|©Barlow Genealogy 1998-2005|
Chalet of the Golden Fleece New Glarus, Wisconsin
Monroe Evening Times
New Glarus Wisconsin September 24, 1957
Tribute to a Friend: Edwin P. Barlow
Today, we ask your indulgence as we write about a friend, a very special friend, we think, of this entire Swiss American community.
Edwin P. Barlow was a rare person, a man of fine qualities, a scholar largely self taught through his travels and studies of people and above all, ever loyal to his heritage and to his fellowmen in this unique area of the nation.
He could extend the warm hand of friendship to those in whom he found a responding feeling. And yet, he always kept something in reserve, a quiet manner of withdrawing to avoid resumption on such friendships.
We like to think those periods of retreat from close companionship were a sort of self-effacment to avoid intrusion on the lives of those he enjoyed and also for a sort of serene reappraisal of the things which went on around him.
He was never modest to a fault but his gracious manner permitted an appearance of infallible confidence in the rightness of things as he saw them. He preferred to guide and inspire, to counsel when asked and to help in any way even when that aid was not solicited.
Edwin Barlow had a sound belief, developed from his intensive study of people and life, that his was an obligation to help those deserving of that extra bit of kindliness which he himself had enjoyed in troubled years. He had that same attitude toward traditions and institutions which he believed to be worthy of perpetuation.
That, we think, explains why Edwin Barlow found such great satrisfaction in aiding so many young people in their first steps forward, and why he worked with such enthusiasm and patience to rekindle in New Glarus a high feeling of pride in the fine things of Swiss culture and tradition.
At the same time, Mr. Barlow knew that there comes a time when the teacher, the counselor and the sponsor must step aside to permit those who were helped to find their own way, to insure that revived traditions and customs could proceed on their own momentum.
In a way, perhaps, that explains why he chose to relinquish his work with the William Tell pageant, which he helped to found. It also explains to some degree, why he advanced the time when his fine Chalet of the Golden Fleece-- together with his treasured collection -- should be turned over to the village of New Glarus.
We know, of course, that ill health had much to do with those decisions. But, we feel, the primary reason was that he felt the time had come when those he had inspired should prove they could carry out the objectives.
Edwin Barlow was selfish only in his devotion to close friends. He was ever ready to share his time, his substance with those frineds. He never, however, was patient with any attempt to change his evaluation of those in whom he entrusted his confidence and his thoughts.
There are some who feel that his amicable attachments often caused unconscious impositions on his time and his energies. We doubt Edwin Barlow ever worried about that point. He was wise enough and possessed sufficient sophistication to rectify that situation whenever it might develop.
The village of New Glarus never, we suppose, will be able to evaluate what the years Edwin Barlow spent there meant to the community and its future. We are certain, however, that New Glarus, Green County, and all of Southwestern Wisconsin will enjoy the benefits of the attention he brought to this area.
His life and his activites were merely legendary to most residents of our community. His contributions and his benefactions, however, will last a long, long time. He blazed a trail, he showed the way. Now, it is up to us to see whether we can develop and improve on the objectives he pointed out. We have, of course, written only of a few of Edwin Barlow's many facets in this column.
Our own cherished memory will be of the quality of cordiality and warmth he extended to us in our acquaintanceship over the past decade. Only a few short days ago, we were taking leave of him after a farewell gathering in connection with what we though was to be his early return to Switzerland.
Edwin Barlow shook hands warmly and said, with what now seems to be a premonition, "Thanks for your good friendship."
If you knew Edwin Barlow, you can understand that. If you never had that good fortune, you missed something very precious, something now beyond realization forever because of his departure.
Thanks, for bearing with us in this last tribute to a wonderful person.
The Monroe Evening Times, September 23, 1957
Stricken at Ripon
Edwin P. Barlow, Benefactor, Dies
Edwin P. Barlow, 72, builder of the Chalet of the Golden Fleece at New Glarus and founder-director of the village's annual William Tell pageant, died early yesterday in Ripon at the home of a cousin Mrs. Mayme Kuhn.
Death was due to a heart condition which he had suffered for many years.
Mr. Barlow had planned to sail October 4 on the French liner, Libertie to return to his home in Switzerland at Escona, Canton Tessin. Mr. Barlow had returned from Switzerland in August to attend the 20th anniversary performance of the Tell pageant and also to visit his many relatives throughout the Midwest and East.
Widely known for his efforts to perpetuate Swiss culture and art in this country, Mr. Barlow built the Chalet at New Glarus in 1937 and later announced he would leave the fine structure to the village as a museum.
In July, 1953, he announced he would turn over the building to the community in January, 1954, under a conditional agreement as a memorial to his foster mother, Mrs. Clara Bosworth Mather. For the last three years, the Chalet has been operated as a museum with a full time curator. Mr. Barlow also turned over to the community his extentive and valuable collection of European art objects and antiques.
Born March 13, 1885, in Milwaukee, Mr. Barlow was the son of Warren Barlow of Fairfield, Connecticut, and Madelena Streiff of the New Glarus area. He attended schools in Milwaukee before coming to Monticello and New Glarus after his father was invalided.
Both parents died while he was still a youth and he was reared in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Figi, an uncle and aunt, who operated a hotel in Monticello, and later at Ripon. The Figi family gathering also included several nieces, among whom are Mrs. Kurn at whose home he died and Mrs. Anna Pierce who is living with Mrs. Kurn at Ripon.
After completing his public schooling, Mr. Barlow enrolled at Monroe Business Institute but was obliged to move to El Paso, Texas, for a period of time due to frail health.
After attending George Washington University at Washington, D.C. for two years, he joined the staff of the Long Island Savinings Bank in New York. When World War I broke out, Mr. Barlow enlisted in the famed filed hospital unit recruited at Madison by Dr. William Lorenze. The unit served with the 32nd Division and Mr. Barlow was oversears two years in France and Germany. After the war, he turned to the theatrical field and followed that profession for several years, as a director and producer.
In 1924, Mr. Barlow was adopted by a distant relative from the Barlow side of his family, Mrs. Henry Mather, the Clara Bosworth Mather to whom the Chalet is dedicated. In certain legal matters, he used the name "Edwin Barlow Mather" thereafter, but continued to be known by his original name otherwise.
He left the theater to work abroad and lived at Losanne, Switzerland, for nine years. When Adolf Hitler began threatening Europe's peace, Mr. Barlow packed up his fine collection of art objects and returned to this country. Mrs. Figi, who had been residing with him, also returned at this time and they settled in New Glarus.
Work on the Chalet started in 1937 but Mrs. Figi died before it could be completed. For many years, the Chalet was a mecca for travelers from all parts of the country and from Switzerland. A genial and gracious host, Mr. Barlow enjoyed entertaining his visitors but in later years his health obliged him to curtail this activity.
He initiated the idea for the village's William Tell pageant 20 years ago and served as director and producer for many of its performances.
Mr. Barlow also found time to assist various young peoiple in furthering their education and careers. He also worked with Herbert Kubly, now a well known author. The two men had adjoining apartments at Escona the last two years.
Another of his proteges was Dr. Roger Rothley, now of Hyeres, France. Dr. Rothley is the son of a Strasbourg dentist who was a prisoner of the Germans when Mr. Barlow was overseas with the Lorenze hospital unit. He agreed to assist the child in his medical education and continued this aid throughout the years. Dr. Rothley and his wife visited at the Chalet in October, 1953. Through his association with Dr. Rothley, Mr. Barlow was an invited guest at the gala wedding last year in Monaco of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. The prince had commissioned the doctor to undertake research work at Tahiti on rare tropical fish.
Mr. Barlow enjoyed traveling and had made 63 Atlantic crossings by ocean liner. His only plane trip was made on his recent return to this country. Mr. Barlow also had made two voyages around the world.
Well known in New York, Mr. Barlow was a member there of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Town Hall Club, and the National Arts Club. He also was a member of the American Legion, a director of the American Swiss Historical Society, a director of the Circus Fans Association, a charter member of the New Glarus Lions Club, a life member of the Wisconsin State Historical Society and of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce at Chicago.
Mr. Barlow never married and his only survivors are his many cousins, nieces and nephews.
The body will be taken from Ripon to Milwaukee tomorrow for cremation. The ashes then will be brought to New Glarus for interment in the cemetery there.
Funeral services will be Friday at 2 p.m. in the Swiss United Church of Christ in New Glarus.
Mr. Barlow left a written suggestion he preferred that friends make their remembrances in the form of memorial gifts for a plaque to be placed at the Chalet in memory of himself and his foster mother. He left a design for this plaque.
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