Monday, April 30, 2018

Historical Images from New York City (6)

Title: "Photographing New York City - on a slender support 18 stories above pavement of Fifth Avenue" One half of a stereocard photo, showing a man with a stereoscope camera above Fifth Avenue in New York City, looking north.
Credited to Underwood & Underwood - The New York Times photo archive, via their online store, here

Historical Images From New York City (5)

Trolleys in Union SquareNew York City, 1906.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Young Misses of Society Dancing Class Tid-Bits

The Young Ladies were sent to the finest boarding and finishing schools, taught etiquette, music and dance lessons, to be properly trained in widening their acquaintance with the New York Society. 

The dancing classes have made the week a field one. They opened it with a dance at Mrs. John D. Jones's house on Monday, where a dance was given for Mrs. Jones's niece. Miss Louise Floyd-Jones, and where the young guests all came with powdered hair and patches on their faces. The sight was a very pretty one, as may well be imagined. Among those who took part in the cotillion, which was led by Mr. Alexander Hadden, were Miss Zerega, Miss Lentilhon, Miss Coudert. Mrs. Pelham Clinton, and others of the same set. The favors were exceptionally tasteful and varied.

On Monday evening, also there met at Mrs. Isaac Townsend's, in West Twenty-fifth street, what is known as the Rosebud Dancing Class, composed of young girls not yet out. This dance was given for young Miss Bend, a granddaughter of Mrs. Townsend. The Orthopedic Ball of Wednesday night, for the success of which Miss Furniss and Mrs. Whitney labored so assiduously to keep exclusive, was, as last year, more or less of a success. The atmosphere of the ball was very much like a usual Delmonico one, and one person present in summing it up described it as a cross between a Junior Patriarch's and a cotillion. 

There were comparatively few girls of the younger set present, but an abundance of men, which somehow gave the impression that some wealthy patroness had purchased a cartload of tickets and distributed them wholesale at the clubs. The larger part of this masculine contingent effectually blocked up the main doorway and narrowed the dancing space, made its presence felt at supper, and was missing in the cotillion.

 Mr. Thomas Howard led the cotillion and Lander the orchestra, and so all the requirements of a Delmonico ball were met. The favors were composed of bunches of red roses, which, before their use in the cotillion, formed parts of huge bouquets that hung between the mirrors, thus combining economy with utility and beauty.

Some handsome gowns were worn, notably by Mrs. George Merritt, Miss Constance Schack, Miss Zerega, Miss Julia Van Duzer, and Miss Fannie Tailer. The supper arrangements were on the most lavish scale, and champagne flowed more freely than at an Assembly. It is understood that the ball cost about $4.80 per head for those present, which will leave a pleasant percentage for the charity for which it was given.

 Article Name: Young Misses of Society Dancing Class Tid-Bits
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina
Source: New York Times : April 17, 1887

The Bradley Martins: Their Start and Career in New York Society


On the night of Jan. 26, 1885, which was the coldest of an exceptionally bitter Winter, Mrs. Bradley Martin gave, at her double residence, 20 and 22 West Twentieth Street, what was considered as having been, up to that time, with the exception of the Vanderbilt "fancy dress ball of 1883, " the most unique and beautiful entertainment ever enjoyed by the members of New York society. About 400 guests were invited, and the event created comparatively as much anticipatory interest and excitement as the coming ball has aroused this season.

No better evidence of the marked changes which even the comparatively short period of twelve years can effect in the society and journalistic worlds, can be afforded than a study of the story of this ball as related in two of the morning newspapers of Jan. 27, 1885. Strange as it may seem in this era of the full publication of society doings and events, only two of the New York morning newspapers of that date even alluded to this ball, and these two gave only a brief account of it. A perusal of the list of guests is almost startling, as it shows that of the 400 people who attended Mrs. Martin's ball of twelve Winters ago, scarcely one-half are likely to attend her coming ball of Feb. 10 of this year. The divorce court, the vicissitudes of fortune, and particularly death, have removed from participation in society life what seems a remarkable number of persons in so short a time.

Harry Cannon, who was one of the leaders of the cotillion at the Martin ball of 1885, is dead. Ward McAllister, Mrs. Paran Stevens, her son, Harry Stevens; George Henry Warren, Mrs. George L. Rives the first, Miss Marie, afterward Mrs. Frank Pendleton, and others of the guests of 1885 almost as prominent, have passed away. It will also be recalled that during the ball one of the invited guests, and one of the belles of the day, Miss Ruth Baylies, who had been taken ill only a few days previous, died, and the ball was almost forgotten in the general sorrow when the news of her death became known the next day.

