Subscribe to the Rosenblog!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rosen-Trivia Revealed

So here are the answers to last week's brain-teasers

1) Philip and A.S.W. Rosenbach were two out of a family of eight children. How many of the other children can you name?

In order from oldest to youngest, the Rosenbach children are Hyman, Philip, Morris, Rebecca, Adelaide (died as a child), Moses, Miriam, and Abraham

2) According to a Ben Franklin tale whose manuscript is at the Rosenbach, what toy did the seven-year-old Franklin purchase, only to regret having wasted his money?

A whistle. According to Franklin:

When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.

This, however, was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don’t give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.


3) Which one of Dr. Rosenbach's early clients went down with the Titanic? For extra credit, what was the book he supposedly had in his jacket pocket when he died?

Harry Elkins Widener and Bacon's Essays

4) What science textbook contains Maurice Sendak's first published illustrations?

Atomics for the Millions (1947), which was co-authored by Hyman Ruchlis, a science teacher at Sendak's high school

5) Much of the interior appearance of 2010 Delancey is due to the family who owned it immediately before the Rosenbachs--they hired architects to redo the interior with the Georgian detailing we know and love today. Who were these previous owners?

The Martins

6) According to his working notes, Bram Stoker originally had another location in mind for his vampire story, before deciding on Transylvania. What was the original home of the Count?

Styria, a region in Austria which had been the setting for Sheridan Le Fanu's vampire novella Carmilla

7) Mamusse Wunteetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God Naneeswe Nukkone Testament Kah Wonk Wusku Testament is a rather unwieldy title. What is this important 1663 book better known as?

The Eliot Indian Bible

8) The Rosenbach owns the manuscript of a Joseph Conrad novel that was later adapted into an Alfred Hitchcock movie. What are the titles of the book and the movie?

The book is The Secret Agent, which Hitchcock made into Sabotage (he had already used the title Secret Agent for a different film)

9) In the Bass Otis painting, Stephen Girard is positioned to hide his blind eye. Which eye was the problem?

His right eye. According to one popular version, he lost the eye when throwing oyster shells on bonfire at the age of eight--a splinter flew off one and blinded him. However in a letter late in life Girard wrote that he had no recollection of ever being able to see with that eye, so he may have been born with the problem

10) Why would Dr. Rosenbach keep a First Folio in Strathmere, New Jersey, rather than in Philadelphia?

The First Folio was Dr. R's boat

So, how did you do?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rosen-trivia

So you think you know the Rosenbach? How many of these tough Rosen-trivia questions can you answer?

1) Philip and A.S.W. Rosenbach were two out of a family of eight children. How many of the other children can you name? (Give yourself an extra pat on the back if you know the name of their sister who died at age three)

2) According to a Ben Franklin tale whose manuscript is at the Rosenbach, what toy did the seven-year-old Franklin purchase, only to regret having wasted his money?

3) Which one of Dr. Rosenbach's early clients went down with the Titanic? For extra credit, what was the book he supposedly had in his jacket pocket when he died?

4) What science textbook contains Maurice Sendak's first published illustrations?

5) Much of the interior appearance of 2010 Delancey is due to the family who owned it immediately before the Rosenbachs--they hired architects to redo the interior with the Georgian detailing we know and love today. Who were these previous owners?

6) According to his working notes, Bram Stoker originally had another location in mind for his vampire story, before deciding on Transylvania. What was the original home of the Count?

7) Mamusse Wunteetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God Naneeswe Nukkone Testament Kah Wonk Wusku Testament is a rather unwieldy title. What is this important 1663 book better known as?

8) The Rosenbach owns the manuscript of a Joseph Conrad novel that was later adapted into an Alfred Hitchcock movie. What are the titles of the book and the movie?

9) In the Bass Otis painting, Stephen Girard is positioned to hide his blind eye. Which eye was the problem?

10) Why would Dr. Rosenbach keep a First Folio in Strathmere, New Jersey, rather than in Philadelphia?

Answers will be cheerfully supplied in our next post.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the Beach

As summer ticks away and everyone comes back tanned from their weeks at the shore, I thought I'd share some great beach images from the Rosenbach collection.

