The abstruse signature — Fran K.? Frank? —was begin over the summer back workers were replacing old slate chalkboards in Hathorn Hall classrooms with new ones.
(The old boards had a array of problems, including actuality too low, too small, and too bland — all authoritative them adamantine to address on.)
Project administrator Paul Farnsworth airtight a quick photo and aggregate it with Campus Construction Update. CCU appear the photo in its July 1 copy and deciphered the words as “Thank you” and “May 16, 1892.”
Proving that CCU is for adolescent and old alike, Emma Gay ’25 of Herndon. Va., not yet matriculated at Bates, beatific an email afterwards in July adage that she anticipation the words are a signature, “Fran K.”
CCU promptly adapted the mistake, saying, “Thanks, Emma G., and acceptable to Bates!”
Got a Guess?Want to try your duke at analogous a Bates name to the signature? The images are on this page, and here’s the 1915 General Catalogue of Bates College, which includes names of every Bates actuality up to that point — including, presumably, “Fran K.” or “Frank.” Email [email protected] if you accept an idea.
But that wasn’t the end.
Thinking it would be absorbing to apperceive who Fran K. was — and what may accept happened on May 16, 1892 — I put the angel into an appointment Slack approach the added day, allurement association if they anticipation it was absolutely Fran K. or conceivably Frank.
If we could achieve on a aboriginal name, again conceivably we could acquisition the aftermost name, which is partially apparent at the top of the image. (Farnsworth actuality a active guy, he didn’t abduction the accomplished name in his photo — all the bigger for a acceptable Bates mystery.)
And while it’s not absolutely as dank as the declared Bates affiliation to the belled Isabella Gardner Museum art break-in in 1990, we’ll booty what we can get.
BCO aide Nick O’Brien says, “My money would be on Fran K., because of the period-looking affair afterwards the ‘K.’” And as addition accomplished in the art of cursive, O’Brien believes it absurd that a Frank would abstracted their K from their Fran.
We asked Pat Webber, administrator of the Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library.
“In my opinion, the aboriginal name is ‘Frank,” Webber said. “I apperceive the letter K is afar from the blow of the belletrist — and appears to be a basic — “but I anticipate that’s aloof the way the actuality active their name.”
Webber believes the aboriginal letter of the aftermost name, apparent at top, “is either F, P, or T, followed by an ‘o’ and an ‘r.’
With assorted “Frank additional two” possibilities, Webber amid three Franks in the 1891–92 academy catalog. “The aboriginal two, Frank Everett Perkins and Frank Clifford Thompson, are both Chic of 1894,” he said. “But I agnosticism our attestant is either of those, as the belletrist don’t absolutely bout up.”
But there’s one added that fits Webber’s theory: Frank Torr Wingate, Chic of 1895. “Unfortunately, we don’t accept a photo anthology for that chic year.” Occasionally, photos in chic albums are signed. “But that would be too easy!”
But is the name absolutely Frank? No, maintains O’Brien. “No way someone’s autography would be that acceptable and put a amplitude in amid ‘n’ and ‘K,’” says O’Brien, who consulted a about who’s a typography expert. “He says Fran K.”
If the name is absolutely “Fran K. [Something],” the abstruseness charcoal unsolved, because there is no name in the old Bates catalogs (that we can find, at least) forth the curve of Frances K. or Francis K.
Which additionally raises the catechism of whether the signature absolutely belongs to a apprentice or adroitness member. Could it accept been a artisan who scribbled their name afore installing a slate chalkboard added than a aeon ago?
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