Stories from the Big House

18 July 2012

160 years of Paul Carus

Paul Carus
Paul Carus was born 18 July 1852 in Ilsenburg, Germany. In 1887, he moved to America and soon after became the Editor-in-Chief of Open Court Publishing in La Salle, IL. In that role, he corresponded with and published the works of leaders in the fields of mathematics, philosophy, world religions, and related disciplines. 

Mary Hegeler Carus
and Paul Carus
He married Mary Hegeler in 1888 and lived in the Hegeler Carus Mansion for the rest of his life.

During his lifetime, Carus published 75 books and 1500 articles, mostly through Open Court Publishing Company. He wrote books and articles on history, politics, philosophy, religion, logic, mathematics, anthropology, science and social issues of his day.
In addition, Carus corresponded with many of the greatest minds of the late 19th and early 20th century. Carus made a copy of the letters he sent, and kept them with those he received as a record of complete correspondence.  These letters from great thinkers of his time, such as Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Edison, Nichola Tesla, Booker T. Washington, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ernst Mach, Ernst Haeckel, John Dewey, and many more are now archived in the Special Collections at the Morris Library of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
The World Parliament of Religions-1893
In 1893, Carus offered a thirty-minute talk at the Parliament of World's Religions, which was held in conjunction with the World's Fair and Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  He later wrote that he never expected to be so moved by this event, which was the first time all known religions were brought together.  He spent the remainder of his life working to
build understanding between different religions.
In 1894, Dr. Carus wrote The Gospel of Buddha, the classic text on Buddhism that first introduced many Westerners to Buddha and his teachings. Because it was written in chapter and verse like the Christian "gospels," it was easily understood by Christian audiences who were unfamiliar with Buddhists teachings.

Dr. Carus' passion and commitment to the quest for religious and spiritual understanding was illustrated by his lifelong dedication to providing an open forum for the ideas of such diverse scholars as Pierce, Russell, Mach, Dharmapala, Swami Vivekananda, Shaku Soyen, D.T. Suzuki, and thousands of other great thinkers. As a thinker, writer and publisher, Carus became a bridge-builder between religions and science, philosophy and society, and Buddhism and Christianity.  
The legacy of Paul Carus is honored through the efforts of the Hegeler Carus Foundation, the Paul Carus Award for Interreligious Understanding  by the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR) and through Open Court Publishing, which is still operated by the Carus Family and specializes in scholarly and trade non-fiction, with an emphasis on philosophy, social issues, Eastern thought, education, psychology, Jungian analysis, and religion and science.

For more information on Paul Carus, the Parliament of World's Religions, The Hegeler Carus Mansion and the 1893 World's Fair and Columbian Exposition we suggest the following books, available at our gift shop.

The Gospel of Buddha
Catalyst for Controversy
The Devil in the White City (fiction)
Patina of Time

09 July 2012

The Hegeler Carus Foundation Announces Music in the Air-Outdoor Music Festival

The Hegeler Carus Foundation will host an outdoor music festival on the Hegeler Carus Mansion Grounds on Saturday, September 15, 2012.  Music in the Air will be modeled after European festivals which feature local musicians.
Bagshot Row-Returns to the Mansion on August 10!
The festival will move through the gardens and grounds during the day with local talent featured in 45 minute concerts. 
The Music in the Air festival will be the closing event in the Music at the Mansion Summer Sunset Concert Series that has been presented on Fridays at 7 pm all summer long.
The final concert of the day will be “Happy Days-Music of the 50’s and 60’s.”  Happy Days will be hosted by Classic Hits 106’s Rock and Roll Wizzard, host of The Wizzard’s Juke Joint for over 30 years.
Bring a picnic and a beach chair- 
We'll see you on the lawn!
The closing concert for the festival will be co-directed by Meridith Donahue and Meagan Zomboracz-Cullinan and will be performs by many of your favorite local musicians. 
Summer Sunset Concerts take place on Friday evenings all summer long outdoors on the Mansion lawn.  Meet up with your friends, have a wonderful time and listen to great music in the Illinois Valley.
The grounds open at 5:30pm, so come early to set up a picnic at your favorite spot on the lawn. The music starts at 7pm and ends after the stars come out.  Or, rent a table for four in our VIP section, and let us set us up a picnic for you, complete with snacks and beverages.
Food and drinks will be for sale at many of the concerts.  Please check our website for current offerings and concert/dining packages for the individual concerts.
The Hegeler Carus Mansion  is located at 1307 Seventh Street, La Salle, IL 61301.  Admission to the Summer Sunset Concerts is $5. Season tickets are available at a discounted rate. Membership information is available at
Concert Goers enjoying "Last Call"
they return to the Mansion on August 24!
Mark your calendars! 
Upcoming Summer Sunset Concerts leading up to the Music in the Air Festival include:
**No concert on July 13** Please enjoy Lou's Lagratto Concert for a Cause fundraiser at the Peru Airport.
The Henry Torpedo Boys on July 20th
Alex Dittmar on July 27th
Smilin Todd on August 3rd
Bagshot Row on August 10
**No Concert on August 17** Please enjoy the Maud Powell Music Festival in Peru instead!
Last Call-Beach Party on August 24
Al and Jeannie Brown on September 7
Meerkat Mobsters on September 14

14 May 2012

The House Across the Street

The Julius W. Hegeler I Home
Across the street from the Hegeler Carus Mansion in LaSalle, Illinois, stands the Julius W. Hegeler I Home designed 1904 by Pond and Pond, an acclaimed Chicago architectural firm.

