Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Man of Learning

This is a distinguished looking gentleman whose portrait was taken by E. W. Smart of Gill Street in Exeter, New Hampshire.


On the reverse is handwritten an identification of James Andrew Gibson, Syracuse, NY, and an additional note of P.E.A. '98.

My immediate thought was that P.E.A. might refer to some kind of Academy, but in this photo he looks too old to have been a student at an Academy.  I thought maybe he might be a teacher instead.

And my hunch that he might be a teacher eventually was proved correct. I fruitlessly poked around for awhile online, looking for an Academy in New York that might be a match for P.E.A.  It wasn't until I moved to Ancestry that the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.

With a bit of research in the Ancestry public family trees, I believe I have identified this man as James Andrew Gibson Jr., who was born in 1874 in Chicago, but who was living in Syracuse, New York, in 1880.

In 1901, James married Eva Linwood Brown in Exeter, New Hampshire.  In Exeter is a school known as the Philips Exeter Academy.  So my theory is that James was a teacher at Philips Exeter Academy when this photo was taken, just 3 years before he married a local girl.

In 1902 James graduated from Harvard University and became a professor at the University of Missouri.  He remained in Missouri and died in Springfield in 1942.

LSW

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