Tag Archives: Olmsted

The James & the Arts

Jesse James by Beth Hoeckel
Jesse James by Beth Hoeckel



Beth Hoeckel is an artist who graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago, an institution supported by the Jesse James family.

Vassie James, a wife of Hugh Campbell Ward     & cousin of the outlaw, founded the Pembroke School in Kansas City. Among her descendants, Vassie left a strong legacy in the education and the arts.

Vassie’s granddaughter, Joan Olmsted married Dr. James Franklin Oates III of Evanston outside of Chicago. Dr. Oates was a life trustee of Goodman Theater that was affiliated with the Art Institute. The couple also financially support the Virginia Commonwealth University School for the Arts. Joan O. Oates is a life trustee of Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia.

Vassie’s daughter-in-law, Mary Van Etten married J. Harris Ward, a life trustee of the University of Chicago, where Mary also was a life trustee. Mary served on boards of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the Field Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago, where she served as president of the Women’s Board of Trustees from 1953 to 1966.

Eric James was enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1966, and performed in a half a dozen plays at its Goodman Theater.

More of Beth Hoeckel’s art can been seen at www.bethhoeckel.com