- Today is the feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist.
After the death of Jacques Hamel some denied he was a martyr (witness) because he was not given the opportunity to preserve his life by denying Christ. The Church has had different working definitions of those whom she honors as martyrs. The general definition today is a person who is killed out of hatred of Christ and His Church. But even wider definitions have been used.
Here is what the Venerable Bede says of John the Baptist:
“There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: I am the truth? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.”
Similarly, until recently the Western Church had a feast of the Maccabees, Jews who died in testimony to the truth of the Mosaic Law.
Those who are persecuted because they testify to the truth of God’s law – that the poor should not be oppressed, that the unborn should not be killed, that the innocent should not be murdered – are indeed martyrs, whether or not the Church deems it possible or wise to honor them liturgically. The martyrs, known and unknown, will shine like the sun in the New Creation
Today is the feast of St. Augustine the greatest thinker of the Western Church. Over the years I have read much of his work.
Augustine and Limited Salvation
Two themes have always struck me. First of all, he always interprets Scripture to make salvation as narrow as possible. “God wills all men to be saved” is for Augustine a tautology: God wills all to be saved whom he wills to be saved, which is a small, very small portion of the human race: those who are members of the Catholic Church and remain in grace at the end of their lives. The rest of mankind is a “massa damnationis.”
On one hand this has given the Western Church a zeal for conversion, but this conversion has frequently used means that have tarnished the Gospel. On the other hand it has given the Western Church a narrow, dark character that ends in sectarianisms, Calvinism, Jansenism, and a hardness of heart, In discussions of the possibility of universal salvation, it is clear that many Christians would be sorely disappointed if everyone were saved. They take as their model the Elder Brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Augustine and Time
But what fascinates me most about Augustine is his thoughts on time. A few years ago the Scientific American devoted an entire issue to time; is it real? Illusory? What is it? Does is always move in only one direction? Or can it move in the other direction? If not, why not? The issue concluded that the most profound thought on the nature of time was Augustine’s, and he regarded time as a mystery.
Does the past exist? But everything we know is in the past. Even the sensations of our own body take time to reach our brains. Light from the planets takes minutes to reach us, from the stars years, from the galaxies millions or billions of years. They all could have ceased to exist a million years ago, and we would not know it. If the past does not exist, then we know nothing of the present.
Time and space a creatures of God. Are their properties absolute? Can they, will they, be changed? Open theology fails to see that time exists in God, not God in time.
Can God change the past? What would that mean? He has promised to make all things new. Does that include space and time? Can he, will he, change the past? What would be the meaning of the struggles and sorrows of creation?
Reading Augustine forces one to struggle with some of the profoundest themes of theology and philosophy. It is Cross Fitness Training for the mind.
Augustine and Anglicanism
Augustine is many-sided; and two of those sides may be of special interest to those who worship in the Anglican tradition.
Augustine was above all the Doctor of Love. He examined the human heart and saw that disordered love was the cause of our alienation from God. We do not love as we ought, and therefore our lives are not what they should be.
A moment’s refection should convince us that our loves are disordered. We desire food: but how many of us struggle to eat only what and how much we should; and a handful (anorexics) do not eat enough. Our sexual desires are disordered; we desire those whom we should not desire, or do not desire our spouses enough and in the right way or desire pleasure detached from personal communion in holy matrimony. Wealth, reputation, comfort, knowledge – all good things in themselves – we desire in the wrong way.
And so the priest prays:
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secretes are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy holy spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name.
What should we desire above all else? “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until we rest in Thee.”
And what does God command us:
Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith.
THOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
So love is the center of God’s revelation.
Those who love are filled with unspeakable sorrow if they have injured the one they love. What must a parent feel, if he has even by accident killed his child!
And so our hearts are burdened by the thought that we have sought to injure the One who loves us, that indeed we have crucified Him.
ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life.
Therefore to my ear the Anglican use has an Augustinian flavor or emphasis; such things are not absent from the Ordinary Form of the Roman Liturgy, but the Anglican Use makes them more prominent.
PS. Someone just posted this quote from Martin Thornton’s English Spirituality:
“Grace to Augustine is that love which lies at the heart of his spirituality; it is that which, by its very nature, confers independence on the object of its love. It gives, compelling no return, it is the one force that cannot bargain, it is the opposite of irresistible passion, for it liberates rather than enslaves, creates not destroy, strengthens rather than weakens free volition: in more familiar language, ‘the service of God is perfect freedom.’ What Augustine is insisting upon is the first principle of all sound theology, that God acts first in both creation and redemption, and that his love is the force behind both. We are called to respond to that love, but because of frailty response is difficult, because of concupiscence we are drawn to other, unworthy objects of love. Therefore we need discipline, especially the disciplines of prayer: ascetical theology is the technique of loving God.”
Today is the feast of St. Monica, the patron of all parents who are worried about their children, that is, almost all parents.
The Catholic Herald summarizes the story:
St Monica was born in 331 and is believed to have been of Berber origin. She married a pagan known as Patricius who was prone to violence and annoyed by Monica’s charity and pious habits.
Monica bore three children; Navigius, Perpetua and Augustine. When Augustine fell ill, Monica was greatly distressed because Augustine, like the rest of her children, was not baptised. She begged her husband to allow her to baptise Augustine and he agreed but then withdrew consent once Augustine had recovered.
Following Augustine’s recovery, he became lazy and wayward and was eventually sent to a school in Madauras. He was 17 and studying rhetoric in the city of Carthage when his father died.
During his time at Carthage Augustine became a Manichaean, a follower of a religion founded by the Iranian prophet Mani. Monica was so upset that she sent Augustine away but relented when she experienced a vision, encouraging her to reconcile with him.
St Monica visited a bishop [St. Ambrose] to discuss her concerns about Augustine and he told her: “The child of those tears shall never perish.”
Monica followed Augustine to Rome but when she arrived discovered that he had gone to Milan. She persevered and followed her son to the city, where she met St Ambrose and to her joy discovered that Augustine had embraced Christianity after 17 years of resisting the faith.
Monica and Augustine spent six months in serenity at Rus Cassiciacum (now known as Cassago Brianza) and Augustine was then baptised in the church of St John the Baptist in Milan. When in 387 St Monica died, her son’s grief inspired him to write his famous book Confessions.
Augustine’s body was lost when the city of Hippo where he was bishop was overrun by the Vandals. However, Monica’s body is still preserved in the basilica of S. Agostino in Rome.
The Basilica of St. Augustine in Rome
Several years ago my wife and I were visiting the basilica to pray at her tomb for one of our children who was having a severe crisis. As we left, we encountered on the steps a begging gypsy woman holding a baby (probably borrowed). She knew quite well that any parent leaving the basilica would have a tender heart for children and would open his wallet, which I of course did. I rather liked the gypsy beggars in Rome; they were all dressed a gypsies should be, and I suspect were hired by the city government from central casting to give an authentic flavor to the city.
The Altar that contains the body of St. Monica
Someone has written a Litany of St. Monica:
St. Monica, pray for us and for our children.
Model of wives, pray for us and for our children.
You who converted your unbelieving husband, Mother of St. Augustine, pray for us and for our children.
Strict and prudent teacher, guardian of your son in all his ways, pray for us and for our children.
You who carefully watched over his conduct, pray for us and for our children.
