The Scottish American History Club Newsletter
In our last issue, we wrote about Andrew MacLeish, his
marriages and his daughters. In this issue, we write
about his sons. Mr. MacLeish was married three times.
His first two wives died early in each marriage after
giving birth to children. His first wife, Lillias Young
died one year after giving birth to Lily Agnes (Mrs.
C.L. Day) and Blanche E. (Mrs. C.K.G. Billings). His
second wife was Louise Little of Chicago. One son, Bruce
was born to this marriage. His third marriage was to
Martha Hilliard and together they had four children:
Norman Hillard, Archibald, Kenneth and Ishbel. In total
there were seven children: three girls and four boys.
Bruce MacLeish, The Oldest Son
Bruce MacLeish was born in 1882 to Andrew and Louise
Little. He graduated from the University of Chicago in
1903 and lived for a short time in New York City.
Returning to Chicago in 1906, he found employment with
Carson Pirie and Scott as a merchandise office
assistant. In 1913, he was admitted to partnership and
1939 was elected vice president and secretary. He was
elected president in 1946, chairman of the board of
directors in 1952 and chairman of the executive
committee in 1958.
His wife, Elizabeth Jane
Moore, was born in Appleton, Wisconsin on July 6, 1882,
and her parents moved to Evanston when she was a baby.
She graduated from Evanston High school and from
Wellesley College. They were married one year after her
graduation in 1907. She was active in community affairs
and many charities and she was a member of the Glencoe
school board and later was elected president. She was a
vice president of the Crippled Children’s Home of
Prince’s Crossing, Illinois, until it was merged with
the University of Chicago. She was also the Founder of
the New Trier Women’s Republican club and a director of
the Cook County School of Nursing. She died January 23,
1946 and left a husband, a daughter Mrs. John Dern; a
son Hugh, a sister, five grandchildren and two great
grandchildren. The funeral service was held in the
Winnetka Congregational church, but her place of burial
was not listed in the paper.
Chicago Daily Tribune
of September 20, 1956, announces that Bruce MacLeish has
now completed his 50th
year with Carson, Pirie & Scott. A celebration was held
in the “Men’s Grill” on the 8th
floor of the State Street store. The room was decorated
with “Scotch tartans” on the windows, walls, tables and
even the menu. A young Margaret MacDonald, marched up
and down, playing the bagpipe. The picture in the paper
shows: Frederick H. Scott, John T. Pirie, Jr., Bruce
MacLeish and Margaret MacDonald.
lived to be 91 and died in 1973. At the time he was
Chairman emeritus of Carson Pirie Scott & Co. He was
survived by a son Hugh; a sister, two brothers, five
grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. His
daughter, Jean, married John Dern, who was a partner in
the Sidley & Austin law firm. Their son, John, Jr. is
the celebrated actor and his daughter is the actress
Laura Dern. Hugh married Elizabeth Enslen Rees of Kansas
Norman Hillard MacLeish, the Artist
Norman, was born to Andrew and Martha Hillard MacLeish
on August 29, 1890, in Glencoe, Illinois. A search of
the Internet and Chicago newspapers did not reveal much
information about this son, but here is what we found.
He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and later
traveled to Paris and studied with P. Vignal. No dates
could be found. During the Great Depression, he was a
WPA supervisor in Chicago, apparently working with
artists who painted murals in various schools. He also
painted murals for the Carbondale, Illinois public
schools, the University of Illinois-Champagne, and
Evanston Township High School. Most of those paintings
are probably gone now. I found one newspaper article
which stated that the murals at the Lucy Flower High
School in Chicago were painted over in 1941. Six murals
had been painted at this school, each a “pictorial story
of woman’s contribution to American progress.”
June 2, 1922, Norman married Lenore Adah McCall in
Philadelphia. Her father was the president of the
Philadelphia Electric company. Archibald MacLeish was
the best man and Miss Ishbel MacLeish was the maid of
honor. This is from the
Chicago Daily Tribune,
July 23, 1939: “Norman Hillard MacLeish, Chicago artist,
filed suit in Superior court yesterday seeking a divorce
from Lenore McCall MacLeish on the grounds of desertion.
