This superb example demonstrates an unrivalled quality in design, craftsmanship and condition. The relative scarcity of surviving grasshopper weathervanes may suggest that they were infrequently made. A virtually identical model is illustrated in the 1883 catalogue issued by L.W. Cushing and Sons of Waltham, Massachusetts (fig. 1).
Dr. Paul Dudley White (1886-1973) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of a family doctor. He was educated at the Roxbury Latin Grammar School, proceeding to Harvard University and graduating in 1908. His sister had died at the age of twelve of acute rheumatic fever and it is said that this determined his interest in cardiology. He studied medicine at Harvard, graduating in 1911 and interned at the newly established department of pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital. Around 1914, he moved to London to study the electrocardiogram with Thomas Lewis at the University College Hospital in London.
White returned to the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1919 to establish a cardiac unit. He became professor of medicine and with his outstanding clinical abilities established an international reputation for himself and his department. In 1948 he was elected as president of the International Society of Cardiology and was subsequently president of the first World Congress of Cardiology.
In 1955, White attended President Eisenhower during his cardiac infraction. He emphasized the importance of prevention of coronary disease and was a strong advocate of fitness and exercise in aiding its prevention. His use of the bicycle was known throughout the world and in the 1960s, a 17-mile bike path in the Boston-Brookline area was built and named for him.
Dr. White owned the barn that this weathervane was mounted on, as well as a small adjacent cabin and five surrounding acres just outside of Boston (fig. 2).