Bror Tamm (1890-1981) was born in Sweden and trained in Denmark as a naval architect. In 1912 he moved to Quincy, Mass. and took a job at the George Lawley shipyard in nearby Neponset. There, he worked on many famous yachts, devised and patented dozens of improvements to yacht gear, and befriended men such as Frank C. Paine and L. Francis Herreshoff. In short, he was a man on the ground in the New England yachting scene.
An article in the Quincy Patriot-Ledger from 1967 shows Tamm holding a piece of wood from the famous yacht America which, according to the article, he removed “from the original [yacht America] when she was at the local shipyard some years ago.” Take that statement for what it’s worth. Tamm’s acquisition of America’s Wood would indeed have been quite a few “years ago,” because the yacht America was destroyed and burned after the storage shed containing her bones collapsed in 1945.
For me, the proof of the America connection is in the photo – which shows Edward Rowe Snow standing next to Tamm, gazing fondly upon the pieces of wood. Why? Because, as you probably know, the tireless Snow jazzed up many of his books by turning them into “Limited Editions” which contained bits of wood from whichever vessel or vessels happened to be the subject of his latest tome. One memorable Snow production had 19 of these little squares of wood from various historic vessels glued onto the front pastedown. What a mess!
For some reason, the project with wood from the America never went forward. Snow never published a “Limited Edition” of a book about the famed yacht with a little piece of wood from her hull pasted to the inside of the front board. “The America’s Wood” (as the newspaper article was titled) remained in its cardboard box, which somehow came into the possession of Howland and Company – most likely because Louie Howland was a friend of Tamm’s.
One of the pieces of wood in that box measures 19 x 3 1/2 inches, and strongly resembles the piece Bror Tamm is holding in the photograph. So I’m assuming that the copy of the newspaper article was placed in the box with three hunks of wood because Bror Tamm truly had salvaged the wood from the America, per the article. He and Eddie Snow are both long dead, but if any of you want to go into the “Limited Edition” racket, I have wood for you.
Three slabs, $250 each. $500 for the lot.