Born: February 26, 1836, New York City, New York, United States
Died: January 29, 1923, Rome
Buried: Campo Cestio, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy, Plot: 1051 Zona Prima
Periods: Symbolism, Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Tile Club
Known for: Drawing, Oil painting, Mural
Elihu Vedder decorated the hallway of the Reading Room of the Washington Library of Congress, and his mural paintings can still be seen there.
Address: Hallway of the Reading Room of the Washington Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA (38.88868, -77.00471)
Type: Library (open to public)
Hours: Monday through Saturday 8.30-17.00
Phone: +1 202-707-5000
National Register of Historic Places: 66000000, 1965. Also National Historic Landmarks.
The Library of Congress reasserted itself during the latter half of the XIX century under Librarian Ainsworth Rand Spofford, who directed the Library from 1865 to 1897. Aided by an overall expansion of the federal government and a favorable political climate, Spofford built broad bipartisan support for the Library as a national library and a legislative resource, began comprehensively collecting Americana and American literature, and led the construction of a new building to house the Library, and transformed the Librarian of Congress position into one of strength and independence. Between 1865 and 1870, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, placed all copyright registration and deposit activities under the Library’s control, and restored the Library’s international book exchange. The Library also acquired the vast libraries of both the Smithsonian and historian Peter Force, strengthening its scientific and Americana collections significantly. By 1876, the Library of Congress had 300,000 volumes and was tied with Boston Public Library as the nation’s largest library. When the Library moved from the Capitol building to its new headquarters in 1897, it had over 840,000 volumes, 40% of which had been acquired through copyright deposit. A year before the Library’s move to its new location, the Joint Library Committee held a session of hearings to assess the condition of the Library and plan for its future growth and possible reorganization. Spofford and six experts sent by the American Library Association, including future Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam and Melvil Dewey of the New York State Library, testified before the committee that the Library should continue its expansion towards becoming a true national library. Based on the hearings and with the assistance of Senators Justin Morrill of Vermont and Daniel Voorhees of Indiana, Congress more than doubled the Library’s staff from 42 to 108 and established new administrative units for all aspects of the Library’s collection. Congress also strengthened the office of Librarian of Congress to govern the Library and make staff appointments, as well as requiring Senate approval for presidential appointees to the position.
Who: Elihu Vedder (February 26, 1836 – January 29, 1923)
Elihu Vedder was a symbolist painter, book illustrator, and poet, born in New York City. He is best known for his fifty-five illustrations for Edward FitzGerald’s translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (deluxe edition, published by Houghton Mifflin.) Vedder trained in New York City with Tompkins H. Matteson, then in Paris with François-Édouard Picot. Finally, he completed his studies in Italy - where he was strongly influenced not only by Italian Renaissance work but also by the modern Macchiaioli painters and the living Italian landscape. He first visited Italy from 1858 until 1860, becoming deeply emotionally attached to fellow painter Giovanni Costa. Their idyllic trips through the Italian countryside were cut short because Vedder’s father cut off his financial allowance. Elihu had a home in Rome and - after the financial success of his 1884 Rubaiyat work - on the Isle of Capri, then a haven for male aesthetes. Vedder visited England many times, and was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, and was a friend of Simeon Solomon. He was also influenced by the work of English and Irish mystics such as William Blake and William Butler Yeats. In 1890 Vedder helped establish the In Arte Libertas group in Italy. Vedder occasionally returned to the United States, but lived only in Italy from 1906 until his death on January 29, 1923. He is buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. There are no known living descendants of Elihu Vedder as both surviving children died without issue.
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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The Cimitero Acattolico ("Non-Catholic Cemetery") of Rome, often referred to as the Cimitero dei protestanti ("Protestant Cemetery") or Cimitero degli Inglesi ("Englishmen's Cemetery"), is a public cemetery in the rione of Testaccio in Rome.
Address: Via Caio Cestio, 6, 00153 Roma, Italy (41.8763, 12.4795)
Type: Cemetery (open to public)
Phone: +39 06 574 1900
The Protestant Cemetery is near Porta San Paolo and adjacent to the Pyramid of Cestius, a small-scale Egyptian-style pyramid built in 30 BC as a tomb and later incorporated into the section of the Aurelian Walls that borders the cemetery. It was formerly called Cimitero Anticattolico, the anti-Catholic cemetery. It has Mediterranean cypress, pomegranate and other trees, and a grassy meadow. It is the final resting place of non-Catholics including but not exclusive to Protestants or British people. The earliest known burial is that of a University of Oxford student named Langton in 1738. The English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley are buried there.
