This book by Andrew Carnegie was published by Charles Schribner and Sons, New York, 1886.
The inscription on the inside cover reads ” To William Gretsch with the compliments and good wishes of Thomas N. Rooker. Xmas, 1886″
William Casimir Gretsch was the eldest son of William Gretsch and his first wife, Johanna Katharina Fink. He was born in Speyer on June 16, 1845.
According to the 1880 US Census, William Gretsch was at the time living in Brooklyn with his wife Mary. They had no children. He was a wine merchant.
According to the same census, Thomas N. Rooker (64) was also living in Brooklyn at 202 Adelphi Street. He was living with his wife Laura (60) and his sister in law, Mary Fuller. Rooker was a printer.
But the census doesn’t tell the whole story of Thomas N. Rooker. His obituary in the Brooklyn Eagle on June 7, 1898, gives much more information. Rooker was a long time associate of Horace Greeley, the American journalist and political leader. Rooker had laid type for the first edition of the Tribune which appeared on April 10, 1841. He was secretary of the Tribune Association at the time of his death. To read the whole obituary go to the link below. Note this link is pictured a little off center but the heart of the story is perfectly clear.
In the 1870 US Census, Rooker was living with his wife, his mother in law and his sister in law.
In the 1850 Census, Rooker was living with the Samual Fuller family who operated an “eating Saloon”. Rooker was married to their daughter and was the only one in the family to own property. So Rooker did have some connection to the liquor business and might easily have met William Gretsch through his wife’s family business.
Perhaps, Rooker saw in this much younger man, William Gretsch, an inquisitive business man who showed an interest in the political philosophy of the American Government. At a time when the Monarchies and Republics of Europe were undergoing huge changes, perhaps the older Rooker and the younger Gretsch discussed the politics of the day. Whatever their relationship, the connection between these two men was close enough to allow for a “xmas” present that centered in the realm of ideas and not just sentiment.