PITTSBURG — Alice has returned to the Pittsburg Public Library and will be leading children through the looking glass again.
For 75 years the classic painting of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland has hung in the children’s department.
Alice, painted by Oakley E. Richey, was presented to the library in 1941 — in memory of Marcia Ethelwyn Mendenhall Snedden, daughter of Edgar and Marsha Mendenhall. Edgar Mendenhall was a professor at Pittsburg State University.
Unfortunately, the years had not been as kind to the painting as they have been to Lewis Carroll's enchanting tales.
“Alice has suffered some indignities through the decades,” Library Director Bev Clarkson said at an unveiling Thursday night.
The painting had a tear in the canvas, some water damage from a leaky roof, the varnish had noticeably yellowed and paint was flaking off.
Thanks to a large anonymous donation to the Friends of the Library, it was possible to have the painting restored.
Alice has been in the hands of Mary Schafer, Conservator of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for nearly a year and a half. Schafer expertly cleaned, repaired, and reframed Alice.
The painting, now looking brand new, will once again be on display in the entrance to the children’s department.
Additionally, Miller’s Professional Imaging has helped the library create canvas prints of the painting. A limited number of the prints will be sold as a fundraiser. Postcards and posters will also be available.
Clarkson said she was excited to have the painting back.
“It’s been a part of this library and this community for 75 years,” she said. “I know so many kids have looked at this painting and made up their own adventures.”
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.