Grimod de La Reynière, Alexandre-Balthazar-Laurent, 1758-1837

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French gastronome and author.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Béziers, to his father, 1791 June 4. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870922

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Paris, to an unidentified woman ("ma belle cousine"), 1785 Jan. 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870919

Theater critic and writer on gastonomy. He has been called the first systematic critic of cooking. In addtion to publications on food, including the Almanach de Gourmands (1803-1812), he was a co-author of the multi-volume "chronique scandeleuse," Correspondence secrete, politique et littéraire ... (1790), relating to the reign of Louis XVI. Between 1780 and 1783 Grimod published extracts of French plays and information about the theatrical world of Paris in the Journal helvétique, published by the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel in Switzerland. During the last decades of his life he lived at the Chateau de Villiers-sur-Orge outside of Paris.

From the description of Autograph letters signed, 1781-1829, (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122405960

William Spencer was a prominent Chicago businessman and civic leader. Spencer was born in 1892 in Erie, PA. His father was president of the First National Bank of Erie. Spencer graduated from Princeton University in 1915. In college, he served as class treasurer and was a member of the track team.

Spencer earned the Distinguished Service Cross as an officer in the “Fighting 69th” battalion of the U.S. Army in World War I. He fought in the battle of the Marne as well as another engagement in which all but three of his unit’s 30 officers were killed. Upon returning to the U.S., Spencer served in the Illinois militia and was its chief of staff from 1940-1942. His highest military rank was that of colonel.

Spencer’s business career began at the Hammerhill Paper Company. He directed the firm’s Great Lakes shipping activity. In 1924, he married Gertrude White. White’s father, F. Edson White, had been president of Armour & Co. William and Gertrude had two sons, Edson and William Jr., and a daughter, Suzanne.

In 1941, Spencer was elected chairman of the North American Car Company, a railroad car manufacturer owning 7,750 rail cars. By Spencer’s retirement in 1959, the firm had become the third largest railroad car renter in the nation with more than 15,000.

Spencer had an active civic and volunteer career as well. In 1951, he was appointed chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission. His goal was to beautify Chicago to such an extent that surrounding suburbs would want to become incorporated within the city limits. Spencer was a trustee of Northwestern University, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Latin School Foundation, Children’s Home & Aid Society and the Chicago Boys Club. Spencer died in 1984 at the age of 92.

From the guide to the Spencer, William M. Collection of French Manuscripts, 1764-1847, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Place Name Admin Code Country
Manuscripts, French


Birth 1758-11-20

Death 1837-12-25





Ark ID: w6bp1rc7

SNAC ID: 5199959