We want to say thank you to our outgoing Guest Curator, Nan Rubin! If you missed a chance to see her fantastic artifacts, please stop by the Guest Curator Archive Page. You can also examine all of our past Guest Curators as well.
Welcome to our Guest Curator, Barbara Wimbush!
All of us are, essentially, custodians of our homes, preserving and maintaining until the next occupant takes over the job. For 27 years I was the “caretaker” of an 1851 Federalist home in historic Galena, Illinois. For me one part of that responsibility was identifying and researching the early occupants. The most notable were Charles and Emma Scheerer who lived in the home from 1873 until Emma’s death in 1939. Charles was the local Postmaster and Mayor of Galena until his sudden death in 1910 from a stroke on his way to the City Council meeting. As a widow in her 50’s without children, Emma seemed destined to busy herself in her church work or with the local women’s auxiliary or garden club. However, as a woman of great determination and strength, Emma chose a different path. In 1914 at the age of 60 Emma set sail for a “round-the-world” tour that would encompass 39,000 miles and an entire year of travel. Back in Galena Emma’s four brothers were vehemently opposed to her trip, strongly feeling that the expense of such a journey could be put to far better use by her extended family. At the cost of a permanently fractured relationship with all four brothers, Emma made her decision and never looked back. While on her world tour Emma amassed an extensive collection of valuable vases and eventually donated her exquisite collection to the Galena Historical Society, who periodically puts them out for display. Emma’s independent spirit continued upon her return. In 1915 Emma purchased a brand new REO Touring car, quite a luxury at the time. She was often seen covered from head to toe in her canvas driving duster, wearing her goggles and driving gloves, as she drove herself around the town. Emma Scheerer was clearly a woman ahead of her time!
My Galena home was sold in 2021 and my entire collection of Scheerer memorabilia was donated to the City of Galena. Attached are several photos of Emma Scheerer’s artifacts from my collection.
In the upper left hand corner is a photograph of Emma LeBron Scheerer at age 14; Emma as a young bride in the oval frame on the mantle; Emma’s exquisite sampler made in 1859 as a very young girl; Sterling silver ladle made by her father, Jeweler, Leo LeBron. Gifted to Charles and Emma on their wedding day in 1873.
Photo of Charles Scheerer in bronze frame on mantle circa 1905; Sterling silver napkin ring engraved ‘Emma’ made by her father, Leo LeBron; Certificate of Marriage for Charles and Emma Scheerer, 1873, in the upper right frame on the bottom.
Overall view of the Scheerer display including, receipt of the REO Touring car for $1400, immediately above the chair on the left; dollar bill that travelled “round-the-world” with Emma, directly above the stool on the right.
Colorized photograph of the Scheerer garden in Galena, circa 1920’s. Colorization was a common practice before color photographs became common place in the 1960’s. The garden looks essentially the same today.
If you are a folklorist or a collector of folklore/popular culture artifacts, please consider becoming a Guest Curator. Your objects will be highlighted here on a rotating basis.
All we ask is that the objects be yours, you have a photograph of the objects, and all or most of the information about the object (see the guidelines below, for more details).
Guest Curator Guidelines:
1. Artifacts must fall within the subject of our website (folklore, folk art, popular culture, etc).
2. Artifacts must be a part of your own personal collection.
3. Submissions must be limited to no more than five artifacts.
4. Submissions must contain a photograph of the artifact, as well as the title, purpose, country of origin, culture , materials, and dimensions of the artifact.
5. We also would like your photograph and a brief biography to accompany the collection.
Please contact, email@example.com and write Guest Curator in the subject line for further information or with any questions. We cannot wait to highlight your collection!