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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.


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