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By James Kinsella | The Martha's Vineyard Gazette | June 30, 2006
To the modern eye, the maps are wildly out of whack. Continents are bunched together or simply absent. California usually is in the wrong place. Major rivers wander off into mysterious voids. But these maps, drawn up to 400 years ago, are literal touchstones in the evolution of human culture. "It's who we are, and where we've been," said Nicholas Basbanes of Oak Bluffs, an author who's written about people passionate about rare manuscripts. "It's our history."
Mikey wanted to impress his new girlfriend after getting divorced because his first wife thought he was “dumb.” So he said to her, “Honey, lets play some Trivial Pursuit.” She readily agrees and sets up the board. Being the gentleman that he is, Mikey rolls the dice first and lands on “Science and Nature.” His girlfriend selects the card and reads the question to him, “If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?” Mikey scrunches his face and thinks about it and finally asks . . .”is the vacuum on or off?”
What did Andrew Mellon, J. P. Morgan and Henry Clay Frick all have in common? They all purchased art from renowned art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen. According to a biography, “Duveen: The Story of the Most Spectacular Art Dealer of All Time,” by S. N. Behrman and Glenn Lowry, Lord Duveen dominated the world art market during in the early 1900’s. Now fast forward to 2004, what does Sir Joseph and Thomas Doyle have in common? Absolutely nothing, although the latter claimed he was a direct descendant of the former as he played out his con.
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On July 19, 2006, it was reported that Mr. Doyle had been arrested in New York for stealing a sculpture by artist Edgar Degas from a wealthy collector. Seems Mr. Doyle, a very adept con man was also very knowledgeable about art and convinced retired executive and art collector, Norman Alexander, that he could sell his sculpture. After taking the sculpture to get it authenticated, Mr. Doyle allegedly sold it for $225,000 and never returned the sculpture, prompting Mr. Alexander to report it stolen. Mr. Doyle was living in New York after skipping parole for swindling about $200,000 worth of jewelry from a woman in
And it's the cultural significance of these centuries-old maps that makes the admitted theft of 97 of them by Chilmark resident Edward Forbes Smiley III especially appalling to people who work with and care about maps and rare documents of this vintage. "It's a real betrayal," said Peter Drummey, the Stephen T. Riley librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Mr. Smiley, who had been a highly esteemed dealer in antiquities, pleaded guilty last week in federal and state courts in New Haven, Conn., to stealing rare maps from Beinecke Library at Yale University.
In the late 1960's and early 1970's glass insulators were being removed from telephone poles as advances in technology made them obsolete. As linemen were taking down the old lines, they started to notice the multitude of bright colors, company names, variety of shapes, and important historical position held by insulators in the expansion of communication technology.
The US 127 Corridor Sale started in 1987. It begins at Covington, KY, and runs South to Chattanooga, TN, then switches to the Lookout Mountain Parkway, continuing to Gadsden, AL. The four day sale is now ruled by the first Thursday in August making dates for the 19th annual sale to be August 3-6, 2006. The sale is very popular, and visitors from several foreign countries have attended.
The original intent of the sale was to prove the back roads have something to offer, and that the interstate system was not the only mode for travel. County officials put together a list of attractions along the route in Kentucky and Tennessee. There are over three hundred attractions along the route to provide enjoyment for the family. Whether it be majestic hills, beautiful scenery, river boats,railroads, toe tapping music, arts, crafts, horses, fishing, hiking, bits of Civil War or Indian History, there are many opportunities to enjoy the beauty and culture of the land along the 127 Sale Route.
Cottone Auction and Appraisals of Mt. Morris, New York recently sold a seascape titled Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers, by James Abbot McNeil Whistler for more than $1 million. The painting was formerly owned by the Wadworth family, was purchased by a New Haven, Connecticut fine art dealer, Tom Colville. This prominent family’s ancestors were land speculators that moved to Western New York in the 1700’s.
The 7”x10” painting, a stark representation of roiling, white capped seas below a cloudy sky, is thought by experts to have been painted off the coast of Brittany in about 1783.
Whistler was born in 1834 in Lowell, Massachusetts but lived most of his life in France and England after failing a chemistry exam at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Whistler has been quoted as saying, “If gas were a gas, I would have been a general one day.” His most famous painting is the nearly black and white full length portrait of his mother. Although the paintings actual title is Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, we all know it better as “Whistler’s Mother.”
Presently the insulator collecting hobby has thousands of people around the world. Many collectors live in the U.S. and Canada. A number of websites exist which hold these items as the primary focus, and eBay even has a separate category for insulators. Quite probably, the largest and most informative private website in the hobby is the Glass Insulators Reference Site.
The Chesapeake Bay Insulator Club's 6th Annual Shenandoah Valley Insulator Show & Sale will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2006
in Martinsburg, West Virginia at the Calvary United Methodist Church, 220 W. Burke Street. The show is from 9am to 2pm; dealer set-up
from 7-9am) For more information about the show, or to join the Chesapeake Bay Insulator Club, contact Jeff Hollis at 304.263.6140,