Logan Blue Sapphire

  • The 422.99-carat Logan Blue Sapphire in its special brooch setting donated in 1960 to the National Museum of Natural history of the Smithsonian Institution by Mrs John A. Logan, is the heaviest mounted gem in the National Gem Collection, and undoubtedly one of the most popular exhibits in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems & Minerals of the NMNH of the Smithsonian Institution. A dedicated webpage on the Logan Blue Sapphire in the jewelry blog of internetstones.com published on March 10, 2008, is one of the most visited webpages of our extensive website, providing information on diamonds, pearls, colored stones, and minerals. The last paragraph of this webpage with the sub-title "Mrs John A. Logan" reads as follows :-
    The above account of the “Logan Blue Sapphire” is not complete without a brief biography of Mrs. John A. Logan, who donated the renowned sapphire to the Smithsonian Institution. Attempts to find more details of Mrs. Logan had proved somewhat difficult. Readers who may have information about Mrs. Logan and her family are kindly requested to update this page with the required information.
    Our request had three responses from three gracious ladies, two of whom were related to Mrs. John A. Logan and the third who was her personal accountant. Their valuable contribution served to enrich and update our webpage on the "Logan Blue Sapphire"

    The following is the first contribution by Mrs. Jennifer Page, a granddaughter to Mrs John A. Logan, dated October 14, 2009 :-


    Jennifer Page
    October 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm
    My mother, Beverly Pollard Page, is Mrs. Logan’s niece. As a child we visited “Aunt Polly” (Rebecca Pollard Guggenheim Logan) in Washington DC and her donated sapphire at the museum.



  • The second contribution to our webpage was by Mrs. Alice Payne, who had the privilege of working for Mrs. John A. Logan as her personal accountant from 1981 to 1982' Her contribution reads as follows :-


    Alice Payne
    March 6, 2010 at 3:30 am
    It is so sad to see there is little information about Polly. I had the opportunity to work for her as her personal accountant in 1981 & 1982. She was such a lovely person. She loved life and she was so full of life. I think she was in her 80′s at that time. She loved the Kennedy Center and was a faithful donor. She loved dancing and music. She actively supported the Art Barn in Rockcreek Park. We figured we were some distant relation. Her family came from the Payne’s of Virginia, as I. She always wanted to sponsor me to join DAR. When I came to work for her, Mr Logan had had a stroke and wasn’t able to attend all the functions with her by then. Her husband was as difficult as she was delightful person. That was the reason I left. I wish more people that knew better than I would add more information about her.

  • The third and most important contribution was made by Mrs. Beverly Pollard Page, mother of Jennifer Page, and niece to Mrs. John A. Logan.


    Beverly Pollard Page
    March 16, 2010 at 1:38 am
    My Aunt Polly Logan was my father’s sister. She was the kindest person to any and everyone and had a lovely southern way about her. She loved entertaining and going to Washington parties in her beautiful gowns and was a Washington beauty with her red hair. She married three times and lived to age 90. Her second husband, Robert Guggenheim and third husband, John A Logan, Jr., worshipped her.
    However, her mission in life was to care for her son, Richard VanLennep, who was autistic. She searched for a “cure” for him her whole life. Upon Polly’s death, I became Richard’s guardian and he is presently 75 years old, now blind, but in otherwise good health. I still miss my Aunt Polly.


    Forum members who wish to read our webpage on the "Logan Blue Sapphire" should please click the following URL :- http://jewelry-blog.internetst…tones/logan-blue-sapphire

