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The Story of... | Jonathan Miller | Eloise A. Skimings | What’s in a portrait?

Eloise A. Skimings
Poetess of Lake Huron

The celebrated Goderich poet, Miss Eloise A. Skimings was one of the many models captured in portraits created by Reuben R. Sallows. He is known to have taken four photographs of her, several of which were later used as images on postcards.

In both pictures of her included in the Reuben R. Sallows Digital Library, she is shown in studio settings complete with painted backdrops. Sallows frequently used stylish backdrops and props to create suitable images of social standing in his many studio portraits. His superior artistic taste directed his skillful handling of models and settings.

Described in area newspapers as "one of Goderich's best-known citizens," Miss Skimings was a popular local newspaper columnist, music teacher and composer, as well as author. The Kingston Whig described her best-known book of poetry Golden Leaves as "a massive work, full of the sympathies, appreciations and joys of one who feels the sensitive touch of real friendship as well as inspiration." This same book was one of only two, penned by Canadian women, to be exhibited within the Library of the Women's Building at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

Some of her poems, including Anniversary Wedding Day, Florence, Grand Is Thy Art, and Ode were written specifically for members of the Sallows family.

Taking a Closer Look

Throughout her life, Eloise Skimings demonstrated her love of community and people through poetry and music; the town of Goderich, Ontario serving as her inspiration. Studying the portraits Reuben Sallows created of her, look carefully at her pose, dress and demeanor. Do you think these images reflect these caring attributes? How?

Discover more photographs featuring women, or portraits of Goderich residents by using our Search the Collection feature and using one or more of the keywords found in this “story of” Eloise Skimings.

Selected Works by the Poetess of Lake Huron include:

Skimings, Eloise A. Golden Leaves. Goderich, Ontario: Star, 1890.

Skimings, Eloise A. Golden Leaves. Goderich, Ontario: Signal Press, 1904.

Skimings, Eloise A. I am Thinking of Thee, Alice. Toronto: A. & S. Nordheimer, 1892. Online. Library and Archives Canada. 17 June 2004
     Music & Lyrics -
     Cover -


Anniversary Wedding Day.
On Presenting Mrs. Reuben Sallows with a bouquet of sunflowers.

To-day to wish you joy I bring
The flower Moore lov'd so well,
The lovely, golden sunflower,
That grows in every dell.

It speaks of love and truth and faith,
In every age and clime;
May it inspire most love for Him
Whose true love outlasts all time.

Eloise A. Skimings
Golden Leaves, 1904, p. 116

Lines inscribed to Mr. and Mrs. R.R. Sallows.

Lov'd daughter of an artist rare,
Cherish'd with the tenderest care,
Thou are like a flower so fair,

How I lov'd thy voice sweet and clear,
When Santa came with his reindeer
To Knox church, all our hearts to cheer,

And well I know you love the flow'rs
And sweet songbirds in the summer bow'rs
That come to cheer us in sad hours,

But thou nothing of sadness know,
Thy parents love thee here below,
And study is thy choice, I know,

Eloise A. Skimings
Golden Leaves, 1904, p. 145

Grand Is Thy Art.
Darius Doty Sallows, Photograph Artist, Woodstock.

Grand is thy art;
The Master of all
Will fill thy heart
When thou dost call

Upon Him night
And morn in pray'r;
Thou'lt feel His might
In wondrous care

That He for thee
Will ever take;
Then ever be,
For His dear sake,

Full of true love,
Darius dear,
For Him above
Who rules all here.

Eloise A. Skimings
Golden Leaves, 1904, p. 240

Inscribed to Mrs. R. Sallows.

The winter moon, with placid smile,
Looks down upon earth and sea;
And at our feet,
Like magic sweet,
Is the branch of every tree

Etched on the snow with artistic touch,
Outskilling the painter's pow'r;
While high above,
This light of love
Falls alike on tree and tow'r.

What love divine has God for man,
When He guards him night and day!
While this we trace,
For Adam's race
Sun and moon have shone alway.

O'er forest, o'er desert, o'er plain,
O'er mountain, valley and sea,
They Heavenly light,
So clear and bright,
Will shine to eternity.

Eloise A. Skimings
Golden Leaves, 1904, p. 272
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