The Heritage of Hamilton County Illustrators
Hamilton County Historical Society
The Hamilton County Historical Society (HCHS) has many local artworks in its collection, including several Brehm works. George Brehm’s easel is on display on the first floor of the museum. Among the significant Brehm pieces is a portrait George did of his daughter June Brehm Tabor, who donated the collection to HCHS. Another artwork is believed to be a self-portrait of Worth Brehm that was done a few years before his untimely death.
The HCHS museum is in the old sheriff’s residence and jail built in 1875-1876, which was used as the Hamilto County jail for a century. The HCHS was founded in 1963. It moved into the old jail building soon after the county left.
A notable effort of the Historical Society that combined history and illustration was a series of calendars produced between 1966 and 1989 showing historic buildings as interpreted by local artists. The calendars were a joint project between HCHS and the Hamilton County Artists Association.
The courthouse square, where HCHS is located, was a central point for the artists of the Hamilton County School of Illustration. George Brehm’s first public artwork was hung in the window of Truitt’s drugstore on the east side of the square. Truitt’s, now the Noblesville Antique Mall, was a place to purchase artist’s supplies like paint and brushes. A drawing in the HCSC collection by Worth Brehm shows the north side of the square. An illustration by Hanson Booth for a civics textbook was clearly based on his memories of the courthouse square.