Monday, December 7, 2009

An early Christmas present

Yesterday I received a telephone call from Abbot Lowell Cummings. I had written to ask his advice. I thought I might receive a note about when he would be available for a brief meeting. Instead there he was, on the phone!

For you who don't know, Professor (Emeritus, at Yale) Cummings was at SPNEA (now called Historic New England) for many years. He is well known for his basic research on post and beam houses (First Period) in Massachusetts, pre-1715. He also has encouraged many students and researchers over the years. Often when I find some good writing on Asher Benjamin I find a note from the author that refers back to Abbot Cummings.

We discussed books. He suggested some I didn't know, and will now read. But I've only missed a few. We discussed picky points about Asher Benjamin: who trained him? Who helped him go from finish carpenter at the Hathaway House in Suffield, CT, to his first book, "The Country Builder's Assistant"? What about all that geometry and concern about structure in his books, the parts that most historians ignore?

What a delight - to share perceptions with someone I admire! And to be on the receiving end of some of that support!

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