collection1b

collection1b

December 20, 2014

A. A. Waterman obituary


        In my
Waterman’s v. Waterman” blogpost below, I mentioned that in the genealogical history of The Waterman Family, by Edgar F. Waterman & Donald L. Jacobus, there is a listing for Arthur A. Waterman in vol. 2, pp. 82-84.  At the end of the entry there is a citation for the source of the information.  The obituary is said to be in the Mar 13, 1939, issue of The New York Times, with no page number given, but it’s actually from Mar 12, 1939, on p. 61.  I found the obituary at my local university library in “ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2010)”.  The Waterman book also cites a “news item” in the May 4, 1939 issue, but I can’t find that reference at all.  Given that the other date was incorrectly cited, perhaps this one might have been incorrectly cited as well.  The genealogical listing in the book follows the obituary quite closely.  Here it is.
 

“ARTHUR WATERMAN DIES IN BROOKLYN”

Retired Inventor of ‘Middle
  Joint’ Fountain Pen, Rival
    of L. E. Waterman Co.
————————
 
FIRMS’ HEADS UNRELATED
————————
 
Manufacturer, 79, First Head
  of Harvard Cooperative
    Society in 1880s

       
Arthur A. Waterman of 37-46 Seventy-sixth Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, a retired fountain pen manufacturer, died yesterday in the Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, of uremic poisoning after an illness of two years.  He was born seventy-nine years ago at Arcadi, near Troy, N.Y.
       
After attending Harvard College, where he was a member of the class of ’85 and was the first superintendent of the Harvard Cooperative Society, Mr. Waterman established his home in this city.  He was the first inventor and manufacturer of a “middle joint” fountain pen.
       
For some years he manufactured pens here under the name of the A. A. Waterman Fountain Pen Company, with headquarters at 22 Thames Street, later moving to Chicago, where he carried on the business until his retirement about twenty years ago [my rubrication and italic emphasis].
       
At one time his company was engaged in litigation with the L. E. Waterman Company, rival manufacturers of fountain pens, as a result of the similarity in name.  The fact that two unrelated Watermans were making fountain pens at the same time was said last night by a member of Mr. Waterman’s family to have been purely a coincidence.
       
Surviving are his widow, the former Emma Fuller; a son, John F. Waterman, and two daughters, both high school teachers, the Misses Dorothy W. and Emma F. Waterman, all of New York.

        So, as “more recent research has shown”, he was only ostensibly forced out of his own pen company in 1905, but instead carried on until his retirement around 1919-20.

George Kovalenko.

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Addendum, Apr 9, 2019.
        Thanks to Robert Ramish who sent me some of his memories of the three A. A. Waterman children.  As a young boy in the early 1970s, he knew John, Emma, and Dorothy Waterman.  They where in their seventies and early eighties, all school teachers who never married, and they lived together, until their deaths, in the
Gibson Apartment House in Flushing, N.Y.  The Waterman’s were fluent in German, and Emma was determined to teach it to Robert.  There was probably some German in the Waterman family line.  However, Latin and Greek were still prerequisites in the higher-educated, academic world of that era, and German and other foreign languages were required in philosophical studies.  All three had a very strong intellect, and were ardent readers.  They were the finest people you could ever imagine.  When John died, his bedroom was filled with his WWI uniforms and regalia.  The sisters eventually sold off the contents of his room, and Robert bought his pocket watch, which still runs perfectly.  He also has a number of other items that they sold him, but it’s the stories they told him that he holds most dear to his heart.
        There was a collection of their father’s pens, but for the most part, they held onto it.  They did sell Robert some of it, wrapped in a leather case, but those are
now long gone.  He does not recall any other items such as advertising pieces or paper ephemera from the A. A. Waterman company.  When Emma and Dorothy, mostly Emma, did speak of their “Father”, it was always with an over abundance of love and admiration.  They were so Victorian in sensibility, so sweet and gentle.  Now, Robert often thinks back on that generation from the Gibson, and the older he gets, the more he sees them all in himself in many respects, and misses them all.  Flushing, N.Y., was a remarkable place in its day, its prominent families, its horticulture, and its architecture.   Sadly, all that is now gone, only the Bowne house, the Quaker meeting house, and the Kingsland house are left.  Eventually, everything in the apartment was sold to a local antique dealer back around 1975.  Everything is all long gone by now, surviving somewhere in private pen collections perhaps, not in any museum or archive.

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