Autograph Letter Signed, 2pp on one sheet, 4to, Nov. 23, 1930, Cleveland, Ohio
by CARVER, GEORGE WASHINGTON
Referring to "Mr. Peanut," Carver tells Grady Porter, a researcher from a peanut processing plant in Columbus, Georgia, that "a little good has been done for 'Mr. Peanut'...." even though Carver noticed on his trip, "the lack of the proper appreciating for some of our natural resources...especially our Shell Marbles. One of the most beautiful buildings at Penn. State College had the window casings, some of the floors, etc. finished in stone almost identical with that on your place...The floors in the lovely building at John Hopkins University Baltimore Md. some of the steps, floors, etc., in one of the finest R. R. stations in the world. The Grand Central, also the Penna. Station, had much of a kind of travertine very similar to the GA. and Ala. travertine. I speak here tomorrow and will then start for home where I hope to see you and Mr. Barry...." He signs, "G. W. Carver." With Tuskegee Institute transmittal envelope. Porter and Bob Barry worked at the Tom Huston Peanut Company, Porter in the shelling department. Carver had achieved widespread recognition by the time he wrote this letter. He was credited for developing peanut products and bringing back the peanut industry which had been devastated by disease from insect infestation at the end of the nineteenth century. Carver also promoted interracial cooperation. Carver is writing to a fellow southerner, from Georgia, and mentions that he feels that some of "our natural resources," meaning natural resources from the south, specifically the Georgia and Alabama areas, are not as highly praised or appreciated as similar natural resources from the north. He refers to the limestone and travertine that the northern buildings were made out of, both the outside and the insides of the various buildings. Grand Central Station is made from Indiana limestone on the outside and among other building materials, the floors are Tennessee pink marble (unlikely he knew that) and the window frames, travertine marble. Johns Hopkins was built with travertine and soapstone. Travertine is similar to limestone or marble, but formed in hot springs. Shell marble, apparently not a common phrase, but possibly common to Carver and other southerners, most likely is describing the visual appearance of the marble or travertine, marbled by the existence of fossil shells creating a pearly appearance. In Russell Sturgis' "Sturgis' Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture and Building," there is an entry under "Marble" for "Lumachelle Marble" which notes "or shell marble" and describes it as interspersed with shells. Carver seems to suggest that southern shell marble or limestone or travertine used in building construction is as nice as what was used in the north, but not as highly appreciated. An interesting addition to the possible interpretation of what Carver was discussing is the fact that in a 2008 exhibition at the Field Museum in Chicago of George Washington Carver's life and work (see article on the exhibition in the Chicago Tribune of January 30, 2008) it is noted that among Carver's numerous inventions is one for "synthetic marble tile made from peanut husks.".
(Inventory #: 4193)
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