  • I have read with great interest your thread on the Logan Blue Sapphire, and the original webpage on the Logan Blue sapphire in the jewelry blog of internetstones.com. I too did my own search to find more about the life of Mrs. John A. Logan. Eureka !!! I think, I have gathered enough information on the life of Mrs. John A. Logan, from a vote of condolence moved by Senator Thurmond in the U.S.Senate, on March 24, 1994, after her death in Washington at the age of 90 on March 15, 1994. Moving the vote of condolence, Senator Thurmond referred to Mrs. John A. Logan as a prominent Washingtonian and an internationally recognized philanthropist whose efforts greatly benefited humanity, and who was admired and respected by many, who were deeply saddened by her death. After making his condolence speech, Senator Thurmond requested the unanimous consent of the house, for a copy of Mrs. Logan's obituary from the "Washington Post" to be inserted into the Congressional Records, following his own remarks, which was unanimously granted without any objection. Senator Thurmond's condolence speech and the Washington Post obituary, extracted from the Congressional Records Vol.140, No.35, dated Thursday, March 24, 1994, gives an insight into the life and work of this great American lady Mrs. Rebecca "Polly" Guggenheim Logan. I am reproducing below, first Senator Thurmond's condolence speech followed by the "Washington Post" obituary, extracted from the Congressional Records.


    I do hope my posts would go a long way in filling the void in information with respect to the life and deeds of a great American woman.


    Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 35, Thursday, March 24, 1994.


    MRS. REBECCA "POLLY" GUGGENHEIM LOGAN


    Mr. Thurmond:- Mr. President,I rise today to pay tribute to a very special woman, Mrs. Rebecca "Polly" Guggenheim Logan, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 90. Mrs. Logan was a prominent Washingtonian and internationally recognized philanthropist whose efforts greatly benefited humanity. Mr. President, I am not exaggerating when I say that Polly Logan was a woman who was admired and respected by many, and that all those who knew her are deeply saddened by her death. It was my pleasure to not only count Mrs. Logan as a friend, but to serve her as her U.S. Senator, as she and her husband owned a large plantation just outside Charleston, SC, where they spent their winters. I join her family and friends in mourning the loss of this truly unique and remarkable woman, whose work touched the lives of countless individuals. I ask unanimous consent that a copy of Mrs. Logan's obituary from the Washington Post be inserted into the Record following my remarks. There being no objection, the obituary was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows :-




  • Congressional Records : March 24, 1994


    From the Washington Post, Mar. 15, 1994

    Polly Guggenheim Logan Dies; Art Patron, Washington Hostess
    (By Bart Barnes)

    Rebecca Pollard "Polly" Guggenheim Logan, 90, a philanthropist and prominent Washington hostess, who also was an artist, died of heart ailments March 11, 1994, at her home in Washington.
    From the 1940s to the mid-1970s, Mrs. Logan was a leading entertainer of high government officials, diplomats and influential figures in the political, business and art communities, holding parties and receptions at Firenze House, her Tudor-style mansion on 22 acres of wooded and landscaped grounds at 4400 Broad Branch Rd. NW
    Among Washington's grandest estates, Firenze House was the setting for charity balls, art shows, scholarship benefits and barbecue fund-raisers for such organizations as the Children's Hearing and Speech Center. In the mid-1970s, it was sold to the government of Italy for the Italian Embassy.
    An artist and portrait painter, Mrs. Logan was a serious student of art and a founder and major supporter of the Art Barn in Rock Creek Park, a restored carriage house where the works of painters, sculptors, photographers and artisans are exhibited.
    She was the widow of Army Col. M. Robert Guggenheim, the heir to a family fortune in copper, who died in 1959. In 1953 and 1954, he was ambassador to Portugal. She accompanied him to Lisbon, serving as hostess at the U.S. Embassy. In 1962, she married John A. Logan, a Washington management consultant. He died in 1986.
    Mrs. Logan was born near Norfolk. She attended Stuart Hall School in Staunton, Va., and Comstock School, a French finishing school in New York. Later, she studied at Grand Central Art School in New York and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
    For two years, she operated her own art studio in Boston, then married Dr. William B. Van Lennep. They were divorced in 1937, and the next year, she married Guggenheim aboard his 175-foot yacht, which was docked in Miami.
    Shortly before World War II, they settled in Washington, living on the yacht, which was moored in Washington Channel off Maine Avenue SW. They purchased the estate that came to be known as Firenze House during the war, after Guggenheim lent the yacht to the government.
    Complete with a swimming pool, a bowling alley, tennis courts and a pipe organ big enough for a cathedral, the 59-room house at one time required an 11-person service and maintenance staff. The Guggenheims converted one of the barns on the estate into an art studio. She painted in oils and water colors, specializing in portraits and still lifes. She did much of her work in the studio at Firenze House and in a studio at Poca Sabo, a 10,000-acre plantation 38-miles south of Charleston, S.C., where they spent part of each winter. Her paintings have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, in Boston and in private collections.
    As a young woman, Mrs. Logan was an enthusiastic tennis player, equestrian and wild-fowl hunter. She also enjoyed yachting and deep-sea fishing.
    As a Washington hostess, she was known for an easy going charm and unruffled disposition, but also a sharp and attentive eye for detail. For years, she was hostess of an annual Firenze House Christmas party, featuring special lighting and decorating, caroling and dancing. As her entertaining increased, she found less time for painting, but she continued to raise money for various art scholarships and organizations.
    During the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, the two Johnson daughters gave a party for their father at Firenze House featuring the famed Texas barbecue chef Walter Jetton. So successful was the barbecue, that Mrs. Logan made it an annual charity fund-raiser. The Corcoran Gallery of the Art borrowed the estate for its annual tour of private art collections.
    Mrs. Logan was a founder and charter member of the Washington chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters, a member of the women's committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the women's board of the National Symphony and the women's board of the Opera Society of Washington.
    Survivors include a son from her first marriage, Richard Van Lennep of Washington.
    ____________________


