Annette Baldwin Visual Journeys

Kind words about the programs


The Arts & the Art of Dressing:

1920s Style


Hypnotic!  Your devotion to beauty and fashion and your incredible presentation was truly a work of art.

-Lenore Gordon, Allied Arts Club of LaGrange


Thank you for your wonderful program!  It was a perfect launch to our year, and we learned so much about the time period.  It was so much fun!  Your presentations are outstanding.   -Nancy Stautzenbach, Vice President & Program Chair, Godey Questers


Harper College Class Comments

Beautifully presented. Gorgeous objects reinforced this excellent presentation. An exceptional speaker; very informed on her subject.


I loved the course.  Very informative and very uplifting.  A delightful course.  The dresses were spectacular.


Annette Baldwin is an exceptional speaker and very informed on her subject.


What a great program.  [Annette] loves her material, and it is infectious.


Annette knows her subject.  Beautifully presented.    Gorgeous objects reinforced the excellent presentation. 


Interesting, informative, entertaining.


I liked the comparing of art to clothes, just as the subject suggests.


Good history.  Very informative and well done.



The Carnegie Library in Illinois: Treasures on the Landscape


Thank you Annette for such a great program! My patrons are raving about it to me.  Makes me want to start doing some road trips through Illinois.  -Gayle Weyland, Adult Programming Coordinator, Palatine Public Library District


Harper College Class Comments

Well researched and presented.


I enjoyed the knowledge and the excitement of the presenter for her topic.


The [photos] were excellent – marvelous.


I would take almost any class this lady offers.



Magnificent Collaboration: Julia Morgan, Architect & William Randolph Hearst, Client


Your presentation for the Glen Ellyn Book Club was new and refreshing. Combining historical fact, your life experiences, and visuals, along with interest and timing, made our event very memorable.  Please return to us.

-Wini Dyer, President, Glen Ellyn Book Club


Hearst Castle: Home or Museum


Our members were enthralled with the visual presentation on Hearst Castle. Not only were the images and lecture content stunning and insightful, but we had another 30+ minutes of group discussion after the lecture ended. That’s the sign of an engaging presentation!  It’s always a pleasure having you at our podium!  

Brian ReisExecutive Director, Ellwood House Museum, DeKalb, Illinois

Visual Journeys

The Arts & the Art of Dressing:

 1920’s Style

1920-styleThe Roaring 20s roared with style.  Style and behavior suggested everyone was playing catch-up after years of war and Victorian and Edwardian restrictions. Speed and simplicity typified popular culture and infiltrated the arts.  Fashion, architecture, fine arts, and the decorative arts of this first modern decade were inextricably linked.   Clean, simple lines predominated, offering a foundation for dynamic color combinations and lavish decoration.

Discover what and who were the influences on architecture, art, and fashion and see examples of 1920’s fashion through Annette’s collection of dresses, hats, and jewelry, which inspired the development of this program.

The Carnegie Library in Illinois:

Treasures on the Landscape

Carnegie-LibraryHundreds of library buildings were built across the U.S. through the philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie.   Illinois ranks third in the total number of libraries built with a Carnegie grant, and Annette Baldwin traveled the State to record this rich cultural history.  She found the extant buildings in various states of preservation, expansion and adaptive reuse.

Discover the history, architecture and presence of the Carnegie Library in the Illinois community today.

Research for the Illinois Carnegie Library project includes a visit to each of the extant Carnegie libraries in the State of Illinois

The Incomparable Julia Morgan, Architect:

A Life of Creating Beauty

Julia-MorganThis Visual Journey focuses on the life and work of California architect Julia Morgan, the first woman admitted to the architecture department at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  While Morgan produced 700 buildings in her 50-year career, more than any other major architect including Frank Lloyd Wright, she is best known as architect of the opulent William Randolph Hearst “Castle” at San Simeon, California.  Get acquainted with the largest collection of Morgan structures at one site – Asilomar, as well as her homes, churches, schools, and Hearst’s San Simeon and Wyntoon.

Primary source research conducted onsite at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library, Special Collections, Julia Morgan-Sara Holmes Boutelle Collection; the University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Julia Morgan Collection.  Onsite visits include:  the Julia Morgan residence, Oakland, California; various Morgan projects in the Bay area including the Berkeley City Women’s Club building, the Oakland YWCA, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley; Mills College, Oakland; The Residence, San Francisco; Katherine Delmar Burke School, San Francisco; Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California; W. R. Hearst Estate at San Simeon, California

Magnificent Collaboration:

Julia Morgan, Architect & William Randolph Hearst, Client

hearst-morganTwo books are used as the basis for this discussion of the collaboration between architect Julia Morgan and her major client, William Randolph Hearst.  It is a story of two talented people who shared a love of architecture and art, teaming up to create one of the world’s most elaborate and on-going architectural projects, La Cuesta Incantada (Hearst’s Castle) at San Simeon, California. Background on Morgan and on Hearst sets the scene, and audiences will also be introduced to a few of the first women in architecture.  .

Primary Research:  see research entry for The Incomparable Julia Morgan

Hearst Castle:

Home or Museum?


Those who visit “Hearst’s Castle” in San Simeon,California, generally leave with a strong opinion on whether the estate can actually be considered a home.   Many see it as too lavish, outrageous, incongruous with the landscape to be anything more than a display of over-expenditure by an undisciplined collector. What was Hearst’s intent?  How did the estate’s architect, Julia Morgan, work with Hearst and his massive collection to integrate into the building plan a plethora of art and architectural fragments from a wide variety of periods and styles.   Hearst adored his country house.  Could you live there?  Was it built as a country home or a museum for the future?

Primary Research:  see research entry for The incomparable Julia Morgan

Uncommon Vision:

Architect Mary Jane Colter & Travel in the American Southwest

Architect-Mary-Jane-ColterAn important figure in the history of early travel to the American Southwest is Mary Jane Colter, an architect and designer, who worked simultaneously for the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad. Colter pioneered in the design and decoration of railway stations, hotels, shops and restaurants that popped up along the Santa Fe route to the West.  Many travelers to the Grand Canyon are unaware that among Colter’s buildings there are the Watchtower, Hopi House, and Hermit’s Rest.

Research includes site visits to Colter buildings at Grand Canyon National Park; Mesa Verde National Park; La Posada Hotel, Winslow, Arizona; Gallup, New Mexico Amtrak Station (formerly the El Navajo Hotel); La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Alvarado Hotel site, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri; Harvey House room, Union Station, Los Angeles, California

I Spy:

Cryptography from Caesar to the Civil War

img114678 - CopyCryptography or cryptology is the science of taking a message that can be read and converting it into a message that appears to have no meaning.   Elizabeth Van Lew, one of the most effective espionage agents of the American Civil War communicated with Union Generals Benjamin Butler and Ulysses S. Grant by using a cipher system based on an ancient grid.

This is an interactive program where the audience will travel into the seemingly mysterious world of cryptography, becoming acquainted with some of the earliest systems, including methods employed by the Union and the Confederacy.   You’ll also have the opportunity to try your skills at deciphering messages. 

Annette Baldwin

 Annette Baldwin

Have a question? Want details?

Complete contact information at right or call 630-279-0856

The first woman to run for United States President?  It was Victoria Claflin Woodhall, running under the Equal Rights Party in 1872.  Her opponents? Ulysses S. Grant (R) and Horace Greeley(D).

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