“William Henry Rinehart’s advice to Mary Snader”

Carroll County Times article for 22 May 1994

By Jay A. Graybeal

When one thinks of the names of Carroll Countians who achieved international recognition, the sculptor William Henry Rinehart comes to mind. Born near Union Bridge in 1825 he pursued a career in art which began in Baltimore and ended with his untimely death in Rome in 1874. His works included numerous classical figures, portraits busts and funeral monuments. Rinehart also completed the bronze doors to the U.S. Senate and House porticos at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

During the summer of 1854, the young sculptor sent some art prints to his cousin Mary Snader. Enclosed with the prints was a letter offering his advice on art. The letter was donated to the Historical Society of Carroll County in 1980 by Mrs. Donald Macaw. It is reproduced below, largely unedited, thereby preserving Rinehart’s spelling and punctuation.

Dear CousinI embrace this opertunity to send you a few more prints hopeing they may prove usefull to you. I should like know how your liked the book and prints I sent you and wether you found them of any service. I would advise you wilst you are studiing books and prints not to forget nature for she must ever be your guide and master. If you choose art as a profesion and nature as your guide you will find its resources inexoustible for nature presents such a delightfull and every verying field the more you learn the more you will find yet to learn. As I am older than you Cousin you must not be offended at a little advise I give you but remember I have seen much more of the world than you and have found out its errors and don’t in the first place govern your self and do not reflect too much on the past or theorise on the future these are not yours but wisely improve the present and difficultes which appeared as mountains will vanish like mist before the summer sun. For the strong mind is like a mighty river which canot be stoped in its course but if prevented in one chanel will soon find another through which to pour its floods and seek its level in some distant place and of times overwelm those who would uppose it.

Examine yourself well and open not your ears to flatery for she is a fickle godess and is found in the company of foolish and deceitfull people. She would lull you to sleep with her soft words and rob you of many a presious moment. For I have known persons proof against criticism and slander fall sad victims to flatery. On the other hand, do not fear criticism if you are firm it can do you no harm but will often do you good. I have found good critics very usefull wilst flaterers are degustfull. I would recommend you sketch from nature frequently any thing you like flowers houses animals landscapes any thing you like but be sure you draw truly for true representation is the foundation of all pure art without it the greatest effort is but labour lost with it a picture of a single leaf is charming. Then what you do let it be true to nature it may go hard at first to draw from nature but others have mastered it and I know from what I saw of yours that you are both mentaly and phiasckaly capasitated to do what many others have done. For fear I shall worry your patience I will close. If there is any thing I can do for you dear Cousin let me know and I will do it most cheerfully.

I remain your cousin with due respect.


Wm. H. Rinehart
Photo Caption: William Henry Rinehart (1825-1874) born near Union Bridge, Md., c.1865. Historical Society of Carroll County. Gift of Basil W. Crapster.