Skip to main content

Random search of The New York Public Library

At the suggestion of our architect, I did a search of the New York Public Library records and discovered 47 entries for various things. 7 were not related to Harry Fenn. Other 40, however, were his works and biographies. Which is 39 more than the entire Essex and Bergen County library systems combined. Apparently, he was very popular with poets. Among others, he illustrated Lord Alfred Tennyson's books. Another, even more important, fact is that Fenn's biography was included in a book called "Reconstruction era: biographies," by Roger Matuz. What is interesting is not that Fenn is included, but that he is included along, to name a few: Louisa May Alcott, Susan B. Anthony, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, etc. Now it's just a matter of finding time to go there and read through all of these.

I also did a search through a quarterly that was popular at that time, called The Century, as it was mentioned in The Montclair Times. Cornell University Library has all the volumes online. The article of interest is titled "The Summer Haunts of American Artists," and was written by Lizzie W. Champney, who also wrote a few other things, including the John Angelo children's series I wrote about in this blog in July. Well, it turns out that the article has an illustration of the inside of Fenn's studio, from the angle which was showing the large Southern window (Northern, at the time) we are working on. So, now we have both the appearance AND the spacial relation of the window and the gable we are trying to rebuild. Simply magnificent and very timely.

It looks like the secret to the Internet research of old records is knowing where to look. For example, if you just google Harry Fenn, there are very few entries. But, if you go to any one of the old sources, and then search for Fenn, you will find a lot. I suspect it is the same for any other famous person of the time that wasn't uber-popular.


Popular posts from this blog

We found the "missing" house

Thanks to one of our readers, Robert, who identified the house on South Mountain Avenue.

I almost crashed into a tree while looking at it and can't believe I never noticed it before. It was right there. I mean, it looks exactly the same as in this photo. Right?

The funny thing is that I drive by the house almost daily. Which goes to show you just how many things go unnoticed in our lives...

History - Part I: Who was Harry Fenn?

The Cedars, or Henry (Harry) Fenn residence, was built in 1885. Harry Fenn was a watercolor artist and an illustrator. He was born in Richmond, Surrey, England in 1845. He first trained as a wood engraver before embarking on a career as a painter and print maker.

In 1860's, Fenn settled in the United States after coming to see the Niagara Falls. After spending six years in the U.S., he left to pursue further art studies in Italy. He returned to illustrate his first book, “Snow Bound,” written by John Greenleaf Whittier. The success of this first illustration project lead to more work and Fenn’s second book, “Ballads of New England.” These two books were the first illustrated gift books of their kind in the United States. They were important milestones in the history of American book making and created great renown for the artist.

In the 1870's Fenn traveled extensively around the country for numerous illustration projects. One such trip brought him to western North Carolina for …

Kids Bath: Electrical - DONE

Electrical - DONE, TOO! Yay!

However, he opened a hole in the wall in the wrong place above the mirror, so now that needs to be patched up tomorrow. That means an extra day tacked on. We really wanted it to be finished tomorrow. We are already 4 days over schedule. Ugh.

I. Need. This. Job. To. End.