Past Treasure of the Month – December 2019

A Christmas Gift from 1905
Early 20th century glazed pottery vase featuring a raised iris motif. It was presented to the Library as a Christmas gift by an anonymous donor in December 1905.

Early 20th century glazed pottery vase featuring a raised iris motif. It was presented to the Library as a Christmas gift by an anonymous donor in December 1905.

During the month of December, Rosenberg Library exhibited an antique flower vase which was given to the Library in December 1905 by an anonymous donor.

On December 16, 1905 — 114 years ago — Galveston Daily News published an article entitled “Flower Receptacle Has Found Its Way Into Rosenberg Library.” The story notes that several days before, a beautiful Japanese-style vase has “appeared” at the Library and that the identity of the donor remained a mystery to the staff. Rosenberg Library had only been opened for a year and a half, and during that time, generous residents contributed various decorative items to enhance the attractiveness of the new building. The article noted that fresh flowers were donated on a regular basis and were enjoyed by both the staff and library patrons.

The flower vase was eventually moved into storage for safe-keeping and became part of the decorative arts collection preserved by the Library. The identity of the “Secret Santa” has never been discovered, but more than a century later, this thoughtful holiday gift can still be enjoyed by visitors to the Library.

Early 20th century photograph of the Library decorated for the holidays. The Children's Department featured a Christmas tree with garland on the mantel as well as a pair of Hanukkah menorah on the bookcases (image courtesy of Rosenberg Library).

Early 20th century photograph of the Library decorated for the holidays. The Children’s Department featured a Christmas tree with garland on the mantel as well as a pair of Hanukkah menorah on the bookcases (image courtesy of Rosenberg Library).