Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prussian Calvary Officer

Going into strangers' houses for books puts Christopher Stephens into the lives of those strangers. Sometimes he brings more than books back to riverrun.

These were small possessions of an old man long gone. His name was August Giehr. He was a Prussian Calvary officer. The picture on the left was taken 90 years ago, in 1919.

Giehr's time worn kit is painfully touching. There, amongst scuffed stays and shirt studs, lie his medals.
What about those medals?
  Born after WWII, raised in the 1960s, I've been indifferent to valor.  Until now.  Giehr's kit gives me a glimpse of a different world where medals are a treasured currency of honor in battle.

left to right:
1914 Iron Cross, 2nd Class - awarded for bravery, far beyond demands of duty. The original 1813 design is on the back with initials FW for Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia.   
Silver Cross of Merit with Crown bearing the words 'virbus unitas', the name of an Austro Hungarian battleship
Kyffhauferbund medal - WWI veterans' medal

  There's much more about medals on the internet.  Here's a start:
diggerhistory website with pictures of Prussian military medals
a google collection of websites about German medals
a google collection of WWI Allied military medals

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