Archive for March, 2012

Two more exciting participants for the April 28 & 29 Art WalkAfrican American Fabrics and the John Brown Wax Museum!  Here is a business participant recap:

African American Fabrics
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Harper’s Ferry Guest House
John Brown Wax Museum
Lisa Kovatch Pottery
Mary Adams
Private Quinn’s Pub
Steam at Harper’s Ferry
Teahorse Hostel
Tenfold Fair Trade
The Anvil Restaurant
The Town’s Inn

The Village Shop

The Vintage Lady

Fifteen businesses are participating so far, not including the artists whose work will be on display.

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I have to admit that I have not read the Edgar Rice Burroughs series about John Carter of Mars, and didn’t know what to expect from the movie, but I thought “why not?” and went to see it a few weekends ago.

For those of you not familiar with the original story, and since it is now out of copyright, I would encourage you to find a free online copy of A Princess of Mars. In summary, the movie version is the movie is told from the perspective of John Carter’s nephew, Edgar “Ned” Rice Burroughs who learns of his uncle’s adventures after he is proclaimed dead. John Carter is a Confederate veteran soldier who finds himself in Arizona and is being “requested” to serve at Fort Grant. He escapes eventually, but not before Apache warriors come after him and the Federal soldiers at the Fort. He and another soldier hide in a gold-filled cave held sacred by the Apache tribe. A being appears to him in the cave and John Carter kills him. He takes a medallion from his victim and is transported to Mars where he comes to the aid of a Martian Princess.

It is an amusing tale and escapist fantasy. I enjoyed it and was sorry to hear that it is considered a “flop.” Nevertheless, it remains interesting to me for another reason.

In 1889, Royal Emerson Whitman purchased land from Storer College in order to build a house. He was yet another Maine native drawn to Bolivar and Harper’s Ferry. He served in the Federal Army during the Civil War and lived many years in Washington, DC. It is called “The Scottish Castle“, but there is nothing other than appearance which explains why it was considered Scottish. At one point it was called “Greystone” and sat perched at Bolivar Heights from about 1890 until 1963.

After the Civil War, Whitman continued serving the in the Army and was Breveted First Lieutenant, United States Army on July 2 1867 for gallantry in the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, Louisiana. He then served at Camp Grant where he became witness to one of the most notorious massacres in United States history.

Apaches settled near Camp Grant at the encouragement of Lieutenant Whitman in 1871 so that they could be clothed and fed. “On April 28, 1871, a group of nearly 150 men, Anglo-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Tohono O’odham,5 set off under stealth with the intent to make war with the Apaches at Camp Grant.”  quoted from The “Camp Grant Massacre” in the Historical Imagination, by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Arizona History Convention, April 25-26, 2003. The group attacked upon arrival and within half an hour, the Tuscon attackers murdered at least 100 Apaches. Approximately 30 children were captured and many sold into slavery.

According to Mr. Colwell-Chanthaphonh’s report, “Although the Tucsonans returned home to great celebration, the reaction in the eastern United States was revulsion. Less than a year later, 100 men were put on trial, charged with 108 indictments for murder, and three misdemeanors. The trial lasted over a week, but focused almost entirely on previous Apache raiding in Arizona Territory. Judge Titus instructed the jury that based on this evidence they only had to decide if the defendants acted defensively or by malice—in other words, if the massacre could be justified. After nineteen minutes of deliberation, the jury read a verdict of “not guilty.” And here, most typically, the story of the Camp Grant Massacre ends.” p. 4.

Royal Whitman was a lieutenant at the Camp and sent numerous dispatches about the impending attack and was questioned about events extensively. He was unable to protect the Apaches and although he sent word to the settlement that they should move within the fort, the message was received too late. Royal Whitman retired in 1879. He had a patent for a horse saddle which was used by the United States Military. The Whitman Saddle was displayed at the Colombian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.  He sold the property to a man named Judge Vail, also a resident of Washington, DC that same year. Colonel Whitman continued to live in Washington, DC and died on February 12, 1913.

Camp Grant was re-named Fort Grant after the massacre, the place where Edgar Rice Burroughs was stationed in 1896, and where he sets the first story of John Carter.

Whitman Avenue joins with Washington Street in Bolivar. It leads to Bolivar Heights, which is part of Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park. A painting by Urszula Andrejczuk of Colonel Whitman’s house can be seen at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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I got in touch with the gallery Museo Revoltella, to find out more about the sculpture I wrote about in February. I received a very nice email from dr. Maria Masau Dan who sent me a photo of the image as it really appears. While it is similar to the Frank Leslie illustration, there are significant differences. I received a listing as well as the photo and am posting both the Italian and English translation (I don’t speak Italian, so the translation is at best marginal) here for you. I am also posting the photo.

