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The Gaines Ruger Donoho House

Thu, 05/05/2022 - 10:09

Item of the Week: From the East Hampton Library Long Island Collection

This postcard from the Harvey Ginsberg Postcard Collection shows the Ruger Donoho House at 48 Egypt Lane in East Hampton. The postcard is undated but was made sometime between 1904 and 1919, when Donoho owned the property.

The residence extends toward the back, with a visible covered porch on the right side. A roundabout driveway leads to the front entrance. The owners as well as the interior and exterior of the lean-to style of residence changed several times since its construction in the early to mid-18th century.

The house was built by the Barnes family, either William Barnes (1702-1726) or possibly his son, also William Barnes (1723-1814), sometime after 1722. The property remained in the family for over 100 years, until Jeremiah Huntting (1811-1867) bought it in 1856. Jeremiah’s son David Hedges Huntting (1851-1912) sold it to Ruger Donoho (1857-1916) and his wife, Matilda Ackley Donoho (1862-1939), in 1904 for $4,000.

Born Gaines Ruger Donoho in Church Hill, Miss., Ruger Donoho was an American Impressionist painter and an early member of the summertime artists’ colony here. He and his wife rented the property after making significant repairs and renovations, including the addition of a two-story enclosed porch.

In 1920, the couple’s good friend and fellow artist Childe Hassam (1859-1935) bought the Donoho house and turned it into his summer residence and studio. Hassam named it Willow Bend, and he and his wife traveled between it and their Midtown Manhattan residence until his death. His widow, Kathleen Maud Doane Hassam (1862-1946), sold the house in the fall of 1943 to Rosa Lee Stoddard (1870-1963), two years after B. Mosley Stoddard, her husband, died.

Mayra Scanlon is a librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.

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