Over the years I have collected lots of pictures of unknown folks, the most coherent subset of which is arrayed in Nova Scotia Faces and also configured as a book, Bluenose Physiognomy. The images that have no direct relation to Nova Scotia need their own site, so that I can begin the process of organizing them into a book. The springboard is a separate suite of web pages, which I expect will sprawl and interdigitate in the by-now-familiar mode. The beginnings are available at Abandoned Ancestors. Stop by for a look.
I was first drawn to this family saga by seeing Clara Peabody Bancroft’s over-the-top memorial at Pere Lachaise:
We can interpret the memorial variously: it’s an opulent sculpture of an elegant lady, modishly dressed and replete with possibly allegorical rose-strewing; or perhaps it’s the opening paragraph of a story, the sort that Somerset Maugham or Saki might have turned into something eternal. Or a puzzle of parvenus and arrivistes, of money and society. Or it can be read as a series of family calamities, or medical missteps. The elements of each of these scenarios seem to be gloriously present.
Clara Peabody was born in New Hampshire in 1826, and married Edward Bancroft in 1845. Edward was from Worcester, and became a Boston banker and broker (perhaps specializing in cotton), but the details of his occupation are pretty sketchy so far. Their sole surviving child Clara Elizabeth was born in 1857, and Edward died in Naples in 1865.
Here is Edward’s rather modest headstone in Mount Auburn Cemetery:
Departed this life at
in the morning of Sunday
February 19 1865 Aged 42
By his own request his body
I have not been able to discover how Edward came to die in Naples, or what took Clara to Europe (her own passport was issued in 1866, and includes her daughter and a servant), or when Clara returned to her residence in Newton Center (where the 1870 census records her as having a Personal Estate of $200,000).
Clara Elizabeth married Count Benoit Tyszkiewicz in Newton MA in 1874 (she was 18, he 22). Just how he came to be in Boston is a mystery, but in 1875 he and his bride had returned to Europe, and he commissioned a schooner at Havre:
In 1875, the Polish Count Tyszkiewicz Benoit, then aged 23, would have a sea vessel for his travels. He has spent two years in Boston, where he was impressed by the big American schooners . Back in France, he ordered Jacques Augustin Normand, Director of Augustin Normand shipyards in Le Havre, the Zemajteij which will become known as Velox. From the specifications drawn up by the count, Mr. Normand will design a schooner quite innovative that will mark his time and influence the plans of the future construction of yachts, both American and English. The design of its hull, in particular, is revolutionary : the Velox is the first ship to combine the breadth of American yachts with the depth of the English shells. This gives it great rigidity to the fabric and allows it to carry more sail area than the competition. The hull construction is also original: Jacques Augustin Normand will use the method of triple-lined (2 longitudinal and diagonal) which brings lightness and rigidity. This is a first for a vessel of this size. The stability is provided by a ballast 87 tons.
(Wikipedia, translated from the French)
It’s not clear when Clara Bancroft relocated to Europe, but her grandsons Benoit and Edouard were born in 1875 and 1880, and she herself died in Switzerland in 1883. She was first buried in Passy, but was moved to Père Lachaise the next year. A plaque on the magnificent tomb says
Son gendre et ses petits enfants pour accomplir les dernières volontés de sa fille la comtesse Tyszkiewicz ont élevé ce monument témoignage d’un vieux souvenir.
(Her son-in-law and grandchildren, to fulfill the last wishes of her daughter the countess Tyszkiewicz, have raised this monument in witness of an old memory)
The old memory may be of Clara strewing rose petals, and clearly it was the count who commissioned Henri Chapu’s sculpture.
But the story continues. Clara’s will specified that her daughter should be the beneficiary of a $100,000 trust, which would pass to her children if she should die. Clara Elizabeth did in fact die (of pneumonia) less than a year after her mother, just a few months after the birth of her third child.
The Bancroft plot at Mount Auburn Cemetery has a memorial
Just who had the monument erected is another mystery.
There was a court case in Boston in 1904, the Tyszkiewicz children seeking distribution of the principal of the trust, and their maternal kin desiring that the original terms of the trust continue. The children lost the judgement, and I can find no further information on their lives. (See the text of the judgement).
Count Benoit Tyszkiewicz lived until 1935. According to the Almanach de Gotha, he married the princess Marie Lubomirski in 1885. He seems to have been active in the development of sugar beet cultivation on his Polish estate, and his avocations included photography (membre de la Société française de photographie  et du Photo-club de Paris ).
