If Oil Paintings Could Talk

I recently came into a collection of vintage oil paintings. At first glance, I’d probably think someone’s great aunt had a sweet painting hobby and think nothing more of it. But tell me the story behind it and I’m hooked! They mean so much more now…look more interesting somehow.

You see, this collection came from the estate of a matron at the Muncie Home for Women. MHW was a correctional facility for “bad girls” as the family story goes. Research shows that the first woman admitted in the 1930s was there for prostitution. The goal of the institution was to “…prevent young offenders from becoming hardened criminals by subjecting them to treatment conducive to their mental and moral improvement.” They were taught domestic sciences so they could be released, find a husband, and behave as “proper women.” In my own head at least, I’m picturing girls who listened to music that was a little to rock and roll, danced a little too close with the boys, maybe snuck a sip of whiskey here and there…girls with “loose morals” in that day and age!

The family that passed these on told me that their grandmother worked at the Muncie Home for Women in the 1930s. She enjoyed painting and taught the girls there to paint as well. They believe the collection to be some of their grandmother’s mixed with some that the girls gave her. I’ve listed them all for sale, grouped by season and colors. I think they’ll be a perfect addition to a gallery wall or to prop up on your bookshelf or mantle. Enjoy ~ and just try to imagine what kind of lives these girls went on to lead!

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