The Huge Temporary Supper Room

The feature of the Martin ball of 1885 was the huge temporary supper room, built of wood, which was erected over the rear yards of the Martin residence. This was 68 feet long by 25 feet wide, and after it had been erected the insurance companies compelled Mrs. Martin to pay a heavy premium for its use for one night, on account of the risk to the adjoining property. This building, or room, was arranged so that access to it was gained by a flight of broad steps leading down from the billiard room, which occupies the entire width of the Martin houses in the rear, and whose three windows were transformed into temporary doorways for the occasion. It was heated by steam and lighted by three enormous chandeliers and many side lights. The ceiling was decorated by Marcotte to resemble the starry sky. The walls were hung with turkey red, and antique armor was used to decorate them. A massive old sideboard was placed against one side of the room, and a long supper table was arranged in the centre. The effect of this room, as the guests walked out from the billiard room and stood on the top of the stairway, was striking and beautiful. Unfortunately the bitter cold of the night, on which the thermometer fell to zero, made the room of little use, as the steam pipes could not keep the temporary structure warm.

The guests when they entered were received by Mrs. Martin, who stood in the reception room at the right of the main hall, and from there they passed on through the library and dining-room into the billiard room in the rear. After viewing the supper room, they returned through a small room on the left of the main hall, where two bands were stationed, which played continuously through the evening. Beyond this small room, in the front of the house, was a room arranged as a large hallway, and decorated with deers' heads and other trophies of the chase from Bal Macaan, Mr. Martin's leased estate in Scotland.

Leaders of the Cotillions

After supper, which was served about midnight, two cotillions were danced. Lispenard Stewart led one, in the dining-room, and Harry Cannon another, in the large entrance hall. The favors were exceptionally beautiful. Those for the women were mother-of-pearl fans and silver and gold ornaments, and for the men scarf-pins with pearl heads and broad satin sashes covered with gilt and silver imitations of foreign orders. In the flower figure, clusters of pink roses tied with satin ribbons were given to the women, and boutonnieres of lilies of the valley were given tot he men. The women's bouquets had each a small stuffed sparrow suspended above it by a vibrating wire. Mrs. Martin wore a superb dress of white satin, made, as was then the fashion, with a long train, and she carried seven or eight large bouquets.

The men, matrons, and maidens, who are middle-aged or are approaching middle age, in New York society, well remember this beautiful and unique ball, now only a tradition to the younger generation.


Mrs. Martin's Brilliant Party in February, 1890, When There Was a Dinner and Dancing.

On the night of Feb 8, 1890, Mrs. Bradley Martin entertained about 300 of her friends at dinner at Delmonico's, the dinner being followed by a cotillion. The decorations of the reception, dining, and ball rooms were on a somewhat novel plan and exceedingly rich in character. Gloire de Paris roses were used chiefly in the adornment of the tables, of which there were six, each set for 46 persons. The walls of the main dining hall were hung with blue silk brocade and adorned with small gilt mirrors, from which hung baskets of lilies of the valley. A notable feature of the decoration was a Roman chandelier of orchids that swung in place of the usual circle of lights.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin received their guests in the small red room, in which many graceful palms and ferns were grouped. Coffee was served in both the red room and the blue room to both ladies and gentlemen after dinner. In the blue room, as well as in the main corridor, banks of palms and roses were placed, also a number of choice tapestries, pictures, and bits of bric-a-brac from the Martin residence.

Lander's Orchestra and the Hungarian Band played throughout the dinner and during the cotillion which George H. Bend led, dancing with Mrs. Martin. There were two figure favors, the men receiving jeweled diggers and fac similes of the Orders of the Golden Fleece, and the ladies were presented with small satin bonnets and oxidized silver chatelaines. The guests included all persons prominent in New York's exclusive society, and one of the most charming features of the occasion was the presence of an unusually large number of debutantes, for whom a special table was reserved and appropriately adorned with rosebuds.
No automatic alt text available.

rticle Name:The Bradley Martins: Their Start and Career in New York Society
Researcher/Transcriber:Miriam Medina
New York Times Feb 7, 1897. p.10 (1 page)

