Guide to the Hulda Hoover McLean Sketches Collection – History

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Hulda Hoover McLean (1906-2006) was immersed in art at a young age. At six years of age Hulda was introduced to the medium of art when a London artist painted a miniature of her and gave her some informal instruction so she could paint a miniature of her doll. Hulda found her way to California when Hulda’s father, Theodore J. Hoover, the brother of President Herbert Hoover, moved Hulda and her sister Louise Stevenson and Mindy Wallis from England to Waddell Canyon just north of Davenport, an area more recently known as Rancho del Oso State Park. At age fifteen (15) Hulda began formal art lessons which eventually led to studying art at Stanford University with Pedro de Lemos where Hulda’s father was a professor and Dean of the School of Engineering ( S.C. Sentinel 1/17/1986 and 3/11/1973). Hulda and her husband Charles A. McLean wed in 1925 (S.C. Sentinel 12/12/1975). They would live in Stanford for a few years before coming back to spend time in Santa Cruz and the Rancho del Oso area. There Hulda and her husband replaced Hulda’s family’s large thirty room home called the “Casa” built by her father Theodore Hoover and his wife at Rancho del Oso. Hulda McLean and Mr. McLean rebuilt the home naming it the “Casita”, and maintaining the Rancho as a site of natural history (S.C. Sentinel 10/22/1922). The Rancho del Oso would later become the subject of an exhibit at the Santa Cruz County Museum, The Octagon (S.C. Sentinel 1/17/1986). Later, Hulda McLean would continue pursuing her interest in art by attending Cabrillo College where she studied with Dave McGuire of the Cabrillo College Art Department, eventually taking up watercolor and biological drawing which she enjoyed so much as to draw a series of flowers, sea shells, and insects. Hulda enjoyed technical and biological drawing so much that she created lesson plans for elementary school students on entomology which were implemented in many California schools. McLean was also a talented watercolor artist, spreading her love of the medium to Santa Cruz Sentinel Staff Writer Margaret Koch. The McLeans and the Kochs took a trip to Mexico and Guatemala in the 1970’s where Hulda McLean and Margaret Koch found artistic inspiration which resulted in several watercolors they painted during the trip which were displayed at the Sentinel Building in Santa Cruz in 1973. Hulda McLean was also very involved in the community and was as a supervisor of Seaside District, Santa Cruz County for six years and was also the state president of the League of Women Voters and a director of the Santa Cruz Art League (S.C. Sentinel 3/11/1973). In 1972 Hulda Hoover McLean was named Women of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (BPW) of Santa Cruz County and was presented with a plaque by Alice Earl Wilder who praised Hulda McLean for her contributions to making Santa Cruz County a nicer place to live (S.C. Sentinel 10/22/1972). Hulda Hoover McLean was also the author of “Hulda’s World” published by the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association Inc., West Branch, Iowa in 1989 about her pioneering family and relative Hulda Minthorn Hoover, a teacher and Quaker minister (S.C. Sentinel 11/22/1989). In 1992 Hulda H. McLean promoted the museum that was created at her family home at Rancho del Oso (S.C. Sentinel 8/15/1992). In 2002 Hulda published an autobiography entitled Almost a Hundred Years (Stanford alumni Obituraries She passed away in 2006 at the age of 100. She was survived by sons Charles, Allan and Bob McLean, as well as many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren ( Ten (10) prints of Hulda’s sketches of various buildings throughout Santa Cruz County were donated by Hulda to Soroptimist International of Santa Cruz and found their way into the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History’s collections via Lee Jones of Goodwill Industries in 1989.