Saturday, April 27, 2013

What Is It? Where Is It? (April): Portrait of Ann Graeme

This month's "What Is It? Where Is It?" should have, at the very least, been obvious that it was part of a painting - you can even see part of the frame along the edge.

It is in fact the right hand of Ann Diggs Graeme, wife of Dr. Thomas Graeme for whom Graeme Park is named. The painting is unsigned, but has been attributed to Robert Feke (most of his existing works are unsigned) and shows many of the characteristics of his portraits, including the background. Most likely the hands, as was typical of 18th century portraits, were painted by an assistant or apprentice, and Feke then came in and did the face while Mrs. Graeme posed for the portrait.

The portrait of Ann Graeme is a reproduction, as are the other adult portraits that hang in the parlor of the Keith House. The originals are owned by descendants of Dr. and Mrs. Graeme's daughter, Mary Jane Graeme, and her husband, James Young, who was also painted by Feke. In fact, it was one of these relatives who correctly guessed what this month's "What is It? Where is It?" was in one of our Facebook comments.

As for what it is that Mrs. Graeme is holding, we're not actually sure but it is often speculated on by our visitors. Our guess has always been a snuff box of some sort. Because of the tradition of having the hands painted separately by an apprentice, we don't really know if it was even an item she owned, or just something the artist chose to depict.

We'll be back in May with our next edition.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What Is It? Where Is It? (April)

Now that the World War II Weekend is behind us, we can breathe again and get back to regular business, like the April "What Is It? Where Is It?" Challenge where we post a photo of some part of Graeme Park and invite readers to try to guess what the photo is and where it was taken at Graeme Park. If you've been following along with previous months' challenges, you know we've featured items in and around the barn/Visitors' Center and summer kitchen so far, but anywhere on the property is fair game. So, without further ado, "What Is It? Where Is It?"

We'll be back next week with the answer but feel free to post your guess in the comments section or on Facebook.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

World War II Weekend: Paying the Bills

We've been very fortunate this year to garner tons of support in the community for our World War II Weekend and just wanted to take a moment to express our gratitude.

The event sponsor this year is PECO, who's philosophy on giving is "we put our energy into the community." They support the history and culture of the Philadelphia region both with monetary donations of $5 million dollars annually and the thousands of hours of volunteer time their employees invest.

Hatboro Federal Savings Bank, with branches in Hatboro, Warminster, Warrington, and Jamison, printed and hung a banner advertising our event across the main street in the middle of Hatboro (and we're receiving many calls of inquiry from those who have seen it). Hatboro Federal offers personal checking and savings accounts, investments, mortgages, home equity loans, and more.

Our Iwo Jima level sponsors included the following:

Babylon Business Campus, on Horsham Road, offers 16 single story multi purpose buildings and a 3 story office tower. The complex is designed with flexibility in mind and can meet the needs of any business. It is ideally suited for research and development facilities, high tech manufacturing, distribution and corporate offices.

Classic Pistol, in Southampton, is a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range and professional gun shop. They also offer a wide assortment of ammunition, accessories and cleaning equipment, and firearms training and education by certified instructors.

The Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in the Horsham area and an advocate for the community.They promote Horsham, its resources, and the area’s businesses, aiming to retain employers in the township and attract new ones. GHCC works closely with Horsham’s legislators, Horsham Township government, the Hatboro-Horsham School District and the nonprofit organizations that are so vital to the community.

The McDonald's franchises in Hatboro and Horsham supported us with a donation of all the coffee and drink cups, napkins, sugar packets, stirrers, creamers and the like that we'll need throughout the weekend in our food tent. Purchasing these items ourselves really adds to our expenses, so in-kind donations like this make a big impact.

Our Battle of Midway level sponsors include:

Beneficial Bank of Hatboro, located in the Rosemore Shopping Center on County Line Road. Beneficial offers personal banking, mortgages and loans, wealth management, and business and insurance services.

Giant Food Stores of North Wales and Horsham provided us with payment in the form of Giant gift cards, which we are able to use to purchase some of the food and supplies we'll need for the weekend.

Additional supporters include Acme Markets of Horsham, who provided a gift card to buy supplies, Dunkin' Donuts of Horsham who are supplying donuts to feed the troops, Earthborne, who is helping us move the tank on site at a discounted rate, Giuseppe's Pizza and Family Restaurant of Willow Grove who is giving us a discount on the hoagies, Open Aire Affairs, who own the rental tent here at Graeme Park and allow us to use it, along with tables and chairs, for our larger events, and Premium King who are printing the staff t-shirts and discounting the commemorative t-shirts for us.

