Wednesday, November 09, 2011

State Regains Houdon Bust of Washington.

You may want to start reading at the bottom of this blog, with a New York Times article published four days before the Binghamton Press announced the "recovery" of a missing bronze bust of George Washington, stolen during the 1911 arson attack which destroyed the historical and legislative records housed in the State Capitol at Albany. In the Times' article, $10,000,000 PLAN STATE OFFICES, newly-elected Governor Franklin Roosevelt announces a $100 million bond initiative to build a campus of state office buildings in downtown Albany. A sweetening tactic appears to be the inclusion of a $3,500,000 public art museum as part of the multi-block redevelopment. Then Roosevelt accepts a recovered artwork from a reporter from a third newspaper, who acts as an intermediary in order to keep the identity of the thief secret. This reporter, Irwin Thomas, worked in the Capitol at the time of the fire, 18 years earlier, when Roosevelt also was present as a very young State Senator. The Binghamton Press quotes Roosevelt as saying, "I shall place [the bust] in my office at the capitol until we get a state museum, where it will have a proper place. I was here during the capital fire and remember the loss of the bust. The state appreciates its return." The total enmeshment of the news media with the political establishment in a vast arson conspiracy that defrauded the taxpayers of millions of dollars in addition to their authentic reality is readily apparent when the Times writes that "general opinion leaned to the more charitable view that the valuable bust had been melted to a lump by the heat." But the bust had been featured prominently in a news photograph sitting front and center as firefighters man a hose inside the library, and its representation seemed to serve as some coded talismanic signal. 

The Times reported the next day on the return of the bust, and they didn't fail to mention that the Governor would be keeping the prize in his Executive Chamber until a State Museum was erected. None of them could be participating here in the role of a useful idiot given the coordination at an agenda. And with this exposure we've identified one of the biggest names in our national history as being a prime player in a crooked game which led us directly and inextricably to the arson attacks of September 11th, 2001. What comes next, pray tell? More Jewish lightning?

February 4, 1929, Binghamton Press, State Regains Houdon Bust of Washington.
Famed Sculpture, Stolen at Capital Fire, Found Near Binghamton.
Irwin Thomas of Evening World Restores Rare Work to Gov. Roosevelt.
After being buried in a farmyard near Binghamton for a decade and a half, a valuable Houdon bust of George Washington, stolen during the state capitol fire, March 29, 1911, was brought to Govenor Roosevelt today by Irwin Thomas, Legislative correspondant of the New York Evening World.

Mr. Thomas learned three years ago that the bust, said to be worth more than $10,000 had not been destroyed as supposed but had been carried out of the blazing building during the excitement.

He questioned relatives of the supposed "collector" and learned the bronze had been given into the custody of a farmer about 18 miles from Binghamton. He went there and persuaded the custodian he should return the "white elephant" into the keeping of the state.

The name of the man who held the bust during all those years is kept secret by Mr. Thomas, who said to the Governor when he turned the art treasure over at the mansion today:
"If I am charged with receiving stolen property, I shall expect executive clemency."

The bust was identified today by Dwight Gooway, Legislative Librarian, [the Legislative reference section was headed by William E. Hannan during this period.] as the one which stood in the old library prior to the fire. He was greatly interested in this find, as was Governor Roosevelt.

"I am mighty happy to get this back," said the later, "I shall place it in my office at the capitol until we get we get a state museum, where it will have a proper place. I was here during the capital fire and remember the loss of the bust. The state appreciates its return."

A bust of Lafayette by Houdon was sold in New York City last week for more than $9,000. It is believed the Washington bust is worth more than $10,000 and that its desirability has been enhanced by its queer recent history.

Jean Antoine Houdon came to the United States with Benjamin Franklin in 1775, especially to make the Wahington bust. The one returned by Mr. Thomas is amde from life and is one of a handful extant. t was made at Mount Vernon.

The man who took the bust from the capitol, it is understood, tried unsuccessfully to dispose of it with New York City art collectors, but they refused to take the stolen piece.

Finally, Mercer and Weiss have been of some use to the truth. This development could easily have slipped down the memory hole, coming as it did in a coda eighteen years after the Fire That Dared Not Speak Its Name. Nobody could confuse such abject thievery with souvenir, or relic hunting. That such a prominent and symbolic object went quietly missing is evidence that the state capitol was open to be stripped of anything of value in the aftermath of the high-level arson and its agenda as to who benefited. None of the trespassing little people had to take a fall for this systematic looting of the treasures therein, but someone did have to give back a little something after nearly two decades.

