ODDcupations: The Strange Occupations and Positions Held by Residents of Liberty Hall
This is guest blogger and second-resident ginger Dan Conroy, once again bringing you content that is wildly inferior to the posts you normally see, but hey, I got permission, so let’s have fun! This week, I am bringing to you a look into the weird posts and strange occupations held by members of the Livingston and Kean families! Like many of our nation’s founding families, these two famous names were not without an eccentric uncle or renaissance patriarch who would show up every so often to proclaim a new hobby or discover a hidden interest that was irregular to the family status quo. Below are just some of the occupations that really stood out among the ranks of governors, senators, and heads of industry.
William Livingston- Missionary to the Mohawk Tribes
If we were short on content, it would be very easy to write this entire post on this guy alone. On top of being the first elected governor of New Jersey, a poet, a newspaper editor, and a social club founder, William spent his teenage years alongside Anglican missionaries in the Mohawk Valley. Not exactly the summer job of choice, but hey, next stop was Yale and a successful law career, so there’s that.
Henry Brockholst Livingston- Aid-de-Camp to Benedict Arnold
Don’t worry; this isn’t some revelation on Anti-American treason in the Livingston line. Brockholst had nothing to do with Gen. Arnold’s dealings, and in fact he would go on to a long tenure as a Supreme Court justice and be nicknamed “Aquiline Nimblechops”, which I included in this sentence just so I could say writing the word nimblechops was a part of my work day.
Alexander Kean- Bermudian Lily expert (and way too many other things to count)
What is it with the little brothers of these families! First William, now Alexander, almost one hundred years later, takes the crown as the ‘peculiar’ one of the family. His eclectic expertise ranges from Episcopalian preaching to western horse breaking, but the biggest feather in his cap is most likely his time at MIT as an expert on the Bermudian Lily. He would then go on to do research on a blight affecting the species in Bermuda, so maybe it’s me that’s made the wrong career choice. Alexander was #5 on our #MCM list!
Christine Kean Griffin- President of the Board of Managers, Bellevue Hospital/Designer of the Nurse’s Graduation Cap
I know, I know, it sounds like a (comparatively) run-of-the-mill position, BUT one of Christine’s many accomplishments, besides being a nurse on the USS Daniel Webster during the Civil War (tending to both Union and Confederate soldiers), was President of this board and designed the cap worn by the nurses of Bellevue to this day! If you are a nerd of medical/nurse history, you’ve most likely heard of the Bellevue “fluff”; if you’re not, you just learned something, and you should be grateful.