Notable queer burials at Campo Cestio:
• Hendrik Christian Andersen (April 15, 1872 – December 19, 1940), sculptor, friend of Henry James. A bust of the young Count Alberto Bevilacqua, a muse of sculptor Hendrik Christian Andersen, remains in the home of Henry James, Lamb House, in Rye, England. Henry James to Henrik Andersen, three years later, upon the death of Andersen’s brother: “The sense that I can’t help you, see you, talk to you, touch you, hold you close & long, or do anything to make you rest on my, & feel my deep participation – this torments me, dearest boy, makes my ache for you, & for myself; makes me gnash my teeth & groan at the bitterness of things. . . . This is the one thought that relieves me about you a little – & I wish you might fix your eyes on it for the idea, just, of the possibility. I am in town for a few weeks, but return to Rye Apr. 1, & sooner or later to have you there & do for you, to put my arm round you & make you lean on me as on a brother & a lover, & keep you on & on, slowly comforted or at least relieved of the bitterness of pain – this I try to imagine as thinkable, attainable, not wholly out of the question.”
• Dario Bellezza (1944–1996), Italian poet, author and playwright
• Enrico Coleman (1846–1911), artist and orchid-lover, friend of Giovanni “Nino” Costa (who was special friend with Elihu Vedder)
• Gregory Corso (1930–2001), American beat generation poet
• The tomb of Maria Bollvillez (Zona V.7.18) was the first of de Fauveau’s commissions from the Russian aristocracy. Félicie de Fauveau (1801–1886) was a XIX-century French sculptor who was a precursor of the pre-Raphaelite style. Her multiple sculptural works showcase a variety of techniques and mediums including marble, stone, glass and bronze. Her family connections to the restored Bourbon court of Charles X led to commissions that helped launch her early career in Paris. But in 1830 when Charles X was forced to abdicate, de Fauveau paid for her opposition to the new order by being imprisoned for three months and then, in 1833, went into exile in Florence. She made a striking figure on arrival there: as Ary Scheffer’s portrait shows, she had adopted an androgynous appearance, with cropped hair and male clothing. One visitor reported that she had vowed to keep her hair short until the Bourbon monarchy was restored in France (it never was). Her admirers included Italian opera singer Angelica Catalani and Elizabeth and Robert Browning, who had also made their home in Florence. De Fauveau’s works were coveted by the city’s Russian ex-pats including Anatole Demidoff; the artist received multiple commissions from the industrialist and enjoyed the friendship of his wife Caroline Bonaparte. The Tsar Nicolas I purchased various works from the artist and his daughter Maria Nikolaieva was given a dagger, now at the Louvre, whose handle is engraved with scenes from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Guy Cogeval (Musée d’Orsay) uses the word lesbienne (lesbian) in his introduction to the catalogue for the exhibition “The Amazon of sculpture”, whereas Christophe Vital mentions on the adjacent page that Félicie de Fauveau was sans doute (without doubt) in love with the young (male) page who died in the Vendée (Charles de Bonnechose, for whom Félicie designed a monument on her prison wall). Michelle Facos also explicitly suggests that Félicie de Fauveau might have been a lesbian in her “Introduction to Nineteenth-Century Art” ( 2011). Usually her relationship to the Countess de la Rochejaquelein is then referred to.
• Denham Fouts (1914-1948), referenced in literary works by Christopher Isherwood, Truman Capote, and Gore Vidal. He was also a friend of George Platt Lynes, who photographed him. Isherwood described him as a mythic figure, "the most expensive male prostitute in the world." Fouts died in 1948, at the Pensione Foggetti, in Rome, at the age of 35.
