Raymond, Frank Jo (1907-1993)
Frank Raymond was born in Pittson, Pennsylvania in 1907. At an early age he moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut where he attended the local public schools. He also lived in Stonington, Connecticut with an uncle who was the keeper of the lighthouse at Latimer Reef. In his lifetime he worked a number of odd jobs including sword fishing, working in a brass foundry and a velvet factory, boxing and wrestling professionally, and playing the saxophone and clarinet in a local jazz orchestra. Raymond first became interested in art while he was the assistant keeper of the Latimer Reef lighthouse. He got the post at age 16 in 1923 and stayed in it for eleven years. It was there that he taught himself to paint using small pieces of tarpaulin. In the spring of 1936 he got a job as a farm hand on artist Rockwell Kent’s farm for three months. In exchange for his service, Kent gave him instruction in art and useful criticism. Raymond traveled to Europe and up and down the East Coast on very little money. During the winter of 1937 he was hired by the WPA Federal Arts Project to do a series of seascapes. He completed 98 easel works, some of which were allocated to Middlesex County Temporary Home, Fairfield State Hospital, Portland High School, Cedarcrest Sanatorium, Long Lane Farm, Laurel Heights Sanatorium, Board of Park Commissioners, Southbury Training School, Department of Public Works, Fairfield State Hospital, Central Jr. High School, Rocky Hill Soldiers’ Home, and Southbury Training School. Late in life he was storing thousands of water colors, oil pastels, and line drawings. He refused to sell his art because, as a friend told a newspaper interviewer, “he had apparently fallen in love with them and couldn’t bear to part with them.” Raymond died in Stonington in 1993.
Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; WPA Biography; Social Security Death Index; AskART; Connecticut Death Index, “Frank Jo Raymond, 86,” The New London Day, September 22, 1993. Thanks to Wendy Schu, G. W. Blunt Library, Mystic Seaport for her assistance.
Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Frank Raymond:
|Moonlight in the Sea:||oil|