Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Louis Bromfield, The Chamay Brothers and WRA

Patric Chamay '56, senior photo
Sometime around 2008, Bob Carabell of the Class of 1956 asked what had become of Patric Chamay ’56 and whether he had a connection with Louis Bromfield.That sent me to the files to learn more about the two Chamay brothers, both of whom attended WRA in the 1950’s. I learned that they were indeed sent here by their guardian, notable Ohio author and conservationist, Louis Bromfield (1896-1956). It seemed that it would make a good story for our WRA Magazine or a blog post, but instead we are making a short documentary that should appear on Hudson Community Television (HCTV) sometime this fall.
Inside the big House in Louis Bromfield's library.
To the left of the desk is the framed certificate that he received in 1925
for winning the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Early Autumn.
This summer we went down to Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County where the Chamay brothers grew up, and the place they called home, until the untimely death of Louis Bromfield early in 1956. Patric, who was supposed to graduate that June, was denied a place at graduation because of a discipline problem. He may have been under some stress caused by the death of his guardian. In any case, he went to on to attend Carnegie Tech, then pursued a career as a mountaineer, dying in 1968 while trying to scale Mount Rainier. The other brother, Anthony, who never graduated from WRA, is probably still alive. Ellen Bromfield Geld, the last surviving daughter of Louis Bromfield, has a section on the Chamay brothers and their socialite mother in her book, The Heritage. We hope to interview her this fall.
Nick Zlantanovich of Hudson Community Television taping my
commentary atop Mount Jeez, the popular overlook of Malabar Farm
(seen behind me).
We did extensive video taping at Malabar Farm in July, both outside and inside the Big House that Bromfield built in 1939. We have contacted researchers at the Malabar Farm Foundation who have made some rare photos available to us and are interested in the Hudson Cable production. We also taped at “The Mount”, the home of novelist Edith Wharton, who corresponded with Bromfield during the 1930’s when both had elaborate gardens at their respective chateaus in France.
In Edith Wharton's formal garden at "The Mount" in
Lenox, MA, where I taped video in mid-July
It is hoped that this program, which will run about 30 or 40 minutes, will be on Hudson Community Television (HCTV) late this fall. We plan to do another taping at Malabar Farm in late September to get some autumn color, and perhaps meet Ellen Bromfield Geld, who is coming from her home in Brazil for a program there. This is a story that has waited some 60 years to be told, and we hope to do it justice.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Join Me for a Guided Walking Tour on Sept. 8

 The Hudson Heritage Association has asked me to serve as their first presenter for their fall programming series. I will conduct a guided walking tour of Markillie Cemetery, beginning at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8. The tour will begin at the chapel in Markillie Cemetery.

Located on Route 91 north of downtown Hudson, Markillie is one of five cemeteries owned by the city of Hudson. It was established as a cemetery in 1855 by John Markillie, who immigrated to Hudson from England. Upon his death in 1869, the cemetery was bequeathed to the Village of Hudson. It has been expanded several since its beginning and now is the city’s largest cemetery. It is adjacent to St. Mary’s Cemetery and is the final resting place for many of Hudson’s most notable residents.

I will begin with a history of the restored chapel on the cemetery's grounds, followed by talking about the Markillie family and others whose graves will be seen during the walking tour. I will lead this tour through the oldest section of the grounds. Refreshments will be served in the chapel on the cemetery following the tour. For additional information visit the Hudson Heritage Association.