Mimi's History Box

Over the last several decades , there has been a growing interest in matters pertaining to Genealogy which from the earliest of times, has formed the basis of true history. That natural instinct which prompts one to love the place of his or her birth, to know the history of the origin and descent of a family or race, and the circumstances in the lives of our progenitors is attracting the attention of the intellectual public, in their never ending pursuit for answers.
History reveals the story of man's past and the progressive development of human society. The human evidence of how man had a determined influence upon history , is found in their expressions of thought, art, culture and politics. History depends on human evidence, not only in annals and chronicles , but in all sorts of forms (monuments, buildings, artifacts, business papers, newspapers, laws, traditions, vital statistics, literature expressing man's philosophy, science and religion.) In the ancient records of the great nations and peoples of the past, preservation of lineages occupied an important place . All historical evidence can be extremely helpful in shedding light upon man's civilization and deeds.
Thanks to many established organizations and historical societies, within the towns of each state, of this country that have taken great steps in securing and preserving historical documents, newspapers and vital records on microfilm and placing them in climate controlled facilities, a project which has been quite costly, for the benefit of future generations. America's sacred symbols that have been vulnerable to the ravages of time, are also being restored to their original forms.. Many libraries even have a genealogical department where lineages may be inspected. Scholars are resurrecting older resources and are beginning to rewrite selected histories in the light of new research on that particular subject matter.
In the process of my own genealogical research I have now come to the realization that the more I familiarize myself with the social and economic conditions of peoples, their racial affinities and the physical environment in which my ancestors lived, a better comprehension as to Who, What, Where, Why and When will be established.
I am convinced that history is an essential factor in assisting a genealogist to achieve a somewhat successful result from its diligent search efforts.I
The History was created and is maintained by Miriam Medina, researcher and transcriber. Mimi's History Box, educational intent is to provide information of historical interest that is relevant to the people of New York State, New York City and American history, and direct them to the sources that it has utilized which are available to the public. The contents of this site are derived from extensive research of public records, newspapers, books and web links. I myself, with over eight years of experience transcribing for historical societies, and other organizations have vetted the articles, personally ensuring that they are from reliable, credible sources, as I scrutinized them for historical accuracy. It is a source of quality information for researchers, historians, literary scholars, writers, historical societies and academic institutions.
As a native New Yorker, from Manhattan, the area of interest on which I will focus, will be New York City. New York City is noted for its enormous cultural and educational resources, its theaters, art galleries, museums, its rich historical background, a major tourist attraction where millions come each year to witness and partake of man's creative power. It is the center of advertising, fashion, publishing and radio broadcasting in the United States. In other words It is a dynamic expression of American civilization. Although it has had its share of growing pains, political, social and economic upheavals, there exists a profound spirit of courage, strength and perseverance among its citizens. Through we will share in those moments of the past. So welcome aboard, sit back , get comfortable , and enjoy the trip, as we travel through time.

Ward McAllister

Ward McAllister was a native of Savannah, Ga., where he was born about sixty years ago. His grandfather, Matthew McAllister, was Chief Justice of the State, and his father, Matthew Hall McAllister, was a justice of the Circuit Court of the United States in California.

The family was distinguished for its legal ability. A brother of Ward McAllister stood at the head of the San Francisco bar for many years. On his mother's side, Ward McAllister was connected with some of the most distinguished families of the East. His maternal grandmother, Mrs. B.C. Cutler, was a daughter of Hester Marion, sister of Gen. Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the Revolution.

When Ward McAllister was in a reminiscent mood, he liked to tell of the admiration that George Washington used to have for his handsome grandmother. Through the Cutlers, Mr. McAllister was able to claim relationship with ex-Mayor Prince, the Appletons, and many other distinguished families of Boston. He was cousin-german to the late "Sam" Ward, to Julia Ward Howe, and to Mrs. Luther Terry, mother of Marion Crawford. He was also connected by marriage with the Astors, the Chanlers, and other well-known families in this city.

Mrs. McAllister, mother of Ward McAllister, was a remarkably beautiful woman, full of energy, vitality, and social talent. She showed plain traces of her French descent, the Marions being Huguenots, driven to this country by religious persecution. She was thought to bear a striking likeness to the portraits of Charlotte Corday, to whose family she was related.

Ward McAllister was said to resemble her very strongly, not only in appearance, but in peculiar personal characteristics.

Ward McAllister was a genial, charming man to people who knew him. His manner was invariably modest and unassuming. His dress was extremely modest and even careless at times. Despite a funny habit of constantly saying, "Don't you know? Don't you see? Don't you understand?" which reporters who interviewed him constantly made fun of, Ward McAllister was an interesting and intelligent talker. He was never afraid to say candidly exactly what he thought. Latterly he had acquired the habit of writing what he thought, and his social set had punished him somewhat severely for it.