Further detail, translated from Polish Wikipedia:
Benedict Henryk Tyszkiewicz
Date and place of birth December 11, 1852
Date and place of death May 13, 1935, Menton
Father Michał Tyszkiewicz
Mother Maria Wanda Tyszkiewicz
Wife Klara Elżbieta Bancroft
Children Benedict John, Edward, Elisabeth Maria
Benedict Henryk Tyszkiewicz, Leliwa (born December 11, 1852 in Diam , May 13, 1935 in Menton , France) is a Polish photographer .
Son of Michał Tyszkiewicz (died 1854) and Maria Wanda of Tyszkiewicz (died 1860). After premature death of parents (both died of tuberculosis) from the age of 8 brought up by Benedykta Tyszkiewicz , grandfather from the mother, patron and collector, owner of the Red Court , marshal of the Kaunas gubernian .
Tyszkiewicz’s sports interest in the early years of his life made him travel to the Seine on a ship belonging to Grandfather Benedict, as well as a trip to the United States, where he was in contact with the family of the wealthy owners of the Peabody ships. Benedict developed not only sailing passions, but also (in 1874) married a representative of the family, young Elzbieta-Klara Bankroft.
In 1875, a naval architect, Żak Augustyn Normand, designed the costume of the Count “his yacht of dreams” (42.2 meters long and 7.2 meters wide), in honor of Benedict’s property in Lithuania and Żmudzi was named “Żemajtej” . The Count was planning to take a trip around the world on his award-winning world exhibition in Paris (1878). Due to the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War, however, it reached only Gibraltar and Algeria . Until 1881, the Count was a member of the Nice Regiment Committee .
During his stay in Lithuania he remained a patron of Polish sports organizations, and also contributed to the establishment of Sokol gymnastics company.
Tyszkiewicz debuted in 1876 at an exhibition in Philadelphia, where he presented a reportage from a trip to Algeria . In Poland his works were presented in 1894. His works consist of photographs from foreign trips and works made in the atelier, mainly portraits. His work has enjoyed international recognition, which was reflected in the achievement of the 1899 gold medal at the Berlin exhibition. He was a member of the Paris Photo Club. The artist’s work and most of his work were destroyed during the First World War.
The surviving photographs are held by the Musée Nicéphore Niepce in Chalon-sur-Saône , France, and have been exhibited in Lithuania in 1999.
Benedict Tyszkiewicz, like other members of his family, including his grandfather Benedict, remained a collector and patron of the arts. The Tyszkiewicz Collection from the Red Court, owned by Tyszkiewicz, was one of the richest family archives in Lithuania. It counted 20,000 documents, 12,000 letters, over 10,000 books. The collection at Red Castle in Kaunas included a rich gallery of paintings by Polish and foreign painters Canaletto , Bacciarelli , Czechowicz , Wańkowicz , Rust , a collection of slippers (destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising), tapestries and makat . Benedict Henryk Tyszkiewicz was also known as the painting buyer Stefan Batory at Pskov’s Jan Matejko for 60 000 francs, which decorated one of the rooms in a residence in Red Dwor.
Benedict Tyszkiewicz was a very wealthy man, not only the numerous travels, but also the residence of Wiala (Wiała) in the Minsk district. Not only was it decorated with a magnificent garden, but also enormous game and hunting pavilions. The cost of their maintenance greatly affected the state of Benedict Tyszkiewicz’s finances, which eventually decided to liquidate them.
Benedykt Tyszkiewicz from a short-lived (9-year) marriage with Klara Bancroft (died 1883 in Chur , Switzerland ) had three children: the heir of the Red Court of Benedictine John , married to ???, Edward Branicki, married to Adel Dembowska, and Elżbieta Maria, wife of Stanisław Witold Plater Zyberk.
Literature [ edit ]
L. Narkowicz, Tyszkiewicz’s Ordinance in Zatrocz , Warsaw 2007, p. 30, 87-88.
A. Snitkuviene, Benedict Henryk Tyszkiewicz (1852-1935) from the Red House – a forgotten photographer , “Dagerotyp” 6 (1997).
