The Successful Hunt for a Missing Bruckner Society Plaque
After receiving confirmation that the plaque will be returned to the Society, I started to do some research on why the plaque had ended up in Smithville, Texas. Searching through the Society's journal, "Chord and Discord" I discovered that the Society had indeed made such a plaque, but the one that was discussed in the journal was not presented to Xavier University, but to New York University in lower Manhattan. Here is the passage from the Journal:
PORTRAIT PLAQUE OF DR. MARTIN G. DUMLER
PRESENTED TO NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
The Bruckner Society of America presented a plaque honoring its
late president, Dr. Martin G. Dumler, to New York University on
December 16, 1958. The memorial ceremony took place at 11AM in
New York University's Music Library in the University's Main Building
at Washington Square.
Robert G. Grey, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Society. presented
the plaque to Dr. Ernest Hettich, Director of the University's
libraries. The University also received a complete file of the Society's
periodical publication, CHORD AND DISCORD, and Gabriel Engel's two
monographs, "The Symphonies of Anton Bruckner" and "Gustav Mahler,
The bronze plaque, which bears Dr. Dumler's likeness, was designed
by painter-sculptor Wilma Prezzi. It will hang in the Music Library.
As mentioned, Wilma Prezzi (1915-2002) was a noted painter and sculptor.
There is no mention in the journal of a plaque being presented to Xavier University (the presentation date on the plaque is December 22, 1958) and early attempts at finding any information from Xavier has led nowhere. So there is a possibility that the plaque was never presented.
I started to research Dr. Dumler, since I was wondering if any Texas connections could be found, but this is where the story takes a bizarre and macabre turn. The Society has plenty of information on the life of Dr. Martin Dumler. He was a very successful businessman, a composer of religious music, a painter and a community leader. His obituary in the Cincinnati Examiner in October of 1958 mentions his children and I was wondering if any of them may have "Gone to Texas," but instead I found out that his grandson, Martin G. Dumler II had been brutally murdered along with his wife and his mother-in-law in 1969 in the bedroom of his home in suburban Cincinnati. The story was extensively covered in the Cincinnati papers and a section of J.T. Townsend's book, Queen City Gothic: Cincinnati's Most Infamous Murder Mysteries. discusses the case in detail.
The brutal triple homicide has never been solved. The only link I could find is that the last name of the person who purchased the plaque at the tag sale has the same last name of one of the murder suspects. Now, if that was the last name of the person who SOLD the plaque at the tag sale, then I could possibly be venturing into dangerous territory.
I have since learned that the tag sale, although located at a private home, was something of a community event. The woman who sold the plaque recalls that another woman had driven up and dropped off the plaque as her donation to the sale. For awhile some people in Smithville were on the lookout for her small gray truck but that trail has gone cold.
|Some pictures of the plaque|