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Author to tell story of Geneva tycoon

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 3:07 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 3:10 p.m. CDT
Fabyan Villa (pictured) was the home of Col. George and Nelle Fabyan from 1908 to 1939. The house is notable because of its remodelling in 1907 by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was the centerpiece of the Fabyans country estate, which they named Riverbank.
Richard Munson, a suburban Chicago writer and author of the new biography "George Fabyan: The Tycoon Who Broke Ciphers, Ended Wars, Manipulated Sound, Built a Levitation Machine, and Organized the Modern Research Center," will talk about Geneva's famous resident at noon, Tuesday, May 13, at the Geneva History Center, 113 S. 3rd St., Geneva. .

GENEVA – The Geneva History Center will present “Geneva Tycoon Who Launched the NSA” with guest author Richard Munson at noon, Tuesday, May 13, at the history center, 113 S. 3rd St., Geneva.  

Kane County residents may have visited Col. George Fabyan’s windmill and Japanese gardens along the Fox River in Geneva, but they may not know that Fortune Magazine ranked Fabyan among history’s 10 most interesting millionaires, states a news release.

Gilded Age tycoon Fabyan launched the National Security Agency and created the modern science research center, according to the release.

The author of the new biography “George Fabyan: The Tycoon Who Broke Ciphers, Ended Wars, Manipulated Sound, Built a Levitation Machine, and Organized the Modern Research Center,” will talk about Geneva’s famous resident. Munson, a suburban Chicago writer, will reveal how the cotton tycoon inspired a “community of thinkers” who advanced science in such diverse fields as acoustics, cryptography, genetics and physiology, the release states. 

Fabyan also constructed a levitation machine (now at the Geneva History Center) that tried to defy gravity, and he spent millions “proving” Sir Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays, states the release.

Munson is the author of “From Edison to Enron,” a history of the electricity industry; “The Cardinals of Capitol Hill,” a behind-the-scenes look at congressional appropriators; and “Cousteau: The Captain and His World,” a biography of the undersea explorer.  

The program is part of the museum’s Brown Bag Lunch Series, which takes place at noon on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May. Attendees should bring a lunch. Soup will be provided by Inglenook Pantry, and the museum will offer cookies, water and coffee. Admission is $5 each or $3 for museum members.

Register at genevahistorycenter.org or by calling 630-232-4951.

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