A. Snitkuviene, Exhibition of Benedicts Henryk Tyszkiewicz and John Batho in Lithuania , “Dagerotyp” 9 (2000).
T. Zielińska, Polish Aristocratic Family Order , Warsaw 1997.
Flea Market Treasure. Photography by Benedict Tyshkevich
Benedykt Tyszkiewicz (fotografiakolekcjonerska.pl)
W. Chomański, Kovno “Sokol” , “Our Time” 11/2005 (661)
Glossary of the Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic countries, Volume XIII
Tyszkiewicz Palace and Park complex
and more on the Red Court (translated froma Polish site):
Attractions of the Red Court near Kaunas
In the recently renovated Tyszkiewicz Palace in Red Dwor near Kaunas, every day, up to the Three Kings, trips, entertainment for children and adults, and tasting of Tyszkiewicz dishes are organized. Raudondvaris castle and chapel is a monument of Renaissance architecture from the beginning of the 17th century. The palace rises on the upper terrace of the Niewiazy River, 9 km from Kaunas in the direction of Jurboks. The main building of the palace complex in Czerwony Dwor is a castle from the second half of the 17th century with a tower. The manor house consists of a palace, a 3.8 ha park with two outbuildings, an orangery, stables and a glacier.
The construction of the castle in Czerwony Dwor in the second half of the 16th century began by Wojciech Dziewałtowski, the Kaunas subcommittee. Later the castle-palace complex was successively owned by the most famous Lithuanian magnates: Jan Eustachy Kossakowski, Janusz Radziwiłł, Jan Karol Worlowski, Antoni, Józef, Henryk, Kazimierz Zabiello, Michał, Benedict Emanuel and Benedict Henryk Tyszkiewicz. The architecture of the castle-palace complex in Czerwony Dwor is the most visible traces of the activities of the Tyszkiewicz, the last owners of the palace. After a fire in 1831, in which wooden court buildings burned down, Count Benedict Emanuel Tyszkiewicz built a new palace, brick. The castle became then a magnificent residence, where rich collections of paintings, works of art, rare books, exotic plants and animals were collected.
The palace and court buildings in Czerwon Dwór have been restored in the last few years. The Kaunas Tourist Information Center is currently operating in the former ice rink. In the palace they found headquarters: Juozasa Naujalis, Museum of Culture and Court Painting, Office of Civil Status. There are conference rooms, a hotel and – in basements – ballrooms. In the stables and coaching room the Art Incubator has opened with a theater and concert hall for 500 seats, there is a gallery of photography and art, studios and apartments for temporary artists staying.
During the Christmas holidays there are many interesting projects in Red Dwor. In the Art Incubator there are concerts. For children and adults, trips are organized on the grounds of the former Tyszkiewicz estate, during which the Old Keyman talks about the castle and its inhabitants, the tasting of the Tyszkiewicz cuisine is taking place in the cellars of the palace. Santa Claus is waiting for the children in Red Court. The cycle of Christmas attractions will last until 5 January inclusive.
I’m in Glastonbury CT for a memorial service for a dear friend.
David Hutchinson and I were friends for 60 years, ever since meeting in Grade 8 at Chadwick School in 1956. Our lives have many parallels, and we’ve shared quite a few enthusiasms over the years. Thinking back over our friendship has been a voyage of gratitude and deepening admiration for a cherished and unique person.
This photograph (taken by Tom Schaefer in Spring 1961) exemplifies the sort of foolishness we happily collaborated in, and it truly seems like it was just yesterday:
Mrs. Chadwick taught Advanced Placement English to a small group of Senior Boys, and every day would arrive in the classroom with her Basket, containing whatever materials she’d planned to use that day. More than once David and I made a Thing of carrying the Basket for her.
We were Mrs. Chadwick’s fair-haired boys and Prize Puppies, and both of us went Back East (as they say in California) for college, David to Yale and I to Harvard. David visited Cambridge several times, and this version of his smiling self was in 1965, when he visited Betsy and me after we were married:
We both developed interests in Southeast Asia, both joined the Peace Corps (David in Thailand, Betsy and I in Sarawak, Malaysia), and were in Hilo Hawaii at the same time for Peace Corps training.
We met up again in California in 1969, but then went our separate ways for 24 years, starting careers in distant places (David in Connecticut, Thailand, India, Zambia; I in Nova Scotia and then Virginia), and reconnecting in 1993. To the surprise of neither of us, we immediately picked up where we had left off, with lots more stories but still the same fundamental curiosities and engagement with the world. Thereafter we visited back and forth several times a year, and (once it was technologically possible) were in frequent Internet contact. A Skype or Google Video call would come in and continue for at least half an hour, full of rich reportage of doings and thinkings.
Over the years since 1993 there were several Reunions of high school friends, in which we all discovered that those 3-4-5 Chadwick years had been remarkably formative for all of us. It has been endlessly fascinating to unpack the remarkable experiences and relationships of that time and place.
