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Portrait, Law, Supreme Court Justice Mahlon Pitney, Lotos Club, Autographed Antique Menu, 1912

$600

Thomas A. Sindelar (1867-1923) (after)
Mahlon Pitney, Lotos Club Illustrated Dinner Menu
New York: 1912
Sepia-toned engraving or photogravure
Signed “Sindelar” in the matrix, lower left
Signed by Mahlon Pitney, Frank Hedley and one other, in pencil,  lower margin
14.5 x 11 inches, plate mark
17.5 x 13 inches, overall
$600

Printed autographed broadside menu for a dinner honoring Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Mahlon Pitney at New York City’s Lotos Club in 1912. The menu features a photographic image of the judge in his robe, holding a book and his glasses. The dignified portrait is set within an illustration in the form of a picture frame surrounded by images of the U.S. Capitol dome, an allegorical figure of lady Justice holding scales and a sword, and an eagle perched on a heraldic shield of the State of New Jersey, holding a flower in its talons. Slightly behind the shield is another shield, that of Princeton University, Pitney’s alma mater. In front of the shields are ribbons with the Princeton motto and Pitney’s career highlights prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court: “Member of Congress from New Jersey (1894-98, State Senator 1898 — For 3 years, Pres. of Senate of N.J. — 1901, Supreme Court Justice of N.J., Chancellor of New Jersey.” The evening’s menu is printed beneath the portrait along with the event’s date, May 2, 1912.

Product description continues below.

Description

The menu is signed in pencil in the lower margin by three people: Mahlon Pitney; Frank Hedley (1864-1955), first general manager of the IRT subway system in New York City; and one other person.

Mahlon Pitney (1858-1924) was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President William Howard Taft in 1912 and served until 1922, when he resigned. He graduated from what is now Princeton University and became a lawyer. Beginning in 1889, he served in a variety of appointed and elected positions in New Jersey. His most important contributions to Supreme Court jurisprudence were in labor law, including an opinion that supported state worker’s compensation statutes and paved the way for their widespread adoption.

The Lotos Club is a New York City social organization founded in 1870 by a group of prominent artists, writers, scholars and journalists, including Mark Twain. The name for the club came from an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem called “The Lotos Eaters.” The club is still in existence today. As in the past, one of its frequent activities is presenting dinners in honor of distinguished contributors to American life and culture. In the early 20th century, they produced elaborate decorative menus for these events, designed by renowned illustrators, which are collector’s items today.

Thomas Sindelar was an illustrator and designer based in New York City. He studied with C. Hecker and Alphonse Mucha. He was a member of the Salmagundi Club and Artists Fund Society, as well as a life member of the Lotos Club, where he designed and illustrated numerous commemorative menus for special occasions, including the example offered here.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and restored, the outer blank margins with remaining mat toning and pale stains from former mat having been glued — all can be rematted over.

References:

Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press, 1985. p. 571.

Sidney, Deana. “The Lotos Club, Great Menus and Neapolitan Ice Cream.” 10 May 2012. Lostpastremembered. http://lostpastremembered.blogspot.com/2012/05/lotos-club-great-menus-and-neapolitan.html (23 August 2019).

Tikkanen, Amy et al. “Mahlon Pitney, American Jurist.” Britannica.com. 1 February 2019. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mahlon-Pitney (23 August 2019).

Additional information

Century

19th Century