintances at the Montana Historical Society stored the original art for many years in a heat and humidity controlled vault at no cost to The Corporation and ultimately published the first book of the Fairy Alphabet in 1991.  They paid a royalty to the Corporation for each book they sold.

2004 Dorsey Family Vacation to Yellowstone and Montana 005

Over the years since the founding of F. Y. Cory Publishers, Inc., The Corporation has made additional income by licensing some of the designs of the “Fairy Alphabet” to be made into puzzles and quilt squares to name a couple products.  A second book of the “Fairy Alphabet” was published in 2011 by Riverbend Publishing and the corporation was paid a royalty for each book Riverbend sold.

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The original six shareholders, all of whom were also directors, traveled to attend the corporate annual meetings. It was also a good time to see family and visit. Often Bob and Carol Cooney came from Helena, MT, to Camano Island or sometimes Robert and Sandra with their family would travel to Helena. For the meeting after Tom’s death, Sayre traveled with Robert and Sandra and family for the annual corporate meeting which was held in Helena. Occasionally the corporation paid for dinner at a nice restaurant for the directors after the meeting. Usually the family who hosted the meeting provided dinner. In later years when neither Sayre nor Carol were able to travel, meetings were held by Consent In Lieu of  Meeting where everybody signed off on the corporate actions taken or to be taken.

Whereas F. Y. Cory Publishers, Inc. had six stockholders when it was formed in 1976, through death and inheritance there are fifteen stockholders forty-one years later. The sole asset of The Corporation remains the original 26- watercolor paintings by F. Y. Cory and the licensing rights of those paintings. The  aging note cards, 8 x 11 prints and their envelopes and plastic packet holders were divided up among the shareholders in 2013. The first book published is no longer in print and is now a collector’s item. The second book can be purchased through The Corporation or other outlets. Robert Dodgson created, pays for and maintains an F. Y. Cory Publishers, Inc.  website online at www.fycory.com.

 

 

 

 

“The Pact” by Ann Cory Dorsey

This was written by Ann Cory Dorsey after her beloved Grandmother Fanny Y. Cory died. It tells of a sacred moment that she and her daughter April shared with Fanny, who the family called Meetsy.

The room was filled with photos of the past and school pictures of the present. There was a yellow painted chair beside the bed holding a large hand wound clock and several bouquets of flowers. The people walked softly and most avoided the room. Meetsy was dying. Certainly she was dying this time. We had thought she was three years before when a neighbor girl had found her unresponsive lying on her couch. The ambulance had rushed her into the room in this big yellow house that had been my other grandma’s while she had lived with us. Meetsy would joke afterward how she’d always wanted to ride in an ambulance but when her chance came she didn’t even know it. But nobody joked about it then. My father, a doctor, and my mother, a nurse, did everything they could. The house was in a state of “emergency” for weeks to help ease her labored breathing and physical decline.

But then, miraculously, Meetsy rallied. She wouldn’t be able to live alone again in her beloved cottage overlooking Saratoga Passage viewing the Olympics that arched up behind Whidbey Island on clear days.

She was confined to a wheelchair because her legs were so unsteady but as she had been remarkable all her life her spirit remained remarkable under adversity. A routine of napping, writing letters or a log of the day’s events with a heavy felt pen and eating became more and more her way of life. I remember her sitting at the kitchen table with the morning sun glistening on her snow white hair. Although much of the time she could not hear, she would tell stories of her life that might well make a toad stool smile or, if she could think of nothing else she considered entertaining enough, she’d relive the characters and plots of anyone of a number of Dickens’,  Scott’s or Cooper’s books. Very little happened in the kitchen about which Meetsy did not know from watching to make sure my mother had on her sweater to exposing the more grave infractions of a visiting great grand child.

Meetsy seemed to be particularly interested when one of her grandchildren was, as she described it, “in a family way.” My mother said that when she told Meetsy that labor had started when the birth of our first child was imminent, Meets had just bowed her head in silent prayer. My mom had tried to remind her that all births were not as difficult as hers had been. Meetsy had agonized for hours with her first child but because she was so small and the boy was so big, Meetsy almost lost her own life and the baby did lose his. She had been an invalid for a year afterward and the doctor had told her never to have any more children, But, as my mom would say, “Meetsy just had to have someone to love” and she successfully gambled giving birth to three more children, one girl (my mother) and two boys.

