Last month I was able to share with you some interesting aspects of closure. In a tip of the hat to Paul Harvey, our very own “REST...of our story” detailed the finding of the historic Huebner-Toledo Pre-Prohibition pils recipe and our careful recreation. This month, hands-on heritage has rocked my world, once again.
You might recall that I wrote in the February 2013 MBAA Communicator about an e-mail contact from Floridian Jennifer Valdivia. She was cleaning while preparing to move and rediscovered a book that she had purchased at a flea market many years ago. The book was about the life of Louis Pasteur written by René Vallery-Radot, a French writer and the son-in-law of Pasteur. It was published by Garden City Publishing Co., complete with an MBAA cover, emblem, and title page, specifically for the 33rd MBAA Annual Convention. That convention was hosted by District Philadelphia in 1936 and dedicated to Pasteur. Jennifer saw the historic value in the book. She contacted MBAA, carefully bubble-wrapped it, and sent it to me “priority mail” just a few days later.
In that original MBAA Communicator piece, I included several photographs of the volume, including a photo of a penned signature in the front of the book, presumably indicating its owner; W. Burton of the Pennsylvania State Brewers Association. I included that photo (seen again below) thinking that maybe someone in District Philadelphia would be able to shed a bit more light on Mr. Burton.
Shortly before the piece appeared in The MBAA Communicator, I got an e-mail from our own MBAA Member Relations Specialist Cheryl Kruchten:
“I have had the opportunity to read your piece for next week’s Communicator in advance,” Cheryl wrote, “and found the attached membership application for William T. Burton in our files. I too hate to throw anything that might be ‘historic’ out.”
Here we go again! Our very own Cheryl, with an ever-alert eye, quickly connected these hands-on heritage dots, recognizing the same calligraphy-like Burton signature on a 1949 MBAA associate membership application, written fully 19 years after that 1936 convention.
Based upon the 1949 application, we now know that this is William T. Burton, the executive secretary of the Pennsylvania State Brewers Association. At the time of this application, he had been in that position for 16 years. Mr. Burton was born in Philadelphia on September 22, 1909, and attended college at Pennsylvania Military College and Temple University Law School. He lived in Havertown, PA, and was applying for a renewal of his associate membership in MBAA.
Here is yet another heritage gift, the result of the concerns and efforts of different people, from different parts of the country, in different stages of life who simply care. Their combined synergies collected separate pieces of a heritage puzzle, arranging them into a more recognizable whole. In this case, a book purchased years ago at a flea market in Florida, led someone to archived records in Minnesota, to shed light on an MBAA member who was active more than three quarters of a century ago...in Philadelphia.
Hands-On Heritage at its very best! That...is how it happens. Thanks again to Jennifer and Cheryl.