Marjory Stoneman Douglas

(April 7, 1890 – May 14, 1998)

 The National Portrait Gallery Acquires A. Reid’s Portrait of Marjory Stoneman Douglas

“Safeguarding the environment was never a hobby; it was my work.” –MSD, 1991.

Author, journalist, feminist, conservationist, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient–Marjory Stoneman Douglas was born on April 7, 1890, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A. Reid’s portrait of Marjory Stoneman Douglas has been reviewed and acquired by the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. After over 20 years of never have been seen by the public, the portrait reveals an honest glimpse of this inspirational icon during her twilight years.

Photographing Marjory Stoneman Douglas

In the fall of 1991 my friend and German tutor, Linda Roger, asked if I would being willing to photograph Marjory Stoneman Douglas for artist Menden Hall (1960 – 2004) to use to paint her portrait.  Although at the time I knew little of Douglas and the role she played on Florida’s history, I was excited about collaborating with an artist and for the first time having one of my photographs rendered into a painting.

A week or so later Menden, Linda, and I found ourselves nearly lost as we meandered through the thickly tree-lined streets of Coconut Grove on route to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas House, presently a city of Miami historical site located at 3744 Stewart Avenue.  As we pulled off the road and onto the gravel driveway, I remember being surprised by the slightly dilapidated look of the house as it emerged from behind the foliage. It was one of those deeply overcast, humid, Florida autumn days, lacking both a breeze and any inkling that rain was eminent.  We got out of the car and approach the house.  Waiting to greet us at the entrance to the house was a delightfully hospitable woman employed as Mrs. Douglas’s caregiver.  She showed us inside through a set of worn double doors and into a dark living room space.  The combination of overcast skies and surrounding vegetation starved the interior of the house of natural light, forcing a lone lamp next to a sofa to strain itself barely making a dent in the darkness.  Beneath the lamp, in an upright recliner next to an end table sat a reverently stoic Marjory Stoneman Douglas. 

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