From the time she had been 17 until well into her seventies Meetsy had been a well known artist and one of the first professional women in her field. Under her maiden name, Fanny Y. Cory, she had illustrated books, designed magazine covers and been under contract with King Features Syndicate for two comic strips, Sonny sayings and Little Miss Muffet. Much of her art work featured babies and children which she depicted with great insight. I remember remarking that she must have loved children to be able to draw them so beautifully “No, but I did love my own.

She also loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren. The proud day I laid our three day old son in her arms the years seemed to vanish from her face and the softness of motherhood filled the silence. She was remembering her own and smiling softly she said it had been so long since she’d held a tiny one. During the next few years following Meetsy’s confinement at my parents we all hoped and prayed Meetsy from one event to the other. Days flowed swiftly into months and seasons like a handkerchief chasing tears. But now she was dying for sure. After a fall she’d been bedridden and stayed so almost, it would seem, by choice. Indeed her evening prayers had often carried the petition that she be “released” and each night she faithfully kissed the small photo of her beloved sister, Agnes, who had died when she was twenty five in Meetsy’s twenty year old arms. She had hemorrhaged from the mouth as a result of tuberculosis and Meetsy in telling the story would say that when the doctor finally came and announced Agnes was dead that she had told him, “I Know. I saw the life go out of her eyes.”

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Indeed it seemed Meetsy had grown weary of what had become to her a lonely, limited world. My dad often said in that last prolonged month when she couldn’t or wouldn’t eat and hardly swallowed even water that if she would try to get well as hard as she was trying to die, she would recover. I don’t know; All I knew was a brooding sort of sadness that wanted to run to Meetsy’s house once more like I did almost every day after school when I was a girl and eat her cookies, lemon drops and gum she kept for grandchildren. I would spend the rime laughing, visiting, playing cribbage and listening to her read an exciting book until the sun set over the water and lights would start shinning one by one on Whidbey. Then we would finally bestir ourselves and break the spell for another day.

When my other grandmother had died the entire family had been there. I was still living at home that morning Daddy called me down to say grandma’s heart that had been weakening had given out and she was in a coma. She never awakened from it and the family watched and prayed as within a few hours she passed through the gates of eternal life. But, oh dear God, Meetsy lingered so. My mom and dad cared for her physically and when she had the strength at the beginning of that last sickness she would fight them vehemently for disturbing her rest. My dad felt bad for my mom and mom understood that it was not really “mother” anymore.

I didn’t get too close too often because Meetsy seemed to sleep most of the time and I didn’t want to incur her wrath. But there were sweet times too during those endless days when she was herself and so happy that someone cared enough to visit her. Still she got progressively weaker and we could only marvel that she lived at all. Her hear that had worked for 94 years seemed reluctant to let her go and so she stayed. She seemed only semi conscious much of the time but once in a while you could tell she saw and knew like the Saturday before she died when my sister rubbed her back and shoulders while visiting with her. You could tell that Meetsy was pleased.

Later that same day when I was relieving my mom so she could get some groceries, I got up my nerve to go in all alone and just sit on the bed in the shade drawn room hoping that perhaps Meetsy might be comforted just sensing someone was there even if she didn’t know who it was. We didn’t speak. She, of course, couldn’t and my heart was so full that all I was able to do was stroke her hair that was carefully brushed off her neck forming a white sculpture on the pillow, hold her hand and hope she saw only my smile and not the tears because, oh God, she knew it was I. Meetsy knew I had come. She observed as I went to get our three month old baby who was crying and when I brought her in Meetsy reached out and watched April try to touch and slap her hand. As the three of us were together I felt a voiceless identity with eternity. It was as though one small piece of it had been given to me in those precious few moments that hung like pearls being knotted on a necklace. I was with a woman whose involvement with me hung heavy with fulfilled love and dreams –and I held a baby who gurgled with sweet promises. They both belonged to me in a special way and though the two were so different, they were somehow the same as I bonded then to each other. I sensed a pact was made that day between the three of us –a pact of love that transcends years and mortal life itself. My grandma knew, April didn’t know and it had been put in my trust.

Soon Meetsy wearied and slept. April and I slipped out of her presence quietly as though she had been delirious with fever instead of age. A few evenings later while my mother was caring for her Meetsy’s breathing became further and further apart until it at last ceased. Meetsy’s prayer had been answered. She was released. Her soul had lost the confines of her small, frail body and soared to her Creator and the long anticipated rendezvous with her beloved Agnes, husband and infant son.

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