You who were sorely distressed at his erring from the right, pray for us and for our children.
You who were untiring in your petitions for his soul’s safety, pray for us and for our children.
You who still hoped on amid the bitterness of your heart and your floods of tears, pray for us and for our children.
You who were filled with consolation upon his return to God, pray for us and for our children.
You who died calmly after faithfully fulfilling your duties, pray for us and for our children.
You who are the prayerful intercessor of all mothers who pray and weep as you did, pray for us and for our children.
Preserve the innocence of our children, we beseech you, St. Monica.
Protect them against the deceits of evil men, we beseech you, St. Monica.
Protect them from the dangers of bad example, we beseech you, St. Monica.
Watch over the movements of grace in their hearts.
Let the Christian virtues strike deep root in their hearts and bear much fruit.
Redouble your intercession for youth approaching manhood.
Obtain for all in mortal sin true contrition and perfect conversion.
Obtain for all mothers to fulfill their duties steadily and perseveringly.
Commend all mothers to the protection of the ever-blessed Virgin Mother of Our Lord.
Favorably incline the heart of your beloved son Augustine to the salvation of our children.
St. Augustine, holy son of a saintly mother, pray for us and for our children.
The Feast of Anna and Joachim
There is also a charming image of the kiss of Ann and Joachim at the Golden Gate.
Here are Joachim and Ann with the new-born Mary in swaddling clothes.
Another was modeled after the icon of The Mother of God Sweet-Kissing, Mary is shown tenderly embracing Ann.
Ann was frequently show holding Mary who was holding Jesus.
I like the image of Joachim holding his daughter; again, based on the icon of The Mother of God Sweet-Kissing.
Isil knifemen ‘shouted Daesh and slit priest’s throat’ in Normandy after taking nuns hostage in church as doctor is shot at German clinic
‘Islamic State’ Chanting Attackers ‘Behead’ Priest During Morning Mass In France
The Democrats accurately point out that overall violence is decreasing; they can’t understand why Trump’s warnings have resonance in the electorate.
I suspect there are three causes.
Social media instantaneously gives us the news and the gore: videos of police violence, a dead child in the streets of Nice, policemen under attack.
Much of the violence is directed against the institutions and traditions that hold society together: police, priests, Bastille Day celebrations, the Boston Marathon.
Violence can occur anywhere (rural Normandy at a weekday mass!) We cannot feel safe anywhere.
The martyred priest, Jacques Hamel
The Democrats try to brush off anxiety about violence off as unreasonable; they tell Americans that they should be worried about the real danger: global warming.
In a new interview published in The Atlantic magazine, President Obama says he is more worried about climate change than the terrorist group ISIS.
“ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States,” he told Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg. “Climate change is a potential existential threat to the entire world if we don’t do something about it.”
In France the Socialist Prime Minister has this consolation:
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated, “We would like to tell the French people that we will never give in. We will not give in to the terrorist threat. The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.”
Terrorism is the new normal, and they will just have to get used to it, because the Socialists will do nothing effective to prevent it (not even coordinating the intelligence and security services).
It is a great consolation as one’s throat is being cut that the government is focused on global warming. Somehow I don’t think the electorate is going to accept this, and will turn to those who promise to end the violence (although the cure may end up being worse than the disease).
UPDATE: The Breath-Taking Incompetence of the Socialist Government:
One of the Normandy church murderers was a convicted terrorist who was meant to be living with his parents with an electronic tag on his ankle, according to security sources.
The astonishing revelation – made to the French TV news channel I-Tele – well cause further outrage in a country devastated by constant security failings.
Two attackers were shot dead by police commandos during the siege at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray this morning, and their identities are already known to the authorities.
One, who lived close to the church, is said to have left for Syria in 2015 to try and join Islamic State, but he was arrested in Turkey.
He was jailed for terrorist offences following a short trial in France, before being released on March 2nd this year.
But this did not stop him becoming involved in today’s atrocity, in which Father Jacques Hamel, 86, had his throat cut.
Neither of the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray attackers have yet been named.
French security services have been regularly criticised for the way they allow known terrorists their freedom after being found guilty of crimes.
The church where a priest was killed after having his throat cut by two knife-wielding hostage-takers was on the ‘kill list’ of a suspected ISIS terrorist arrested last year.
The two attackers entered the Church of the Gambetta at around 9.45am local time (8.45am UK time) during morning prayers and took a priest, two nuns and two worshippers hostage.
Parish priest Jacques Hamel was killed and a worshipper is fighting for life after being attacked before police shot the two knifemen dead.
It has since emerged Sid Ahmed Ghlam, 24, – who was arrested in Paris last April – had the name of the church in a series of documents believed to be related to the planning of terror attacks.
Enculturation can be a free-lance enterprise. In the 18th century, Catholic missionaries would circulate among the native peoples of far southern South America and get to a settlement perhaps once a year or less. One group of these peoples was the Mapuche. They liked baptism.
Since priests presented them with gifts on the occasion of baptism, Mapuche parents found it advantageous to have their children baptized repeatedly, and, with passage of time, Mapuches came to think of baptism as an admapu – an ancestral custom.
But the Mapuche, although they liked the gifts, felt sorry for the missionaries who had to make exhausting and dangerous journeys to baptize. One Mapuche came up with a solution:
he asked “if it would suffice to baptize their penises, then all of their future children would be baptized and with this they [the Franciscans] would not have to tire themselves in travelling to Indian lands every year to baptize the little ones.” (David Weber Bárbaros)
The Franciscans thought the Mapuches were “poorly instructed,” unlike, presumably, the Spanish who managed to incorporate aggressive war and slavery into their religious system (despite the efforts of King and Pope).
British men, like Western men in general, find church an alien environment. Clive Fields summarizes the results of recent surveys:
Although most men have visited a church within the past two years, principally for a rite of passage, it is apparently not a place in which they feel entirely at ease, in comparison with other environments which were enquired about. The latter even included ladies underwear shops, where many men said they would feel more relaxed than in a place of worship.
Only 20% of men said they would feel very comfortable in church, with 41% uncomfortable. There were significant variations by age, with 58% of the 18-24 year-olds feeling uncomfortable in church but 22% of the over-65s. Even among professing Christians, 41% of 18-24 year-olds feel uncomfortable in church.
Hymn-singing partly explains male discomfort about attending a church service. 48% have an aversion to singing hymns, with still bigger numbers of the young and those with no religious affiliation.
However, there is also discomfort about singing in public more generally, such as in public houses (60%) and at parties (52%). Only in the privacy of the shower (83%) and alone in the car (86%) do men feel totally relaxed about exercising their vocal chords.
I happen to like singing hymns (depending on the hymn – no On Eagle’s Wings, thank you). But perhaps British churches should concentrate on choirs.
“Through the envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.”
The Wisdom of Solomon
He was a rapper trying to stop violence in Baltimore. Tyriece Travon Watson, better known as Lor Scoota, had just finished hosting a charity basketball game. The fliers advertising the event had said, “Pray for peace in these streets.” Music artists and important faces from around the city had come together to prove they could get along.
Lor Scoota got in his car and left the arena. Bringing peace to Baltimore was a message he had been trying to spread — on panels, in classrooms and in his music.
“How I’m supposed to live with all this death in my sight?” the 23-year-old had once sung.
