Now here's a little story I had no intentions of ever posting on the website for several reasons. That all changed this week when the post lady came to my door delivering my very own piece of Knapp China.
No it's not the museum piece from Joseph P. and Margret R. Knapp's personal collection pictured above, actually mine is a little newer than that (20th Century) and will soon be revealed here...but first a little background.
I first became aware of what some insiders may consider the major Knapp china story, when I started this project in 2001. I was talking with an individual in North Carolina about the Knapp Foundation and the work it did. I was at the very dawn of my Knapp discovery and just trying to learn all I could about the life and times of Joseph F. Knapp 1832-91 and his son Joseph P. Knapp 1864-1951. At that time I had no idea there were actual Knapp heirs still alive or much less running the Knapp Foundation set up in the 1923 by Joseph Palmer Knapp originally to benefit his employees (it was a for runner of Social Security) and later amended in 1929 to do other philanthropic acts in the realm of wildlife conservation and education .
It was this North Carolina person ( who will remain anonymous ) who first told me that the Knapp Foundation had donated a set of china to the Reagan Whitehouse and at the time it had raised quite a ruckus. Therefore this person told me because of that incident the Knapp Foundation people were quite "touchy" about anyone making any inquiries into their work. I made a mental note of that, but it didn't really seem to matter to me because I was really only interested in Knapps that were long deceased. What the Foundation did or didn't do in current times was really not of any interest to me and I thought they probably didn't have too much knowledge about the Knapps I was interested in.
That all changed fairly quickly within a month or so when I discovered and made contact with a Knapp heir on Long Island. Although that exchange went very well and I thought I was on my way to establishing a working relationship with the rest of the family, it all came to a screeching halt a few months later when this persons mother, the head of the Knapp Foundation, whom I had naively sent a birthday card to, made from a Knapp print I might add, let me know through her lawyer that she nor the rest of her family wanted anything to do with me. So taking "the hint " and yet still responding respectfully to their lawyers letter, we seem to have reached some understanding to the point of what I have posted on this website over the last four years has brought no further threats of legal action from their side and I have responded in kind to their request to not contact any of them. I certainly have no intentions of changing any of that mutual understanding by anything I might write or publish here.
Now that's all fine and good, except their reaction to what I thought was just reasonable inquiries into their family history seemed as over the top to me, as I'm sure my research into the Knapp family itself appears to them and some others . However that only seemed to provide the catalyst here and when the conversation about their "touchiness" re resonated, I started to look a little deeper into the Knapp china incident, if only to see if that was their true rationale for not talking to me. I was also told by the one family member before she was told to circle the wagons, that there were a lot of black sheep in the family, to which I replied, "There's lots of black sheep in every family." The fact that the Knapp heirs still do talk to the press (though rarely) only heightened my looking deeper into this story. Everything I did find here, I found well over two years ago and it was not hard to do that. Funny thing is, I recall the Nancy Reagan china story quite well when it happened, but never dreamed then, it would come around again in the manner it has. I'm sure I like most Americans who might remember it , only recall it involved the Reagans some fancy dishes and a lot of money. But we have the media thank for that don't we?
Well the other factor that brought it to the surface besides my acquiring a piece of Knapp china was while looking through my files this week for something else entirely, I noticed the date on the day that Who Actually Bought And Paid For The New Reagan Whitehouse China was revealed, to America and it was October 2, 1981 ..and so with that I present to all my Knappsters out there and those who just stumble or Google their way in to this website, the story of
THE KNAPP WHITEHOUSE CHINA