The Julius W. Hegeler I Home was built for the oldest son of Edward and Camilla Hegeler.  

The fine woodwork in the entrance
of the Julius W. Hegeler I Home
The home has a distinctive English Arts and Crafts look about its brick exterior that continues inside with its spacious rooms, grand fireplaces, luxurious carved wooden staircases and fine paneling throughout.

Tile from an upstairs room
Tiles around several of the fireplaces in the Julius W. Hegeler I Home look deceptively like tiles produced by William De Morgan.
They are not!

Tile in the Dining Room
This opinion comes from Claire Longworth, Curator, De Morgan Centre, London, who after looking at images of the tiles, suggested we look at the Arts and Crafts tiles of Maw & Co. or Pilkington, both noted English tile producers of the time.
Further more, she comments, that while the tiles look to be British production, we should not rule out Belgian and even American made tiles of the period. Seems like “everyone” active in the tile business around 1900-1910 was making them in the De Morgan style or in related Arts and Crafts patterns.

Tile in the Living Room Fireplace
Further research is required and will be presented here as it happens.  Of course the most rewarding and easiest but also the most costly research route is to remove the tiles and look at their backs for possible makers marks or the name of the manufacturer. At the same time the tiles could be cleaned, conserved, and their foundation restructured and restored as needed.

Tile from a first floor fireplace
The bright red floral and the blue-green-yellow vines are based on the British Arts and Crafts styles popularized by William De Morgan (1839-1917), one of several genius designers active in the later 19th century in England. De Morgan, an English potter born in London, into a distinguished family, designed tiles, furniture and stained glass windows for his good friend, William Morris, but it is his own experimentation, mostly shortly after 1873. His interest in Persian and Hispano-Moresque patterns and glazing techniques led him to rediscover an ancient glazing technique known as luster, characterized by its highly reflective, metallic surface. This breakthrough in technology quickly inspired others, but brought De Morgan great fame with little financial success.
Moving his production facility, in 1888, from Merton Abbey to Fulham, De Morgan had the facilities to experiment with many techniques, especially the development of seemingly translucent intensely deep colors.  These brought him national, then international recognition within the Arts and Crafts Movement, but financial success remained elusive.
He stopped production of his tiles in 1904 and officially closed his factory in 1906, then selling it in 1907 to the Passenger Brothers, who had been his leading painters. At the time De Morgan wrote, “All my life I have been trying to make beautiful things and now that I can make them nobody wants them.”

Tiles in and 18th century style.
In an upstairs room of the Julius W. Hegeler House there is one fireplace surround with what look like 18th century Dutch blue and white tiles, each with a story telling scene. These, too, are most probably late 19th century or early 20th century tiles made to look like Dutch tiles.  Tiles of this type and style were very popular in Arts and Crafts homes that featured an English “country” look.  The Julius W. Hegeler House is one of these. 

More research into the tile in the Julius W. Hegeler House will follow and hopefully will eventually lead to a much clearer understanding of the use of tiles in this House and others throughout the Midwest.

The Hegeler Carus Foundation is presently raising funds to restore the Julius W. Hegeler I Home to its former glory and utilize it as a center for community arts and education.

All content contributed by Rolf Achilles.
Photographs by Kelly Klobucher of the Hegeler Carus Foundation.

21 March 2012

Spring at the Hegeler Carus Mansion

Magnolia tree in bloom
(March 18, 2012)
Spring is a beautiful time to visit the Hegeler Carus Mansion. 

Every Spring the west lawn turns blue!
Scilla and a few daffodils blooming
(March 20, 2012)
This year we have enjoyed unseasonably warm weather and our gardens have been coming to life. 

Many plants are already in bloom.  Some are blooming a full six weeks earlier than last year.

Scilla in bloom on the west lawn
Every day we notice something new. 

We already have buds on our lilac bushes, peonies and roses.

Daffodils in bloom
(March 20, 2011)

(March 20, 2012)
Photographs tell so much more than words, so we thought we would share some with you.

We hope to see you soon!

12 March 2012

Camilla Hegeler

Camilla Weisbach Hegeler
 On March 12 we remember Camilla Weisbach Hegeler who was born on this day in 1835.

