Bright Spots

Filed under: Family Updates,Kudos,Uncategorized — Chamberlain @ 6:49 pm
No. 226

Over the many months since our last posting there have been several wonderful developments, things to be exceedingly thankful for. Here are a few…

We are thrilled that James Forster is now doing beautifully as clearly evidenced in the following snapshots. This cameo appearance follows his introduction to the family back in 2015 when ourrumpus postings were regular events….


Deo Gratias I

Scary James

Scary James

Also we’re happy to relate that Ed Fehlig Sr is in the ‘on the mend’ category. Ed continues to improve following a bout of kidney disease last year.

Uncle Ed
Deo Gratias II

Another bright spot is the newest addition (as of 29 Aug 2019) to the Skinner Clan, John (Jack) Peter Chambers Skinner. Congratulations to Christina and Will. The Skinner line is now firmly established for the foreseeable future.

Jack Skinner
Sister Emma and Jack Skinner

Still another bright spot since our last posting is the marriage of  Sarah Law to Nelson Goodell, July 2019. Best wishes from the clan to Sarah and congratulations to Nelson.

Sarah Wedding
A Beautiful Bride

The Kalish kinder were featured in this group photo from Eleanor Withers’ annual July 4th Kalish Christmas (!) newsletter. Here they are in what I hope is correct name order:

Kalish Kids
The Kalish squad: Dylan, Helen, John, Parker and Ralph

The name ‘Manning’ seems invariably to confer stature doesn’t it?  Here’s Kate and Duncan Manning’s contribution to the family lineage:

Howland Manning

The progeny who have benefited the most from Sarah Fehlig’s docent expertise at the St Louis Art Museum this spring sponsored a family-wide GoFundMe project to acknowledge their appreciation, love and affection for Sarah. The result, a gorgeous Washington Skeleton Chair crafted by British-Ghanian David Adjaye. The co-chairs of this drive, generously supported by the entire family, were Claire McClelland and Sarah Smith. Congratulations Sarah, and thank you Claire and Sarah.

Gold Chair
Docent Sarah with Claire McClelland and Sarah Smith.

Cousin  Nick Salter’s brilliant renovation in Putney was the site of a marvelous dinner party last May. Thank you Nick for hosting us, and please note the abundance of wonderful art on display. Sadly we don’t have photos of Molly Wynn Owen, Toby and Guy Salter but it was fun to see them there too.

Nick's Digs
The Dunns and German cousin Thekla Raestrup at Nick’s new digs

Darren O’Toole demonstrating some casting techniques to grandfather Dr Bill Cromie. We anticipate he’ll be demonstrating some wind surfing techniques next summer.

Gone Fishin
Book Ends

Here’s letting you know that Joe Pentland has a spectacular new art studio/machine shop/apartment under construction at Hunt and Tower Grove on the near south side St Louis. Here are a couple of snap shots from June. We’ll revisit when things are completed. It’s super to have Joe back in St Louis.

Joe's Shop
Joe supervises construction
Joe's Shop
Exterior view as of June 2019

Congratulations to David Pentland who has formed a new rugby team, The Mercenaries, which he also coaches. Keep an eye out for the schedule of matches this fall, some of which are in Forest Park.

David's Team
Coach David Pentland and his Mercenaries squad

We turn next to some sorely needed improvements at Moone Athy. First, good riddance to the treacherous old stairway!

New Steps

In lieu of a treacherous outdoor winter descent down a steel ladder into a snake pit in order to shut off water to farmhouse, Neal Fuhr installed this elegant electric switch solution. FYI the on/off switch sits below the breaker box in the utility cabinet in the farmhouse kitchen.

Water Shut Off
No more frozen and burst pipes!

Worth reporting again, Sarah Fehlig has provided a new, high end keyboard for the Quick Room, a wonderful addition. Finally the family appreciates that George and Lucy Judy provided some major staging improvements in several of the rooms at the farm house when they last visited last spring. Thank you!


Sarah’s Yamaha


George and Lucy’s Spruce Up

We conclude our blog’s re-emergence with a couple of video highlights

Delphine de La Fuente Performs!

Soon to be performing alongside Delphine will be her new sister Ophelia

In case you missed this adventure, we finish with a daring rescue.

