Thursday, November 01, 2007

Oh You Red Sox!

I was in Boston last weekend (during the last couple of games of the World Series) and saw this banner at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Mrs. Gardner (aka "Mrs. Jack") was a colorful and influential Bostonian in the first quarter of the 20th century.

The website offers the following quick summary:

When the death of her two-year-old son (1865) was followed by a miscarriage, she and her husband went to Europe. After they returned (1868), ‘Mrs Jack’ soon established herself as the most flamboyant and sought-after hostess in Boston. At first her energies went into entertaining, interior decoration, gardening, travelling, and collecting friends and odds-and-ends, but by the late 1880s she set out seriously to collect great art. Assisted by (and subsidizing) Bernard Berenson, newly graduated from Harvard College, she began to purchase mainly works of the European Renaissance. To house her growing collection, she built an ambitious Italianate palazzo, Fenway Court. Incorporated as the semi-private Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (1902), it was opened to the first select guests in 1903. She continued to add objects over the next few years, and stipulated that everything must stay exactly where she placed it.

Fenway Court is, not surprisingly, located on The Fenway (the street that runs along part of the Fenway Park, which itself is part of the Emerald Necklace--a linear park that runs through Boston and was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead). The park was completed in 1895--just before Isabella started building her "palace" there.

And also, not surprisingly, the Red Sox's Fenway Park is right around the corner! Fenway was constructed in time for the 1912 baseball season, and Isabella was a huge fan. Later that year, according to a press release from the ISG Museum:

Red Sox fan and Gardner Museum creator Isabella Stewart Gardner celebrated the Red Sox championship win over the New York Giants in unique fashion – attending a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance at Symphony Hall wearing a white headband with the words “Oh, you Red Sox!” in red letters, an act that prompted one reporter to describe her as a “woman...gone crazy.”

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