He'd been at an estate sale, he said, after which unsold goods were being thrown into a dump truck. He happened to look inside a box and found artists' paintbrushes and drafting tools marked with the name Francis H. Cruess. A quick internet search on his phone found the biography I'd written. Papadakis rescued the box. Inside were large shoeboxes filled with old newspapers and original 1950's fashion drawings which he recognized as the work of Helen Rutter Cruess, the only child of Francis Howse Cruess.
The antiques dealer printed a copy of Helen Cruess' biography from the internet and posted one of the works for sale on eBay. Which is where I came in.
The estate's owner had entered a nursing home, Papadakis said. He said he believed she had been a nursing home worker for Helen Cruess, but wouldn't be able to provide any additional information about the artist. He said he didn't want to disclose the owner's name.
Above are some of the original drawings he rescued from the dump. Below, more treasures:
People who enrich our lives with beauty and humor and intelligence are important. They are worth honoring and remembering. Or what's the internet for?