Jack Garren Biography

biography of Jack Garren

green line

Jack Garren
As Grace became a favorite with Dicksons customers in the 1960's, Edmund L. Dickson, president at the time, decided there was a need for a companion portrait. The search began for an elderly woman who would make an appropriate subject. Nearly 1000 photographers were submitted but each was rejected because it lacked something that Dickson was looking for.

One day he mentioned the search to Jack Garren, who owned a religious bookstore in Centralia, Illinois.

"I know where she is," Garren told him immediately. For years relatives of Garren's grandmother, Mrs. Myrtle Copple, had remarked that the old man in Grace resembled her father, Henry Chapman. She had inherited the resemblance and Garren knew that she was a natural for the portrait.

He convinced his grandmother to pose for a series of photographs with her head and hand in various positions to determine the best pose. He showed the photos to his father, who remarked that the lace tablecloth and bowl of fancy fruit on the table were too refined. Garren agreed and took a second series of photographs with his grandmother seated at a bare table, head bowed and hands folded over an open Bible. The only other items on the table were an antique pitcher and a wedge of cheese on a slicing board.

The best picture was then airbrushed by a commercial artist to achieve a look similar to Grace. Garren had the portrait copyrighted and it was accepted by Dicksons for distribution. Gratitude sold 10,000 copies in the first two years and has been popular ever since.

Mrs. Copple, who passed away in 1975, remained quite unimpressed by the whole affair. When Mr. Dickson sent her one of the first pictures produced, her only comment was, "Oh, my goodness! What a beautiful frame."

green line

arrow Back to "Jack Garren Prints"

green line