Blossom says Hats off to Conrado and Neal

That’s all for now. Perhaps more to follow…
Lord Chamberlain

More Family Scholarship

Filed under: Kudos — Chamberlain @ 4:58 pm

From Mother to Son


The family printing presses continue to roll. Our newest book is From Mother to Son, the Selected Letters of Marie de l’Incarnation to Claude Martin, by Mary Dunn, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-938657-4, 2014. This publication is part of the Oxford series ‘Religions in Translation’, Anne Monius, Harvard Divinity School, series editor.

Mary Dunn’s achievement has family relevance on a number of levels. First, those of you who have been involved in the yearlong St Louis 250th Anniversary celebrations are aware of its explicit historical thrust to highlight, as Mary states, a French “counterpoint to the narrative weighted in favor of Plymouth Rock and the Puritans.” Mary’s Chouteau ancestry no doubt plays a role in her interest in the French perspective. Second, this book adds to the family’s existing scholarship on the history of New France (see posting #44, the Upper Country, a book by Claiborne Skinner).

From the dust jacket:


“This truly extraordinary collection of letters between Marie de l’Incarnation and her son Claude Martin, could not have been curated, translated, and introduced to the English-speaking world more expertly. Dunn’s introduction is brilliant, promoting a richer awareness of how mystical journeys are deeply enmeshed in earthly relationships – in this case, relationships between France and the New World, Catholics and Iroquois, and most provocatively and indeed startlingly, between a mother and the son she abandons…” Brenna Moore, author of Raïssa Maritain, the Allure of Suffering, and the French Catholic Revival (1905-1945).

For those of us educated by the les Mesdames du Sacre Coeur, early grade school descriptions of the torture of the French Jesuits by the Iroquois remain deeply imprinted in memory. Marie’s correspondence with her son will bring back these memories in vivid detail.

We are accumulating quite a collection of books by family members. On art and architecture we have Four Emperors and an Architect by Alicia Salter. In North American history we have the aforementioned The Upper Country by Claiborne Skinner. Recent St Louis history and pop culture is the subject of Tom Dunn’s Admiral, and now we add religious history to the mix. Ideal gifts for friends and relatives to keep in mind at Christmastime.

Congratulations Mary!


Bingo Joe!

Filed under: Art,Kudos — Chamberlain @ 11:13 pm

The clan will be especially delighted to learn that the combination of exceptional genius, perseverance, and artistry of Joe Pentland is bearing fruit. Here is his extraordinary creation, Horizontal Line 264, permanently installed in the atrium of the Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory, Rock Hill CT.

This is so exciting. A second outdoor installation of another of Joe’s creations is in progress at this site. What talent! Congratulations Joe. I have the feeling that we will be seeing a lot more of your wonderful creativity in the future.


Celebrating St Louis and Other Things Too

Filed under: Art,Family History,Family Places,Kudos — Chamberlain @ 2:41 pm

St Louis this year celebrates the 250th year of it founding. As a part of this celebration, Washington University, The Association of Yale Alumni, and the Les Amis organization together are sponsoring a day-long symposium on Friday, February 14th, at the Missouri Historical Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd, St Louis Mo 63112. Sign up and mark your calendars because this promises to be a fun opportunity for us to get together and learn more about our rich cultural heritage.

The program will feature discussions about our city’s founding by historians from across the US with expertise in our French and Spanish heritage. Included in the list of participants will be Yale’s Jay Gitlin PhD and our own Clay Skinner PhD from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Attendees will include European and Canadian ambassadors and Chief Red Eagle from the Osage Tribe. Luncheon at Washington University and/or dinner at Windows on Washington will be provided to registrants.

René Auguste Chouteau, Pierre Laclede, and John and Bryan Mullanphy are but a few of the prominent figures in our city’s history with whom family members and friends have a connection. So this should be a fun and informative event and we hope that some of you will take the opportunity to attend. For reservations you may contact Diane Morrissey at, or call her at 302-432-1946. You may also register on line at

Another THANK YOU CYNTHIA is due to Cynthia Cromie whose most recent Walnut Tally has just arrived in the mail. This is a huge undertaking, beautifully done, that is an indispensable desktop tool that the whole family relies upon. What a gift. Included in this year’s mailing is another gem, Camp Runamok Games. As Cynthia notes in the preface,

“In Cromie family folklore, Camp Runamok is convened whenever and wherever there are more people who have an urgent need to run around than people who do not”.

