The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf

21 July 1778   Tuesday
. . . . . .

Artifacts of the Bianconi vs Piranesi 'Circus of Caracalla' affair   1772-1789
. . . . . .

46 y.o. Francesco Piranesi 1804
Le Antichità della Magna Grecia   Parte I

Sections of various Atriums designated in Plate No. 22.
Drawn by G.B. Piranesi
Engraved by F. Piranesi Year 12 (1804)

21 July 1806
As to private business,--I shall get none. There are now building in this city two capital houses by the Fishers, who call themselves my friends. Do they employ me?--John Dorsey has now no less than 15 plans now in progress of execution, because he charges nothing for them. The public affront put upon me as a professional man, in the erection of the Academy of Art from the design of John Dorsey,--by a vote of all the men who pretend to patronize the arts in this city,--would have driven any artist from it...
--Benjamin Henry Latrobe, letter to Hazelhurst.

21 July 1812   Tuesday

Morning clear, wind N, temperature 68°. I feel acute pain in changing my posture or in inspiration and forcible expiration. The injury is ........[?] no external mark, nor fever. I sent for Dr. Morris, he sent his oldest student Spencer who took about 14 oz. of blood from me with skill, and ease[?] to me. The wind in the evening drew by E to S and temperature rose to 85°. I read this day a book lent me by William Dixon entitled An Essay on Drunkenness and its Effects on the Human Body Treated Medically, Philosophically and Chemically by Thomas Trotter M.D. etc. It is said to be the first on the subject and seems to have been well intended and executed, printed London 1804. I wonder it has not been reprinted in America; its contents would be a useful addition to the libraries of youth, whether of the medical profession or not.

Re: shining with like...
Eutropia was the wife of Emperor Maximian, who reigned jointly with Emperor Diocletian for 20 years. She was also the mother of the usurper Emperor Maxentius (controlling Italy and North Africa 306-312), and the mother-in-law of Emperor Constantius (whose first wife was Helena and whose first son was Constantine) and the mother-in-law of Constantine. By 326, Eutropia and Helena knew each other for almost fifty years, and were best friends for the at least the last twenty years. For Constantine (and Helena), Eutropia was the font of knowledge about the Empire, especially the Imperial holdings--Eutropia and Helena also shared a keen interest in architecture.
In the coming days Eutropia again demonstrates her remarkable (shrewd political) resourcefulness, for example, issuing a law of silence would have never occurred to Constantine were it not for her suggestion.
The spiral columns were not carved specifically for the new Basilica of St. Peter, rather they were taken from two quondam structures. Scholars today do not know where the columns came from exactly, and it is thanks to The Life of Silvester within the Liber Pontificalis that we at least know they came from Greece. The huge bronze columns of the baldachin (by Bernini) presently at St. Peter's are based on the original (much smaller) spiral columns. The original columns still exist at St. Peter's, where four pairs of them frame to upper niches of the four main supports of the dome respectively.

21 July 2023   Friday

If Hélène Gregoroffsky Fisher was of imperial lineage, then she was a granddaughter of Catherine II or the Great. I'll explain later, but, in an unexpectedly clear way, such a lineage would make sense of the remarkable education bestowed upon a female orphan. Or was Hélène just a very wealthy orphan with some very fortunate adult guidance?

From Anna Wharton Smith, Genealogy of the Fisher Family 1682-1896 (Philadelphia: 1896), p. 53:
He [Miers Fisher Jr.] married June 4, 1813, Helen Gregoroffsky, niece of General Alexander Focke, who distinguished himself at the battle of Beresina. She was educated in England. "Their marriage was allowed to take place by the gracious condescension of the Emperor Alexander without his being subject to the various regulations of the Greek Church. You cannot conceive the sensation it has created in this town among all ranks. He was taken off thirty hours after his marriage by a fit of apoplexy." *
* From copy of a letter from John Venning, of St. Petersburg, to Bainbridge & Brown, of London.

4 December 1816
Birth of Helen Gregoroffsky Longstreth, daughter of Samuel Longstreth and Sarah Redwood Fisher, granddaughter of Miers Fisher.

24 August 1829
Birth of Hélène Gregoroffsky Price, daughter of William Price, M.D. and Hannah Fisher, granddaughter of Miers Fisher.

Spring 2009, a contemporary 'Hélène' namesake actually called me on the phone. She had come across references to Hélène Gregoroffsky Fisher at, and that's when I learned of the love letters.

18 April 2009
Fisher story
Dear Stephen Lauf, (What should I call you. Stephen or Mr. Lauf?)
It was a great pleasure to speak with you this afternoon, thanks to my friend, Elaine Tirrell. She's been excited about this Russian Love story between Helen Gregoroffsky and my ancestor, Miers Fisher, Jr. for a long time. We met in 2001 when she saw a story in the Globe newspaper with a huge article (including a photo of me) on a doll belonging to a [female] spy who gave important information to the Japanese. Her information led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I own her gypsy doll. The article appeared in the paper the same day the towers were hit. A remarkable coincidence! Before that time, dolls had no interest for me at all. Then, other dolls found their way into my collection. I now have 180 dolls from forty countries of the world. All the stories are amazing and true. I let the dolls tell their own stories. Now, I'm ready to publish a book. I've lectured in schools, fairs, and libraries throughout New England, Ct. NYC and New Jersey. I'm just hoping to publish this small book before summer arrives. I really need to finish the Russian Love Story.
The Russian story is absolutely amazing. I've spent years trying to find out much more about Helen. When I received two hundred and six letters in 1969 from my great aunt, Helen Lee Peabody (Her husband was Robert Peabody, the architect), I began researching. I had no idea how long it would take me, but in those days, very little was known about research on a computer. What a difference!
I've got a complete script. However, I have a lot of polishing to do before I hand my script in to anyone.
Do let's keep in touch.
Best wishes,
(Helen) Lee Pierce

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