A copy of the following letter was sent to R.A. Clemens from the Iowa State Department of History in 1971
Sun. nite, Sept. 16, 1962
P.O. Box 393
"Out of the Past"
To the Editor
Des Moines Sunday Register
Des Moines, Iowa:
Would you like to have me send you exclusively the truth about the Andrew Clemens urn of his sand art appearing on page 10 of your Picture Section of this date, Sept. 16th?
I can tell you where the urn reposed on exhibition in Chicago, some years after "John's" death, donated to the Museum by "Kittie" and younger daughter, in order that this beautiful treasure might be preserved for posterity. I can tell you who selected the design and where Andrew Clemens filled this urn, as a gift to his two friends John & Kittie. I can tell you, in what nearby state they were married on that date on scroll. I can give you their full names. "Kittie" was my mother - "John" was my father. I always felt this urn should have been given to IOWA, and I am very happy it is here now! (John Robilliard Willams, my father). Both parents' family histories are recorded with the McGregor Iowa Historical Society of which I am a member. We are well known there.
I have given numerous articles to the State Historical Society and at McGregor.
I can tell you about my father obtaining work for Mr. Clemens in Chicago and where. All visitors in our home admired this treasure and I heard Father tell the facts so often, in my early youth. I recall it all. It was then valued at $1,000.00. It traveled with us in a case of sawdust, during vacations to protect it. In Tacoma, Washington after their marriage (near Iowa) a "doubting Thomas" became involved in an argument with our father over the realness of the sand. How it nearly was destroyed I can tell you!
I am leaving Wednesday night for Dubuque and Chicago - where I am a Delegate to a National "Press Conference to the Nation". It being Sunday, I used up a typing pad of writing. (with a lame painful arm) stores not open - please, pardon this from a "carton". The truth of this urn can also be verified by my sister, a retired Chicago educator (vacationing in the South with Mrs. F. Henry Luthe, my uncle's widow, of Houston, Texas). Andrew Clemens lived in McGregor. A card was on exhibition in Chicago at the "Field Museum of Natural HIstory" with Mother's and/or my sister's name on "Williams as Donors" of this urn. I thought I was dreaming when I saw the "photo" of our former "sand urn"! It was on the mantle above the fire-place and I frequently very carefully dusted it, never lifted it, for fear of dropping it. We loved it. I shall preserve your article and photo of it. I am so happy it's back in both (late) parents' "Native State" Iowa. Both are buried at McGregor, IA. I can fill in more details for you.
Mrs. Katharine W. Spaulding
Public Relations Officer