In Memorium

A key element of the Vreeland Institute's traditions is remembering the past and honoring those no longer with us. Many of the artifacts on the Institute campus have special meaning as memorials for those who are no longer with us. It is by reflecting on the past, and remembering, that we are better able to keep our focus on the future.

Donna Louise Vreeland - 1948-1996


Donna Louise Vreeland passed way before her time. At the age of 48 she died of cancer, cutting short a career as an accomplished illustrator and musician. From an early age she followed in her father's artful footsteps. She graduated with a BFA from the Pratt Institute. For a time she worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her father. Later she worked for prestigious advertising agencies as an illustrator and designer.

She was always drawing, sketching, painting, collaging, or creating in some other way. She left a tremendous body of work. Some pieces are on permanent display at the Copake Town Hall and others remain in the family collection.

From her days at Pratt, she was also a skilled photographer. She travelled around the world and always brought back 35mm slides and photographs of the places she had been. She also loved to do portraits of children and many of her photographs and art works were of children. She never married, but loved her niece and nephew, Kristie and Thom.

Permanent Art Exhibition - Copake Town Hall

In the late 1990's William and Hazel Vreeland loaned the Town of Copake 43 works of art by Donna L. Vreeland and William C. Vreeland. These works continue to be on display in the Copake Town Hall offices and courtroom.

Scholarships and Awards

During the first decade of this century the Vreeland Family provided a series of Memorial Scholarship Awards to students from the Southern Berkshire Regional School District. The criteria for the Memorial award selection was outstanding performance in Arts and Music, honoring two of Donna L. Vreeland's gifts. Recipients of the Awards include:

William Clark Vreeland - 1916-2005
William Clark Vreeland died Thursday, September 15, 2005, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts at the age of 89, after an extended illness. He was a US Navy combat veteran of WWII, during which he served on Guadalcanal, Vela Lavella, and Bougainville in the South Pacific as a radar operator aboard submarine chasers, and deployed with the OSS, setting up transportable field radar units in advanced positions.

Mr. Vreeland was born in New York City on February 20, 1916, the son of Techumsah Sherman Vreeland and Ella Hayes. He attended New York City schools and graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, participated in the WPA Arts program, and attended the Art Institute in New York. After school, he started a sign painting and graphic arts business in Hartford, Connecticut, and in 1939 he began a 43 year career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was interrupted by wartime service. In 1947, Mr. Vreeland made the national news services as a hero, when he pulled the pilot of a crashed airplane to safety from the burning wreckage, in Yonkers, NY.

Mr Vreeland was a long time member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Yonkers, where he served as a Vestryman and as a Church Warden.

In his distinguished career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and at the Cloisters in the Bronx, he was an exhibition designer, graphic artist, restorer, serigrapher, and master calligrapher. He displayed his own artwork at employee museum exhibitions where he frequently won awards. Throughout his wartime service he produced paintings, prints, illustrations, and sketches which journalled his experiences. Returning from the war, he was prolific over the next three decades in his production of watercolors, oil paintings, sculptures, and serigraphs.

He spent his retirement, for the last 30 years, in the Berkshires, living first in Hillsdale, and later in Copake, New York. Local subjects became the focus of his artwork. Several of his paintings are on permanent exhibition at the Copake Town Hall. Always inspired by flight, he celebrated his 70th birthday hang gliding at Kitty Hawk, NC, and flying in a sailplane and a balloon. During the 1980s he could be seen flying kites and launching his hang glider from various hilltops in Columbia County.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Hazeletta Florence Vreeland, a sister, Edna Mayer of Linwood, New Jersey, one son, Thomas, two grandchildren, Thomas and Kristie, and a great grandson, Stephen.

Permanent Art Exhibition - Copake Town Hall

In the late 1990's William and Hazel Vreeland loaned the Town of Copake 43 works of art by Donna L. Vreeland and William C. Vreeland. These works continue to be on display in the Copake Town Hall offices and courtroom.



Mobile Alternative Energy Laboratory - Multipurpose Trailer

William Clark Vreeland


It is fitting that on this Earth Day we remember Bill, our loving husband and father. He was a designer, a builder, an inventor, an artist, an innovator, a teacher, a tinkerer, a toymaker, our hero, and a committed environmentalist before environmentalism became popular in the 70s.

From his electric vehicles and solar cookers to a thermoelectric generator and the parabolic solar heater he designed and installed at his house, he was always exploring new ideas for energy use and conservation. He would have been happy to see this trailer project taking shape, incorporating features that give it utility and support for multiple purposes. He would be especially happy that it will be used to help educate the next generation of environmentalists.

This project is therefore dedicated to his memory and it is our intention that it will be used as a tool for exciting, challenging and educating children about the potential of alternative energy to help build a better future. And we hope that it will, in the spirit of Billís incredible creativity and inventiveness.


Centennial Art Exhibition - 1916-2016

Work is underway to assemble and curate about 100 works of art created over seven decades by William C. Vreeland. These works will be assembled into a Centennial Exhibition in February 2016, and timed for the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1916. Works include oils, watercolors, acrylics, wood and stone sculpture, and charcoal and pencil sketches. Several murals he created, beginning with his time in the Works Progress Administration, will be shown. An extensive collection of art from his Naval service in the South Pacific will be shown, including many V-Mail pictures sent during the war. Collections of his calligraphy and serigraphy from the 42 years he worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC will be included. This Centennial Exhibition will be an exciting retrospective of artifacts from a life well lived.

Hazeletta Florence Vreeland - 1921-2011
Hazeletta Vreeland died in 2010 at the age of 89. She was born in Yonkers, NY and attended public schools there. During WWII she worked for the Army Signal Corps while her husband, Bill, served in the US Navy in the Pacific Theater. After the war she raised two children and went to work for the Yonkers Board of Education.

She was an accomplished poet, fashion designer, antique collector, and worked with ceramics. In the 1970's she got her Real Estate license and began buying and selling properties in Westchester and Columbia county. After she and her husband retired to Copake, NY in the 1980s, she continued to work in Real Estate. Her later years were spent doing philanthropy, and her vision for the Vreeland Institute is finally now being realized.

On Earth Day in 2012 a flowering Dogwood tree was planted on the Institute campus in her memory during the Arbor Day celebration.