Can You Name This Boy?
I found this unidentified photo at a local antique show a couple of years
ago and snatched it up immediately. Taken by San Francisco photographers
Bradley & Rulofson, it's a common cabinet card, not differing to a noticeable
degree from perhaps millions of others taken about the same time. It shows
a boy about four years old dressed in fancy duds and carrying a walking
stick. Some wag has written on the back, "Little Lord Fauntleroy".
In a manner of speaking, that might not have been too inaccurate.
Born in 1868, the boy was the sole heir to one of the great nineteenth century
fortunes. His parents doted on him a love that could only come from a couple
married many years who had been childless.
Even at a young age the boy showed promise of becoming one of the world's
leading scientific scholars and philanthropists. Indeed, when I tell you
his name, the odds are overwhelming you will recognize it.
But you won't know it from his works. Tragically, the boy would die before
his sixteenth birthday. His parents, commanding worldwide fame and the riches
to buy anything they wanted, had lost the one thing that gave their life
meaning. In their grief they determined to erect a lasting memorial to their
son. Their remaining years and immense fortune were devoted to this task,
which now, over a century later, has grown to world renowned proportions.
Can you name the boy?