(Port Clyde ME 2006)
It should surprise nobody that many of the pictures I have from the last 24 years show David in gleeful conjunction with food, in many different places and across a broad swath of the world’s cuisines. Here are a few:
(Pia’s Pad Thai, 2008)
Kate adds several more from her archive:
and one by Shannon Riley:
I really admire Andy Ilachinski’s photography, and often enjoy the enlightenments of quotations he pairs with images in his Tao of Digital Photography blog. This morning’s Schopenhauer passage projected me into a 3-way conjunction with a deceased wombat and a decaying stump:
…All the events in a man’s life accordingly stand in two fundamentally different kinds of connection: firstly, in the objective, causal connection of the natural process; secondly, in a subjective connection which exists only in relation to the individual who experiences it, and which is thus as subjective as his own dreams, whose unfolding content is necessarily determined, but in the manner in which the scenes in a play are determined by the poet’s plot….
This morning I happened to learn that Patrick the Wombat had expired in Ballarat, probably around the time I discovered Patrick’s visage at the dead center of a tessellation of an elm stump at Horton Landing, Nova Scotia:
(zoom in to inspect the visage more closely here)
While hunting for historical photos of Boston’s Financial District, I happened upon the work of Herald-Tribune photographer Leslie Jones, archived at the Boston Public Library, and found this image of the Last Trip of the East Boston Ferry (1952), often called “the Penny Ferry” after the fare for passage.
Hearing that the ferry would be ending its service, my father made a point of taking me to Boston to put MY penny in the turnstile slot and make the voyage to East Boston and back. I remember the event very clearly, even to the smell of the waterfront.
One of my bottomless projects is the 2400+ negatives I made on the job site of the first high-rise building in Boston’s financial district. There’s a book in there somewhere, but in order to think about the images I need to be able to see them, sort them, decide on narrative directions and contents and so on. So I’m gradually building a Web locus for the project, intending to treat it as a workspace for trying out presentation ideas, generating supportive text, and basically sand-boxing. You’re welcome to watch:
I follow a lot of blogs, via my Feedly RSS feed. Mostly I skip through their subject lines quickly, reading only those that seem directly relevant to my interests (which do tend to sprawl) and sending on to various others the URLs that seem to me likely to be of interest to specific interwebs buddies.
For years now I’ve used Zotero to keep track of the blog postings that are especially fraught with meaning for myself, and there’s a link at the top of my blog that connects to
which sort of mirrors the day to day flux of engagements. Missing from this list (because I can’t discern any way to include) is the aboutness categories into which I place the links. I can capture the links to specific aboutnesses (e.g., Trumpery captures the links to postings on that subject; anthro tracks what strikes me as preservation-worthy in that realm; and lexicon for wordstuff… and so on). So I can keep track of my own interests, as reflected in the reverse order of stuff I send to Zotero, and I can figure out when I first encountered something via RSS, though I rarely do that sort of retrospective inquiry. But the whole thing is rather unwieldy.
Perhaps I’m missing or misunderstanding something of Zotero’s powers as an information management tool, but it seems to me there should be some way to hashtag Zotero captures, and thus potentially to incorporate them into discourse. Which is to say that I’m wrestling with how to capture the flow of important stuff and then expose it to wider audiences. An activity I’ve been engaged in forever, it seems.
Being just about to journey to Boston for a prostatectomy, it’s perhaps a good moment to reflect on what I’ve been up to lately, and maybe not so lately too. Here is some of the current thinkage.
I have zero personal history of hospitalization or, indeed, of anything but robust good health: no serious injuries, no experience of pain or physical inconvenience beyond the occasional back spasm, minimal contact with health care systems and their priests and acolytes. I don’t know what to expect from anesthesia or its aftermath: will I still be me? I’m not sure just what challenges I’ll encounter during “recovery” from the surgery, though one hopes for few and those readily overcome.
In the 11 1/2 years since retirement (back in September 2005) I’ve had a wonderful time doing pretty much as I pleased, reading omnivorously, walking, playing (mostly solitary) music, doing photography, sorting through and (selectively) resuming work on long-run enterprises, occasionally venturing to the shop for woodworking projects, traveling some, reconnecting with people and places of the past, and generally working on figuring out What It’s All About.
