My beautiful niece Jacqueline rode a Ferris wheel for the first time this last week. Ironically it was on this date in 1893 that the first Ferris wheel premiered at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. I found this out as I came across a letter that was sent from the Exposition.
Designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., the wheel measured 264 feet in height and featured 36 cars. Each car accommodated up to 60 people giving it a total capacity of 2,160 people! That’s almost three times the amount of people who can ride the London Eye.
After the Exposition ended, the wheel was transported to St. Louis for the 1904 World’s Fair. And then for reasons unbeknownst to me, they blew the thing up two years later. Weird.
Letter sent from Chicago on Sep. 22, 1893 featuring the Ferris wheel from the Columbian Exposition in blue at top left. stampauctionnetwork.com
The letter was written on official World’s Columbian Exposition stationery. stampauctionnetwork.com
Wow, this project takes a lot more time than I thought! Don’t let that discourage you from writing your letters though. If it was just writing a letter now and then that would be fine. But writing the letter, photographing it, creating the social media posts for it – all that takes time! That being said, I’m enjoying this adventure very much.
Today, as I do on Sundays, I take a break from sharing my daily letter with you and share with you a story about handwritten letters. Today’s story comes from BBC News Europe.
It’s about a handwritten letter by Michelangelo that was stolen from the Vatican. Yep, a former Vatican employee pilfered several 500-year-old letters and is now demanding money, lots of money, for the safe return. A ransom note, made to the cardinal in charge of St. Peter’s Basilica, asked for €100,000 – or about $105,000.
The odd thing is these letters went missing nearly 20 years ago and the Vatican never reported them stolen. Either they didn’t know they were missing, which doesn’t bode well for their tidiness and security, or they kept it a secret which begs further questioning.
This is reportedly Michelangelo’s handwriting. Not the letter in question here – there does not seem to be a copy of that, but this seems to be a grocery list. Still very cool to see someone’s writing from 500 years ago. Credit: openculture.com
In any event, this is particularly interesting because there are very few letters in existence penned from the hand of the great renaissance artist. According to Il Messaggero newspaper in Italy he typically only signed his name and had one of his many assistants do the laborious tasks of putting words on paper.
Whoever you are, you are a thief. Just put the letters in an envelope and mail them back to the Vatican and be done with this.
Posted in Sunday Letters, Sunday Notes
Tagged artifacts, artists, crime, handwriting, handwritten, historic, historic documents, history, Italy, letters, Michelangelo, ransom, Renaissance, theft, Vatican
I was thinking that I would do something a bit different on Sundays. Instead of sharing my letter on Sundays, I thought I would share someone else’s letters that are interesting or catch you up on the letters that I receive back from the people I’m writing to – I hope to get some responses! As Lazlo Toth Continue reading →