Donald G. Gardner
Donald Gardner came to Ely from Cincinnati, Ohio, because of his love of the outdoors and to seek some relief from his hay fever. Mr. Gardner bought the Langager cabin on Ojibway Lake in 1941 and Ely became his summer home. He and his chauffeur, Jackson, loved to drive to Ely in Don Gardner's station wagon, one of the first of its kind.
In 1944, Gardner donated a painting by Frederick C. Frieseke, Breakfast In The Garden (1916), to the City of Ely. It was hung in the Ely Public Library in 1945. In 1989, the painting was sold for $510,000.00 and the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust was created .
Donald G. Gardner was born in 1889, in Monticello, Indiana. He was wealthy, pleasant, called charismatic, civic minded, open minded, an amateur photographer specializing in 16 mm film and an art collector. Mr. Gardner liked martinis, fishing, hunting, collecting guns and vacationing in the Ely area. He had hay fever, smoked, and hunted in Alaska, Ely and Africa. At one time he donated Russian Brown bears to the Cincinnati Zoo. Don Gardner founded Gardner Publications (now Gardner
Business Media) in 1928 after working with newspapers in Colorado and Wyoming and was the Southwestern Manager of Iron Age magazine. Gardner Publications first magazine was Modern Machine Shop, the first digest-sized magazine in metalworking. Modern Machine Shop has grown into the leading metalworking magazine in the world.
As an art collector, Gardner primarily acquired paintings by Cincinnati artists (the Frieseke painting was an exception) and particularly liked Impressionist works and art done of American Indians. He bought most of his paintings with the advice of the Grand Central Galleries in New York City. Many of the paintings, over 70 in all, that were bought for only a couple of hundred dollars each have grown in value to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, the Frieseke painting has had the greatest
appraised value up to this point.
Don Gardner died in 1947 at the age of 58. His wife Margaret (nee Isherwood) died in 1972. Don Gardner had two daughters, Mabel and Helen. Helen married Richard S. Kline and they had four
children; Rick, Don, Steve and Margaret.
Rick Kline (along with five of Don Gardner’s great grandchildren) presently run Gardner Business Media, a fourth generation business employing over 120 people, focused on media for the manufacturing industry.