Saturday, March 12, 2011

This Week in Bookplates 3/13/2011

Fellow Collector Mark Griffin sent me two lovely bookplates and I asked him to write about them. This was his response:
"As you know, the finial bookplate was produced by Ashley Benham and the swimmer bookplate was produced by Peter Waddell. Here is a little information about each bookplate.

Finial Bookplate

The finial is located atop the historic Christian Heurich Mansion located just south of Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. I see this finial every day because the Mansion is located directly across the street from my office. The Mansion was built in the late 1890’s by Christian Heurich, our local beer baron. Mr. Heurich was afraid of fire because his first brewery burned to the ground at great financial loss to him. So the Heurich Mansion was the first “fire-proof” building constructed in DC. It has concrete floors and a steel superstructure. The exterior is brick and stone. Mr. Heurich topped the Mansion’s tower with a “salamander” finial. A salamander is supposed to ward off fire. The story is that the salamander is usually the only animal to survive forest fires. The Mansion was used by the Heurich family until 1955 when it was given to the Historical Society of Washington, DC. I served the Society at various times over a period of about 25 years as Curator, General Counsel and finally as President. The Historical Society subsequently moved to larger quarters and the Mansion was acquired by The Heurich House Foundation. I was Chairman of this Foundation for a few years before I was allowed to finally go back to my preferred position admiring the Mansion from afar through my office window.

The Swimmer Bookplate

I am a swimmer. I went to Georgetown University and I have some particular history with the Healy Building which is the building on the hill shown in this image. The swimmer is supposed to be me as a young man swimming in the Potomac River in front of the GU Boathouse and looking up at the spires of the Healy Building on Georgetown's main campus. The Healy Building has a large clock tower. When I was a freshman, a friend and I managed to steal the hands of the clock. We put them in a long flower box and sent them to the new Dean of Discipline with a note that said: "From the Freshman Class, always willing to give you a hand". The Dean, a Jesuit priest, thought the hands were maces, the medieval sign of authority. He had them mounted on his office wall with our note. He was not pleased when one of the members of the engineering staff subsequently asked him why he had the missing hands from the clock on his office wall. An investigation ensued but I was never caught, thank goodness. All of this was, of course, perfect training for my later life as a Washington lawyer."

Here is a link about a $543,000 book and art swindle . The sucker was a hedge fund.

I figure this hedge fund will need more than a big winning streak to overcome this kind of bad publicity.

Two really big book shows are coming to New York City in early April. I plan to attend both .

Here are the links:

The Sarah B. Lattimore bookplate collection was up for sale and I purchased it.

If all goes according to schedule I will write about it next week.

See you then.

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