If there’s anything missing from this mostly-blameless recreation, it’s Audience. The best thing about being a teacher and a librarian was having a constant stream of people to talk with, to pass my discoveries along to, and to collaborate with in assorted constructions. Such interlocutors have been pretty thin on the ground during the last decade, except for occasional visits and visitors and my contacts via electronic media. Of course that’s mostly my doing (or not-doing) and reflects my ineptitude at developing new sodalities.
I do wish I’d been cleverer and more assiduous in using the Web as a medium for gathering and contextualizing and promulgating. My tendency has been to make a lot of pointers but then to skimp on explaining why anybody should thread their way through forests of scantily explicated hyperlinks. The 50th Reunion pages were an effort to entice my Harvard classmates into investigating the tangled webs of my doings, but I have little evidence that anyone was ever inviegled. Likewise the topical links at the head of this blog page (Brisées et bricolage, Quotations, Zotero, etc.), which display all sorts of fascinations but are mostly of interest and use to myself. I sometimes feel that I’m one of the few people still entranced by the blogosphere and following RSS feeds for a lot of blogs, an old dog who disdains new tricks (I’ve never been tempted to Facebook or Twitter, and NOW I know what it was that I was leery of). And maybe the world of the interwebs and hypertext aren’t really the universal solvents I imagined 20+ years ago, when the World was New. Maybe the medium of the codex book is still, or again, where it’s at.
The series of Blurb books I’ve produced since July 2015 has loosened a logjam of tangled projects and nudged me to think about legacy—about the meanings tied up in the stuff I’ve accumulated, and about what I might do to prepare for its eventual disposition. I’ve been a collector all my life, and harbor materials lovingly gathered across most of my sprawling interests. Each thing (book, LP, mp3, video, CD, DVD, instrument, photograph, downloaded image, electronic device, tool, scrap of realia, nubbin of memory, screed of text) fits somewhere into a (or is it THE?) personal saga, and so is an element in the grand Narrative that lives in my head. I suppose everybody has kindred arrays of stuff, and I could only wish that everybody gets as much pleasure from exploring their hoards as I do from spelunking through mine. It’s sobering to consider that the Indra’s Net [as Wikipedia summarizes: “a metaphor for the complex interconnected networks formed by relationships between objects in a system”] that organizes my mental world goes when I go, unless I somehow manage to build and promulgate distributable versions of what I’ve known, thought, imagined, accumulated. Not that there’s any market for such self-indulgent gallimaufries, but one doesn’t want to leave too much of a mess, and exculpatory discourse is at least a form of context-building.
Putting those Blurb books in one place (large files, so download to view):
- Bluenose Physiognomy Nova Scotia Faces: an exploration of photographs from Nova Scotia junk stores (July 2015)
- Beyond 7000 Ångströms More than our eyes can see: Six months of infrared exploration (January 2016)
- Forebears: Exploring Franklin Blackmer’s family photo archive (March 2016)
- Order Up!: My life and times at Home Kitchen Cafe (May 2016)
- Who was Joe Wilner?: A forensic farrago (May 2016)
- Remembered: A graveyard book (July 2016)
- Tessellations: photographic palindromes (August 2016)
- YMMV: Studies in occultation (September 2016)
Others are in the pipeline.
So we’ll see what emerges once I’m home again. I hope for a lot more photographic work and study, for new musical inspirations, for heaps of new books to read and episodes to watch, for many miles of roads and trails, and of course for culinary epiphanies.
What Henry II said, allegedly: “Will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest?”
and so out rode Reginald FitzUrse, William de Tracey, Hugh de Morville and Richard le Breton.
and on another account: Penny for the Guy.
Just sayin’. Oh, and #nobannowall FTW.
From time to time I happen upon a bit of text that just has to be passed around. Here’s today’s:
Perhaps he was mothersmothered
(born into the muddlecrass, at a time when wimwin).
The mamafesta delivered when he was yung and easily freudened.
For a while, a tenorist who saw the world cycloptically—
in his bachelure flat, the life lamatory, listening to ladies’ lavastories—
bewilderblissed and inn sane, he mistributed the unfacts alcoherently.
Nowanights, he looks at the fadographs with violet indigonation.
An iciclist who fell on a pineapple but still climbs the bannistars
With his tellavicious langurge (or langwedge) points a colliderorscope
at the chaosmos, tells with puerity his rheumaniscences
and awaits a funferall, barks like a duck “quark quark”!
[* Almost all of these words were invented by James Joyce and used in Finnegans Wake]
Peter Kennedy, Literary Review Dec 2016/Jan 2017 pg 58