Lor Scoota was about a mile away from the arena when he was shot and killed.
Baltimore police said the rapper was driving east at 6:56 p.m. Saturday when an unknown black male wearing a white bandanna stepped into the street and opened fire into Lor Scoota’s car. He was transported to an area hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly after. Homicide detectives are investigating the shooting as a targeted attack.
Why did someone kill Lor Scoota? A friend suspected why:
“In Baltimore city, once you’re doing good, you’re a target. Nobody wants to see you doing better than they are doing,” he said. “You try to make it to the top, they’re pulling you down so you still here. That’s why they say once you do your thing, leave.”
Much of the violence in Baltimore is fueled by a cult of honor. Young black men will not tolerate being dissed. Their reputation for violence is all that protects them. They follow this version of the psalm: “Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I am the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the valley.”
But apparently something else is at work too: envy. People do not want to see other people succeed. They are sad and resentful at another’s good. Peasant communities are afflicted with it, and so apparently is the ghetto.
Baltimore has been climbing back out of its decline. The Inner Harbor is being edged with luxury housing and some older neighborhoods are being spiffed up. All this provides new jobs and new revenue for the city to use in providing better education and social services. But several residents I spoke to thought that the contrast of prosperity with the decay and failure of poor neighborhoods had provoked envy and a desire to destroy the successful, and was one of the causes of the riot. Envy too may have been the motive for the murder of Lor Scoota.
Certain politicians try to appeal to envy by denouncing income inequality and cultivating a resentment against the successful. It is an unwise strategy, according to the Wisdom of Solomon.
Trump and his Boss
The right in America is home to a number of paranoid conspiracy theories, as the mainstream media are quick to point out. My favorite is that the world is secretly run by flesh-eating green space lizards disguised as humans, although I am not sure if that qualifies as a rightist conspiracy theory. (It might explain Donald Trump; the lizards didn’t quite get human color and hair right.)
But the soi-disant “rational,” “science-based” left is also a Petri dish for breeding paranoid conspiracy theories. However such theories, or at least their theorists, are generally given a pass, on the general principle of no enemies to the Left.
Pamela Newkirk gives a favorable review in the Washington Post to White Rage by Carol Anderson, a professor of African American history at Emory University. Anderson documents undoubted cases of oppression of blacks, but then starts seeing mysterious shadows.
Her most explosive allegation is that at a time when marijuana use was down, and cocaine, heroin and hallucinogen use was declining or leveling off, Reagan’s National Security Council and CIA “manufactured and facilitated” a drug crisis and were complicit in flooding African American communities with crack. She says the administration’s shielding of Colombian drug traffickers “actively allowed cocaine imports to the United States to skyrocket 50 percent within three years. . . . Soon crack was everywhere, kicking the legs out from under black neighborhoods,” she writes.
“The Reagan administration’s protection of drug traffickers escalated further when the CIA received approval from the Department of Justice in 1982 to remain silent about any key agency ‘assets’ that were involved in the manufacturing, transportation, or sale of narcotics,” she adds.
I see, the Federal government, presumably under both Republican and Democratic administration, has been aiding and abetting the sale of drugs to African Americans. This is what everyone else calls the War on Drugs and which many criticize for its uselessness.
The New York Time’s review fails to mention this interesting part of Anderson’s thesis.
I remember Cynthia McKinney, Democratic black women Representative who after 9-11 claimed that Bush had deliberately facilitated the whole affair. As Wikipedia summarizes:
McKinney gained national attention for remarks she made following the 2001 US attacks, charging that the United States had advance knowledge of the attacks and that George W. Bush may have been aware of the incipient attack and allowed them to happen, allegedly due to his father’s business interests: “It is known that President Bush’s father, through The Carlyle Group, had–at the time of the attacks–joint business interests with the bin Laden construction company and many defense industry holdings, the stocks of which have soared since September 11.”
But of course, this is not an evidence of paranoia, because as is well known everything blacks claim must be true, or at least must not be contradicted, because they have a privileged position as The Oppressed.
Political correctness trumps rationality for the Left.
PS McKinney is palsy with “David Icke, a man best known for believing that the world is run by a secret cabal of shapeshifting reptilian aliens.”
in Lawrence Family, Uncategorized 1 Comment Tags: 19864 World's Fair, Arthurdale, Castle Clinton, Chip Chop, Eleaor Roosevelt, Eric Gugler, Firestone Memorial, Forum Auditorium, Hall of Our History, Mayo Memorial, Oval Room, Paul Manship, Snedens Landing, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, West Wing
Eric Gugler was the husband of Anne Elizabeth Tonetti, my wife’s cousin. He was born March 13, 1889, in Milwaukee, the son of Julius Gugler and Bertha Rose Bremer. According to Camoupedia
“Gugler is a prominent name in the printing industry in Milwaukee WI. It begins with a German-born engraver named Henry Gugler, Sr. (1816-1880), who came to the US in 1853. During the Civil War, he was an important engraver for the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington DC, producing, among other famous works, a life-sized steel engraving of Abraham Lincoln. In the 1870s, he moved to Milwaukee and became a partner with his son Julius Gugler (1848-1919) in the H. Gugler & Son Lithographing Company.
According to certain sources, Julius Gugler was a poet as well as a printer. Among other art-inclined family members were his daughter Frida Gugler (1874-1966), a painter who had studied with William Merrit Chase, and her younger brother, Eric Gugler (1889-1974), who achieved considerable success as a muralist, sculptor, interior designer and architect.
As an aspiring artist-architect, Gugler studied at The Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then also earned a BA degree at Columbia University in 1911. For three years, before the war began, he also studied at the American Academy in Rome.
While in Rome Gugler, according to David H. Wright,
developed a scheme for a monumental approach to S. Pietro, calling for the old Borgo to be replaced by a vast tree-lined boulevard articulated by a series of reflecting pools leading from Bernini’s piazza to a much larger obelisk and vast circular piazza by the Tiber/ At least Gugler’s project was less brutal that Mussolini’s Via della Conziliatione.
Eric was in the military from October 10, 1917 to December 6, 1918. There he had an unusual job (which is why he is in Camoupedia): designing camouflage for ships to protect them from submarine attack.
Eric Gugler, three-stage diagram (c1918) in which actual structural changes are made to the height and positioning of a ship’s masts, smoke stacks, and other features in order to throw off the course calculations of U-boat gunners.
Chicago War Memorial
Eric became a fashionable New York architect. His office address was always 101 Park Avue, the office of McKim, Meade, and White. In 1929 he won first prize for a competition for Chicago’s War Memorial.
David H. Wright comments on the design:
It was to be an island at the culmination of the axis of Congress Street and Gugler’s scheme called for a rectangular frame of a dozen square piers 200 feet high around a mock sarcophagus big enough for the bones of at least a regiment of casualties. Mussolini would have been delighted but probably would have felt it had too little classical ornament. Mercifully, it was never built.
He rented a house that Mary Lawrence Tonetti owned; it was on 40th St, directly across from the Tonetti’s house – studio. He met Anne, and they married in 1932, with the marriage witnessed by Justice Benjamin Cardozo.
