Constance Saltonstall, known as Connie to family and friends, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 8, 1944. Her parents moved to Ithaca in the early 1940’s, and Connie grew up in Ellis Hollow, near Ithaca, New York, in the house located just west of the Colony. Two of Connie’s three siblings still live in this area.
Connie graduated from The Cambridge School, in Weston, Massachusetts in 1962 and studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and Cornell University. After spending time in Rome, she returned to the Ithaca area in 1965. With Victoria Romanoff she established the firm of Romanoff & Saltonstall, dedicated to historical renovations. Romanoff & Saltonstall accomplished a series of important local preservation projects.
In addition to the numerous local preservation projects, Connie and Vicky’s work also included the mounting of several exhibitions: at the 1883 Barn, they mounted an exhibition, dedicated to Connie’s father, entitled “Giddy-Up Napoleon, It Looks Like Rain: A Look at Farming in Tompkins County.”Other exhibitions included ” Architectural Preservation in Tompkins County” at the Johnson Museum and “Babylon Prior to Urban Renewal” at Telluride Association, Cornell University. Romanoff & Saltonstall received a Western Landmarks Preservation grant and an America the Beautiful grant. In 1973, Connie and Vicky jointly received the Woman of the Year Award from the Ithaca Journal.
From 1974 to 1987, Connie lived in Holland and in Paris, where she studied Jungian psychology and continued to pursue painting and photography. From 1987 to 1990, Connie studied at the atelier of R. H. Ives Gammell in Boston and was a member of the Newbury Gallery. In 1990 she returned to the family farm in Ellis Hollow. In the few years before her death, Connie established a studio on Brindley Street in Ithaca and built a new home for herself that now serves as the Colony’s Main House.
Photography was the continuing thread in Connie’s life. At an early age, the camera became her constant companion and she began to record her life with photographic images. Most of her photographs have never been viewed and only rare selections have been printed, published, or exhibited. The foundation has begun the task of sorting, protecting, printing, and exhibiting this body of work.
In the course of her life, Connie established studios in America and in Europe. The beautiful interior spaces and nurturing atmosphere she created helped to inspire many painters and photographers. She flourished in artistic communities, giving generously of her time and energy. Connie died in 1994, not long after being diagnosed with cancer. The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts is her living legacy.
Vinal Haven, Maine Constance Saltonstall