These images are from 'Sparks! From the New York State Capital Fire,' a two-bit pack of misspelled "Sovenir Views" which came out shortly after the fire, and which, say Mercer and Weiss, with their high-level academic positions and utter lack of irony, "remains one of the chief sources for research on the fire." Really? I might have preferred the official findings stemming from a full-scale investigation---but there wasn't any!

The image with the Washington bust in profile and the firemen with their backs turned to the camera has all the staged artifice of a coded 9/11 shot. So far, I have only limited access to the contemporaneous newspaper coverage, but I know the image was carried in some daily papers on the 29th or 30th. But what's up with that rifled and pilfered bookcase and all those unburned books? Wasn't the State Library overcrowded, and bursting at the seams? Even the iron beam above their heads has been eaten away by the fierce flame, which left the lightweight Thonet bentwood side-chairs unscathed.

The absurdity of these scenarios is so complete that it simply stuns skepticism into silence. We just don't want to go where we don't want to go.

These wooden display cases which held the treasure of the Iroquois nations have clearly been looted by the hands of men, and not wreaked by fire.

"Fourth floor, corridor on Southwestern Staircase; the cases contained valuable Indian Curios. The intense heat caused the stones to fall from the sides and ceiling; the electric-light bulbs in the chandeliers were not not broken."

February 5, 1929, New York Times, ROOSEVELT ACCEPTS WASHINGTON BUST,
He Thanks Newspaper Man for Recovering Houdon Life Cast Stolen in 1911 Fire.
Statue, Traced to Binghampton Barn, Will Be Kept in Executive Chamber of the Capitol.
ALBANY, Feb. 4.--Missing for eighteen years and long ago given up as destroyed in the Capitol fire of 1911, the famous life cast Houdon bust of George Washington was returned to the possession of the State today.

It was put into the hands of Governor Roosevelt at the Executive Mansion by Irwin Thomas, legislative correspondent for The New York Evening World at the time of the fire. He traced its possessor and compelled its return.

The bust formerly stood on a pedestal in the State Library, which was located on the third floor of the Capitol. One night in the Winter of 1911 fire broke out inthe library and many articles of value disappeared in the resulting confusion. Governor Roosevelt was a State Senator at that time.

General opinion leaned to the more charitable view that the valuable bust had been melted to a lump by the heat. Even those associated with activities at the Capitol had long since forgotten the incident, however, when Mr. Thomas three years ago was informed that a man had carried away the bust in his arms.

On one vacation the newspaper man retraced the thief's course. He learned that after the unlawful possessor had unsuccessfully sought to sell the bust, he had become afraid and had caused it to be hidden in a barn near Binghamton, N. Y.

Mr. Thomas forced the surrender of the bust to him in Albany last week. When he brought it to the Executive Mansion today and related the story of its recovery, the Governor expressed his thanks and said he would have it placed in the Executive Chamber in the Capitol until a State Museum should be erected.

The Washington bust is stamped with the words, "Houdon life cast." It is supposed to be an exact resemblance of the first President and noticeably differs from the more idealized portraits of him which are commonly seen.

The sculptor, Jean Antoine Houdon, came to the United States from France in 1788 and was the President's guest at Mount Vernon. A marble statue of Washington, which he also fashioned, is in the Virginia State Capitol at Richmond.

January 31, 1925, New York Times, $10,000,000 PLAN STATE OFFICES- Commission Recommends to Governor Group of Buildings Crowning Capitol Hill. INCLUDE NEW MUSEUM. Five-Story Structure. Cost $6,500,000 Would Be Principal Unit. $100,000,000 IS INVOLVED. Program Calls for $10,000,000 Bond Issue Every Year for Ten Years If Voters Approve.
ALBANY, Jan. 30.—The expenditure by the State of $10,000,000 for a group of buildings on, which with the Capitol as their center, would dominate the city and crown Capitol Hill with a display worthy of the Empire State, in addition to furnishing needed office facilities for expanding activities and checking the encroachments of business, is recommended to Governor Smith in a report, made public today, by a special commission which has been considering such a project for a year.

A five-story office building of classical design to match the Educational Building and to cost, with land, $6,500,000, and a structure to house the State Museum, now located in the State Library section of the Department of Education Building, are included in the project which would involve the purchase by the State of an entire residential block to the south of the Capitol building and the better part of two blocks to the north and west. The proposed museum would cost, with the site included, $3,500,000, according to an estimate furnished by the commission.
$100,000,000 Bond Issue Involved.

Ability of the State to carry out this proposal without delay is contingent on the willingness of the present Republican Legislature to lend its approval to the $100,000,000 bond issue for permanent improvements which had been urgently recommended by Governor Smith. The Republican Assembly of last year fell in with the Governor.

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