For some inexplicable reason, three generations of Plumb family members were inveterate recorders of family history, and they kept hundreds of letters and an incalculable number of items of historical interest. Their obsession with recording family events both mundane and noteworthy seems to have been shared by everyone in the first two generations and (thank God!) Margaret in the third generation. Margaret was a classicist scholar who attended the American Academy in Rome and in addition to research and writing, pursued a long career as assistant librarian at Hunter College,  in New York City. She never married nor had any children hence the family material was not dispersed–instead she saved boxes of family history and hundreds of artworks large and small, then passed  most of that material on to her dear friend and principal heir, Nicholas Pavlik.  Thus, we have the incredibly rare ability to reconstitute much of the long life and career of artist Henry Grant Plumb while shedding new light on the experience of the American expatriate artist in Paris during the post-Commune and post-Civil War period.. All of the stars have aligned and Plumb’s cursive handwriting is extremely legible under magnification. I feel like my many years of archival research on other projects have been honed or developed, like a muscle, to culminate in this monumental and fascinating project.

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