“F. Pezzicar, The emancipation of the Negro, 1873 bronze 235 cm h

After the death of Francis Pezzicar, on 6 January 1890, his minor children through their guardian, made arrangements with the Museum of Kuratorium Revoltella ‘with the prayer of wanting to reveal the bronze to the public nationally and find buyers.” In July of the same year, the President of the Kuratorium Giuseppe Morpurgo welcomed the bronze as it represented the abolition of slavery. After 20 years, in 1913, the work was bought by the Museum for the sum of 5,500 crowns. The large bronze statue is one of several major works by the artist, and while receiving, from the beginning, great critical admiration, it remained unsold for many years, perhaps because of the artist’s obstinacy in not wanting to reduce the price set at 10,000 Guilders. In 1876, the work appeared at the Exposition in Philadelphia and was awarded a gold medal, and received widespread attention, but no buyer. With regard to his failure to sell the work at the Philadelphia Exposition, Adhemar Pezzicar (the artist’s son), sent a letter to the Kuratorium dated December 30 1931, where he observed that ‘the statue, though glorious for celebrating an event for all humanity, it had also made the mistake of reminding the Americans of recent events:  traces of the civil war were still fresh.’

The sculpture, executed by the artist in 1873, is now preserved in the halls of the Gallery of the Museum Revoltella. The depiction of the slave who shows triumphantly the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Lincoln in 1863, Francis Pezzicar demonstrated his skill with an accurate execution, a careful search for truth and wisdom, and a high composition. In the work before you, look at the depiction of “a robust negro, the perfect body and the powerful expression, who raises his upper arms, and on the right wrist still hangs  a slave’s chain link, but it is open and the chain is broken and at his feet “(VICAR). The Museum possesses another work by the artist in marble called “Disturbed Breakfast”, which joined the museum’s collection as part of Baroness Cecilia de Rittmeyer legacy collection in 1911.”

“F. Pezzicar, L’emancipazione dei negri, 1873 bronzo h cm 235

Dopo la morte di Francesco Pezzicar, avvenuta il 6 gennaio 1890, i figli minorenni si rivolgono, mediante il loro tutore, al Curatorio del Museo Revoltella «con la preghiera di voler ospitare nei suoi locali il bronzo, affinché ivi esposto potesse essere preso in considerazione dalla cittadinanza e trovare un acquirente» . Nel luglio dello stesso anno il Presidente del Curatorio Giuseppe Morpurgo accoglie temporaneamente l’opera rappresentante l’abolizione della schiavitù. Non arrivano però offerte da privati e, dopo più di vent’anni, nel 1913 l’opera viene acquistata dal Museo per la somma di 5.500 corone. La grande statua in bronzo si situa tra i maggiori lavori realizzati dall’artista, e pur riscuotendo, sin da principio, grande ammirazione da parte della critica, essa rimane invenduta per molti anni, si pensa forse a causa dell’ostinazione dell’artista nel non voler ridurre il prezzo stabilito in 10.000 Fiorini. Nel 1876 l’opera partecipa all’Esposizione di Filadelfia ed è premiata con la grande medaglia d’oro, anche in questa occasione ottiene ampia risonanza ma nessun acquirente. Riguardo la mancata vendita all’Esposizione di Filadelfia, Ademaro Pezzicar, in una lettera inviata al Curatorio il 30 dicembre 1931, osserva che «la statua, se celebrava un fatto glorioso per l’umanità, aveva pure il torto di rammentare agli americani un’epoca infausta: la guerra civile le cui tracce erano allora ancora freschissime».

La scultura, eseguita dall’artista nel 1873, è conservata attualmente nelle sale della Galleria d’arte del Museo Revoltella. Nella realizzazione dello schiavo che mostra trionfalmente la dichiarazione dell’abolizione della schiavitù firmata da Lincoln nel 1863, Francesco Pezzicar dimostra tutta la sua abilità attraverso una accurata esecuzione, una attenta ricerca del vero e una elevata sapienza compositiva. Dinnanzi all’opera si osserva la raffigurazione di «un robusto negro, dal fisico perfetto e dalla potente espressione, che leva in alto le braccia; dal polso destro pende ancora l’anello della catena che l’avvinceva in schiavitù, ma esso è aperto e spezzato e la catena è ai suoi piedi» (VICARIO). Il Museo Revoltella possiede dello stesso autore il marmo Colazione disturbata, entrato a far parte della collezione del museo grazie al legato della baronessa Cecilia de Rittmeyer nell’anno 1911.”

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The Village Shop and Appalachian Trail Conservancy are on board. Excellent.

Anyone else? We’ll need a final list by April 13!

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I stayed as long as I could … but I didn’t get to taste these creations (no, I didn’t cut those chunks out of the cakes, although who would notice if I sliced off a little bit more? oh, only the 50 or so folks standing around the tables).

They look wonderful!


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The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is having a cake baking contest on Saturday, March 3 to celebrate its 87th anniversary. Cakes will be judged from from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at ATC’s Visitor Center, 799 Washington St., Harper’s Ferry, WV. It’s open to the public and FREE!

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