Forum Auditorium Interior, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Forum Auditorium under construction
In the early Depression years, Eric and his associate Richard Brooks got the commission to design the interior of the Forum Auditorium in the State Education Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They
wanted to depict the march of progress of mankind and the overwhelming majesty of the heavens. The maps and adjacent tablets on the upper promenade walls commemorate the socially-significant individuals who made famous the great period of each particular locale. The ceiling was painted on individual canvas sections and decorated with constellations and depictions from the Zodiac. More than one thousand stars are shown in their proper position. Three hundred sixty five are of crystal glass, now illuminated by energy-efficient LED lights.
Forum Auditorium restored
The designers explained their plan:
In painting the ceiling of the Forum we have made an effort, however ineffectual it might be, to achieve some idea of the grandeur of the heavens…Outlined in gold against the deep blue background of the sky, they [the constellations] stir the imagination to a vivid realization of the infinite patience and awe with which both common men and philosophers have long studies the heavens. The artists, by their gold and silver and blue pattern, studded with crystal stars, have concentrated this drama of creation into a spectacle of awe and wonder. The long lines of the celestial meridians are spun out in silver like a web of a cosmic spider. The wakes of the planets as they swing through the oceans of endless blue space are traced in foamy white.
The most interesting part of the design is
the central sunburst of glittering silver rays which conceals the central ventilating shaft of the Auditorium. Upon its diagrammatic representations of the three great theories of the solar system by which men have tried to account for day and night, winter and spring, summer and autumn, the apparently independent and sometimes erratic movements of the planets and other heavenly bodies.
Eric seems to have been fascinated by astronomy.
Murals line the Promenade level.
It was built in 1795; Eric remodeled it in 1921. John Cheever bought it in 1961.
Eric designed the Hutchens Bench in Central Park.
This monument to Hutchins was erected in 1932, a gift of August S. Hutchins. It measures nearly four feet high by twenty-seven feet long, and its architect was Eric Gugler. The carved white marble stonework is attributed to Corrado Novani and the Piccirilli Brothers studio, the same firm responsible for the Maine Monument at Columbus Circle and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The sundial component was designed by Albert Stewart, and famed sculptor Paul Manship is credited with the small bronze figure at its center.
Three semicircular lines inscribed in the paving match the bench’s shadow lines at 10:00 a.m., noon, and 2:00 p.m. at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. Etched into the back of the bench are the Latin phrases, Alteri Vivas Oportet Sit Vis Tibi Vivere and Ne Diruat Fuga Temporium. Loosely translated, these mean, “You should live for another if you would live for yourself,” and “Let it not be destroyed by the passage of time.”
The Roosevelt Commissions
Val Kill in Hyde Park
He and Henry J. Toombs designed Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage Val Kill. She therefore called upon Eric when one of her pet projects, Arthurdale, ran into difficulties.
The collapse of the financial and economic system during the Depression led some New Dealers to want to revive village life based on subsistence farming. Arthurdale was set up for unemployed coal miners; it did not work out. It was too isolated for small industry and the farmers could not grow enough to feed themselves.
Plans for Arthurdale; Eric on right
Franklin Parker explains some of the difficulties:
Arthurdale faced frequent disagreements, mismanagement, and lack of communication between New Deal and local officials. Louis Howe is said to have told Harold Ickes: you buy the land; I’ll buy the houses. Despite Mrs. Roosevelt’s caution, but pressed by a desire to house the homesteaders before Christmas 1933, Howe ordered by phone 50 prefabricated Cape Code cottages from Boston.
Designed for summer use and unsuitable for northern West Virginia winters, they were also smaller than the foundations prepared for them. Mrs. Roosevelt asked New York architect Eric Gugler to recut, rebuild, and winterize the cottages to fit the foundations and the weather. Costs, of course, skyrocketed.
Arthurdale suffered from too many uncoordinated committees trying to get too many things done too quickly. There was also interference, though well intentioned, from Howe and Mrs. Roosevelt. There were contradictory orders, delays, waste, and cost overruns. Interior Secretary Ickes, a frugal administrator, wrote in his diary, “We have been spending money down there like drunken sailors.”
Despite delays and some incomplete and unoccupied homes, Arthurdale opened officially June 7, 1934.
C. J. Malone in his book Back to the Land: Arthurdale, FDR’s New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning, takes a dim view of the project:
Finally, by July 1934, 43 of the first 50 homes were occupied, and Eric Gugler and his team packed up and headed back home. Having wrecked and wasted his way into Arthurdale’s history, Gugler was called away to Washington, onward and upward to his justly earned rewards, proving yet again that it is not war that is the health of the state; it is failure.
The West Wing of the White House
Eric Gugler was employed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to rebuild the West Wing of the White House. Perhaps his camouflage background recommend him: Roosevelt wanted an office that would have easier access to the living quarters and conceal as much as possible his polio. The west door opens onto a ptrvate study, minimizing time in the public corridor. There were some precedents.
President William Howard Taft made the West Wing a permanent building, expanding it southward, doubling its size, and building the first Oval Office. Designed by Nathan C. Wyeth and completed in 1909, the office was centered on the south side of the building, much as the oval rooms in the White House are. Taft intended it to be the hub of his administration, and, by locating it in the center of the West Wing, he could be more involved with the day-to-day operation of his presidency. The Taft Oval Office had simple Georgian Revival trim, and was likely the most colorful in history; the walls were covered with vibrant seagrass green burlap.
Taft’s Oval Office
On December 24, 1929, during President Herbert Hoover’s administration, a fire severely damaged the West Wing. Hoover used this as an opportunity to create more space, excavating a partial basement for additional offices. He restored the Oval Office, upgrading the quality of trim and installing air-conditioning. He also replaced the furniture, which had undergone no major changes in twenty years.
West Wing floorplan
Dissatisfied with the size and layout of the West Wing, President Franklin D. Roosevelt engaged New York architect Eric Gugler to redesign it in 1933. To create additional space without increasing the apparent size of the building, Gugler excavated a full basement, added a set of subterranean offices under the adjacent lawn, and built an unobtrusive “penthouse” story. The directive to wring the most office space out of the existing building was responsible for its narrow corridors and cramped staff offices. Gugler’s most visible addition was the expansion of the building eastward for a new Cabinet Room and Oval Office.
West Wing under construction
Gugler took the concept of Taft’s office and expanded it in an elegant Classical / Art Moderne mode. He used built in bookcases and lighting in the cove moldings. He also came up with the idea of twin chairs flanking the fireplace, so Roosevelt could be photographed sitting and on the same level as visiting dignitaries. That arrangement has been kept.
Oval Office Plan
FDR in Oval Office
The modern Oval Office was built at the West Wing’s southeast corner, offering FDR, who was physically disabled and used a wheelchair, more privacy and easier access to the Residence. He and Gugler devised a room architecturally grander than the previous two rooms, with more robust Georgian details: doors topped with substantial pediments, bookcases set into niches, a deep bracketed cornice, and a ceiling medallion of the Presidential Seal. Rather than a chandelier or ceiling fixture, the room is illuminated by light bulbs hidden within the cornice that “wash” the ceiling in light. In small ways, hints of Art Moderne can be seen, in the sconces flanking the windows and the representation of the eagle in the ceiling medallion. FDR and Gugler worked closely together, often over breakfast, with Gugler sketching the president’s ideas. One notion resulting from these sketches that has become fixed in the layout of the room’s furniture, is that of two high back chairs in front of the fireplace. The public sees this most often with the president seated on the left, and a visiting head of state on the right. This allowed FDR to be seated, with his guests at the same level, de-emphasizing his inability to stand. Construction of the modern Oval Office was completed in 1934.
