Henrietta E. "Yetta" Schmandt

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Henrietta Elizabeth “Yetta” Schmandt (American, 1892-1974) Western New York architectural designer, painter, author, lecturer, astrologer, astronomer, and poet, known for her oil and watercolor paintings, block prints, bookplates, and drawings. Henrietta was born on February 5, 1892, in Buffalo, NY to German immigrants, Jakob E. Schmandt (AKA Jacob, 1853-1944) a cigar maker, and Louise (née Kaiser) Schmandt (1852-1920) who had married December 29, 1878, in Wieseck, Giessen, Hessen, Germany. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1880 and settled in Buffalo, NY. Henrietta was the youngest of nine children and her siblings included: Louise Marie Johanna Elizabeth Schmandt-Smith (1879-1949), Helena “Helen” Schmandt-Winter (1880-1968), Jacob Emil “Jake” Schmandt (1884-1963), Anna O. Schmandt-Schlifke (1887-1959), Frederick Henry Schmandt (1889-1975), William Schmandt (1890-1952) and two unidentified. She resided at the family home her father had built in 1883 located at 174 North Parade Avenue, which was one of the first settler homes in the Humboldt Park section of Buffalo. Her general education was in the Buffalo Schools, followed by a four-year course in architectural drawing at the Technical Evening High School under William Kullman in Buffalo. Henrietta then studied for five years at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York where she won two prizes of ‘Second Mentions’ for ‘Beaux-Arts Problems’ (1923 & 1926). In addition, she had seven years of architectural drafting and design experience, as well as being assistant to Buffalo architect, Frank A. Spangenberg (American, 1888-1932). She studied painting with Otto Schneider (American, 1865-1950), John Rummell (American, 1861-1942) and Alexander Oscar Levy (American, 1881-1947), and attended the Philadelphia Academy, summer course at Chester Springs, PA.

In her early career, Henrietta was an architectural designer of schools, churches and homes. She maintained a studio at 188 Franklin Street in Buffalo and later at 475 Franklin Street. She was known by family, friends, and business associates by the nickname of ‘Yetta’ (sometimes listed as “Yeatta”; a nickname of her given name Henrietta). As an artist, she exhibited at the ‘Beaux-Arts Problems’ in New York City and was a member of and exhibited with the Buffalo Society of Artists at their annual exhibitions at the Albright Art Gallery beginning in 1926. She continued to paint and exhibit through the 1920’s-mid 1930’s, in the Western New York Artists annual exhibits, as well as the Grosvenor Library, the Buffalo Museum of Science and also Rochester, NY.

Toward the end of the 1920’s, after being ill for a brief time Henrietta turned her interests away from architecture to the research and study of astronomy. Upon her recovery, she set up a telescope in her parent’s backyard and spent countless hours gazing up at the heavens, stars and planets. She developed her interest in science through her associations with George Davis, astronomer at the Buffalo Museum of Science, and Dr. Robert Merrill, University of Buffalo Astronomer, while actively lecturing on the topic, her passion for the cosmos soon led to astrology. She stated that the transition to astrology was a natural progression for her through her early interest in astronomy. Henrietta became a professional astrologer under her previous nickname of “Yetta” where she practiced the art of reading the Zodiac Sun Signs, star charts and planet positions to read client horoscopes. She helped clients to “know themselves” by revealing their character and personalities so they were better able to handle their own lives, as well as be more understanding and tolerant of their fellow man. She resided and maintained her astrology business next to her family’s home at 180 North Parade Avenue in Buffalo, while maintaining her art studio at 250 Delaware Avenue in the city. With all her experience and knowledge, Yetta gained a faithful and hearty following of clients and had a professional reputation as a trusted expert in the field. She traveled and lectured extensively throughout the Western New York area including Lily Dale, NY a spiritualist commune, as well as all major cities from coast-to-coast and also Canada. Her lectures spanned several topics including astrology, astronomy, spirituality, mysticism, symbolism, philosophy, metaphysics and travel as well as the relation of them to religion.

Through the early 1940’s in addition to her career as an astrologer, Henrietta continued to work as an artist. She published inspirational musical compositions and lyrics under her pseudonym of ‘Orio’ She was also a member of the Coptic Fellowship and leader of the Buffalo Coptic Chapter, where she was an associate editor of their monthly publication, Aegyptus, Portal of Invisible Power. She resigned as leader of the Buffalo Chapter on April 22, 1941 and was appointed as instructor of ‘Cosmic Psychology’ of the local Coptic Fellowship, and also lectured in other states. Henrietta was also a member of the Salome Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star (O.E.S.), Buffalo, NY.

Over the course of her career, Henrietta wrote, illustrated and sold numerous books under her real name and also her pseudonym name of “Orio” including: Know thyself, by Henrietta Schmandt and Carl F. Schoedel, 1930, The Tarot Keys To This Day 1948, The Revelation of St. John the Devine 1951, Aquarian Challenge in This Changing World 1951, The Spark, The Flame, The Light: Symbolism of the Meditation Candle 1951, The Ankh-Key of Life Everlasting 1951, Secrets the Heavens Tell 1953, Cathedral of the soul (as horoscope perspectives) 1954, Parables of the Master 1955, Listening in the Stillness, the Pathway to Light, by Henrietta Elizabeth Schmandt 1956; Spirit is the answer, Pt. 1, The Aquarian chalice of faith, Pt. 2 and The Leo star of love, 1961, The Uranian Age of Wonderment, 1963, Astrology and the Bible, 1967, Astrology through the eyes of Orio, 1973, Unveiling Egyptian deities, written and illustrated by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt), June 1, 1974; and The Human aura: spiritual armor of protection, 1974.

Henrietta continued to lecture and write up until her death on December 13, 1974, in Buffalo General Hospital after a brief illness. Her memorial service was held at the Dohn Funeral Home, 143 Kenmore Avenue, Buffalo, NY and she was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY. Before her passing, she left an unfinished book which was posthumously released at the end of June 2021 titled, Gifts of Gold.

 

Chronology:

1892- Born, February 5, in Buffalo, NY to German immigrants, Jakob E. Schmandt (AKA Jacob, 1853-1944) a cigar maker, and Louise (née Kaiser) Schmandt (1852-1920) who had immigrated from Giessen, Germany in 1880.

Circa 1910- Graduated high school, Buffalo, NY.

From 1918-1922- She took a four-year architectural drawing course under William Kullman at the Technical Evening High School, Buffalo, NY.

Circa 1919-1926- Had seven years of architectural drafting and designing experience, as well as being assistant to Buffalo architect, Frank A. Spangenberg (American, 1888-1932).

1922- March 24, Graduated from the Architectural Drawing course under William Kullman at the Technical Evening School, Buffalo, NY.

Circa 1922-26- Studied for five years at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York winning two prizes of ‘Second Mentions’ for ‘Beaux-Arts Problems’ (1923 & 1926).

1926- January 30-February 17, exhibited, group show, “32nd Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1928- November 17-December 17, exhibited, group show, “21st Annual Thumb Box Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. January 28-Februrary 18, exhibited, group show, “35th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1929- February 2-25, exhibited, group show, “35th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. September 19-October 3, exhibited, solo show, her paintings (mostly oils) included, “Indian Girl,” a fantasy, “When Evening Shadows Fall” and a character study “Old Man” as well as several landscapes they were hung in the lounge at the Buffalo Little Theater, 311 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY, then traveled to The Little Theater, Rochester, NY. December 6-7, exhibited, a watercolor group show, “Exhibition of Arts and Crafts of the Guild of Allied Arts”, Buffalo, NY.

1930- January 18-February 9, exhibited, group show, “36th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. February, exhibited, eight bookplates & the original drawings (4 in B&W, 4 in color) depicting designs of astronomy, astrology and symbolism, in the auditorium of the Grosvenor Library, Buffalo, NY. November 15-December 14, exhibited, group show, “23rd Annual Thumb Box Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, “October’s Bright Blue Weather at the Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. November 30-December 7 exhibited, Guild of Allied Arts, original astrological chart with interpretations and soulscope. She gave a talk on architecture & crafts on December 5th, Buffalo, NY. December 21, exhibited, two-person show, Henrietta showed oil block prints, held in the Clubrooms of the Guild of Allied Arts, 334 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY.

1931- November 21-December 28, exhibited, group show, “24th Annual Thumb Box Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, at the Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. December 5-6, exhibited, group show, Guild of Allied Arts, a woodland scene painting, Guild Rooms, 334 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY.

1932- December 3-4, exhibited, group show, under the auspices of the Guild of Allied Arts, Inc., held at the International Institute, 334 Delaware avenue, Buffalo, NY.

1933- November 18-December 11, exhibited, solo show, oil block prints, Grosvenor Library, Buffalo, NY.

1934- April 3-17, exhibited, group show, “40th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Fillmore Room of the Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY. March 3-April 1, exhibited, group show, “1st Annual Exhibition of Western New York Artists”, block print “Snowballs and Poppies”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1935- March 1-31, exhibited, group show, “2nd Annual Exhibition of Western New York Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1974- December 13, Henrietta died in Buffalo General Hospital after a brief illness. Her memorial service was held at the Dohn Funeral Home Inc., 143 Kenmore Avenue, Buffalo, NY and she was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.

 

Memberships & Associations: Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY; Guild of Allied Arts, Buffalo, NY; Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, NY; Was a member of the Coptic Fellowship and leader of the Buffalo Coptic Centers where she was an associate editor of their monthly publication, Aegyptus, Portal of Invisible Power. She resigned on April 22, 1941 and was appointed as a member of the teaching staff of the Coptic Fellowship. Member of the National sorority of business and professional women, Gamma Chapter Pi Omicron Sorority, Buffalo, NY.

Prizes, Awards & Honors: Second Mention, The Beaux-Arts Institute of Design for the Class “B” III—VI Analytique “A Balcony and Window Motif”, 1923; Second Mention, The Beaux-Arts Institute of Design for the Class “B” Project “A Village Railroad Station”, 1926.

