The Lehmann Family, And To Keep A Dream Alive

Right now I am writing something about R.C. Lehmann – ‘Rudie’ Lehmann, that is – and I am hoping to finish it soon. For you who follow HTBS regularly know that Rudie is one of my rowing ‘heroes’ and several of the posts here on HTBS have to do with his writing, whether it is his rowing books, rowing stories, or rowing poems. My current writing about Rudie – I am not sure what to call it, but it’s probably more of an essay than anything else – is partly based on his son’s autobiography, The Whispering Gallery, which was published in 1955. Rudie and his American wife, Alice, had four children, Rosamond, the novelist, Beatrix, the actress, Helen, and John (on the right), who was a man of letters: poet, journalist, editor, and publisher.

While Rudie Lehmann wrote a lot, there is not that much written about him. A very good article about Rudie is Thomas C. Mendenhall’s ‘The British are Coming’ in the series “Coaches and Coaching”, article 5, in the American rowing magazine, The Oarsman, January/February, 1979. Mendenhall has used John Lehmann’s The Whispering Gallery for his article, but he was also in contact with Rudie’s son when he was writing it. These letters are now held at Mystic Seaport Collection and Research Center, where Thomas C. Mendenhall’s manuscripts can be found.

Another good source for information about the whole entire Lehmann family must be the Princeton University Library, which has a large collection of the Lehmann Family Papers. I have not yet taken a trip to Princeton to go through this collection, but I plan to do that in the future, when I have retired, many years from now. As it happened, in 2008 I was interviewed by Allison Frederick of USRowing for their website, ‘the masters section’. And as it where, my tongue slipped and I said: “I have this silly dream of writing a small play about the British rowing coach and writer, R.C. Lehmann”.

Oppss, I did it again. I guess, it’s one way to keep the dream alive, to say it in the open. And one day, I have to begin working on that play about Rudie.

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