Oval Office showing cove lighting
Oval Office 2008
The White House Steinway
The White House had piano serial number 100,00. It was showing its age, so the company proposed another piano, serial number 300,000. Eric Gugler designed it. It
is more than 9 feet long, with a case of Honduras mahogany, gilt in gold leaf by artist Denbar Beck. Three large gilded eagles, designed by sculptor Albert Stewart, served as the ledgs, The case featured cowboys, New England barn dancers, African-American folk singers, and Native American ceremonial dancers.
The Battle of Castle Clinton
Interior as restored by Gugler
Eric was also interested in historic preservation. He supervised the restoration of the sub-Treasury building in Lower Manhattan. Eleanor Roosevelt on May 23, 1942 wrote
Mr. Eric Gugler called for me at 9:30 this morning in New York City and, with shame I admit, for the first time I visited the Sub-Treasury Building on Wall Street. A group of people have been interested in seeing the very beautiful rotunda restored and made a fitting place where ceremonies of different kinds can be carried on.
At present, it is used by the passport service and it is difficult to visualize how beautiful it will be when the partitions are taken out. The detail around the doors, the old iron grill work of the balcony, the beautiful pillars and really perfect proportions make it a most beautiful and dignified hall.
Castle Clinton as New York Aquarium
According to Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, the closing of the Aquarium and the entire Battery Park early in 1941 was necessary for safety reasons during the construction of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Then in May 1941, Moses proposed demolishing the structure… Eric Gugler, a former White House architect affiliated with several civic groups dedicated to preserving the history of New York City including the ASHPS and the Fine Arts Federation, immediately contacted the National Park Service and confirmed with Acting Director A. E. Demaray that the preservation of Castle Clinton was under review. By 1942, Moses presented a Battery Park redesign with an open vista onto the Statue of Liberty in place of Castle Clinton. …Even Ole Singstad, the Chief Engineer for the Tunnel Authority, stated that Castle Clinton wouldn’t interfere with the construction of the tunnel. Despite all this effort, in July 1942, the Board of Estimate approved Commissioner Moses’ plan for the park. … However, the need for personnel and equipment for the war effort on the national level made it impossible for Moses’ plan to move forward. During this time, Eric Gugler attempted to gain support from influential people who had their roots in New York City including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. Justice Frankfurter provided access to Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior. After the war ended, both sides renewed their efforts to win the fight over Castle Clinton. McAneny and Gugler’s group argued in a letter sent to the New York newspapers that the destruction of Europe during the recent war and the tragic loss of many historic structures should encourage preservation of the 1812 fort. … In August 1946, President Harry Truman signed the bill into law, creating Castle Clinton National Monument.
Castle Clinton today
Charles and William Mayo Memorial, Rochester
Eric designed the setting for the Mayo Memorial. The sculptor wrote that he semi-circle amphitheater symbolizes the operating room, suited to the statue of the brothers who are dressed in operating gowns.
Harvey S. Firestone Memorial, Akron Ohio
The impetus to create a monument to Harvey Firestone in Akron began shortly after his death in 1938; however, the advent of the war temporarily delayed the project, although discussions regarding the site continued in 1944 between representatives of the Firestone company and the architect Eric Gugler. It was during these discussions that the patron expressed the desire that the work include more than just a statue of Firestone. Gugler then developed the concept of the allegorical bas relief panels on a curved exedra.
In 1938 Gugler conceived the idea for “The Hall of Our History.” The war intervened and he did not revive it until 1953, in the form of an open-air court of granite with walls 90 feet high enclosing an area roughly 350 feet by 420 feet at Pine Mountain, Georgia.
This was near FDR’s house in Warm Springs. The Roosevelts supposedly were going to donate a farm and the State of Georgia was going to donate 2000 acres to keep the view free from construction clear to the horizon.
Gugler waxed rhapsodic:
It will be open to the sky and set in a cathedral-like grove of pines. The walls will have portrayed on granite surfaces impressive inscriptions of great distinction, imperishable phrases from out past, and in high relief groups of figures, episodes, and events of our history.”
There would also be a 22 foot high statue of Washington and a temple housing the originals of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Gugler persuaded Eleanor Roosevelt and Milton Eisenhower and others who should have known better to serve on the board, but nothing came of the idea, because it was projected to cost $25 million in 1953 dollars (perhaps $300 million in 2016 dollars).
Gugler tried to revive it in 1960.
Anzio Cemetery Chapel 1956
The American military cemetery at Anzio consists of a chapel to the south, a peristyle, and a map room to the north. On the white marble walls of the chapel are engraved the names of 3,095 of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. The map room contains a bronze relief map and four fresco maps depicting the military operations in Sicily and Italy.
Gugler designed the ceiling, in the same vein as his design for the Forum Auditorium.
Ceiling of Chapel
In the ceiling of the Chapel is a sculpture, 22 feet in diameter, which depicts signs of the Zodiac in raised relief representing the constellations. The planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn occupy the same relative positions that they occupied at 0200 hours on January 22, 1944, when the first American troops landed on the beaches of Anzio.
Chip Chop 1957
The actress Katharine Cornell had a house in Snedens Landing, and employed Eric to design her beach house, Chip Chop.
Chip Chop is located on Martha’s Vineyard, a small island just off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. There are four chops on the island which define direction or bearing for the fisherman; the house is between East Chop and West Chop, so it is Chip Chop. The house has five structures; the caretaker’s house, the main house, the great room and the two guest houses.
It is understated. It is approached by a dirt road.
The general atmosphere is Beach House rather than Hampton Mansion.
Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller at Chip Chop
New York, World’s Fair, 1964
Paul Manship and Eric collaborated on the Armillary Sphere at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial 1963-1967
Eric Gugler helped Paul Manship remodel into a home and studio the two town houses on New York’s 321 East 72nd Street (since demolished) that Manship had purchased in 1927. This began their association, and they collaborated on the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial.
Their first proposal was for an armillary sphere.
Proposed Theodore Roosevelt Memorial
The NPS describes the memorial as it was built:
Constructed between 1963 and 1967, the present memorial is a large plazaset in a clearing on the northern part of the island. Designed by architect Eric Gugler, it consists of an open granite-paved oval plaza flanked by two pools with fountains. A water-filled moat spanned by footbridges surrounds the whole area. Four 21-foot-high granite tablets inscribed with quotations from his writings surround a 17-foot-high bronze statue of Roosevelt. Executed by sculptor Paul Manship, the statue shows Roosevelt with one armed raised in “characteristic speaking pose.”
David Wright is not impressed:
In his clumsy way Gugler was still trying to outdo Bernini’s Piazza di San Pietro, and Manship’s Roosevelt, part from his copying an actual frock coat and basing his portrait on a death mask, might have been one of the doughboys standing up and waving his right arm in a politician’s rhetorical gesture.
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial today
Proposed FDR Memorial
Eric also came up with plans for a memorial to FDR in which FDR was wearing the toga of a Roman senator; they were never carried out. He designed a memorial to Eleanor Roosevelt in the garden of the United Nations.
