The library is fortunate to have not only individual donors, but also groups, clubs and organizations that recognize the value our library gives to the community. One such group is the Western Sorosis Club which graciously funded the purchase of two photos by Jim Richardson for the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery.
Photographer Jim Richardson is best known for his work for National Geographic Magazine and his black-and-white documentary photographs on rural Kansas life.
In a letter to the Western Sorosis Club members thanking them for their gift, Richardson states, “I am honored to have my work as part of the library’s respected collection. Having spent the formative part of my career in Topeka, it seems like my pictures are coming home.”
The Alice C. Sabatini Gallery aims to enrich the lives of library customers and to be a cultural center for Topeka and Shawnee County. The Gallery supports the mission of the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, especially in enabling life-long learning.
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Western Sorosis was organized in Topeka in 1893 by Margaret Hill McCarter and Mrs. H.E. Roby. Their dream was for this club to be to the West what the first women’s club in the United States, Sorosis, was to the East.
Their purpose in organizing this club was to provide “a source of constant inspiration for better living, for higher ideals of women, and for the active participation of women in the life of the community.”
The name Western Sorosis is an adaptation of the New York club’s name and is derived from the Greek word meaning “a collection of flowers on one stem.”
Richardson discusses the two photographs purchased by The Western Sorosis Club for The Alice C. Sabatini Gallery:
“…one of my all-time favorites—a photograph I call “Summer Dreams.” I made that photograph in 2003 on a farm near Pierre, South Dakota, during a story forNational Geographic that appeared in the May 2004 issue. The subject: the fate of the Great Plains. The young lady in the photograph, during her daily round of farm chores, paused to daydream while tending her rabbit.”
“…Patterns of the Spring Burn from my coverage for National Geographic Magazineof the tallgrass prairie of Kansas. That work appeared in the April 2007 issue. The photograph is one of the most popular here in my Lindsborg gallery. I made that photograph in spring 2006 as I was flying in a small aircraft over the Flint Hills near Bazaar, Kansas.”