The Green family was one of the Significant Families of Worcester, Massachusetts. I still regard them fondly because of Dr. John Green, who founded the Worcester Public Library (its early incarnation at left). His collection included some extremely rare and beautiful books—the sort NHGs expect to find only at big university libraries. Or in England at some duke’s place. Though not in this priceless category, some of the elderly volumes I consulted for Mr. Impossible bore Dr. Green’s name.
Then there was a Green Hill Park, where once upon a time, the family had lived in a great (for Massachusetts) estate. To my everlasting grief, the house, like so many others, was long gone by the time I discovered it, through old photographs. It included, I recently learned, a museum for the family. And now it turns out that some or all of this collection—art, furniture, furnishings, clothing, books, letters &c—ended up in the care of one lady. When she died, not long ago, the treasure trove went to descendants who do not strike me as being of the Nerdy History persuasion. My big clue was their nicknaming the experts evaluating their inheritance “antique geeks.” So I was troubled, but hardly surprised by their decision to sell off the lot.
I haven’t had time to go through all the catalogs. For sheer quantity, if not historical value, this reminds me of the auction of Horace Walpole’s estate. I did make time to check out the clothing—and it’s enough to make a Nerdy History Girl weep. Ye who are fascinated by historical dress will want to peruse this catalog. You’ll even find some of those pads they used to pouf out sleeves in the 1820s and 1830s!
If you’ve got some time on your hands, you can examine all the catalogs at the auctioneer’s site. Or you can hurry on over to the DCU center in Worcester and bid on something.
But before or after that, would you tell me something? If you were the one who inherited all this stuff, what would you do?
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.