Eleanor Roosevelt Garden, United Nations
Anne and Eric Gugler by Paul Manship
The Green Barn, Snedens Landing
Eric Gugler 1971
Eric and Anne retired to the Green Barn at Snedens Landing, where he died on May 16, 1974.
Mary Trimble Lawrence Tonetti with Lydia, Anne, and Joseph 1906
Anne (also Ann and Annette) Elizabeth Tonetti was born on March 15, 1903 at 136 East 40th St in New York, the daughter of Mary Trimble Lawrence and François Tonetti, and therefore my wife’s fourth cousin twice removed. Anne was raised in an artistic household, as both her mother and father were sculptors, and she also lived in the family compound-artists colony at Snedens Landing.
Her mother took Anne to see Isadora Duncan at the Met, and Anne decided to be a dancer. She and her sister Alexandra attended Elisabeth Duncan’s School of the Dance where they associated with Maurice Stern, Pablo Casals, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Gertrude Stein, and of course Isadora. Ann took a leave from Miss Chapin’s School to tour Europe in a dance troop with Isadora and the Isadorables.
Anne at 17
Anne as a dancer
Anne as an actress
Anne in Saturday’s Children
She then had a brief career as an actress. She appeared in
Between Two Worlds
The Road to Yesterday
Saturday’s Children as “proverbial keeper of a boarding house”
Mrs. Partridge Presents as Madame La Fleur
The Green Hat as Sister Clothilde
Tea for Three
He Who Gets Slapped
Cyrano de Bergerac as the Duenna
Street Scene as “a gossipy scandal monger” with “queenie” the dog.
Between Two Worlds
The Constant Sinner with Mae West
The architect Eric Gugler rented a house from Mary Tonetti. It was directly across from the studio on 40th St, and he met Anne. They married in 1931; Judge Benjamin Cardozo performed the ceremony.
Anne Tonetti Gugler 1937
Anne had to deal with a certain amount on financial irresponsibility on the art of her mother Mary and her husband. Mary lost the properties on 40th St to foreclosure Mary at first rented the houses that she owned in Snedens landing for $15-20 a month to artists, She therefore lost about 12,000-15,000 a year and this was in the 1920s and 1930s. Ann tried to bring financial sanity and pay all the bills. Mary tore up the withholding checks to Social Security. Ann tried to reason with her; Mary responded “Ever since your telegram about my bank account, I have been plunged into deepest gloom.” Fortunately Mary kept the property at Snedens Landing, and after the Depression it steadily increased in value.
In 1979 Anne Gugler donated the Cascade on the Snedens Landing property to Palisades Park Commission. She also gave the Metropolitan two bronzes by St. Gaudens:
Robert Louis Stevenson
Anne died at Snedens Landing March 22, 1990.
Mary Trimble Lawrence, my wife’s third cousin three times removed, was born in December 1869 in New York, the daughter of Henry Effingham Lawrence and Lydia Greene Underhill. Her middle name came from her mother’s sister’s husband, Merritt Trimble. The Trimbles lived next door to the Lawrences on 25th St., and Mrs, Trimble. Annie Underhill, was Mary’s favorite aunt. The Lawrences attended Grace Church, where they sat in the pew behind the future Edith Wharton. Henry bought a farm, Arcadia, at Snedens Landing, opposite Dobb’s Ferry on the Hudson, a place that was to play an important role in his daughter’s life and indeed in artistic life to this day. There he built Cliffside.
The Lawrence family had a connection with the St. Gaudens because they bought their shoes from Bernard St. Gaudens, the father of Augustus. Augustus, when he was twenty-five, came to Snedens Landing to tutor children in drawing when Mary was seven; she may have been in his class. Mary converted a summer house on the property to her studio; her first sculpture, of her dog Dandy, survives.
Mary with Friends
Mary and Anna and Friends
The Family at Snedens Landing
L to r: Edith Lawrence, Grandmother Underhill, Mrs Merritt Trimble, Merritt Trimble, Joseph Lawrence, Lydia Greene, Annie Underhill, Mrs. Henry E. Lawrence
Aunt Ann by Mary
The family encouraged her work, and in 1886-1887 did the Grand Tour with sister Edith and her aunt, Annie Underhill, who lived next door on 25th St. Mary illustrated her travel journal.
Mary was amused by those who knew what to admire because it had a star in the Baedeker.
She observed the parade of humanity at the grand hotels
and had to run the gauntlet at hotels.
In Paris she visited a dressmaker who had her own ideas of what a wealthy young women should wear while strolling.
Mary, having grown up much of the time in the country, had her own ideas of what walking clothes should be.
She returned home briefly and then in April 1887 entered the Academie Julien in Paris (the Ecole des Beaux-Arts did not accept women until 1897). Within a week of her arrival in Paris, Mary Lawrence was invited to Auguste Rodin’s art studio which he shared with his student and young mistress Camille Claudel. Together they strolled through the studio where Mary got to see the models for The Burghers of Calais and some of the figures from The Gates of Hell.
The Studio by Académie Julian student Marie Bashkirtseff.
Mary studied at the Academie until the summer of 1888 when she began teaching under St. Gaudens at the Art Students League in New York. In 1890 plans for the Columbia Exhibition in Chicago began, and in the fall of 1891 St. Gaudens asked Mary, only twenty-three years old, to do the main statue of Christopher Columbus.
The Art Students League
Mary is seated, second from left.
St. Gaudens is standing, second from right.
Mary in a work smock
The Court of Honor
Frank Millet, a fair organizer, objected to the prominent placement of the statue and arranged to have it moved to a spot near the train station. The architect Charles Follen McKim, who had fallen in love with Mary in New York, had enough sway in Chicago to get the statue of Columbus returned to its former place. Lawrence never forgave Millet and is quoted as saying, “I could stamp on his face and grind it into the gravel until it bled.” St. Gaudens said that “Miss Mary Lawrence, now Mrs. François M. L. Tonetti, modeled and executed it; and to her goes all the credit of the virility and breadth of treatment which it revealed.” The statue was executed in staff (a temporary artificial stone), and like much of the art for the Exhibition, no longer exists. Mary then helped St. Gaudens with the General John A. Logan monument for Grant Park in Chicago.
General Logan Monument, Chicago
She returned to the Academie Julien in December 1893 to continue her studies. Charles Dana Gibson (also a distant relative of my wife’s) gave a ball, where Mary met François Tonetti. She encountered him again at James Whistler’s home at 110 rue de Bac.
François Michel Louis Tonetti
François’ grandfather moved to Paris and opened a marble shop because in Genoa he had beaten to death his wife’s lover, a priest. He therefore found it expedient to use someone else’s passport and name, Sr. Dozzi, so sometimes the Tonettis were known as the Dozzis.
Tonetti had a dreadful childhood. He was born in Paris in 1864; his father died when he was about six. His mother took in laundry to support him and his two sisters, but during the siege of Paris in 1870-1871 she and his sisters died of starvation. François survived by begging.
After the war François’ grandfather took him into the marble shop. A member of the French Academy visiting the shop saw a statue François had done and invited the boy to move in with his family. There he was exposed to artists and writers. When he was old enough he was sent to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. After school François became an assistant to sculptor Frederick MacMonnies who had been an early assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Mary returned to New York in September 1894. There she worked with St. Gaudens and when he moved to Paris she took over his classes at the Art Students League.
