This is former home of Harrison D. Horblit, a former textile executive, and is the home of Jean M. Horblit, Harrison's wife. He died of a heart attack on March 14, 1988 at Danbury (Conn.) Hospital. He was 75 years old and lived in Ridgefield, Conn.
For 30 years, Mr. Horblit was president of Colonial Fabrics, a textile manufacturer in Manhattan. The company was closed when he retired in 1966. He was a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
"A widely known and respected collector of antique books and manuscripts, Harrison D. Horblit was also a philanthropist who, along with his wife, Jean, has made often incalculably valuable contributions to many organizations -- including those interested in the history of Ridgefield. Born in Boston in 1912, Mr. Horblit graduated from Harvard in 1933 and became a textile executive. But his avocation as a collector made him known around the world. His specialty was antique books and manuscripts related to the history of science, mathematics and navigation, and his own book, One Hundred Books Famous in Science, is still considered a bible in its field. Much of his collection of rare books and manuscripts, including many items from the 1400s and 1500s, was donated to Harvard's Houghton Library. His wife, Jean, gave a large collection of early photographs and daguerreotypes from as early as 1839, to Houghton which, in 1999, mounted a major exhibition, The Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography. Mr. Horblit was also interested in local history. In 1973, when a group of Ridgefielders tried to buy a 1780 English print of the Battle of Ridgefield at a Sotheby's auction, they quickly ran out of money. Mr. Horblit stepped in and eventually paid $16,000 for an item Sotheby's had valued at under $2,500. "This print belongs in Ridgefield if it belongs anywhere," Mr. Horblit said at the time. Three months after his death in 1988, Mrs. Horblit donated the print to the Keeler Tavern. She has also been a major benefactor of the new Ridgefield Historical Society. Jean Horblit was born in New Haven, attended Columbia University, worked as a textile converter for Colonial Fabrics, a former manufacturing division of Marshall Field & Company, and eventually became the head of its Designing Department in the capacity of fabric stylist. She is a collector of antique Japanese woodblock prints, illustrated books and maps known as Ukiyo-e or "images of a floating world," which cover scenes from everyday life of the people. Her prints and books have been exhibited at the Hammond Museum, Princeton University, and Katonah Gallery, and a rare 17th Century map of Tokaido was shown at the New York Museum of Natural History. "
"The Horblit home itself, a magnificent English Georgian-style mansion meticulously maintained by Mrs. Horblit, is an important piece of Ridgefield history. Built in 1930 from limestone imported from France, "Oreneca" was all but abandoned by its owner, Philip D. Wagoner, after the death of his wife a few years later. When the Horblits bought the place in 1965, the property was so overgrown they did not know the house overlooked Round Pond. Avid yachters, Harrison and Jean Horblit sailed the Maine Coast for two months every summer for many years."
The home sits on 11.76 acres overlooking Round Pond. It was last sold on December 16, 2004 for $6,950,000.
Category: Homes - Historic