  • Thanks John for your update on the different facets of the life of Mrs. John A. Logan, a remarkable lady, whose efforts touched the lives of many Americans in particular and humanity in general. We very much appreciate your contributions to this forum. Please keep it up !!!

  • Another obituary that appeared in the New York Times of March 16, 1994, essentially gives the same details as in the Washington Post obituary, but gives the names of two other survivors apart from a son from her first marriage, Richard Van Lennep of Washington. They are a nephew Randolph M. Pollard of Las Vegas, Nev., and a niece, Beverley Page of Bow, New Hampshire. I was indeed pleased to read the comments made by Mrs. Beverley Pollard Page on her aunt Polly Logan.
    I am reproducing the New York Times obituary below for the benefit of other visitors to this forum.


    The New York Times - Obituaries


    Rebecca P. Logan, 90, Art Patron and Hostess


    Rebecca Pollard Van Lennep Guggenheim Logan, a philanthropist and patron of the arts who was for a generation one of the best-known social hostesses in Washington, died on Friday at her home in Washington. She was 90.
    The cause was heart failure, said Leonard L. Silverstein, her lawyer.
    For 21 years she was married to Col. M. Robert Guggenheim, an heir to a copper fortune, who died in 1959. Their 55-room residence, Firenze House, is one of Washington's great estates, set on 22 acres in the northwestern section of the city.
    From the 1940's to the 1970's Firenze House was the setting for social functions attended by Presidents, Government officials, diplomats and business executives. It was also used for charity fund-raising events.
    Mrs. Logan was active in committees aiding the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Symphony and the Opera Society of Washington.
    She studied art in New York and graduated from the school at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. While there, she met and in 1926 married a Harvard student, Dr. William B. Van Lennep Jr. They divorced in 1937.
    The next year she married Colonel Guggenheim , who was United States Ambassador to Portugal in 1953 and 1954, aboard his 175-foot yacht.
    After Colonel Guggenheim died, she married John A. Logan in 1962. Mr. Logan, a management consultant in Washington, died in 1986.
    She is survived by a son, Richard Van Lennep of Washington; a nephew, Randolph M. Pollard of Las Vegas, Nevada, and a niece, Beverly Page of Bow, N.H.

