Background: creamy vintage paper texture. Image: Painting of a red/white/blue hot air balloon with U.S. flags for wings. Text: 'Mail Call'

Mail Call

Open May 19, 2023 Ellis Gallery

In February 1918, Walter Myers headed for a training camp at San Antonio, Texas. He wrote back home to Steubenville, Ohio, “all is OK.” Like many fathers, John Ross Myers sent a letter of reply to his son in camp.

Unlike many fathers, John Ross Myers was a professionally trained artist who owned a print shop in Ohio and painted theatrical scenery. On envelopes carrying letters to Walter, John carefully painted cartoons, scenes of camp life, patriotic symbols, mythological figures and expressive scenes of the American Expeditionary Forces at work “over there.”

He mailed these works to his son, sometimes with decorated envelopes arriving in batches, wherever Walter was – Kelley Field in San Antonio, Texas; U.S. Aviation Camp in Morrison, Virginia; or “somewhere” in France.

While serving, Walter kept his father’s art with him and safely cared for it throughout the war.

Today, John Ross Myers’s work speaks to viewers through the years, communicating both a unique artistic perspective of the war and a father’s love for his child.

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