Many people are surprised to learn just how delicate are the threads of history. Over the Christmas holiday, we uncovered some surprising connections, and it’s all thanks to a case of mistaken identity.

For the past few months, we have selected photographs from our archive collections to share on the NSLM Facebook Page for “Throwback Thursdays.” These photographs have allowed us to interact with our members in new ways, as we have begun to share memories and hear stories through social media. On Christmas Eve, this photo was shared.

Gerald_Webb_2_Full
A photo in our collection misidentified the rider on the left as “Fred Walberg.”

The photo is from the Gerald B. Webb Archive collection. Mr. Webb is on the right. Sometime in the past, an attempt was made to identify the other riders.

All we had to go on was a 70-year-old photo, a sticky note, and youthful enthusiasm. Naturally, it turned into an adventure!
All we had to go on was a 70-year-old photo, a sticky note, and library-level enthusiasm. Naturally, it turned into an adventure.

The sticky note in the archive clearly identifies the rider on the left as “Fred Walberg.” We had no idea who that might be. The identifier was unsure if the rider in the center is Dot Smithwick, a prominent foxhunter in the Middleburg area. When the photo was shared on Facebook, we immediately had help from one of our supporters, who suggested “Walberg,” could be a “Warburg” instead.

James Plaskitt made a huge connection for us.
James Plaskitt made a huge connection for us. Could “Walberg” be “Warburg”?

A huge thank you to James Plaskitt for his suggestion!

Warburg is a distinctive name, and one that has lots of meaning for us at NSLM. In 2008, Mrs. Felicia Warburg Rogan made a significant donation of sporting art to us, and the paintings by John Emms and Sir Alfred Munnings in that donation are a major part of the Museum experience. But was there a connection? With the help of online genealogical resources, a Christmastime investigation was afoot!

John Emms (English, 1841-1912) Foxhounds and Terrier in a Stable Interior, 1878 oil on canvas, 39 x 52 inches Gift of Felicia Warburg Rogan, 2008
John Emms (English, 1841-1912) Foxhounds and Terrier in a Stable Interior, 1878
oil on canvas, 39 x 52 inches
Gift of Felicia Warburg Rogan, 2008

Our first research sweep found a major local connection: our newest corporate sponsor, Goodstone Inn & Restaurant. Goodstone Inn is on the site of Goodstone Farm, just a stone’s throw from the kennels of the Middleburg Hunt. We visited with the staff at Goodstone Inn to learn more about the history.

The property was owned by the Leith family, who settled in the region in 1768. Three Leith sons faught for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and the property was sold to the Goodwin family (who renamed it Goodstone Farm) in 1915. The Goodstone mansion was destroyed by fire in 1939, and only the facade of the mansion remains today. The property was sold to Frederick Warburg in 1943. Mr. Warburg was a member of a prominent banking family; the amenities at the farm were expanded and the Warburgs used the farm as a seasonal residence for foxhunting and riding. The farm was renamed Snake Hill Farm, in part because of the winding road around the farm.

Another photograph of Frederick Warburg.
Another photograph of Frederick Warburg in the Gerald Webb collection.

 

Now that we had the correct name, we were able to positively identify Mr. Warburg in the original photograph. Using genealogical resources, we worked backwards to uncover the rest of the connection. Felicia Warburg Rogan’s father was Paul Felix Solomon Warburg, whose brother was Frederick Warburg (1897-1973).

Frederick Warburg, Dot Smithwick (?), and Gerald B. Webb.
Frederick Warburg, Dot Smithwick (?), and Gerald B. Webb.

 

We can tell a lot from the photo, now. We know the photo was likely taken between 1943 and 1947, since the Warburgs purchased Goodstone in 1943 and Gerald Webb died in 1947. It’s quite likely that the horses in the original photo were Goodstone horses (though we can’t be sure). The location pictured could be Glenwood Park, built in 1932 and today the site of the Virginia Fall Races and the Middleburg Spring Races. We hope to discover if Dot Smithwick is the lady riding in the center. If you can identify any of these elements, please help us unravel the mystery!

