Sara Gwendolen Frostic passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 25, 2001. She was born April 26, 1906 in Sandusky, Michigan to Fred W. and Sara (Alexander) Frostic. As a well-known author and lecturer Gwen shared her observations of the universe. She was owner and president of Presscraft Papers, Gwen Frostic Prints, of Benzonia.
Gwen Frostic Studio ~ Benzonia, Michigan
Over the years Gwen had been awarded honorary degrees from many colleges and universities. In 1978 Michigan Governor William Milliken proclaimed May 23rd as Gwen Frostic Day in Michigan, and in 1986 she was inducted into the Michigan Woman’s Hall of Fame.
Long before her death she wrote her epitaph: “Here lies one doubly blessed. She was happy and she knew it.”
Another biography courtesy of Absolute Michigan/Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame:
Author, artist, lecturer, and founder and sole proprietor of Presscraft Papers in Benzonia, Michigan, Gwen Frostic is known throughout the nation for her images of nature and for illustrated books which reflect her indomitable philosophy.
Frostic was born in Sandusky, Michigan and lived in St. Charles before moving to Wyandotte for her high school years. Interested in art from an early age, she used a band saw to create life-size posters for school events, and later studied art education at Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan Universities. During World War II, she worked in a Ford Motor Company bomber plant where she learned production, a skill she put to good use running the 15 Heidelberg presses in her northern Michigan printing and sales establishment. These presses make impressions from her hand-carved linoleum blocks onto paper and the resulting prints found their way into distinctive books, pamphlets, stationery, and other products she designed.
After beginning her business in Wyandotte, Frostic moved to Benzie County in 1955, starting with 40 acres and gradually creating a 285-acre wildlife sanctuary 35 miles southwest of Traverse City. Her commitment to nature and design is reflected in her home, studio, and print shop which draw thousands of visitors each summer.
Frostic was a generous patron of the arts, donating $13 million – the largest gift in school history – to WMU, who renamed their art school the Gwen Frostic School of Art and award three Gwen Frostic Medallion Scholarships for art students every year. The Michigan Reading Association also has a Gwen Frostic award that recognizes a Michigan author who has made a contribution to literacy. We heartily encourage you to read the fascinating story of one of Michigan’s best known artists in from the Detroit Free Press (via archive.org).