The Freeware Hall Of Fame

Our Wedding In Thomas Jefferson's Univ. of Virginia Rotunda

Saturday Feb. 14, 1970
(In 2020 we celebrated our 50th)


Click on any of these Rotunda images to enlarge them
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#1 is a tinted acid etching in zinc once found at the Univ. of Virginia web site. Artist unk.

#2 is the earliest known Lawn etching. Drawn by W(illiam) Goodacre of NY, engraved & printed by Fenner Sears & Co., published in London Dec. 1, 1831, by I.T. Hinton & Simpkin & Marshall. Excellent early strike. (Image scanned when we owned it)

#3 & #4 are two images of the very first computer drawing of the Rotunda. Done by pioneer plotter artist Lloyd Sumner [RIP], author of Computer Art and Human Response. Image #3 appeared in that book. #4 is the zinc line cut for it made for use in The Daily Progress December 1, 1968. (Personal archives)

For a history of the Rotunda and views of the changes over the years, UVa has a page devoted to it.

So far as anyone knows it's the only wedding in the Rotunda's history.

UVa President Edgar Shannon knew of no other and thought it an appropriate, if unusual, way to show our admiration of Mr. Jefferson.

In those days Jefferson's home at Monticello was a museum piece for tourists. The Rotunda, on the other hand, was in daily use serving its function as a ... rotunda.

"Can we do this?" we asked Edgar.
"I'll take care of it." And he did.

The invitations were scrolls, hand-written on parchment, rolled with a red ribbon, and delivered in person.

When we arrived Saturday morning at 11 a string quartet was playing in the center of the huge, round room whose domed ceiling soared 100 feet above the stone and glass floor.

Mozart wrote for such spaces. His sound was glorious.

Alas, never to be heard again. A few years later this room was cut in half horizontally in a subsequent restoration, removing architect Stanford White's improvements and returning the dome room to its original, utilitarian, 2-level Jefferson design. Sonically that turned Marilyn Monroe back into Norma Jean Baker.

It was a Quaker wedding though we are not Quakers. They are people we respect and we valued their witness. During the Vietnam war we valued it above all others.

It was Valentine's Day. When the most perfect snow began to fall we moved outdoors to the South Portico overlooking the Lawn.

Paige, Jerry & Andrew Simpson
[RIP Jerry - March 25, 2007]

A glorious day uniquely captured by 4 photographers

The guest of honor

A couple of people who couldn't be invited

One of them had an interesting friend in
her childhood. A great athlete; an even greater man.
To see who, click on the picture. Click browser back to return.
What do you get when you click on the other?

In the 70s we had another family member named Applejack, a 58' Chesapeake Bay bugeye ketch. Slept 8 in 3 cabins and provided great weekends. After a sale and total rebuild, it was re-christened Chesapeake and was a torchbearer at local maritime celebrations in Hampton Roads for decades. Last I heard, it's still sailing today,
berthed in Havre de Gras, MD.

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All rights reserved - Page last updated March 10, 2020