Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #20

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he writes about a couple of things. First he writes about his own style of art which is called “primitive,” in that, it is very basic. In many of his other drawings his people all seem to have big noses. Then along with his drawing of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, he mentions that a railing was added to stop people from jumping off the bridge. Then also pasted to the scrapbook page was an article from 1947 where a man has jumped from the bridge.

“Primitives are men of a child-like innocence of eye and artless means of statement; are by nature solitaries, and usually they stay in their out of the way villages or remain unknown in their humble city apartments. Nor is there any consistency of aim and approach in their ways of drawing or painting. Yet seldom a year goes by that the newspapers do discover an iron worker or a janitor or a rural housewife who seems to fulfill all the conditions of modern  primitivism except perhaps the instinctive achievement of that form quality which renders the picture aesthetically vital.” So now you know why at the age of 65 the writer of this beloved book appears to be anything but in his right mind. The above quotation is from The Story of Modern Art by Sheldon Cheney, published 1941.

We show the red guardrail erected 1946 to keep people like Kilroy from jumping over. Many have done it but none since the guardrail was erected until now.

March 30, 1947

Fighting off a motorist who sought to restrain him, an unidentified man leaped to his death from Veterans Memorial Bridge a few minutes before 9:15 o’clock last night.

The motorist Theodore Newman of 84 Van Olinda St., told police he was driving across the bridge when he saw a man poised on the south railing about 300 feet from the east end of the bridge. Stopping his car, Newman said he pulled the man from the railing once, but that he fought back and managed to elude him. The man quickly climbed up on the bridge rail again and jumped, Newman said.