  • Having followed the discussion on the Logan Blue Sapphire so far, I thought it would be appropriate and useful for the ongoing discussion, if I upload here a rare photograph of the Logan Blue Sapphire in its unmounted state, after being removed from its silver and gold setting. The photograph was taken from the National Museum of Natural History's webpage on the Logan Sapphire at the following URL :- http://geogallery.si.edu/index…001402/logan-sapphire</a> The photograph of the Logan Blue Sapphire in its usual silver and gold brooch setting, surrounded by 20 round brilliant-cut diamonds is also included for the sake of comparison. Both photos are by Chip Clark.


    Photo 1 - Unmounted Logan Sapphire removed from its silver and gold brooch setting.
    Photo 2 - Logan Sapphire mounted in its silver and gold brooch setting.

  • Sri Lankan Sapphires are lighter and brighter than the Kashmir and Burmese Sapphires. These sapphires are generally a saturated medium blue in color and do not normally need color enhancement by heating, and are popularly referred to as "Ceylon Sapphires." The Logan Blue Sapphire with its beautiful, medium, soft, violetish-blue color is indeed a typical example of a "Ceylon Blue Sapphire." However, the exceptional clarity of the stone combined with its enormous size, makes the Logan Blue Sapphire an extremely rare gemstone indeed !!!

  • The NMNH's webpage in its Gem Gallery on the Logan Sapphire (Catalog No. G3703), reveals a very significant fact about the "Logan Blue Sapphire" not included in our blog webpage on the "Logan Blue Sapphire." This is concerning the examination of the sapphire by the Gemological Institute of America in 1997 after it was dismantled from its silver and gold brooch setting. The GIA found the "Logan Blue Sapphire" to be a natural sapphire of natural color, with no evidence of any heat treatment. Hence afrojack's characterization of Sri Lankan blue sapphires as having a saturated medium blue color that does not normally need color enhancement by heating also holds good for the Logan Blue Sapphire, even though the gemstone was discovered in the 19th-century.

  • The following comments on various aspects of Polly Guggenheim Logan's life by a friend of the Logan family, Mr. Donald Dewey was received by me via e-mail. The e-mail is published in full below for the benefit of our readers :-



    [email protected] has sent the following message to Internet Stones.COM -Forums (http://forums.internetstones.com):


    I found this site while searching for information about the artist Eduardo Malta who painted a portrait of Polly Guggenheim in 1954. Polly left me this large portrait of herself that Robert Guggenheim had painted of her while he was US Ambassador to Portugal.
    Like all of the other posts, I can smile remembering the fun times whenever one was around her. My mother Florence Power Dewey was a good friend of Polly's after they met during the restoration of the Abner Cloud House on the C and O Canal which was restored by the Colonial Dames of America, Chapter III and the US Park Service. Polly was a CDA member and strong supporter.
    In due course, I was invited to parties at Polly's, first at her great mansion in Rock Creek Park. I was in South Dartmouth, Mass.visiting when a friend of my hostess, Mrs. Hamilton Robinson told us that she had accepted an offer for her mansion on S Street, NW from Polly Logan. The high $600,000 purchase price seemed like a lot of money.
    Her S Street house where Polly and Jack Logan moved to was smaller, but no less wonderful. The views from the terrace were long and distant - truly Kalorama. When I moved to a coop apt. on nearby California Street, I was thrilled to have the very gracious and unsolicited letter of reference from Polly at my interview.
    In the beginning, she was driven about in a huge blue limo - maybe a Cadillac or maybe something more exotic - with a large parrot on the hood which was really quite something. I was secretly disappointed when she got rid of the car and got a smaller, more normal size Cadillac.
    When one was a guest at a formal lunch or dinner, Jack Logan, always a gentleman and someone who put you at ease, spoke a few words bout each of the guests, great and not so great - around the table.
    I still have fond memories, as do many others, when the phone would ring and Polly's social secretary would say " Hello, Mr. Dewey, will you hold for Mrs. Logan. Good times were sure to follow. Her portrait continues to provide great pleasure.
    Donald Dewey

  • Mr. Donald Dewey's contribution has indeed served to further enrich the wealth of information already put together on the life and deeds of a great American lady Mrs. Rebecca "Polly" Guggenheim Logan, in this thread on the "Logan Blue Sapphire."