When he met Mary, François was working on a 10 1/2 foot plaster sculpture representing Art, one of eight figures created for the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress.
François, who was taken with Mary, persuaded Monnies to send him to New York to assist with the completion of sculptures for the Brooklyn Memorial Arch on Grand Army Plaza.
Mary and François were engaged in 1899. St. Gaudens was delighted. He wrote to Mrs. Lawrence:
I never knew two people more made for one another, and that they should have been brought together is a smile of fortune. Besides the qualities that befit him peculiarly for Mary, he is a most affectionate and loveable man…I know they will be happy together.
They married in 1900 at Grace Church; she was thirty-two and he thirty-six. They moved into the former Murray Hill Presbyterian Church (where the Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion sermon was preached) at 135 East 40th Street that they had converted into a home with a spacious studio. Summers and weekends were spent at Snedens Landing. They had six children: Oliver Pellier, who died a few days after in birth in July 1901; Ann Elizabeth (1903-1990), who married the architect Eric Gugler; Lydia Lawrence (1904-1943), who married Robert McKee Hyde; Joseph Lawrence (1905-1963), who married Susan McKee Hyde, the sister of Robert; and Marie Françoise, also known as Chrissie because of her December birth (1907-1972), who married first John Drury Ratcliff and then Allan B. Sheldon; and Alexandra (1909-1991), who married Harwood A. White.
Mary and the children
The Tiffany Twins Immortalized in Manhattan
Louise and Julia Tiffany and Admirers
About 1900, judging from the age of the models, Mary did a sculpture of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s twins, Louise Comfort and Julia DeForest. Katherine Cornell, the actress, who had a house at Snedens Landing apparently liked the sculpture so much that when she moved from Snedens Landing in 1965, Mary’s daughter Anne Gugler gave the sculpture to her as a housewarming present. Cornell installed it over the door at her new residence at 328 East 51st St., where it can be seen today.
The Tiffany Twins, reproduction in wood
Mary and François, along with Chester French, Saint-Gaudens and a number of other sculptors, were chosen to create statues for the façade of the U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green and Broadway designed by architect Cass Gilbert (now the National Museum of the American Indian). François sculpted the Doge as a representation of Venice and Queen Isabella personifying Spain. He used Mary’s mother as a model for the Doge’s imperious head.
Mary collaborated on this as well as on the “Birth of Venus” fountain in 1901 for the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo.
François was inspired by the rugged beauty of the Palisades to do a sculpture of American Indian Life: a twenty foot high statue of two Indians, one carrying a dead deer. François’s attempt at realism gives an idea of the tenor of life at the Tonettis’ studio:
To model the deer, François borrowed a fine stag from his friend, Dr. William T. Fornaday, director of the Bronx Zoo, who sent the animal to him in a cage. As it arrived on a hot day and seemed overcome by the heat, François thought it would be more at ease if released from the cage. Once outside the bars, however, the stag ran amok, butted over and smashed things generally in the studio and created havoc, until François, in real terror, seized a shotgun and killed it. Then, thrifty Frenchman that he was, he walked around the corner to his friend the butcher for help in skinning it and carving it up. Mary, meanwhile, arrived back at the studio, found it a bloody mess, with the stag dead in the middle of the chaos and no François, and was herself reaching the panic stage when he walked in happily with the butcher. Together they skinned and quartered the animal and removed it.
François paid the zoo for the stag, and was fined by the investigating police for shooting dear out of season, but for days there was venison at the studio…and his girls, that winter, had intriguing new coats with deerskin collars, miffs, and cuffs. (Savell)
Mary was also interested in the dance. She took Ann (who had a career in the theater) and Alexandra to see Isadora Duncan at the Met, and the girls were stagestruck.
Alexandra on left and Chrissie (Marie) on right
They attended Elisabeth Duncan’s School of the Dance where they associated with Maurice Stern, Pablo Casals, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Gertrude Stein, and of course Isadora. They became Isadorables, and toured Europe in a dance troupe.The Tonettis gave many and large parties; and Mary’s status as a Lawrence assured that invitations were coveted. In 1909 Mary hosted “Une Heure de Danse” at her studio for the benefit of a dancing class for shopgirls. Society members danced :Japanese, Egyptian, Sicilian, and Spanish dances.” The New York Times listed various relatives and acquaintances of my wife’s family: Leonie Alexandre (first cousin) did a Spanish dance; Robert Potter Breese (eighth cousin) did a “buck dance” and an Irish jig; Harvey Ladew (a hunting companion of my wife’s uncle) did a clog dance. Miss McLaughlin “gave a humorous recitation of Salome.” The children were nonplussed by all this. As they grew up in an artists’ studio which often had models in various stages of nudity, they assumed everyone had people walking around naked in their houses.
The staff that took care of the house and five children were varied: an Irish cook; a useful handyman given to benders; Siegfried, a doorman who had been a giant in Barnum’s circus; Siegfried’s Swedish wife; and an Indian prince who studied calculus.
Mary also helped found the Cosmopolitan Club. It began as a club for governesses, who were not interested, so literary and artistic types took it over. Mary installed it in townhouses adjacent to her studio.
François’s life was to be drawn into the events of the great world and prematurely ended,
When John D. Rockefeller, Sr.’s Kykuit was built at Pocantico Hills, François did a number of pieces for the house and grounds. Several years later in 1913 when the façade was changed, he was commissioned to design and execute a pediment that runs across the front facade and two groupings of four cherubs holding baskets of flowers that now stand on either side of it atop side balconies. The Tonettis’ youngest daughter Alexandra was the model for the angelic figures.
Mary finished the figures and oversaw the installation; François, feeling it his duty, had left to serve in the French Army in the First World War as a doctor’s aide.
Among other duties (one involved drawing wounds in color so doctors could judge how they were healing), he used his knowledge if anatomy and the transport of statues to design a brace to allow wounded soldiers to be moved safely.
While in France he contacted pneumonia and returned in ill health at war’s end, dying in 1920 at the age of fifty-six. His last work was a plaque in honor of the Best & Co. employees who served in the First World War.
When Mary sold the Manhattan studio she had a number of his works (including the Indians with Deer) brought out to Snedens in the dead of night, had a hole dug and the sculptures buried.
At Snedens Landing Mary built and rented out a variety of houses on her property to artistic friends, thereby permanent stamping the place as an artists’ colony.
Ding Dong House today
View of Hudson from porch of Ding Dong House
She lived first in the Ding Dong House, so called because of a bell that hung at the entrance gate. Aaron Copland later lived there, as did Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, Jerome Robbins, and Margot Kidder
Many famous and forgotten artists and celebrities have lived in Snedens Landing: Ethel Barrymore, Marcel Duchamp, John Steinbeck, Ginger Rogers, Noel Coward, Orson Wells, Jerome Robbins, Peter Seegar, John Dos Passos, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Al Pacino, Diane Sawyer, Bill Murray, Björk, Phish Frontman Trey Anastasio, Lorraine Bracco, Bill Murray,Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke, Angelina Jolie Pitt, Hayden Panettiere etc. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh lived in the Captain Coastes House; they sailed in a little boat called Fiddle-Dee-Dee; they left it to the town and children continued to sail the Hudson on it.
