Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Henry Clay's funeral program and memorial book New York July 1852.... One of those rare odd finds you never expect to see.

I was walking in Brooklyn 2 months ago and went by an old book store. It was one of those book stores that was loaded up with many old books and was a treasure trove of lovely books from the past to read. I noticed they had a dollar book table outside in front of the store.

It was there that I found this wonderful treasure. The funeral program and memorial book to Henry Clay. Now if you do not know who Henry Clay is, you need to study some. He was voted the greatest member of Congress ever. He was Abraham Lincoln's hero, the man who said I would rather be right than be President. He was one of the greats.

Now this book is rather rare, but there is more to the story. I looked through this book not really believing my eyes. Now it is not in the best of condition I agree, but still a dollar was a wonderful deal. I noticed it was inscribed to someone.

I did not know who either person was. But I did my research. The book was given by a Nicholas Seagrest Esq. to Governor Anthony Durgo. Who was Durgo? He was one of the founding members of the Board of Governors of New York City. This was in the age of Boss Tweed, when politics in New York was not the holiest of professions.

He became a very wealthy man in that office. You will notice a slight misspelling of the name. The "r" is in the wrong place.
But Durgo was there and one of the heads of the committee to deal with Clay's mortal remains. As for Seagrest I am still at a loss. But I am guessing one thing. That the way it is written and how it is done in a rather odd manner tells me that Mr Seagrest is an old fellow. I cannot prove that, but that is my hunch. So enjoy reading through a bit of this book about New York's tribute to the Great Commoner...Henry Clay 1777-1852