Name that Pharmacist

Dec 22, 2009

We’ve got a quirky contest for you: Name this onetime Pasadena pharmacist. The winner gets a copy of Hometown Pasadena 2009.2010, signed by the editor.

Here’s the back story. About seven or eight years ago, Lilli Rouleau found this massive portrait at a Pasadena thrift store. She couldn’t take her eyes off it: the intense colors, the pose and, most of all, the strange and eerie look of the woman. Where was she looking? What was she thinking? What book was she reading?

The shop wanted a mere $25 for this work of art, so Lilli snapped it right up, and it became the white elephant gift to beat all white elephant gifts at Debbie Deems and Caroline Purvis’s annual Christmas tea. For several years, whoever “won” the painting at the gift exchange would sneak into another party attendee’s home at some point during the ensuring year (usually when the family in question was on vacation) and hang the portrait in a prominent place. Now it lives behind the Deems’s armoire and is brought out annually at the tea. It has been the source of great hilarity and joy for many years.

This group of twenty-some Pasadena and Altadena women have named her Eleanor, but she was a real woman with a real name, and they want to know her story. The clerk at the thrift store knew only that she was a “prominent pharmacist” in Pasadena. The artist is Loraine Miller, and while the painting is not dated, we’re guessing early 1960s.

Does anyone know her story? And how this ended up for sale for $25 in a thrift store? Let us know and win a book!

We call her Eleanor, but who was she really?

We call her Eleanor, but who was she really?



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena