History, food, calendar art colliding in RO

It is time for the annual shrimp boil at the First Congregational Church, UCC, Red Oak, but this year, there will be artful and historical twists, with an opportunity to take home a piece of Red Oak history.

Pastor Don Morgan will once again share his Southern culinary skills and prepare the shrimp for the dinner. To spice up things even more, the event will recall the glory days of the Murphy Calendar Company.

Calendar art for sale

Sept. 2 at the church at 608 Reed, you can view original calendar artwork from the People’s Art Exhibit. The art will be on the second floor, and people can buy these pieces of history at the silent auction beginning at 5 p.m.

Some of the silent auction and sale items include original, cleaned and polished copper printing plates; various print reproductions; and “Murphy Men” pocket pricing guides and annual sales books with art selection samples.

On the first floor of the church you can indulge in a shrimp meal while supplies last from 6 to 8 p.m. Afterward, you may want to take a dessert walk and select from assorted treats to pack and take with you. The silent auction will also conclude at 8 p.m.

Murphy history

Thomas D. Murphy and a friend from his college years, Edmund Osborne, purchased the Red Oak Independent newspaper in 1888. A calendar created with art from a woodcut of the courthouse was produced and sold to help cash flow the struggling paper. Osborne went his way alone in 1895 and headed to New York to larger markets. Murphy founded the Thos. D. Murphy Company in 1900 and began producing art calendars for use in advertising. It became the largest manufacturer of art calendars in the county with a robust sales force of “Murphy Men.”

Lynn Adams, a member of the church, explained the origin of the event.

“A small group of hard working volunteers preserved and archived representative artifacts from the Murphy building for historical purposes prior to transferring the…

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