Our advertisers include: CEMI Automotive, Knuckleball Sports Cards, Al Cherry Tree Service, Susquehanna Bank, Trovoto Nutrition, Retirement Planning Specialists, Roslyn Supply Co., James Cherry Tree and Landscape, Injection Connection, Matthew Proud Masonry, and Graeme Park Pizza.

Because of all of this wonderful community support, we are able to offer affordable admission of just $10 for adults ($15 for the weekend); $5/day for teens 13-17 and seniors 65+; and free for kids 12 and under and all veterans and current service personnel.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

WWII Weekend Participants and a Few Small Schedule Changes

With the World War II Weekend upon us (it is next weekend, April 20-21/raindate 4/27-28) things have been pretty busy here on the organizing end. Our team, lead by Beth MacCausland and Marie Cherry, has put together a weekend stuffed full of things to see and do. We published the schedule back in February and things have remained more or less the same with just a few small changes: the flag raising ceremony on both days will be at 10:30 instead of right when we open at 10, and on Sunday, the U.S. Army Band was not able to make it, so in their time slot at 1:30 we'll be featuring Mickey and Stanley Goldfarber, who will be serenading you with favorite Patriotic and military tunes.

Central to the event are of course the reenactment units and historians. These guys (and some gals) have made a hobby out of collecting period uniforms and other militaria, as well as background information on the period and their units, so they can dress and act the part of WWII soldiers, sailors, other military personnel and 1940s civilians. You'll see men in American and German uniforms with appropriate camp set-ups, vehicles, and other accoutrements, and portrayals of British and Russians too. Some of these guys will fight in a mock-battle, including bringing in a tank, and others will be doing living history demonstrations of camp life and setting up a military hospital.

So far we've confirmed the following units will be participating, and there may be more:

WWII Reenactment Units—Americans

35th Infantry Division Recon (host unit)
1st Infantry Division
4th Armored Division
5th Rangers
9th Infantry WWII Historical Preservation Society
101st Airborne E. Company
103rd Infantry Division
Red Ball Express
110th Medical Battalion
517th PRCT

WWII Reenactment Units—Germans
5th S.S.
9th S.S.
35th Infantry Division
45th Infanterie Division

WWII Reenactment Units—Others
British Paratroopers
135th Rifles Regiment
193rd Red Army Rifle Division

In addition to the reenactment going on, there will be tons of displays and other interactive activities:

Aces Museum, located in Philadelphia, houses the restored Parker Hall, which was a functional USO for Black Soldiers and their Families in the 1940s. They get their name from the “Spades” of the era, but honor all Veterans. They are a Veterans' Service Organization and site of the National Associate of Black Veterans, Philadelphia (NABVET). They'll be putting on a puppet show and letting people know about the work they do.

Other Veterans' organizations that will be on hand include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with information on health care and other benefits for vets, Honor Flight, who provide free tours to veterans to visit and reflect at their memorials in Washington, DC, and the Liberty USO of Pennsyvlania and Southern New Jersey, who provide comfort, care and support to the troops and their families.

John Alosi, Jr. author of War Birds: A History of the 282nd Signal Pigeon Company will be on hand to sell and sign his books and will have a period pigeon trailer, complete with pigeons, for visitors to see as they learn about the role carrier pigeons played in WWII. The Harold F. Pitcairn Wings of Freedom Museum will also have an interactive display, in the form of partial WWII-era plane that visitors can tour. The ladies from Historical Military Impressions will be running a recruitment stand, and pin-up models will be greeting visitors and circulating in the crowd. We'll also have various car collectors and enthusiasts with their 1940s era military and civilian vehicles.

The musical entertainment we have lined up includes the Society Music Makers on Saturday playing swing favorites from the 1940s, and Mickey and Stanley Goldfarber on Sunday with Patrotic and military songs. Before Saturday's swing concert, Vince Masciarelli, a dance instructor from Glenside, will be showing you the moves to get you out on the dance floor. Both days will  begin with a flag raising and singing of the National Anthem by Jenny Pappas.

Of course the weekend wouldn't be complete without honoring the men and women who actually served in WWII: we'll have a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Pearl Harbor survivors, and veterans of the European and Asian theaters on hand to tell you about their experiences - some have even written books. We'll also be honoring veterans of all wars with a lighting of luminaries and reading of their names by Representatives Tom Murt and Todd Stephens on Saturday and a dedication of a memorial on Sunday. Both honorariums will be accompanied by presentations by the Honor and Color Guards and a gun salute.

If you're coming, the event runs from 10-5 on Saturday and 10-3 on Sunday. The cost for adults is $10/day or $15 for the weekend. The cost for teens 13-17 and seniors 65+ is $5/day and the event is free for children 12 and under, veterans and current service personnel.
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