George Cruikshank, AUGUST--Bathing at Brighton. For The Comic Almanack for 1836. London: Charles Tilt, 1835. 1954.1880.3252

As you can see in this almanac print by George Cruikshank, August was beach time, even 175 years ago. The house-like carts on wheels are bathing machines. Ladies who wished to swim would enter the bathing machine in their street clothes, change into their swimwear, and then the bathing machine would be rolled into the water, where the swimmer would step out as the bathing machine shielded her from being seen onshore. My favorite reference to bathing machines comes in Gilbert & Sullivan's "Nightmare Song " in which the singer recounts a dream involving a steamer "Which is something between a large bathing machine and a very small second-class carriage."

George Cruikshank. Detail of print from Scraps and Sketches. London, 1831. 1954.1880.2897

This fellow (also by Cruikshank) has found "Comfort in Warm weather" and he certainly looks happier than the ladies in the previous print. This is from a large composite print on the theme of comforts. (Notice the bathing machines in the background)


Possibly George Cruikshank, Shrimp catcher. From Billets in the Low Countries, 1814 to 1817. London: printed for J. J. Stockdale, 1818. 1954.1880.893

This shrimp catcher is headed to the beach to work, not relax, but I love his 1818 swimsuit. I should check our old cookbooks for some period shrimp recipes...

Unknown photographer, photograph of Marlene Dietrich. Cap d'Antibes, France. 1930s? Acosta:20:09

Fast-forwarding a hundred and some odd years, here is Marlene Dietrich relaxing on the beach in France. Maybe she'd like a shrimp cocktail?

Photograph of Moses and Eva Rosenbach and child. 2006.1516

And here are some Rosenbachs on the beach. The adults are Moses Polock Rosenbach (Philip and Abie's brother) and his wife Eva. The child is presumably one of their two daughters, which would place this scene in the late 1910s.


Unknown photographer. Tintype. ca. 1900? 2006.1808

The man in the center looks like a Rosenbach, but I'm not sure which one. This scene was obviously taken in a studio, but again I'm not sure what bound these five guys together, with three of them wearing matching spiffy suits. Anyone else have a guess?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Field Trip

In addition to exposing our summer interns to the quirks and wonders of the Rosenbach, I like to take them to other museums that are different from ours. This gives the interns a chance to see how other museums operate and to put their Rosenbach experience in a broader perspective. In order to accomplish this, I am very grateful to all my museum colleagues in Philadelphia and beyond who take time out of their busy schedules to meet with us and show us around.

Our first trip this year was to our neighbor, the Mutter Museum. As usual, we had a fabulous time. Not only do they have a fascinating collection, with its own unique set of collections care and interpretation challenges, but I could listen to their curator, Anna Dhody, read a cereal box--she's that engaging. But don't take my word for it--you can see her and other Mutter staff on the Mutter's chock-full YouTube channel. Anna stars in the "What's on the Curator's Desk" weekly feature, among others.

Our second trip took place this past week and involved two museums in Doylestown--the Mercer Museum and Fonthill. Our own Patrick Rodgers used to work at Fonthill, so he kindly helped get everything set up. Although the famous concrete castles are a bit warm in the summer it was more than worth it to get to see Henry Mercer's amazing collections and to get a chance to talk with the people who work with them every day--Cory Amsler, Melissa Jay, and Ed Reidell. Both Mercer and Fonthill have done great job designing programs that explore their collections in new ways and with fun twists and we got a chance to talk about how they keep their collections intriguing, appealing, and relevant. (We all wanted to sign up for the Wizard Camp at the Mercer and the Medieval Camp at Fonthill, but we fell outside the age cutoff)

The Mercer Museum also just opened a new wing last month to allow for more special exhibits, so it was also an opportunity to think about museum construction and design. The Mercer's original building is obviously quite idiosyncratic, so instead of trying to match it architecturally, they've chosen a more modern design, which harmonizes in terms of color and material, and also preserves the views of and from the original building. Plus it has a green roof!

Here we are in the central hall at the Mercer. You can't see the whaleboat and Conestoga wagon hanging above our heads, but you should go up to Doylestown and check them out for yourselves!


And here we are at Fonthill. In this picture we are on the ground, but we did climb all the way to the top of Fonthill's tower (you can too if you go on their Tower Tour this Saturday). As you can see, a good--and educational--time was had by all.

Thank you again to all of our hosts!