Queer Places:
Union Cemetery Little Compton, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA

Carleton Rubira Richmond (February 13, 1887 - December 13, 1975) was a manufacturer, collector, and six-teenth president of the American Antiquarian Society. He was a member of the Horace Walpole Society, elected in 1939, honorary member in 1972.

Carleton Rubira Richmond was born in Boston, on February 13, 1887. His parents were Joshua Bailey Richmond (1843–1931) and Josefa Rubira (1853–1931). He prepared for Harvard at the Noble and Greenough School and the Stone School, and received his A.B. from the College in 1910 as a member of the class of 1909. After a year's travel in Europe he went to work for Wellington, Sears & Co., textile commission merchants. He spent his entire business career with that concern. West Point Manufacturing Company, and their associated companies, and occupied such positions as salesman, director, secretary, treasurer, president, and chairman of theboard.

In 1912 Richmond married Helen Thomas Cooke and they settled in Milton, Massachusetts. After the outbreak of the First World War in Europe, Richmond supported Preparedness by attending two sessions at the Citizens' Military Training Camp in Plattsburg, New York. When the United States entered the conflict, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the ordnance, whose duties were to develop the production of, and purchase, all narrow fabrics, first for the army, later for the navy and Marine Corps as well. He was discharged after the Armistice with the rank of major.

One of Richmond's hobbies was gardening, a joy that was reflected in the specialized book collecting that he pursued. What he once called his 'modest library' centered on books, European or American, on flowers and herbáis, printed principally in the eighteenth century or earlier—a collection that Clarence Brigham added to more than once with books being weeded out of the American Antiquarian Society as being outside of the redefined scope of the library.

Richmond became a member of AAS at the semi annual meeting in 1948. For many years he was a very active member: he attended most meetings, gave generously, and often duelled with Thomas W. Streeter for the privilege of hosting the members' luncheon at the semiannual meetings at the Club of Odd Volumes in Boston (at one of which, according to Clarence Brigham, 'For the first time in recent memory we did not have the Peabody punch,' but cocktails instead). He served as a councillor from 1951 to 1954, vice president from 1954 to 1959, president from 1959 to 1965, and councillor again from 1965 to 1970.

Richmond was president of AAS when the Society celebrated its sesquicentennial. He served during a time, in general, of substantial change. Clifford K. Shipton had replaced the retired Brigham as director just as Richmond assumed the presidency. During Richmond's term the first moves were made to expand the Society's financial operating base by systematically appealing to the membership at large for annual donations. Previously, what annual fund raising there had been was concentrated on a small number of generous member-contributors who gave to a Special Fund for book purchases and to various Emergency Funds when budgetary deficits occurred. At Alden Johnson's suggestion, the president, not the director, would canvass the membership forfinancial support. Also during his tenure, the lighting and heating systems of Antiquarian Hall were modernized and airconditioning provided for the stacks.

Besides AAS, numerous other cultural institutions claimed Richmond's allegiance: the Walpole Society, Boston Athenaeum, Bostonian Society, Grolier Club, Massachusetts Historical Society, Newcomen Society, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Among his equally numerous business connections was membership on the board of directors of the Chattahoochee Valley Railway.

Richmond's involvement in the affairs of the Society flagged in recent years because of failing memory and the need to care for his wife whose own health was frail. On December 13, 1975, aged eighty-eight and widowed, Carleton Richmond died, survived by two daughters and two sons, eleven grand-children, and nine great-grandchildren. He lies buried in a cemetery in Little Compton, Rhode Island, where, for many years, he and his wife maintained a summer farm.


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