The Matriarch of the Hegeler Family, it was she and her husband Edward who commissioned W. W. Boyington to design and build the Hegeler Carus Mansion in 1874.

Camilla was the daughter of Julius Weisbach, a Professor for applied mathematics, mining engineering, mineralogy, crystallography, mine surveying and mechanics at Freiberg Bergakademie.  Edward Hegeler was his student in 1853 and became a frequent guest in the Weisbach home. 

It was at the Weisbach home, where Edward met Camilla and the two fell in love, and made secret plans to get married-but only after Edward established an adequate position in America.

Edward left Germany in the fall of 1856 and promised his fiancée that as soon as he established a solid foothold in America he would return to Freiberg and take her "home" to his new country as his wife.

Our archives contain six letters written by Edward from La Salle to Camilla in Germany in the time span from early 1859 to early 1860.  In these letters he reports on work and his ideas. He talks of the work of starting his new company and expresses a concern that Camilla might tire of waiting for him, marry someone else and stay in Germany.  The most exuberant letter of the six was one dated 20 January 1860, in which he told her that the new plant was finally running well and that he had made travel arrangements for the long awaited trip to Freiberg to get married and take her to America, stating "One is on the earth to enjoy life, which matter should not be put off too long-it might get too late."

The wedding took place on 5 April 1860 and the Hegeler's arrived in La Salle in July of the same year.  Their family eventually included 10 children.  She adjusted quite readily to the many roles she was expected to play: as the mistress of a major household; the mother of a large family; and as a helpmate to her husband in his ambitions and aspirations.  She was very practical minded and resourceful.  She died on 28 May 1908.

The information and facts above are taken from the biography of Edward Carl Hegeler, compiled by Arno Reidies in November of 1998 and revised and edited by family members in September of 2001.

21 February 2012

Sisterly Advice: How to Treat a Lady

Page 4 of Paula's letter to her brothers
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is home to the Open Court Archives.  Many Hegeler and Carus family letters and papers are stored, catalogued and researched at the Morris Library.

Christina Gould, located the following letter to Edward and Gustave Carus from their sister Paula Carus, giving them advice on how to treat a lady. The letter is undated so we are not sure when or for what occasion she was issuing this advice but the letter is fabulous.  Perhaps others could benefit from Paula’s advice.

Dear Edward and Gustave,
I now take a great task upon myself by writing you this letter, and because of the importance of the facts herein discussed please read it, and think carefully over all that I have said.
1.  Buy the girls’ tickets –both ways if possible—the way back (away from Madison) if not.
2.  Have rooms—the best possible and have a decent place for them to eat so that they will not have to be embarrassed by walking up and down the streets looking for an eating place.
3.  See that your clothes are in perfect order.
1. Good dancing pumps and silk black stockings. (Edward, you must see that if Gustave goes he will have these.)
2. A good evening suit—dress suit—you know the kind. A fine shirt, collar and white tie.
3.  The kind of hat necessary.
4.  Gloves, white gloves that fit.
5.  Then some kind of a coat and a white craval (I mean ruffled neck piece)
That is all I can think of along the clothes line.

Paula, Libby, Gustave and Edward Carus in 1901

Now when you meet her at the train be dressed decently. Gus should not have old shoes on but polished ones.  Your clothes should be brushed and put on strait, and you should be dressed warm enough that you do not look cold.

Then bring her to her room and be sure to introduce her to some girl—at least one.  I would be frantic if I should not meet any if I were one of your girls.  She must know one of her own sect living in the house where she is staying.  Then see that she has everything she wants. I don’t know what the custom is about supper. You will have to find out about that. You will also have to find out about the flowers.  She will need a special color to match her dress, but I don’t know just what you should do about it. Ask some other boy.  Then, don’t forget—the carriage—I suppose both of you will take one together or work it some way like that.

Paula Carus
 Then have all the dances taken that you possibly can. And see that she is introduced sometime to everyone she dances with.

I guess you know everything else to do that evening. Make some engagement with her for the next day. I don’t think you are meant to eat breakfast with her, but perhaps so. Try and do as many interesting things as you can, but also do not do anything she does not care to do.

Arrange everything very carefully with her before she comes—and be sure you know what train and also be sure that she knows where you live and who with so she will not get in the same fix that I was. –That was terrible.

Now for a very personal talk with both of you.
Please don’t get her into an embarrassing situation by anything that you do or by the way you dress. You owe to the girl (I talk in the abstract for I only know one.) that you are dressed well washed clean, no high water marks.

Don’t let her fall on the street (It is all icy, I know.) but don’t hang on to her arm too much.

Good luck to you both and please—oh please remember what I have written here and above all remember that she is a woman and you are a man—that every inch of you must be a man and show that you are in the way you treat her.

                                                                        I am, only,
                                                                                    Your loving sister,