Rare Artifact Donated to Averett University Archives
Clara Fountain, Faculty Emerita and a former librarian at Averett University, recently donated a rare artifact to the Averett Archives: a small porcelain creamer manufactured by Warwick china and decorated with the Roanoke Institute logo. The hand-painted creamer is just over 2 ½ inches wide and 3 inches tall. Roanoke Institute was the former name of Averett University from 1910 to 1917. It is likely that this item was part of a larger dinnerware service that graced the tables in the dining room of the campus on West Main Street, which at that time was a brand new building -- the historic site that we know as Main Hall.
The creamer, which was manufactured in Wheeling, West Virginia, bears the mark of L. Herman. Louis Herman (1859-1950) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He worked as a traveling salesman before settling in Danville in 1886. He opened a business with a partner that dissolved after a year, and then he launched a general merchandise store at 329 Main Street. His business prospered and after several years and many different locations, he occupied the four-story L. Herman Building at 515-517 Main Street.
There is another important connection between L. Herman and Averett University. Milton Herman (1887 – 1968) was the middle of three sons of Louis Herman. He and his wife Elise lived at 500 Hawthorne Drive in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Danville. Milton Herman served as president of Statesville Cotton Mills. After Milton died and his wife moved to Roman Eagle Memorial Home, the house was purchased by Mrs. A. B. Carrington, Jr. She donated the house to Averett College, and after extensive renovation, it was converted into a new home in 1984 for the president of Averett, Dr. Howard Lee. Since then, all Averett presidents and their families have resided in this house.
Though small in size, this gift is rare and is a valuable contribution to the historical artifacts and documents housed in the Averett University Archives.
Note: Inscription on the bottom of the creamer reads: “Warwick china made expressly for L. Herman Danville, VA.”