1 vols. Various sizes. Generally in very good condition, some with original envelopes Item #221348
Gunn, a friend of William C. Whitney, McKinley, and Mark Hanna, was a wealthy Cleveland businessman who retired to spend the last 20 years of his life in Zoar, the commune in Ohio. His note-books, covering 1883-1901, were discovered after Gunn's death, edited by Don Seitz and published by WILLIAM COLLINS WHITNEY. Wesson, in MIDLAND NOTES, states: "Gunn's notes provide us with an enchanting picture of the pellucid life in the famous community of which he became a member. Though he fought to the last for the preservation of the community which he loved so dearly, ironically enough, it was his fireside stories of life in the land of flesh-pots that resulted in its dissolution by the dissatisfied younger members."
The Zoar Society originated after 1817, when approximately 350 German immigrants, mostly poor, came to eastern Ohio and settled on a tract of 5,000 acres of land, along the banks of the Tuscarawas River. They were comprised of both Lutherans and Roman Catholics, who were coming to America to escape persecution. Joseph Bimeler was a teacher who became their political and religious leader. The village was named after the biblical city to which Lot fled from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Under the community Articles of Association, the earnings of every individual were to be turned over to a common treasury. While some families remained intact, there were some families which were broken up due to poverty, so that some homes were comprised only of men, while others were comprised only of women. The primary occupation in the community was farming, producing food for the community and for sale.
Gunn was was taken with Zoar and at the time of his retirement, the Society gave him the right to occupy one of the cabins in the northeast end of town, which Gunn named "The Hermitage." Gunn was the first "outsider" to be allowed into the village as a resident. He soon remodeled and furnished The Hermitage in luxury, and it became a fabulous club house where he did a great deal of entertaining. Among his guests were men such as William Whitney of New York and Mark Hanna of Cleveland.
Most of these letters were written while Gunn was at Zoar, many on "Zoar Society" stationery, others headed "The Hermitage." Gunn refers to Whitney several times as his best friend, and several of the letters offer anxious inquiries about the health of Whitney's wife, Flora, and deep condolences after her death. In a letter dated April 23, 1900, Gunn tells Whitney of the arrival of the book "The Cookbook by Oscar of the Waldorf," which included several of Gunn's cocktail recipes and which was inscribed to him by Oscar Tschirky; he transcribes the recipes for Whitney.
Other letters are written from abroad: Paris, San Francisco, Santa Barbara. Gunn sends Whitney a leaf from his journal, written at Lake Como in 1883. Also included is a telegram from Gunn to Whitney, dated April 29, 1901, shortly before Gunn's death, requesting that Whitney arrange to pick him up at the New York train station and transport him to a hospital. Gunn died shortly thereafter.
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