235 East 22nd Street - New York City (City Realty)
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Robert A. Lehman Residence

235 East 22nd Street at Second Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10010

Robert Alonzo Lehman, born in Camden, N.J. in 1911, was an ophthamological pharmacologist who had taught chemistry at New York University and invented drugs formerly used in eye surgery. Dr. Lehman retired after selling Campbell Pharmaceutical, the company he started to market his patents. He was elected a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine in 1993.

Dr. Lehman was an intense collector, a generous benefactor, and an amateur musician who was a good flutist. He volunteered in the Department of Musical Instruments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was a member of the Visiting Committee there. He gave his collection of flutes to the Met and contributed funds for acquisitions. Dr. Lehman also loved the organ and studied briefly with Claire Coci. His residence in New Marlborough, Mass., had two pipe organs: a two-manual, 18-stop, Johnson & Son (Op. 432, 1874), which he willed back to Trinity Church, Lime Rock, Conn., from whence it came; and a one-manual Berkshire organ. In his New York City residence was an 1885 Roosevelt Portable Pipe Organ that he later donated to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Dr. Lehman was a member of numerous musical, scientific, botanical, and other organizations. He was a trustee of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and from 1979 to 1991 was Secretary of the American Musical Instrument Society. He was concerned for historic preservation and bequeathed his 400-acre Berkshire estate to the Trustees of Reservations.

Jane Lehman, his wife, predeceased him in 1978; they had no children. Robert Lehman died on August 5, 1996 after falling and hitting his head, a consequence of advancing Parkinson's disease.

Dr. and Mrs. Lehman maintained an apartment at 235 East 22nd Street, at Second Avenue. Designed by brothers George and Edward Blum, the Art Deco building opened in 1929 and is noted for its glazed terra-cotta decoration and large garden in the courtyard.
Hilborne L. Roosevelt
New York City – Opus 251 or 252 (1885)
Mechanical action
1 manual, 9 half stops, 2 ranks

The Lehmans purchased this Roosevelt organ in 1965 from a used-furniture dealer in Housatonic, Mass. It was originally owned by Trinity Church (Episcopal) in Van Deusenville (near Great Barrington), Mass. Built in 1829 as the St. James Chapel, the structure was enlarged in 1866 and renamed Trinity Church. In 1964, the church was purchased by architect Ray Brock and his wife, Alice, a librarian, who made it their home. The Brocks were creative people and attracted a number of students with whom they shared their idealism. One of the students was songwriter Arlo Guthrie who immortalized the church in "Alice's Restaurant," with the lyrics, "Alice didn't live in a restaurant. She lived in the church nearby the restaurant..." Today, the building is known as The Guthrie Center at Old Trinity Church.

Hilborne L. Roosevelt (1849-1886) built a total of 358 organs, including 2 four-manuals, 52 three-manuals, 98 two-manuals, and 206 one-manual instruments. Of the latter category, 144 were a style known as the "Roosevelt Portable Pipe Organ," an alternative to the usual reed organ that appealed to clients of modest means. The portable pipe organs, mass-produced in batches of twenty to fifty in the company's Philadelphia branch in 1885 and 1886, had a complex action that unified two ranks of pipes (principal and flute). A patent application filed on January 7, 1885, was issued on April 20, 1886, to Roosevelt and Charles S. Haskell, an inventive organ builder who was foreman of the Philadelphia shop.

Nine turned maple knobs control the two ranks of pipes, while a tenth knob, labeled Forte, brings on all of the stops. A lever moved by the player's right knee opens the swell louver. Wind is raised by means of two foot treadles; wind level is indicated by a small wooden knob that travels in a horizontal slot between knobs 5 and 6.

Two case styles were available: one had a display of dummy pipes to resemble a traditional organ, and the other was in the form of an upright piano with a fretwork panel above the manual that hid the swell louvers. This particular organ had a piano-style case of cherry. The organ is 58-7/8" high by 58" wide by 29" deep.

This organ has two serial (or opus) numbers: 251 (scratched on the edge of the fretwork panel, and stamped on the back of the lower front panel) and 252 (in pencil on the C and on the C# key levers). Assuming these are opus numbers, the year of production would be 1885.

In 1976, the Lehmans donated the organ to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where it is extant.
Manual– 56 notes, enclosed
    Bass [c1 – b12]       Treble [c13 – g56]  
  Open Diapason  
  Stop'd Diapason  
  Diapason Treble  
  Rohr Flöte  
  Wald Flöte  
  Flute d'Amour  
Order of stops (left to right):
(1) Bourdon, (2) Octave, (3) Wald Flöte, (4) Stop'd Diapason, (5) Open Diapason
(6) Diapason Treble, (7) Rohr Flöte, (8) Flute d'Amour, (9) Principal (10) Forte
     Elsworth, John Van Varick. The Johnson Organs. Harrisville, N.H.: The Boston Organ Club Chapter of the Organ Historical Society, 1984.
     Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes | George and Edward Blum: Crowning Achievements for Two Brother-Architects," The New York Times (Mar. 2, 2008).
     The Guthrie Center web site: http://www.guthriecenter.org
     Koster, John. "Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston." Pub. by the museum (1999). Specifications of Hilborne L. Roosevelt organ (1885). Courtesy David McPeak.
     Libin, Laurence. Electronic correspondence (Jan. 8, 2009) regarding Dr. Robert A. Lehman.
     Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, web site: http://www.mfa.org
     Ochse, Orpha. The History of the Organ in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975.
     Trinity Church, Lime Rock, Conn., web site: http://www.trinitylimerock.org
     Trupiano, Larry. Electronic correspondence (Jan. 3, 2010) regarding moving the Roosevelt organ to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

     City Realty web site: http://www.cityrealty.com. Exterior.
     Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, web site. Console, action and pipes of Hilborne L. Roosevelt organ (1885).