A brief encounter with Norman Rockwell

Posted by on Jul 29 2011 | Photography

By Tom Hoehn, Guest Blogger and George Eastman House member (“and proud of it!”)

My name is Tom Hoehn, a longtime member of George Eastman House. The current exhibit, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera,” (which, by the way, is just fantastic!) brought back a memory from my days as a kid in Rome, N.Y., that I wanted to share as guest blogger.

I was a fan of Norman Rockwell’s paintings, who wasn’t? As a kid I would write letters to people and almost 100% of the time I would get a
personal response. I couldn’t text them, “friend” them on Facebook, Google their address. I had to take a pen (or pencil in my case) to paper. My kids, who can’t comprehend a world like this, wonder if dinosaurs wandered the streets of my hometown at that time as well.

I had a print of a Rockwell painting, his well-known self portrait, featuring him peeking around the canvas at a mirror. I had the idea of sending it to him for a signature. Industrious kid that I was I put it in a mailing tube and carefully penned his name in his trademark block letter style hoping to get his attention.  I addressed it “Norman Rockwell, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.” It had to find its way to him. I was a kid, what did I know? I also enclosed two $1 bills for return postage.

A short time later I got a response! Unfortunately, it was my print, unsigned, with a letter stating he was under contract and couldn’t sign
prints. However, Mr. Rockwell took the time to send me this postcard.

I also noted he hand wrote his return address on the envelope. Taking time to personally respond to a kid. What a guy.

I was happy because I got my requested signature! But that isn’t the end of the story. About a week later I got another envelope from Norman Rockwell, again with a handwritten address. Enclosed was the reminder of my $2 — in 13-cent stamps!

That’s just so, well, Norman Rockwell!




Be Sociable, Share!

    Dresden Engle is the Public Relations Manager for George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

    no comments for now

    Comments are closed at this time.