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Winter has finally come to Virginia. As I write this, a frigid fog surrounds the Museum and Library, making the air seem much colder than the reported forty degrees. There’s a certain comfort in this weather, especially if you are able to enjoy it from a warm, well-lit office accompanied by a mug of tea. This is also the kind of weather that begs for a hot meal plucked straight from your childhood- or perhaps plucked straight from the fields outside.2013-01-23 23.17.13

On this particular day I am tempted to join the meal of artist Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait in A Good Time Coming. In it, a gentleman pours port into a camp mug while a guide cooks something awfully tasty over the campfire. Another guide in the background approaches with a fresh catch of fish, but it is left to the viewer to imagine what might be sizzling in the cast-iron skillet, or boiling in the large stock pot.

Detail
Detail: Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (American, 1819-1905) A Good Time Coming, 1862, oil on canvas 20 x 30 inches, Adirondack Museum

Alas, I have no campfire to keep me cozy. I do, however, have a cookbook to direct me in making my own field dinner at home. Field Feast: the Remington Cookbook by Jim and Ann Casada is a newer addition to the Library’s collection. Recipes include chicken-fried venison steak, creamed squirrel, and pheasant paprikash.

Pheasant Paprikash

  • 2tb canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced (optional)
  • Paprika – 1 ts or more (use amount you prefer)
  • 1 large fresh tomato (or 1 can tomatoes)
  • Few dashes red pepper
  • Few dashes black pepper
  • 2 pheasants, cut up
  • Salt to taste
  • 2tb flour
  • 1 cup milk

Place oil in Dutch oven and heat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add green pepper slices and cook a few minutes. Add enough paprika to make a deep red color and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Add tomato, a few dashes each of red pepper and black pepper. Place pheasant pieces in Dutch oven and add enough water to cover pheasant. Add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until pheasant is tender. Mix flour with cup of milk and add to mixture. Adjust seasonings. Let come to a simmer; do not boil after adding milk. Serve in bowls over noodles of your choice, such as ziti, macaroni, or shells. 

Any takers on trying this recipe? As I understand you can substitute a small chicken or cornish game hens for the pheasant. This could be a new cold weather favorite! For more information on Jim Casada, or to purchase one of his books, follow this link.

 

You can find a lot of surprises in a collection of 27,000 books that spans 493 years of publishing, printing, and binding. Here are three of the most surprising types of rare books you can find in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room here at NSLM.

3. Presentation Copies

Howitt's Animals, by Samuel Howitt (1765-1822), a collection of proofs of Howitt's sporting etchings. Inscription (right): "The gift of Samuel Howitt, who etched them, to his friend William Edkins." A letter to Edkins (left) is pinned to the facing page.
Howitt’s Animals, by Samuel Howitt (1765-1822), a collection of proofs of Howitt’s sporting etchings. Inscription (right): “The gift of Samuel Howitt, who etched them, to his friend William Edkins.” A letter to Edkins (left) is pinned to the facing page.

Strictly speaking, a presentation copy is a book that was presented by the author as a gift to a friend or relative. Often, the gift is memorialized in the front pages of the book through an inscription of the gift. Presentation copies are usually early copies printed specifically to be given as gifts, and will bear the inscription on or near the date of publication. Many authors inscribed presentation copies in the 18th and 19th Centuries, and modern authors tend to tip in a typed and signed slip commemorating the gift.

 

2. Cosway Bindings

The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton (1594-1683). Chiswick: The Caradoc Press, 1905. This Cosway Binding features a portrait of Walton on ivory and under glass, all laid into a beautiful front board.
The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton (1594-1683). Chiswick: The Caradoc Press, 1905. This Cosway Binding features a portrait of Walton on ivory and under glass, all laid into a beautiful front board.

A book with a Cosway binding has a miniature portrait inlaid in the cover binding. Introduced and popularized in the early 20th Century, this rare binding is named for Richard Cosway (1742-1821), a British artist renowned for his miniature paintings. Books with Cosway bindings are sought after as collectibles.

 

1. Fore-Edge Paintings

Fishing Scene, Fore-edge painting, fanned to the right. The Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell, London, Edward Moxon, 1840.
Fishing Scene, Fore-edge painting, fanned to the right. The Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell, London: Edward Moxon, 1840.

Fore-edge painting is the practice of painting tiny images on the edges of book pages. The practice is nearly unheard-of in the United States, but is still practiced by a few artists in Europe today. Fore-edge painting became popular in the middle of the 19th Century, with amateur artists painting watercolors on books with expensive leather bindings. Paintings are often gilt over to hide the artwork, which only emerges when pages are turned. Check your collection! You might have a fore-edge painting and not even know it.