Author Pat Jakobi wants her new book, “Early Galveston Artists and Photographers,” to preserve
those creative individuals’ contributions to the region’s culture and history.
A California transplant who now has deep roots in Galveston, Jakobi has had a colorful, artsy life
herself. She is an award-winning photographer – and perhaps the skill has a genetic
redisposition. Her father was a news photographer for the Los Angeles Times, and her son, who
lives in Missouri, “is a better photographer than I am.”
She grew up in Los Angeles and enrolled in University of Redlands with idea of majoring in art
and art history. “When my need to work interfered with afternoon studio requirements for the art
major, I switched to English with an art history minor.”
Jakobi lived and worked in several northern states – Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and
South Dakota – and returned to California for a while before settling in Galveston to pursue her
doctorate. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University
of Texas Medical Branch in 1992.
Jakobi has been a social worker, English teacher, health agency planner and director, research
assistant, director of the UTMB Center on Aging outreach program, an editor and grants writer
for the Office of Community Outreach at UTMB, and owner of The Good Tern nature store and
art gallery in Galveston (closed in 2006).
As might be inferred from the name of the store, she is an enthusiastic birder, participating in
FeatherFest since its inception in 2003. Her photography portfolio includes many pictures of
Jakobi exhibits and sells her photos at the Galveston Art League Gallery, and she serves as vice
president of the nonprofit league. “Early Galveston Artists and Photographers” ($22) is for sale
at the Art League Gallery, 2117A Postoffice St. in downtown Galveston (noon to 6 p.m. Fridays-
Sundays); the Galveston Bookshop, 317 23 rd St. in Galveston; selected Target stores; and
www.ArcadiaPublishing.com. Online merchants also are selling the book.
Her earlier book, co-authored with fellow Art League member Nancy House, is “The Galveston
Art League: A Century of Island Art.” This book also is sold at the Galveston Art League
Jakobi shares the following insights about her new book.
Q: Why did you feel it was important to write this book?
PJ: The artists and photographers that I selected for the book devoted at least a part of their lives to their
art. A few of them have left sizable collections that can still be observed today. But For most of them,
there is little of their work still known. We have lost important images that could tell us so much about
the island’s past, about its society, buildings, natural environment, commerce, successes, and tragedies.
I’ve tried to share images that are not only interesting artistically, but also interesting historically.
Q: Where did you get the idea for this book?
PJ: Working on my first book, about the history of the Galveston Art League, I was struck by how
difficult it was to find images of artwork by early Galveston artists, so I started looking harder. I began
with just artists, but then I found that photographers also played an important role in the early Galveston
art scene and were essential in providing studio space for some of the early artists.
Q: How long did you work on the book?
PJ: Actual writing took about eight months. Editing the final draft took another two months.
Q: How many pages and photos are in the book?
PJ: The narrative runs a little over 100 pages. The book contains 56 images, with 32 of them in a
Q: Was it difficult finding pictures to illustrate the book?
PJ: Actually, getting the images was time-consuming, but it was one of the easier parts of putting the
book together. Personnel at the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, both its history center and its museum,
were a joy to work with and very helpful. I was allowed access to the museum’s archives to photograph
original artwork. Archivists at other museums and state agencies were also helpful.
Q: So what challenges did you encounter as the book progressed? And what rewards?
PJ: Challenges included tracking down artists and photographers who worked in Galveston and then left,
some of them ending up as far away as Europe or Australia; finding information about women artists who
changed their marital status during their careers; and trying to locate African American artists and
photographers who I know existed, but where records are sparse.
Rewards came when the unexpected cropped up, like when I found that a photograph by African
American photographer Lucius W. Harper is in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American
History and Culture and when I discovered that John O’Brien’s bust of Sam Houston is still on display in
the Texas Capitol.
Q: Will you do any publicity appearances and book signings?
PJ: That all depends on the public health recommendations as the coronavirus pandemic continues. I
would like to do book signings and possibly a presentation, either live or virtually, but we’ll have to wait
Q: Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview?
PJ: I am convinced that some of the artists and photographers listed in the book still have work in
existence, hidden away in attics or a piece hanging on a wall because it was grandmother’s favorite
painting. I hope a few turn up.