• Wilhelm von Humboldt (1794–1803), son of the German diplomat and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt and nephew of Alexander von Humboldt
• Hans von Marées (1837–1887), German painter
• Dora Ohlfsen (1878-1948) was born as Dorothea Ohlfsen-Bagge in Ballarat, Victoria. Her father was Norwegian, Christian Herm Ohlfsen-Bagge, probably born in Schleswig (northern Germany now), and her mother, Kate Harison, Australian. She claimed that her great-grandfather was the Sydney convict printer, Robert Howe. Dora was educated at Sydney Girls High School and studied piano privately with Max Volgrich and Henri Kowalski. She traveled to Germany in 1883 to continue her piano studies under Moritz Moszkowski in Berlin; however, when she contracted neuritis, she began teaching music in Germany and later in Russia, after completing piano studies at Theodor Kullak’s Neue Akademie der Tonkunst. She lived in St Petersburg with a Madame Kerbitz and took up painting; she sold one of her work to the Czarina. Her extentive knowledge of languages gained her employement with the American ambassador and allowed her to write on music, theatre, drama and art for Russian and American newspaper. After traveling through various Baltic countries, she settled in Rome to study sculpture at the French Academy and with French engraver, Pierre Dautel. She produced many medallions using academic portraits, included Lord Chelmsford, Sir James Fairfax and General Peppino Garibaldi, and Symbolyst compositions. Church commissions came from Cardinal O’Connell of Boston and Josef Alteneisel, Prince-Bishop of Brixen in the Tyrol. The medallion in bas-relief of the Prince Bishop of Brizen, Tyrol, is among her finest productions. It has been praised in the French and Italian papers as "the wonderful achievement of a beautiful young Australian, who has only studied art for a comparatively short time" (June 10 1908). During WWI she became a Red Cross nurse in Italy. The Fascist government were patrons of her work and she produced a large relief portrait medallion of Mussolini and a war memorial, “Sacrificio,” at Formia, in 1924-26. Ohlfsen was commissioned by Mussolini to design this memorial because her art studies had been solely in Italy and she had nursed Italian soldiers during the war. This is the only work of its kind in Italy to be made by a woman or a foreigner. William Moore in the Brisbane Courier of 8 March 1930 referred to her as the artist who modelled a bust of Nellie Stewart; she also sculpted the head of W.A. Holman in plaster. In 1948, she and her companion, the Russian Baroness Hélène de Kuegelgen (1879-1948), were found gassed in her studio in Rome at Via di S. Nicola da Tolentino, 00187 Roma, close to the Spanish Steps. They had been living at that address, in an area traditionally associated with artists’ studios, for nearly half a century. Police said the deaths were accidental. Hélène de Kuegelgen was the daughter of Pavel Kuegelgen and Alexandra, nee Zhudlovsky. They had moved to Italy in 1902 from St. Petersburg, a city they both loved but which they accurately saw as being on the brink of revolution. Hélène (Elena) was from a well-connected family of Balten Germans, with one uncle a physician to the Tsar and another editor of the Petersburger German newspaper. Her family also boasted several prominent artists, two of them court painters. Dora and Hélène are buried together. A relief bust of the god Dionysius, one hand raised in a gesture of blessing, watches over one of the most distinctive graves in the Cemetery (Zone 1.15.28). Ohlfsen's work is represented in the collections of the British Museum and the Petit Palais in Paris, and in Australian collections including Museum Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
• John Addington Symonds (1840–1893), English poet and critic
• Pavel Fedorovich Tchelitchew (1898-1957), Russian surrealist painter, long-time partner of Charles Henri Ford. Campo Cestio is the original burial place, he was then moved to Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris.
• Una Vincenzo, Lady Troubridge (1887-1983), died in Rome in 1963; she had left written instructions that her coffin be placed in the vault in Highgate Cemetery where Hall and Batten had been buried, but the instructions were discovered too late. She is buried in the English Cemetery in Rome, and on her coffin is inscribed "Una Vincenzo Troubridge, the friend of Radclyffe Hall".
• Elihu Vedder (1836–1923), American painter, sculptor, graphic artist
• Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840–1894) was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. She was a grandniece of James Fenimore Cooper, and is best known for fictions about the Great Lakes region, the American South, and American expatriates in Europe. In 1893 Woolson rented an elegant apartment on the Grand Canal of Venice. Suffering from influenza and depression, she either jumped or fell to her death from a fourth story window in the apartment in January 1894, surviving for about an hour after the fall She is also memorialized by Anne's Tablet on Mackinac Island, Michigan.
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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