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Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's Henry!

Jane Walsh of the archives committee in Gloucester, Mass., did a search of the Web in 2004 to figure out why a 19th-century painter changed his name from Nathaniel Rogers Lane to Fitz Hugh Lane.

Up popped Lane’s request to change his name to Fitz Henry Lane. Walsh and her committee comrades figured “Henry” must be a mistake, a typo maybe. Still, it was an error they came across with some frequency in Lane records. And so they visited the state archives in Boston to look at Lane’s actual petition.

“And sure enough, there it was: Nathaniel Rogers Lane writing in to ask if he could have his name changed to Fitz Henry Lane,” says co-chair Sarah Dunlap. They realized that Lane had always been Fitz Henry. Fitz Hugh was the error. [Link]
An article from last year gave a more vivid account of the discovery.
In Lane's own handwriting was a request to change his name to Fitz Henry Lane.

"It's Henry!" Dunlap recalls shouting in the archives room. [Link]
When news of the discovery spread, museums across the country had to relabel their Lane paintings. Some labels were not so easily changed.

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