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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bad history

Just for fun I decided to revisit the work of T. Allston Brown, who the National Gallery of Art depends upon greatly for their provenance.

from T. Allston Brown's History of the American Stage, 1870 (nine years after the citation used by the NGA)

Peppin and Burschard. - Peppin and Burschard, with a French Circus, landed in Boston in 1806, from Spain. They performed in conjunction with West, at Philadelphia. Peppin built the Walnut Street Theatre. Peppin had a thorough military education. He was an officer in the cavalry of France. He was born in Albany. His parents were French. They left Albany for Paris when Peppin was two years of age.


Aside from not knowing how to spell Pépin or Breschard, getting the year they arrived in the USA wrong, 1807 not 1806, Pépin and Breschard together not ever working with West, both Pépin and Breschard building the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, not Pépin alone, and Mrs. Pépin having never gone to France, I guess the rest of his piece is correct.

For someone who is relied upon as a source for the Smithsonian, getting six facts wrong out of a possible ten is a poor, poor performance.

This is the author the NGA uses to negate Mason, Riggs, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


1 comment:

  1. I am trying to research the inaccuracy of Brown's workl relating to one of his fantastic claims about minstrelsy. Actually, wherever anyone tries to research his accuracy or compare it, he is found deeply inaccurate. Brown started as a circus stage hand and sought work as a circus advanceman and promotor and circus act manager and promotor. He graduated to being a theater act manager and promotor in New York. His work with "The Clipper" was subordinate to his search for work in those fields and like many writers on entertainment in the mid and late 19th century directly related to puffing his clients,damning his competitors. He had no claim to any form of research. anyone with more information on his inaccuracies write me at blackbanjotony@hotmail.com