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Sunday, March 20, 2011

This is what is heaven for an old man that likes to give art away.

This is my dream. Georges is a super genius - the dean of Northerstern University.  He loves to teach and to encourage others to teach.

My goal is to give 1m to 3m of my natural history engravings and maps to at least 100 Colleges all over the world.  Have done this at U of GA, U of TN, U of FL, Marymount College, Franklin College, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.  Have given away about 60m of material in the last 30 years that colleges and libraries and museum USE by making it available to students.  I dont take a tax deduction because it is more than my income and the IRS would think I was crazy.  So there is no benefit other than students are learning and getting excited.

Some political science professors asked me to do this at Yale a few weeks ago, but a librarian turned my gift down because he was worried that students would steal the my gifts.

I HOPE my students WANT to steal my gifts.  The trick is to use security hangers to screw the frames into the wall so that it will be very hard for them to do so.  That means they learn about them if they try to steal them.  Big deal.  It is ONLY a thing  If it gets stolen, another example can be found.  But at least students LEARN. .

The letter below is what I want to hear. I will give away 1b before I die.  I want my natural history images and maps on the walls with professors USING it to excite our young.  They will carve out our future with what we give them.

Isn't it a shame that that there are more Audubon's on display in my bedroom home than ALL of the Universities in American combined.

Anyway the letter below is my dream of dreams.   This guy is a super scholar, a giant and learning from him has been HUGE for my heart.  What a GREAT teacher.   And, as you can see, all he says is YES YES YES YES. I LOVE him.

It is just as easy to YES as it is to say no.

Here is the letter from Georges Van Den Abbeele,  Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at the GREAT school - Northeastern University.  This man is a leader, smart and passionate.   And ready for a NEW idea.  He owns me.

Dear Graham,

Thank you for your e-mail and for taking the time to visit Northeastern last week. It was a very great pleasure to meet you and discover so many common interests between us regarding the history of visual and cartographic representation in early modern Europe. I walked away exhilarated.

I am meeting with the chair of our history department tomorrow morning (Monday), and your generous offer to provide historical prints and maps as educational instruments will be at the top of the agenda. The world civilization course we discussed briefly on Thursday is part of core course work we are considering for first year students. Because it is part of a larger strategic curriculum review, this may take some time to develop and implement. However, your enthusiasm and generous offer have inspired me to consider developing a course on the history of globalization that I would teach myself. As dean, I do enjoy the luxury of being able to fast track such a course and anticipate being able to offer it as early as next fall.

Bob Dietrich tells me that you are interested in returning to campus in the next month or so and would be willing to bring some prints with you. This timing is perfect and will allow me to put some more thought into a syllabus for my proposed class that will help inform which of your ornithological, botanical and map prints would be the most relevant. Because this would be a new course, I am not sure what the enrollment will be, but I would plan on using the prints as the topic for a least one of the writing assignments. As we proceed, let’s discuss your expectations in terms of the number of such papers, as it relates to the enrollment and scope of the class. Your idea of connecting the papers with the prints in a physical way is absolutely terrific and perhaps we can do that through a website as well as part of the display.

In terms of where the art would be hung, we will be looking at various options over the next few weeks as well. Meserve Hall, where many faculty offices (including my own) and classes for the college are held is scheduled for renovation in the next year. As such, we have the opportunity to make design decisions now that will be able to accommodate the artwork you are so generously offering to loan to us. In the meantime, we will be thinking of other locations where it can accessible to the students we are trying to reach.

I would like to propose inviting you back to campus the week of April 25th. By then, I will have a better sense of how we can best integrate the prints into my course work and working with Bob and our interior designers, be able to show you some specific options for the display of the art. Please let us know if your schedule can accommodate a visit the last week in April. And I would be very happy to come visit your gallery in New York when convenient.

Thank you again for your generous offer. I look forward to working with you in the months ahead on this tremendously exciting initiative, which wisely and creatively communicates the crucial iconographic legacy of the past in a way that it can be fully understood and embraced by current and future generations of our young people.

All best wishes,


Georges Van Den Abbeele

Founding Dean,

College of Social Sciences and Humanities

100 Meserve Hall

360 Huntington Avenue

Northeastern University

Boston, MA 02115



617-373-2942 fax

Member, European Academy of Sciences

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