“More heady than love, ladies or liquor is the sporting-goods catalog of L. L. Bean, outfitter extraordinary to men who live so they may hunt and fish,” read Life magazine’s encomium to the entrepreneurial outdoorsman in October of 1941. From modest beginnings in 1911, sales at Leon Leonwood Bean’s Freeport mail order business had surpassed the $1 million mark by 1937. Life showcased a number of innovative items from the Bean catalog, beginning with the famous Maine Hunting Shoe, created when Bean had a seamstress sew elk hide leggings onto a pair of old rubbers to keep his feet warm and dry while duck hunting.
While Michael was off gallivanting in Europe we headed down to Newport at the behest of Bentley to check out the J Class Regatta. Our whirlwind tour included a day on the water watching the yacht races, dinner and drinks at the historic Castle Hill Inn and some time behind the wheel of the new Bentley Continental GT the next day. The sleek J Class yachts, ranging from 119 – 135 ft., were constructed between 1930 – 1937 to compete in the America’s Cup; this was the first competitive J Class regatta in the U.S. since the ’37 Cup, when Ranger (funded by Harold S. Vanderbilt) successfully defended the trophy against the British challenger Endeavour II.
If Steve McQueen was the King of Cool, John V. Lindsay was without a doubt the Mayor of Cool. He was in fact mayor of New York City from 1966 – 1973, and though not exactly the blue-blooded WASP some make him out to be, he certainly exuded an aristocratic elegance and a Kennedy-esque sense of effortless style. A graduate of the Buckley School, St. Paul’s School and Yale, where he joined Scroll and Key, the tall, athletic Lindsay was a Navy gunnery officer during World War II, earning five battle stars through action in the invasion of Sicily and a series of landings in the Pacific theater.
On June 23rd RM Auctions is staging a staggering sale of classic British motorcars during the Salon Privé, an English garden party-style car show and luxury goods fair at Syon Park, the sprawling London estate of the Duke of Northumberland. There will also be a Concours d’Elegance highlighting categories including the Ferrari 250 Competizione and motorcycles from the Steve McQueen era. Dubbed the “Quintessentially English” sale, the auction features a range of desirable examples from famed UK marques made during the last century, with estimates ranging from about £50,000 – £500,000. We were especially taken with some of the hand-finished details on the cars, pictured here.
“A Small Patch of Long Island Houses the Rich and Great of New York” Life announced in 1946 in a cover story on the North Shore photographed by Nina Leen, focusing on the sporting set. “It requires little more than an hour to drive from the sweltering summer heat of Manhattan to the cool comfort of the Piping Rock Club” in Locust Valley, the magazine noted. “But it can take a lifetime, if not several generations, of financial and social success to become one of its 700 members.” Nonetheless in the land of Gatsby they discovered there “a pattern of life that is ordered, gracious, and, amid great luxury, basically simple,” not to mention damned stylish.
The major spring sales of ‘important timepieces’ are taking place in Geneva this weekend with some eye-popping offerings on the vintage Rolex front. Pick any of the auctions at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Antiquorum and you’ll find rarities you can lust after, if not actually afford. An ultra-exclusive chronograph from 1942 is likely to fetch over a million bucks at Christie’s on May 15 and break the world record, while there are dozens of rare “Paul Newman” Daytonas of every description. Some of the oldest examples show some wear and patina that might “devalue” them but only adds to their appeal in our eyes.
In April of 1962, nearly 49 years ago this day, author William Faulkner visited the United States Military Academy at West Point at the invitation of Major General W.C. Westmoreland. On the night of April 19 he read excerpts from his forthcoming novel The Reivers before a rapt audience of cadets, faculty, and staff. The following day, clad in a Donegal tweed suit and repp tie, he lunched with the brass and met with cadets in two advanced literature courses and discussed a wide range of subjects including his work, philosophy of life and views on America.
Faulkner was not himself much of a military man, though critics have noted his “lifelong romance” with the military experience beginning with his first novel Soldier’s Pay in 1926; unable to join the U.S. Army due to his short stature, he had enlisted in the British Royal Flying Corps during World War I but never saw action. Nonetheless he exuded something of a military bearing on the stage at West Point with his pipe and British officer’s mustache.