John Ames Mitchell

John Ames Mitchell

Birth
Death 29 Jun 1918 (aged 73)
Burial Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 41513141 · View Source
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Publisher, architect, artist, novelist, mystic, mystery: John Ames Mitchell was a Renaissance man who kept to himself but influenced many. A Harvard educated architect who studied at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris, Mr. Mitchell founded the original Life magazine in 1883. Much more like today's New Yorker than the Life of the later 20th Century, Mitchell's magazine discovered and encouraged many fine writers and artists at the turn of the 20th Century, such as Charles Dana Gibson, the illustrator who created the Gibson Girl. It covered the literary scene as well as political and social issues. He and Horace Greeley of The New York Herald Tribune founded the Fresh Air Fund, which for many years operated the Life Fresh Air camp for city kids on the site of today's Branchville School. Mr. Mitchell penned a half dozen novels, the most famous of which, Amos Judd (1895), was made into the 1922 silent film, The Young Rajah, starring Rudolph Valentino. Life was purchased in 1936 by another Ridgefielder, Henry Luce, who turned it into a picture magazine. The headquarters of Mitchell's Life is now The Herald Square Hotel in New York, a gift to Mitchell from Charles Dana Gibson in appreciation of the publisher's having seen and developed his potential as an artist. The hotel is operated by Abraham Puchall, whose Ridgefield home was Mitchell's West Lane estate, called Windover. Mr. Puchall has spent countless hours researching Mr. Mitchell, joined by Nadine Charlesen, an artist and teacher. "Mitchell, the man, is very difficult to discover," Ms. Charlesen told The Ridgefield Press in the early 1990s. "He did no self-advertising. He was very humble." Yet, added Mr. Puchall, he was "a man who planted many seeds." He loved cherubs, using them in his writing and as a symbol for his magazine — Gibson had noted sculptor Philip Martiny create a cherubic Winged Life over the main entrance to the Life building. To him, Mr. Puchall said, the cupid personified a cheerful but unrelenting guide to truths about human nature and the creative spirit. —Jack Sanders


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  • Created by: Gary Boughton
  • Added: 3 Sep 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 41513141
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Ames Mitchell (17 Jan 1845–29 Jun 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 41513141, citing Fairlawn Cemetery, Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Gary Boughton (contributor 46892198) .