Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Garry's Lost Ale Set

Only known surviving piece (12" x 10 1/2", silver unmarked) of the Rookwood Pottery Ale Set awarded to "Garry" Herrmann at the 1904 Elks convention at the Sinton Hotel, unchased mugs with a similar shape and elk portraits may still exist .

“In the summer of 1904, the city of Cincinnati experienced the event-organizing skills of August Garry Herrmann at his absolute finest. Although he was knee-deep in the affairs of the fledgling National [Baseball] Commission while serving as president of the Cincinnati Reds and as chairman of the waterworks commission, Herrmann somehow found time to organize the Elks’ national convention in the city that took place on July 17-23, 1904. At the time, Herrmann was the Exalted Ruler of Cincinnati Lodge No. 5 and served as chairman of the General Reunion Committee…In downtown Cincinnati, the Mabley & Carew department store building was decked out in flags and bunting for the Elks convention and the people of Cincinnati experienced a grand parade. The Elks national convention in Cincinnati, organized by Herrmann, would set the standard for the conventions of the fraternity for years to come.”

--August “Garry” Herrmann: A Baseball Biography, William A. Cook, 2008, McFarland & Co.

"The Big Four", Chicago, 1905, (L to R) Ban Johnson, John T. Brush, August Herrmann, Harry C. Pulliam

“Herrmann achieved greater national prominence…when he brought the annual reunion here in 1904. That reunion in Cincinnati will live long in the memory of the oldest inhabitants. It probably was the last time that Cincinnati was a wide open town. That reunion is credited by many Elks as the largest and best reunion ever staged.”

--Herrmann obituary, Cincinnati Post, April 25, 1931

A portion of the Shape Book in The 2nd Book of Rookwood Pottery, Herbert Peck, 1985...Initials refer to designers John Menzel and Pitts Harrison Burt.

“Unfortunately I cannot say if Garry Herrmann kept the ale set at his home or the Laughery Club, but my best guess would be at his home. Things had a tendency to get rowdy at the Laughery and I believe that Herrmann would have dearly wanted to preserve the pieces.”

---William A. Cook, private email to blogger, November, 28, 2007

Images:, a private collection

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