Captain Coates House
Laurence Oliver on the Fiddle Dee Dee
But Mary rented the houses out for a pittance, $15 a month to start, so she could have creative types around her. After the Cosmopolitan Club moved uptown she mortgaged her properties on 40th St. to pay for remodeling. But in the Depression she lost all the Manhattan properties and retired to Snedens Landing. There she had her gardens.
The Lawrence property included a waterfall, “The Cascade.”
Guest would arrive at Dobbs Ferry, be taken across the Hudson, and stroll to the Cascade where violins and dancers greeted them. Tonetti’s specialty party dish was new and exotic: spaghetti.
Her grandson John Ratcliff describes the gardens:
In the early 1920’s, my grandmother, Mary Lawrence Tonetti, a talented sculptress of the era, designed and built two swimming pools at the base of the waterfall. There was a children’s pool, which when filled, water would cascade over into the larger adult pool adjacent to it. On the Hudson River’s edge, she built an oval-shaped pergola. Arriving at the waterfalls by a path through the woods, one would first come to the two pools, descend a series of staircases to a gravel walkway lined with boxwood hedges and daylily plantings. At the base of the staircase one would pass a fountain with two lions head spigots she had sculpted, that were fed by the pools above and would spew water into the fountain. Proceeding down the path, one would enter the pergola which had columns all around it that supported several grape vines that would bear grapes during the summer.
Lions’ Head Fountain
Mary had admired a monastery on the Amalfi coast when she was on her Grand Tour.
Charles McKim assisted her with the design of a pergola supporting a grape arbor.
It was irresistible as a site for eurythmic dancing.
\Mary is sitting in the pergola in the 1940s.
Mary died at Snedens Landing on March 14, 1945.
Time and vandals took their toll of the gardens. The Cascade is still there.
Hurricane Sandy toppled the last of the pergola’s pillars.
Sources: Isabelle Savell, The Tonetti Years at Snedens Landing, Mary Tonetti Dorra, Demeter’s Choice: A Portrait of My Grandmother as a Younmg Artist.
by Pompeo Batoni
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (today’s feast day) has not been entirely salubrious for the Church. It is no doubt good and helpful to focus on the human nature and emotions of Jesus; but which emotions are presented and how those emotions have been presented has created problems. The intensity of Jesus’ emotions was often expressed in anger, his emotion most frequently mentioned in the Gospels. One would never guess this from the images in popular devotion, which try to convey love, but a love that is devoid of the anguish and intensity that is portrayed in the Gospels. The image of the Sacred Heart has been soft, effeminate, and sappy. Here is a section from my forthcoming book:
The Sacred Heart
If women were responding to Jesus erotically, as they were encouraged to do in the tradition of bridal mysticism which we will examine in the next chapter, one would think that Jesus would be seen as very masculine. However, this was not the case. The original brutal image of the suffering heart that Margaret Mary Alacoque saw was largely replaced by depictions based on a 1767 painting by Pompeo Batoni for the Church of the Gesù (the Jesuit church) in Rome. It shows Jesus, pointing to his heart, but more importantly gazing outward at the viewer, engaging his (or much more often, her) eyes. The new image emphasizes “the tenderness and accessibility, even the vulnerability” of Jesus rather than his brutal physical sacrifice. The feminine softness and sympathetic gaze of Jesus established a bond between him and those who sought his aid, that is, “primarily women and children.” This was a major change, as David Morgan points out, from the original image of the Sacred Heart; it substitutes “closeness and delicacy of feeling for the older passion, devoted personal relationship for penitential anguish.” The tone of hymns expressed this:
Sweet Heart of Jesus, we implore
O make us love thee more and more
Sweet Heart of Jesus, make us pure and gentle
And teach us how to do Thy blessed will,
To follow close the print of Thy dear footsteps
And when we fall, sweet heart, O love us still.
Jesus was seen as a gentle, non-threatening, understanding man, everything that ordinary men were not. The devotion to the Sacred Heart was taken up by the Jesuits and used against their enemies, the Jansenists, who were dubious about the devotion to the Sacred Heart on theological grounds. But even the Jesuits were not happy with the effeminate overtones of the devotion. Franz Hattler in 1894 described the image of Jesus in the Sacred Heart cult as “a matchmaker” with a “flirtatiously bowed head, longing eyes, a mouth puckered with kisses,” and “foppishly crimped hair.” Otto Pfülf found the devotion “too sweet,” “like a pious fantasy,” that was “more suitable for the souls of women.” Richard Burton describes the nineteenth-century French Christ as “curiously androgynous, with his wispy beard, doe-like eyes, and delicate, soft-limbed body.” In 1899 in the United States an historian described the image of the Sacred Heart as “a young man in flowing gowns, with soft face, large eyes, small delicate mouth, slightly parted lips, small thin nose, downy beard, long curly hair parted in the middle and falling gracefully to the shoulders, slender hands,” or, as another critic called the image, “a biological Valentine.” George Cutten at the beginning of the twentieth century claimed that “Roman Catholic art depicts him [Christ] as most effeminate, and he is always described as the passive sufferer, with hyper-developed emotions.”
Such sentiments and images did not appeal to men, as Pius XII recognized, when he criticized those who thought the devotion to the Sacred Heart “a type of piety nourished not by the soul and mind but by the senses and consequently more suited to the use of women, since it seems to them something not quite suitable for educated men.” As a badge, the Sacred Heart had political and therefore masculine implications, but as a devotion it was decidedly non- if not anti-masculine.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
James B. Janknegt, The Visitation, 2008.
Mary is full of the Word. In Mary’s voice, Elizabeth also heard the Word. Mary’s voice conveyed the Word both to Elizabeth and to the unborn John, who leaped for joy and was filled with Holy Spirit, sanctified even in the womb. In this scene we can see a prefiguring of the role that both Catholic and Orthodox give to Mary in the economy of salvation. Through her we receive Jesus. She is the gate through which heaven come to us.
As I said in a previous blog, involvement in a religious community tends to reduce criminality among young men. But that depends on the religion. Here is an abstract (with my emphases) from a recent article:
Dirk Baier, “The Influence of Religiosity on Violent Behavior of Adolescents: A Comparison of Christian and Muslim Religiosity.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 29, no. 1 (2014): 102-127.
“Different criminological theories assume that religiosity protects against violent behavior. Up to now, this assumption is tested empirically almost exclusively for the Christian religiosity. The study presented here questions whether such a relationship between religiosity and violent behavior could be found for Muslims, likewise. Using a German-wide representative school survey of 16,545 male students in the ninth grade, who belong either to a Christian or an Islamic denomination, it can be revealed that only for Christians a higher religiosity correlates with a lower rate of violent behavior. This influence of Christian religiosity can be explained by mainly control theory variables. For Muslims, there is no significant correlation between religiosity and violent behavior in a bivariate analysis. A multivariate analysis, however, reveals a suppression effect: Controlling for alcohol consumption, Muslim religiosity increases violent behavior. In addition, high religious Muslims agree more often to norms of masculinity and consume more often media violence, which are risk factors of violent behavior. Accordingly, it can be concluded that religiosity is not a violence-protecting factor in general; instead, a more differentiated view for separate religious groups is necessary.”
Yes, it depends on the religion. There are very few Methodist or Amish terrorists. Methodism is a church of older women, but the Amish have big families and many teenagers – and little crime.