As a lifelong collector and longtime genealogy lover, one of my favorite hobbies since the advent of eBay has been to find trinkets up for auction that might have some relevance to my family history, then actually be able to make a connection. This hasn’t happened too often (Johnny Lanning’s autograph was one of the first), but when it does it’s well worth the time and whatever the small cost of the item.
Years ago I came across an old postcard on eBay of the Mary Lanning Fountain at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, a town I used to hang out in a bit when I was in grad school in nearby Amherst, oblivious to the existence of the fountain at the time. It turns out various generations of this postcard are readily available on the site on an ongoing basis. However, I knew nothing about the origins of the fountain or who Mary Lanning was, so I bought the card and filed it away as one of my “future projects.” Continue reading