"African Violet" by Alzira Boehm Peirce Albaugh (1908-2010)
Oil on Canvas: 12"x 16"
Alzira Handforth Peirce Albaugh (née Boehm; January 31, 1908 – June 19, 2010) was an American political activist, artist, WWII veteran and radio announcer.
She taught art to sailors on leave at the International Seamen's Union. One of her students was the cartoonist Gahan Wilson. Her art exhibitions were cited in "Who was Who in American Art" page 477 Biographies of American Artists Active from 1898-1947, by Sound View Press 1985.
She joined the Army during World War II, working for the Red Cross and doing publicity for the Army for nearly two years. She was captain of the American Red Cross Motor Corps and was the chief of motor corps training of the Rockland County Civilian Protection Group. She worked organizing units of the driving Corps, training them, and supervising their operations. (Stated by Geo W. Wallace Jr., Director of Civilian Protection, Rockland County; June 6, 1942.)
She rose from officer to captain and conducted the training unit for O.C.D. Drivers training. She was assigned to a district of the park system which included a section of the Palisades Interstate Park Police, Fourth Precinct, Second District Rockland Lake, New York, June 7, 1942. In a November 10, 1942 letter signed by Doris J. Leeds, the 2nd WAAC (Women's Auxiliary Corps Training Center), Fort Des Moines, Iowa, Leeds wrote that Alzira Peirce was "the type of WAAC we'd like to have lot's [sic] more of. On her job with the Public Relations Department, and in the barracks, she won commendation of all. She is poised, dignified, at home anywhere. We hate to lose her. Alzira Peirce was also cited by the municipality of Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York on September 26, 1942 for her work with the motor corps.
After leaving the Army, Waldo and Alzira Peirce divorced. Waldo was 24 years her senior; she had become Peirce's third wife in 1930; the couple had three children, Mellen Chamberlain "Bill" Peirce, Michael Peirce, and Anna Peirce. Anna predeceased her mother. Bill Peirce is married to British solicitor Gareth Peirce, by whom she has two sons. She married again to Chuck Albaugh having her fourth child, Kathleen Swoboda.
She was commissioned by the Treasury Section of Fine Art, a New Deal agency, to paint two murals. In 1938 she completed Ellsworth, Lumber Port in Ellsworth, Maine and in 1939 Shipwreck at Night in South Portland, Maine. An avid artist, she created many sculptures, paintings, and drawings. She moved to New Mexico and worked as an organizer for the United Mine Workers union. She later married Chuck Albaugh, with whom she had a daughter, Kathleen (Mrs. Swoboda). They separated after four years.