Friday, November 13, 2009

Quaker Schoolmasters

Re Hugh Pugh (b. 1747-d. aft 1807) the pen artist who made the 1801 "True Lover's Knot" for my great great great grandmother Mary Fisher, was an itinerant Quaker Schoolmaster by profession. He migrated from southeastern PA's Chester County westward into Bedford and later Washington Counties, beginning around 1770 and into the early 19th c.

Reading about Chester Co. Quakers in the 18th c. from the book West Chester to 1865: That Elegant & Notorious Place. (Douglas R. Harper, Chester County Historical Society, 1999) Apparently, school teachers at the time were often "selected not so much for their learning but because they were men incapacitated for farm work by the effects of diseases or injuries."

Hugh was born with "but one hand" (per a mention by his father—Hugh Pugh Sr.'s last Will & Testament in the Chester Co. Archives), thus his career was essentially decided for him @ birth. His father specifically stipulated in his will that his youngest son—who was only about 2 years of age at his father's death—be educated so that he could make a living. Making it still more wondrous that he was such an excellent draftsman.

His father bequeathed him a sum of money—£80 pounds—to be dispersed to him at age 21 as well, but no property. £80 of unskilled wages in the latter 18th c. calculates to an equivalent worth in today's dollars of somewhere around $69K.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fraktur Symposium

Attended the
Fraktur Symposium yesterday held at the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. A day long free (!) event featuring speakers who are expert scholars in the field.

Dr. Don Yoder
, U of P, spoke in the afternoon—detailing his suggestions for advancing research on Pennsylvania's Fraktur traditions.

Thrilled to hear him suggest that research needs to be done regarding True Lover's Knots, which he termed a "parallel form to Fraktur." I was delighted to introduce myself to him after the program and showed him an image of my TLK, which he pronounced to be an important example of the form.

Looking forward to receiving a copy of his article, written some years back, specifically on the topic of Lover's Knots. I've heard of it, but haven't been fortunate enough to encounter a copy of it to date. Of course, I do hope he follows up and sends it on to me. If not, I met two other attendees who have access to a copy, so I can pursue those avenues if necessary.

This link is to just one of the 5 TLKs in the Free Library's collection, which I saw in person last year, thanks to an aid in the Rare Books Department:

Clearly it relates to the piece I own, both in terms of geometric form and the copy included in the labyrinth bands—tho it dates a full 20 years after. All five TLKs in the PFL collection date after mine, and—unlike Hugh Pugh's—all are anonymous (unsigned) and undated.

I highly recommend a visit to the current exhibit of Fraktur in the 3rd Floor Rare Books department galleries. The exhibit is entitled Art and Artifact: Pennsylvania German Fraktur. It's on display until November 10th of this year. This links to the fantastic Digital Collection of
13,000 Fraktur in the PFL's collections:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Appraisement Update

The appraisement for Insurance purposes of this early 19th century Lover's Knot or Valentine is complete and I've received an Affadavit Copy to that end, from Freeman's (America's Oldest Auction House) in Philadelphia, to that end from Lynda A. Cain, Appraiser.

The document states that the fixed value by her in the appraisement is the fair market values for replacement purposes, taking into consideration wear, tear and depreciation, to the best of her knowledge, information and belief, as follows:

American School, 19th Century
A Lover's Knot or Valentine for Mary Fisher
Bedford County, Pennsylvania,
signed and dated "Hugh Pugh, 1801"
watercolor and ink on laid paper,
12-3/4 inches square, framed.


Note: Correspondence and accompanying
genealogy and publications.