For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
May 01, 2010
The Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, N.Y., opens the doors to its 17th season at noon Saturday, May 29, with the debut of a major new exhibition titled “A Grandchild’s Treasures.” The exhibition comprises twenty-seven never-before-seen artifacts pertaining to the life of Robert Green Ingersoll, the nationally famed freethinker and agnostic orator born in 1833 in the Main Street house now occupied by the museum.
“A Grandchild’s Treasures” features items from the collection of Robert Green Ingersoll’s last surviving grandchild, Eva Ingersoll Wakefield. Ms. Wakefield, who edited the definitive edition of The Letters of Robert G. Ingersoll (Hallmark-Hubner Press, Inc., 1951), was the final custodian of the Ingersollia collection amassed by Ingersoll’s widow following his death in 1899. In 2008, Connecticut residents and longtime Ingersoll family friends John Alden Whritner and Barbara Youngstrom donated the collection to the Museum. The collection was curated, preserved, and prepared for the new exhibition, which will be the centerpiece of the Museum’s 2010 season. The collection includes:
• An album of family photos, many previously unpublished;
• The thick scrapbook compiled by Eva Parker Ingersoll, Robert Green Ingersoll’s widow and Eva Ingersoll Wakefield’s mother, containing hundreds of newspaper clippings concerning Ingersoll’s July 21, 1899 death, his funeral, and memorials held in his honor across the world;
• A rich trove of Ingersoll memorabilia, including original lithographic plates used to print the frontpiece photographs in the multi-volume Dresden Edition of Ingersoll’s collected works;
• Books and other items inscribed by Ingersoll to his family members, autographed Ingersoll sentiments, and a large amount of previously-unpublished correspondence.
• Highlights include a letter Ingersoll sent to his wife before a lecture in Stillwater, Minn, and a plea from the county Republican Committee in Peoria, Ill, to add a stop there on an 1896 speaking tour (Ingersoll complied).
The collection was received at the museum in Dresden and inventoried by docent Frances Emerson, of Geneva. It was preserved and curated at the Amherst headquarters of the Council for Secular Humanism, the Museum’s sponsoring organization, by Museum Director Tom Flynn and Center for Inquiry Director of Libraries Timothy Binga, both of Buffalo. Doug Schiffer of Syracuse, compiler of an online chronology of Ingersoll’s entire speaking career, contributed research. “A Grandchild’s Treasures” will be on display throughout the 2010 season. The Museum is located at 61 Main St. in Dresden, N.Y., and is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through the end of October. Suggested donation is $2.
Contact: Museum Director Tom Flynn
Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum
Phone: (716) 636-7571, ext. 213
The Council for Secular Humanism is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization promoting rational inquiry, secular values and positive human development through the advancement of secular humanism. The Council, publisher of the bimonthly journal Free Inquiry, has a Web site at www.secularhumanism.org .