As can be imagined, this condition pertains more often than not in the Chamber. The history of Runamok is detailed in the publication for your edification. A classic, full-fledged Runamok was recently experienced at one of the family haunts, Hessel MI. Link here to witness first hand a Runamok, and you’ll quickly get the (painful) idea. This booklet provides all the rules needed to set up and, more importantly, referee multiple diversions for the youth so as to fully realize a Runamok for yourself. Thanks Cynthia for your Sisyphean efforts on all our behalf.

To cap things off we have another terrific success by Gin Cromie. Her movie, The Square, which we noted in a posting previously here,
is now available on Netflix. As noted in the Netflix write-up:

“Nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature, this critically praised documentary chronicles the history-making revolution in Egypt that captivated the world with scenes of courage and freedom in the face of violent opposition.”

This of course is big. We now have an Academy Award nominee in our midst. We’ll claim her, no problem. Congratulations to Gin!

Happy New Year All!

Antiquarians of Note

Filed under: Family Updates,Kudos — Chamberlain @ 4:44 pm

Kudos are * in order for two of our membership, both owing to major accomplishments in studies in the arts of antiquity. First we congratulate Alicia Salter, M.A. (Oxon) M. Phil (Bath), on the publication of her new book “Four Emperors and an Architect How Robert Adam rediscovered the Tetrarchy”. Here is the synopsis from her website:

Diocletian Courtyard in Split

Diocletian Courtyard in Split

With the fall of communism, the Balkan Peninsula is now an exciting place for tourists and scholars to visit and among its previously hidden gems are the remains of the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (AD 244-312) in Split, Croatia.

Fourteen centuries later, Diocletian’s palace made a huge impression on an ambitious young architect, Robert Adam, who heard about it while on his Grand Tour. Although his visit to the palace was made difficult and cut short by the ruling Venetians, who suspected him of spying, it did not stop Adam, seven years later, publishing his monumental and highly successful work, The Ruins of Spalatro (as Split was then known), which confirmed him as a rising new talent.

This book tells the story of Adam’s rediscovery of the architecture of the Tetrarchs and how Diocletian’s palace inspired features in some of Adam’s most famous houses, such as Kedleston, Syon and his ill-fated Adelphi development in London. Woven into this tale is the intriguing and little-known history of the Tetrarchs themselves, the four emperors, who ruled harmoniously as colleagues for twelve years and left us with an extraordinary architectural legacy.

The Tetrarchs in Venice

The Tetrarchs in Venice

I have long admired Nick Salter’s knowledge of architecture, and now I understand how he came by it. We look forward to learning more about this period and the architect that it influenced.

Our second antiquarian, Zellie McClelland, just completed her doctorate in Classics, Art History and Archeology at Washington University. Her dissertation, “Constructions of Childhood on the Funerary Monuments of Roman Athens” discusses the artistic evolution of representation of childhood from the Classical through the Imperial periods, and the implications about changing societal views of childhood during this time. Here are some representative illustrations from her work:


Classical Period Monument

Imperial Period Monument

Alicia Salter – Burma 2006

Zel at American School
Classical Studies, Athens, 2010


Alicia’s book can be purchased (20 pounds + 3.50 pounds P&P). Email her at for details. We again take vicarious pleasure in the accomplishments of our clan members!

*[Greek kudos, magical glory.]
USAGE NOTE Kudos is one of those words like congeries that look like plurals but are etymologically singular. But as Calvin Gatch points out it takes a plural verb!
Thanks for the education Calvin!
(Read more:

Our Sundance Kid

Filed under: Drama,Kudos,Photography — Chamberlain @ 1:41 pm

Gin Cromie and her crew of filmmakers won a major award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival this year. The film is titled The Square and it won the Audience Award in the World Cinema Documentary category. The film covers the momentous February 2011 Tahrir (Liberation) Square revolution in Cairo, Egypt. The Egyptian-American director, Jehane Noujaim, is quick to compliment her associates: “It was a true collaboration. My incredible amazing team who I love so much.”

Cast and Credits

Director: Jehane Noujaim
Executive Producers: Mike Lerner, Geralyn Dreyfous, Maxyne Franklin
Producer: Karim Amer
Associate Producer: Virginia Cromie, Yasmin Kamal
Cinematographer: Muhammad Hamdy
Editors: Stefan Ronowicz, Mohammed El Manisterly, Christopher de la Torre, Pierre Haberer
Camera: Ahmed Hassan, Cressida Trew

Not only great technical skill but dedication and courage were necessary to achieve this success. We are very proud to be connected, Gin! Congratulations and keep up the great work.


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