Josephine D. Nielsen
Josephine Van de Grift Nielsen was the daughter of Riverside pioneers Jacob and Clara Van de Grift. Jo was a watercolorist and worked in enamel, graduating in art from UC Berkeley in 1919. Her work was recognized in 1959, when she was included in an exhibit of 83 artists at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York.
Jo’s aunt, her father’s sister Fanny, married author Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived the last five years of his life in Samoa. While on a painting tour to the South Seas, Jo went to visit her aunt’s tomb on the top of a mountain in western Samoa. There she discovered thieves had broken in and stolen Fanny’s ornate bronze marker, an intertwined Samoan hibiscus and a tiger lily, her Aunt Fanny’s favorite flower. Jo’s determined efforts led to the replacement of the marker in August 1978.