Thursday, August 28, 2008

Old Georgetown on the Potomac by Henry Ridgely Evans

Yesterday I received a most extraordinary letter from a book collector and Maximilian expert who had in his possession a copy of Henry Ridgley Evans's Old Georgetown on the Potomac, inscribed by the author to one of the people who appears in my novel's epilogue (to respect his privacy, I won't say more than that). A note about Henry Ridgely Evans: the author of some two dozen books on freemasonry and magic (including a fine biography of Cagliostro), he lived in Georgetown, Washington DC and, as a child, played with the likes of the children of the Czar's ambassador Baron de Bodisco (whose house is now owned by Senator and Mrs Kerry), ex-Prince Agustin de Iturbide y Green (subject of my novel) and the daughter of the Japanese ambassador. It is a treasure of a book, full of charming details, and showing us a Washington that, for those of us who live there today, is almost impossible to imagine. The Georgetown Library's Peabody Room has a copy, as well as copies of several other of Evans's works.

P.S. View the painting with the same title here. The large building with two spires is Georgetown University's Healy Hall. Note also the Frances Scott Key House at the end of the bridge (since torn down).

More anon.