The Bones of Mr. Fortune

for Solo Flute and Orchestral Winds

Adolphus Hailstork

Duration: 11:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

THE BONES OF MR. FORTUNE. Abused in life and death, an enslaved man known as Mr. Fortune was honored with an elaborate funeral more than 200 years after he died in Connecticut. Mr. Fortune was owned by Dr. Preserved Porter on a farm in Waterbury, Conn. When Fortune died in 1798, Porter, a bone surgeon, preserved his skeleton by having the bones boiled to study anatomy at a time when cadavers for medical study were disproportionately taken from slaves, servants and prisoners. One of Porter's descendants gave the skeleton in 1933 to Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, where it was displayed from the 1940s until 1970. The descendant referred to the slave as "Larry" and his name was forgotten at the time. A study by forensic anthropologists at the Quinnipiac University (Conn.) school of medicine concluded that Fortune was about 5 feet 5 inches tall and died at around 55 years old. He suffered a number of painful ailments, including a fracture in his left hand, a severe ankle sprain and lower back pain. "He was an individual who was in considerable distress," a forensic professor, Richard Gonzalez said. I was taken by the bizarre story of Mr. Fortune and decided to use it as the stimulus for this work.

Additional Information

Orchestration Solo Fl.; 3(Picc.) 2 3 2 - 4 3 3 1; 4Perc.