Shortly after Arthur’s death in 1943, Ninah Cummer turned her attention from her gardens to her passion for art and began to dream about the creation of a museum on her property.
In the early 1930s, the Cummer family reorganized the property in their compound. After the death of Ada Cummer in 1929, her three heirs—siblings Arthur, Waldo, and Mabel—decided to tear down their mother’s house and divide up the property among them, although Mabel Roe elected to live a few blocks away.
While Arthur and his brother Waldo led the Cummer Lumber Company, their wives masterminded the gardens surrounding their homes. Those gardens are now one of the glories of the Museum.
Like her husband, Arthur, Ninah Cummer was active in civic and charitable organizations. She distinguished herself quite early in Jacksonville by organizing relief after the city’s staggering fire of 1901 and as a Red Cross volunteer during World War I.
In Sustaining Beauty: Reflections from the Memoirs of Ninah May Holden Cummer, The Cummer Museum’s founder comes to life in this one-woman play created in partnership with Jacksonville Beach theater Players By the Sea. With assistance from museum Curatorial staff, the piece is written and performed by Barbara Colaciello, who spent a year in our archives researching Ninah. Learn more about this generous, forward-thinking woman on April 5 at 7pm. Admission to the play is just $5.
Mrs. Cummer gave birth to a daughter on November 13,1909. Named DeEtte Holden Cummer, she sadly lived only seventeen days. With the death of their only child, the Cummers threw themselves into civic and charitable work. Mr. Cummer, who had become president of the Cummer Lumber Company upon his father’s death in 1909, served as [...]
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