Ward McAllister's talents as a gourmet were developed at an early age. When he was a lad it was customary in the South to go to market at an early hour, so as to avoid the heat of the day. Ward used to get up earlier than his brothers and do the buying for the family, so as to get his parents the best that the market afforded. All his life he made a study of gastronomy. When he went to Europe he was not satisfied with partaking of banquets in the company of distinguished people. He wanted to find out how the best culinary effects were produced. he made the acquaintance of the costly cooks at Buckingham Palace, at Marlborough House, and in some of the best public restaurants in London and Paris. He cultivated the society of wine merchants and prodded into the secrets of some of the famous cellars of Europe. Much of the material he gathered then was afterward worked into his remarkable and interesting book, "Society As I have Found It," which he published in 1890.

When Ward McAllister was about twenty years old he came North to study at Yale. A maiden aunt left him some money, and after leaving college he returned to Savannah, where he was admitted to the bar. In 1852 he went to California. he saw some pretty wild life in the far West, of which he wrote very interestingly in his book. He returned to this city and married Miss Sarah Gibbons, whose father held a steamboat grant from Robert Fulton, and who derived a very good income from wharf property here which her father had acquired. For some years after his marriage Mr. McAllister lived altogether in Newport, which was largely settled by Southerners, but eventually, as he rose in social prominence, he established a home in this city, also.

It was not until Mr. McAllister arbitrarily condensed the swell society set of New York into "the 400" that he achieved what might be called a national reputation. He was then at the head of the Patriarchs, an organization of fifty men, who contributed most of the funds for the great society entertainments of every season. Ward McAllister made it a rule never to dine at his club. It was an axiom of his that there was no society without ladies. He had no business that came in contact with his self-imposed social duties, and those he never shirked. His habits were very regular. It was his custom to rise about 8 o'clock, take a light breakfast and devote from 9:30 to 11:320 to business. This usually consisted of giving his advice to those who came to seek it about entertainments. To people not schooled in matters of this kind he was a public benefactor. At noon he used to visit his butcher. This he considered one of the important bits of business of the day. He usually lunched at the Union Club, and devoted the afternoon to a "constitutional" walk, which he never neglected, rain or shine, and to making calls. Never was man more scrupulous in fulfilling all the obligations imposed upon him as the leader of select society.

A few years ago Mr. McAllister was in great demand as a dinner guest. he was full of good spirits and news, and was constantly inventing something that pleased his social cronies. He knew all the gossip about everybody, and did not hesitate to tell it in the most charming manner. it is said of him that he never was known to say a malicious thing. He was considered the essence of good breeding as well as of good-fellowship.

Mrs. McAllister is an invalid. She never appeared in society, nor did she preside at her husband's dinner table when he entertained. Her place was usually taken by her daughter, Louise. These "home" dinners, as Mr. McAllister used to call them, were his pride. He used to give about one a week, and never laid covers for more than eight.

Naturally, when he created the famous "400," Ward McAllister came in for a severe tongue-lashing from the people left off his list. There was a revolt against him at once. Some people said hard things about him. Ladies with 1,000 or 1,500 names on their visiting lists were angry. But his friends stuck to him. For a Southerner, Mr. McAllister stood the severe criticisms he received with remarkable composure. IN fact, he seemed to enjoy it.

Another innovation that added to Mr. McAllister's social fame was his series of picnics, which for twenty-five years were a recognized feature of Newport Summer life. He had a good deal to say about them in his book. He usually gave them on his farm.

"I did not hesitate," he wrote, "to ask the very crème de la crème of New York society. My little farm dinners gained such a reputation that my friends would say to me: "Now, remember, leave me out of your ceremonious dinners as you choose; but always include me in those given at your farm, or I'll never forgive you.'"

Mr. McAllister wrote as follows about the reasons for founding the Patriarchs: " The object we had in view was to make these (the Patriarchs) balls thoroughly representative; to embrace the old colonial New Yorkers, our adopted citizens, and men whose ability and integrity had won the esteem of the community, who formed an important element in society. We wanted the money power, but not in any way to be controlled by it."

Website:The History
Article Name:Society Leader Ward McAllister: Biographical Sketch
Researcher/Transcriber:Miriam Medina
 New York Times Feb. 1, 1895. p. 1 (1 page)
Time & Date Stamp: Sun Apr 15 2018 07:43:09 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time).