Publications: Under her pseudonym of “Yetta”, Henrietta published two astrological birthday greeting cards for September (Woman in flowing robes seated on branch of flowering vine with wings spread above head) and December (Centaur shooting bow and arrow face in upper right-hand corner), August 1, 1929; Under her pseudonyms of “Yetta” & “Orio”, Henrietta published twelve Zodiac Greetings of the various Sun Signs in 1929. Some of her images were also published in various issues of the Aegyptus, Portal of Invisible Power, to accompany her astrological articles for the publication of the Coptic Fellowship in the early 1940’s. She was also a member & associate editor of the publication, they included “Aquarius” (Man kneeling in foreground with pouring water blending into clouds and lightning above, with lettering below), “Aries-born” (Man in center holding staff with a profile head of a ram at upper left and right corners, and lettering below), Cancer-born” (Crab in foreground with a crescent and vision of woman blending into waves in background, and lettering below), “Capricorn” (A goat and Father Time, with lettering below), “Gemini-born” (Twin figures back to back with one arm raised and lower half of body merging into waving lines, with eagle’s wings and two serpents above, with lettering below), “Leo-born” (Lion with blazing sun in background and lettering below), “Libra-born” (Female figure in center holding scales, left foot on artist’s palette, Irish harp in right foreground, wavy background, and letting below), “Pisces-born” (Neptune and two fish in the midst of waves, lettering below), “Sagittarius” (Centaur in central foreground with heroic-sized head in upper right-hand corner, and lettering below), “Scorpio-born” (Male figure at left with arm raised, right hand holding sledge, with large spread-wing bird at top, scorpion below, and lettering at bottom), “Taurus” (Bull in central foreground, flowering tree at right with half figure woman with lyre in upper left corner and lettering below), “Virgo-born” (Figure of woman seated in center, surmounted by spread eagle wings and two serpents. Background has scrollwork of stems and leaves with lettering below), September 23, 1929; Circle or orbit of influence. Blueprint, by Henrietta Schmandt and Carl F. Schoedel, 1930; Know thyself, by Henrietta Schmandt and Carl F. Schoedel, 1930; The Tarot Keys To This Day, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 1, 1948; The Revelation of St. John the Devine, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 1, 1951; Aquarian Challenge in This Changing World, by Henrietta Schmandt, January 1, 1951; The Spark, The Flame, The Light: Symbolism of the Meditation Candle, by Henrietta Schmandt, January 1, 1951; The Time is at Hand, by Henrietta Schmandt, 1951; The Ankh-Key of Life Everlasting, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 1, 1951; Secrets the Heavens Tell, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 1, 1953; Cathedral of the soul (as horoscope perspectives), by Henrietta E. Schmandt, July 10, 1954; Parables of the Master, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 24, 1955; Resurrection Glory, by Henrietta Elizabeth Schmandt, March 15, 1956; Glory to God, by Henrietta Elizabeth Schmandt, August 7, 1956; Listening in the stillness, by Henrietta Elizabeth Schmandt, August 7, 1956; Little words of greatness, by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta E. Schmandt) September 20, 1961; Spirit is the answer, Pt. 1, The Aquarian chalice of faith, Pt. 2 and The Leo star of love, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, September 28, 1961; The Uranian Age of Wonderment, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 1, 1963; Astrology and the Bible, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 1, 1967; Astrology through the eyes of Orio, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, January 1, 1973; Unveiling Egyptian deities, written and illustrated by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt), June 1, 1974; The Human aura: spiritual armor of protection, written and illustrated by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt), June 21, 1974; Gifts of Gold, by Henrietta E. Schmandt, posthumous publication June 24, 2021.

Published & Unpublished Musical Compositions: Henrietta under her pseudonym of ‘Orio’ and Arthur Avery published two musical compositions titled, “Garden of heaven” and “Now the day is ended”, December 22, 1941; She wrote lyrics for an unpublished musical composition by Bobbie Bacigalupe titled, “Lord, I come to Thee”, June 26, 1946; Unpublished music, “Thanksgiving” by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt) and Forrest G. Bourg, February 9, 1947; Unpublished music, “Life’s harmony” by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt), C.H. Reeker and Cecelia Huenergardt-Reeker (Mrs. Ernest L. Reeker), March 17, 1947; Unpublished music, “In the garden of my heart”, “Snowflakes” and “Spring” by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt), C.H. Reeker and Cecelia Huenergardt-Reeker (Mrs. Ernest L. Reeker), April 28, 1946; Unpublished music, “Forget me nots”, “Living white stars” and “The temple of God” by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt), C.H. Reeker and Cecelia Huenergardt-Reeker (Mrs. Ernest L. Reeker), May 2, 1947; Unpublished music, “The judge of life”, “Oh, wondrous light” and “The road called life” by Orio (pseud. of Henrietta Schmandt), C.H. Reeker and Cecelia Huenergardt-Reeker (Mrs. Ernest L. Reeker), May 4, 1947.

(Written & compiled by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 14052, meibohmfinearts.com, sources: Too long to list here and are furnished upon request.)

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