MacLeish, who is 48 years old, lives at 459 Linwood
Avenue, Glencoe. His wife is now living in Jamestown,
Rhode Island. The suit contends that Mrs. MacLeish left
her husband on December 26, 1934. They were married in
1922, and have three children.”
In 1938, the
Chicago Art Institute held its annual exhibition for
artists living within 100 miles of Chicago. In the past
five years, this exhibition had sold 424 paintings,
3,546 prints and 20 pieces of sculpture. (Not sure if
this still continues.) “A painter who never won a prize
before - pipe-smoking, easygoing Norman MacLeish - won
the Logan medal and $500. This was the considered first
prize and his painting was Watertown, “a composition of
waterfront buildings in warm reds and neutral colors.”
MacLeish was studying architecture in Paris in 1920 when
he began painting. He lived in Winnetka, Illinois, but
painted in the basement of his parent’s old mansion in
Glencoe. His children were beginning to ask, “What are
you doing that for, Daddy.”
Norman MacLeish was
an artist his entire adult life and many of his
paintings can be found for sale on the Internet. He must
have been prolific based on the number of items listed
for sale. It is unclear how long he remained in the
Chicago area, but there is a reference to his living in
an artist colony in St. Petersburg, Florida. He
apparently did not remarry. In almost every article
researching his life, the following statement would be
attached: “Brother of the poet Archibald MacLeish.” He
appears to have always lived in the shadow of his more
His obituary is posted on August
21, 1975. “Services for Norman H. MacLeish, 84, a
Chicago artist and director of the Works Project
Administration Art Program here during the 1930s, will
be held Thursday in Naples, Fla. Mr. MacLeish, a Naples
resident for the last 19 years, died here Tuesday. He
leaves two sons, Andrew and Roderick; a daughter, Mrs.
Leonore Platt; a brother, Archibald, Pulitzer
Prize-winning poet and dramatist; a sister and nine
I found this information
connected to a
blog dated December 29, 2006, about one of the
grandsons: “Rod MacLeish, who just died this year, was
an old friend of my parents’, and I knew him when I was
a kid (and later), when he and my father were both
foreign correspondents. He was primarily a journalist
and commentator. Novels were his sideline and I haven’t
read Prince Ombra, only
The First Book of Eppe…”
MacLeish, quite the Renaissance man, also recorded
wonderful commentaries for all kinds of art museums,
especially in Washington, D.C. where he lived. He was
the son of Norman MacLeish, the painter, and nephew of
the better-known poet Archibald MacLeish. His son Eric
(Roderick, Jr.) was one of the lead attorneys on the
victims/survivors’ side during the Boston RC clergy
abuse scandal. Rod and family were Episcopalians.”
I am sure there are many family members around, so
perhaps someone will call and give more information
about this family. It would be wonderful if the St.
Andrews Society had one of his paintings to display.
Pictured first: "Church Steeple", by Norman
Pictured second: Clapp Octagon House, St.
Petersburg, Florida where Norman once lived.
Archibald MacLeish, The Most Famous Son
Archibald was born May 7, 1892, in Glencoe, Illinois to
Andrew and Hillard MacLeish. He first attended the
Hotchkiss School and later Yale and then Harvard Law
School. He was first in his class at Harvard. During his
stay at Harvard, he began writing poetry. In 1916, he
married Ada Hitchcock and they had four children. One
child died as an infant. His wife became a professional
At the outbreak of World War I, he
volunteered as an ambulance driver and later became a
captain in the American field artillery. After the war,
he moved to Boston and became a lawyer, but it
distracted him from his poetry. On the day he was
promoted to partner in his firm, he resigned and moved
with his family to Paris. During the next four years, he
would produce four books of poetry. He became friends
with Ernest Hemingway, but it was a difficult
In 1928, he returned to America and began to research
and write his epic poem
which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. From 1930 to 1938,
he was the editor of
and wrote two radio dramas warning Americans of the
danger of fascism.
