Sunday, March 02, 2008

The search for Harland Bryant Tibbetts

Harland Bryant Tibbetts, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

I came across this image many years ago. I found it in one of the many little antique shops that I used to frequent in the Virginia countryside, but I can’t be sure which one. On the back written in pencil are the words “Harland Bryant Tibbetts.’99 - ΛΣ I.H.S.

Sometimes when you come across the name of a person written on a card, you can still find some very interesting things if you search a bit. I typed the name in a search engine and made several discoveries.

The first link showed me that Harland had a great granddaughter named Lainey who was married on October 18, 1986 and whose wedding was important enough to have been written about in the Style section of the New York Times

( ).

In the same article, it states that Harland was “a chief assistant counsel to Judge Samuel Seabury in the 1931 investigation of New York City municipal affairs.” I found that of interest as well, especially when you read about how very important these trials were for the average working class New Yorker at that time. They were known as the Seabury Commission:

Then I found on this page this line of information, “TIBBETTS, Harland Bryant Entered from I. G. S., Sept., 1895; graduated Cl., '99; Congress; class vice-president; commencement speaker. Will enter Cornell, 1900. 232 S. Geneva St., Ithaca”. Now I knew that I.H.S. stood for Ithaca High School and that this was more likely than not a senior portrait taken in 1899. I also know knew that Harland lived on S. Geneva Street.

My next stop was this fascinating link :

Thats where I first saw this :

That’s from the December 16, 1903 edition of the Cornell Alumni News. According to the article, Harland will be a key debater in “The most important debate event of the year will be the annual Intercollegiate contest between Pennsylvania and Cornell, to be held in Witherspoon Hall, Walnut street, Philadelphia, Friday evening, December 18th.” There’s even a photo of Harland! He does look a bit more mature and polished after 3 years at Cornell.

Here is what is mentioned about him in the article “Harland Bryant Tibbetts, 1904 Arts, of Ithaca, prepared for college at the Ithaca high school and won a state scholarship and also a university scholarship in competitive examinations. In his freshman and sophomore years he represented his class debate club, in the interclass series was a speaker on the '86 Prize Declamation stage in his sophomore year and in his junior year spoke on the '94 Memorial Prize Debate stage. In his junior year he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Tibbetts is also an associate editor of the CORNELL ALUMNI NEWS.

So, as you can see, a little research can tell quite a bit about a name, especially Harland Bryant Tibbett’s name. What it can’t tell me is how his senior photo ended up in the middle of some dusty and forgotten antique store in the mountains of Virginia.

1 comment:

Todd Bryant Weeks said...

That's my great grandfather

here's what i'm up to:

“On his soulful trumpet and as a riveting singer of the blues, Oran “Hot Lips” Page was and remains a permanent jazz master. At last, there is a book that brings the man and his music fully back to life. Luck’s In My Corner: The Life and Music of Hot Lips Page by Todd Bryant Weeks is essential for any jazz library.” — Nat Hentoff, Wall Street Journal



Todd Bryant Weeks