Monday, August 14, 2017

Key to the Royal Tombs of Egypt

Good morning key lovers!

Today, I will take you half way around the world to explore a key that comes from the royal tombs in Egypt. The key is from the lock on the crypt where Ibrahim Pasha is entombed at the tombs of the califs dating to 600 A.D. “Ibrahim Pasha was the son of Mohamed Ala, the first Egyptian ruler and was the great emancipator of the Egyptians.” Pasha started off as a general in the Egyptian army as a teenager. He succeeded his father, who was the ruler of Egypt and Sudan, after he became ill. However, he died before his father, only four months after taking the throne.

Portrait d'Ibrahim Pacha 2.JPG
Ibrahim Pasha
The attached note says that the “key was obtained by Richard Spencer on his trip around the world in 1937.” There is now a monument erected to Pasha in Cairo. He was heralded as one of the greatest leaders of his dynasty due to his sweeping military victories. What other keys to royalty may be hidden among our walls?

Key to Pasha's crypt

Written by:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Polish Palace

Good afternoon everyone! 

This summer sure has flown by quickly, and I find myself on my second to last day here at the Baldpate before heading back to school. It's crazy how fast the summer has gone! Since it's my last time in the key room, I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite keys that I've come to love after spending my summer in the key room. 

When I was browsing the key room when I first got here this summer, this large key immediately caught my eye, but it wasn’t until a little later that I actually took some time to research it. I knew some preliminary information about the Wilanów Palace, but in my free time I was determined to learn some more about it. 

Key donated by Mrs. Sophia Zaleski Hinkle, longtime donor to our collection

The Wilanów Palace is located about five miles outside of Warsaw, Poland. Construction began in 1677 and was finished for a while in 1696 by King John Sobieski III. The residence started out small, but grew immensely as construction continued over the decades. The palace passed between Polish royalties as the centuries passed, falling in and out of the grandeur it was built to resemble.

Letter from Sophia, giving information about the
 key and including a picture of the palace at the time
of donation, 1936. 

The palace as it is today

Finally, after recovering from a spell of being neglected, the palace was returned to the splendor it was intended to have and was opened as one of the very first museums in Poland in 1805. The magnificent building was kept in pristine condition and had many rooms preserved in it. One of the most famous was the stark white hall built after King John’s time, which boasted a welcoming large white room for all. Others include chambers where parties would be held and bedrooms fit for kings.

The infamous White Hall, located near the palace entrance

Another hallmark of the palace is the portrait gallery that contains priceless paintings of Polish royalty and other influential members of the country’s past. These frames are preserved for all to look at even today, and tell the tale of many rulers time has forgotten.

A view down one of the hallways of the portrait gallery in the palace

I love this key because as it leads to one of the most beautiful palaces that the world has sometimes forgotten and it makes me feel connected to my family history, as we have a long, long line of Polish decent. There’s so many amazing stories to historical buildings and palaces alike in our key collection just waiting to be discovered. Come over for yourself and check them out before we close for the season in October! 

Written by:
Victoria Witkowski, Museum Curator

Source (for info and images): 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lindbergh Law

Good morning key scholars!

Today’s key has a unique connection to Charles Lindbergh, the famous transatlantic pilot of the Spirit of St. Louis, and a piece of legislative history. On March 1, 1932, Charles and his wife’s child, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered. Because of their high profile status, the nation was outraged by the crime against the Lindberghs. It took two years, but Bruno Richard Hauptmann was finally arrested for the kidnap and murder, before being convicted and executed in 1936.¹

Image result for lindbergh kidnapping
Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped in 1932

As a result of the popularity of this trial, the 1932 Federal Kidnapping Act, popularly called the Lindbergh Law, was passed. The law stated that it is “a federal offense to kidnap someone with the intent to seek a ransom or reward.”² Today’s key is connected directly to the implementation of this law. The key is to the handcuffs that were used on Arthur Gooch, the only person at that time to have been executed under the Lindbergh Law. The attached letter states that not only was Gooch the first person to be executed under the law, the same night his guilty verdict was returned, a jury convicted Hauptmann to death for his murder of Charles Jr.

Image result for arthur gooch
Arthur Gooch

Below is the full content of the attached letter:
                I understand you have accumulated a rare collection of historic keys and am enclosing one I feel will add materially to the value of your collection. 
                Attached hereto is the handcuff key used by a deputy United States marshal in the eastern district of Oklahoma to shackle Arthur Gooch, the only man in America so far executed under the Lindbergh Law, when he was transported from the city-federal hail at Muskogee, Oklahoma, to the state penitentiary at McAlester, Oklahoma, for incarceration in the death row. 
                Gooch, an escaped prisoner from the Hughes County, Oklahoma, jail was arrested on December 26, 1934, after having kidnapped two policeman in Paris, Texas, on November 26, 1934, and brought them across the state line into Oklahoma. He was indicted on May 30, 1935, and on June 10, 1935, the jury returned a verdict of guilty and assessed the punishment of hanging. 
                On June 19, 1935, Honorable Robert Lee Williams, Federal Judge for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, sentenced Gooch to hang setting the date of the execution for Friday, September 13, 1935. Gooch, however, immediately appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals at Denver. The case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the offense was ruled a violation of the Lindbergh Law, and the Supreme Court later refuse to take the appeal on a writ of certiorari. The mandate was returned and filed in the office of the U.S. Court Clerk on April 22, 1936. On Friday, June 19, 1936, the death warrant was returned to the clerk showing that the order of the court had been carried out, that Arthur Gooch had been executed at McAlester, Oklahoma, at 5 o’clock that morning. 
                To date, no other person has been hanged for the same offense. 
                Another odd angle to the case is that the indictment against Gooch was returned the same night jury at Trenton, N.J., dommed Bruno Richard Hauptmann to die for the murder of the Lindbergh baby. It was Hauptmann’s offense which caused Congress to pass the law under which Gooch was executed. 
                I trust this key may find a place in your collection. 
                                                                Sincerely yours,
                                                                John E. Tidwell
Key to Arthur Gooch's handcuffs
It is amazing how some of these keys are connected to famous people and famous events in the history of the U.S. Come find out for yourselves!

Written by:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn


Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Duke of Wellington

Hello friends of the Key Room!

It has been a few days since our last post but today’s should make up for our absence. The key for today belonged to the famous first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. The Duke is famous for his role in the Napoleonic Wars. This key, which was to his soap box, was carried with him through his most famous military achievement: the Battle of Waterloo. It was during this battle, in 1815, that the Duke of Wellington shared in the victory of Napoleon.

Later in life, the Duke became the prime minister of Britain and was praised for his honest character and as an uncorrupt politician. We were fortunate enough to be given this key by Mrs. Rex Philips Johnson who says she kept the soap box that the key belongs to. Though this key is small, it unlocks an important part of history and connects us to the “conquer of the world’s conquer.” What other keys might we have that are linked to major events in the world’s history? Come check it out for yourself!

Written by:
Brett Meyer

Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn