I just came across a letter in the SPS archives collection about the rooster carving I repaired this spring. The letter was part of a larger collection of papers newly acquired by the archives. It was written by carver John Gregory Wiggins to Henry Crocker Kittredge and is dated February 12th, 1939. Kittredge was at that time the sitting Rector of SPS, following the death of Samuel Smitth Drury, Fourth Rector, and in 1947 would become the Sixth Rector of SPS. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
I’ve just shipped off a rooster to you. The last one was broken and sent me by SSD [Samuel Smith Drury]. He’s a finial for the choir room. I’ve left the extra base on for ease in packing. These finials were all put on the pew ends by SPS labor, and the staining was done the same way. So I guess there’ll be no trouble about that. This is a ruggeder rooster and ought to stand up to ordinary wear + tare [sp.].”
This indicates that the rooster carving that is now located in the Choir Room is not the original one carved in 1930, but the replacement carved in 1939. It is also interesting to learn from this letter that the mounting and staining was done by workers at the School to match the finish on the pews – it explains the sort of rough way the rooster was attached to the pew end, which likely led to the split in the base.