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After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in architecture, Donald Hedges came to Philadelphia to work for his brother-in-law, Russell Black, a pioneer in city and regional planning. The Blacks owned a home near New Hope. In 1931, Hedges and his wife were introduced to the area when he and Rolf Bauhan were hired to do the remodeling of Black's home. The Hedges eventually moved to Bucks County and opened a shop called The New Hope Craft Shop on Main Street in New Hope in 1932 and operated the business for 52 years, until 1985.
In the late 1930s, Broadway musical arranger Don Walker enlisted Hedges to rebuild the New Hope Grist Mill into the Bucks County Playhouse, which opened in 1939. Hedges' architecture was straight forward following the area's traditional styling with a few modernistic designs. Following World War II, during which he was designer for General Motors, he became involved in civic activities. Hedges started to paint in 1968 at age sixty-three. His oil and casein paintings, many done as reverse on Plexiglas, feature animals, plants, and Bucks County landscapes. His later works are less realistic and frequently characterized by humor and fantasy and have a mosaic, pointillist effect.
Don Hedges. Photo by Terry Convey. Nancy Hillebrand Collection. Courtesy of the James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Stanford University, Stanford, Michigan, 1924-1925
University of Michigan, School of Architecture, B.S., Michigan, 1925-1929
Teachers and Influences
Don Hedges worked for his sister's husband, Russell Black, head of the Tri-State Regional Planning Federation for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware during the 1930s.
Connection to Bucks County
Don Hedges' sister and her husband, Russell Black owned a home near New Hope. In 1931, Hedges and Rolf Bauhan were hired to do the remodeling of their home. When the Depression closed Black's firm, Don and his wife Peg moved in with the Blacks until they found a third floor apartment at the Logan Inn in 1932. They opened The New Hope Craft Shop in the old trolley station on Main Street (near Bridge Street) in New Hope in 1932. The Craft Shop was the first shop in New Hope to attract visiting patrons rather than the local clientele. The Hedges run the business for 52 years, until its closing in 1985. Don Hedges was hired to convert the New Hope Grist Mill into the Bucks County Playhouse, which opened in 1939.
Colleagues and Affiliations
In 1934, Hedges was elected and served four years on the New Hope Borough Council, helping obtain a municipal water system with New Deal funding. He served on the New Hope-Solebury School Board from 1947 to 1967. He started to paint in 1968 and made lasting friendships with artists Charles Coiner, Paul Darrow, and Stephen McNealey.
Major Solo Exhibitions
Stover Mill Gallery, Erwinna, PA, 1973
Major Group Exhibitions
Parry Mansion, New Hope Historical Society, New Hope, PA, 1971
Lambertville House, Lambertville, NJ, 1976
Phillips' Mill 50th Anniversary Retrospective Art Exhibition, Phillips' Mill, New Hope, PA, 1979
Rodman House, Doylestown, PA, 1986
Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, PA, 1995
Phillips' Mill Annual Art Exhibition, New Hope, PA, 1997-1998
Remodeled Russell Black's home near New Hope, 1931
Redesigned New Hope's Grist Mill into the Bucks County Playhouse, late 1930s
Neal Building, New Hope, early 1940s
Henrietta Cunningham House, New Hope, early 1940s
Huffnagle Press Building, New Hope, c. 1945
John Carson (Noble Peace Prize Winner) residence, c. 1945
Bridge Street Building, New Hope, late 1940s
Badura Residence, New Hope, late 1940s
Arthur Koestler's Studio, Hendricks Island, Center Bridge, 1950s
Doctors Petrie Building, New Hope
Parry's Old General Store
Deigned and restored the three dining rooms and the "Buttery" Crow, a bar and cocktail room, at Lambertville House
Man of the Year Award, New Hope Gazette, 1954
Bob and Joyce Byers Award, Bianco Gallery, 1995