In 1939, President Roosevelt,
appointed him as the Librarian of Congress and he served
for five years. He completely reorganized the library.
At the same time, he served as the director of the War
Department’s Office of facts and figures. In 1944 he was
appointed assistant Secretary of State for cultural
affairs. After World War II, he was the first American
member of UNESCO and lead their first conference in
He retired from “political activism” in
1949 and held positions at Harvard, Amherst College and
continued to write. His
Collected Poems (1952)
won him a second Pulitzer Prize and 1958, he won a third
Pulitzer for a verse play based on the book of Job. In
1965, he won an Academy Award for his screen play of
The Eleanor Roosevelt Story.
There is a wealth of information about Mr. MacLeish on
the Internet, in books and interviews. He was an
extraordinary man from an extraordinary family.
Pictured: Archibald MacLeish
Kenneth MacLeish, The Pilot
MacLeish, was born September 19, 1894, at Craigie Lea,
the family home in Glencoe, Illinois. Kenneth followed
his older brother and attended Hotchkiss School in
Lakeville, Connecticut. He started in September 1910 and
four years later was at Yale. Kenneth was a
distinguished athlete at Yale and was active in the Yale
Home Mission. He joined the First Yale Unit in the
winter of 1917 and later enlisted in the Navy.
Kenneth learned to fly with the First Yale Unit at Palm
Beach, Florida and Huntington, New York and then was
sent to Newport News, Virginia, as an instructor.
Shortly thereafter he was sent overseas. In France, he
trained to fly many different kinds of aircraft and was
often used as a test pilot. He was transferred to many
different stations, with combat duty that included
bombing enemy targets, and engaging in dogfights with
On October 13, 1918, three weeks before the war ended,
Kenneth was killed. His body was not found until the day
after Christmas. At first he was buried where he was
found, but later his body was moved to the military
cemetery in Waereghem, Belgium, known as Flanders Field.
Kenneth MacLeish and his relationship with Priscilla
Murdock will be the subject of our History Club meeting
on May 1, 2010. It is a wonderful story and each of you
are invited to attend. There is no fee or registration.
The meeting begins at 10 a.m. in Heritage Hall at The
Scottish Home in North Riverside.
Pictured: Kenneth MacLeish
information is available at
The Millionnaires' Unit: First Yale Unit History
and great pictures can be seen at the
U. S. Naval Institute.
Summer Bus Tour
We have begun planning for our annual History Tour which
is scheduled for July 17.
By charter bus, we will leave the Scottish Home
and travel to Lake Forest, Illinois. Our initial plan is
to tour the community and see various homes where
Scottish people have lived. Lake Forest has a rich
Scottish history, perhaps the most concentrated area of
Scots in Illinois. You will have an opportunity to see
Lake Forest College, founded by Scots, the lake shore of
Lake Michigan, and if time allows, perhaps the cemetery.
Lake Forest is 30 miles north of the Loop and dates
back to about 1834. By 1855, the railroads had connected
the town to Chicago and a daily commute began.
Presbyterians established the town and the college. The
Onwentsia Club was opened in 1895 as a private country
club and Market Square, completed in 1917,
is listed as the nation’s first planned shopping
center. The former home of Ogden Armour is now the home
of Lake Forest Academy, where the Chairman of our Board
is one of the key individuals. We have not worked out
all the details as this is being written, but we are
hopeful that Andy Kerr will be able to give us a guided
tour. Please watch the
Saint Andrews Society
have enjoyed following the life of Andrew MacLeish and
his family. It is truly a remarkable family story. From
the Internet, I was able to purchase
The Price of Honor, The World War One Letters of Naval
Aviator Kenneth MacLeish.
I read the book and then was able to contact Geoffrey L.
Rossano, who is the editor. Using Switchboard, I was
able to get a telephone number and address. We had a
nice conversation. If you attend the next History Club
meeting on May 1, you can hear the entire story.
My blogging has continued every day since January 1.
With good weather coming, I may just write three days a
week, instead of five. Thanks for the response.
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