Monday, July 11, 2011

Philadelphia in Palm Beach: Part II, 1931-1935

Szechenyi-Gerliczy Castle. Hagyfalu, Hungary. 1932. Located between Budapest and Vienna, many of the Brioni group converged for a weekend hunting trip. Along with Persifor and Ellen Frazer, (3rd and 4th from left), pictured above are Chicago, Philadelphia and New York friends: Eleanor Holden, Lester Armour, Leola Armour, Edith Cummings, Jim Warburg, and Sally Gowen (far right, riding atop the sphinx). In 1908 Count Lazlo Szechenyi married Gladys Vanderbilt.
Philadelphia in Palm Beach: Part II, 1931-1935
By Augustus Mayhew

In March 2011, New York Social Diary featured the first part of a series Philadelphia in Palm Beach: 1920-1931 adapted from Ellen Glendinning Frazer Ordway's voluminous biographical scrapbook of photographs.

For this next chapter, I perused the more than 3,000 images Ellen Frazer compiled in a six-volume set recording her life from 1931 until Spring 1935, beginning with the family's top-of-the-world year abroad and ending at Palm Beach following the divorce that ended her fourteen year marriage to Persifor Frazer III. A prolific photographer, Frazer utilized small-format roll film to capture the everyday events of her family and friends as well as kept a record of her friends' milestones when they made headlines in newspapers and magazines.

Unlike the era's commercial images produced by celebrity photographers like Bert Morgan or the "portrait of the good life" conveyed by Slim Aarons, these photographs are of a far more private nature. But, while the photographic quality of Morgan's and Aarons' images have been maintained, most often printed from the original negatives, because Frazer's images were developed utilizing the chemically-unstable machine processing of the 1930s they reflect a degradation of image quality. In general, I arranged the images in chronological order with some exceptions. I combined three consecutive summers into Watch Hill, 1932-1934. Likewise, I merged several winter seasons into Palm Beach, 1932-1935. The year the Frazers spent in Europe I have kept in its original order. I placed quotes around captions when I transcribed them as Ellen Frazer wrote them.
Brioni. July, 1931. Ellen Frazer captioned each image in pencil, referencing family and friends by their full names and nicknames. I made every attempt to cross check the spelling of names. Unfortunately, many women were known only by their married names. Thus, "Evie Leason" is referenced in newspaper accounts as Mrs. Robert Leason. In an earlier image aboard the Vulcania, "Dave" is identified as Philadelphian Dave McMullen. In a few cases, I was simply unable to decipher EGFO's flawless script. Thus, I would identify the above photograph as: Back row, standing: Dave McMullen, Persi Frazer III, Tim Clark, Bob Leason. Middle row, seated: Perkie Frazer IV, Evelyn Leason, Kitty Clark, Anita Shields. Front: Frank Kinnicutt, Ellen Frazer (self), and Bettina Frazer.
Tucson. 1935. Ellen Glendinning Frazer Ordway led a remarkable life, photographing nearly every aspect of it. Whether Field Day at Watch Hill or the Arizona Desert School rodeo, Frazer especially seemed to enjoy photographing her children, Bettina, "Perkie" Persifor IV, and "Rippie" Robert.
As well as events surrounding her family, Frazer's scrapbooks include published images of her friends' parties, weddings, or whenever they made news. Above, the June 1934 wedding of Winston F. C. Guest and Helena Woolworth McCann at Sunken Orchard, Oyster Bay, Long Island.
Brioni, July 1931. So, hop on board and enjoy a look back at the Frazers' world between the Wars.
A Year Abroad, 24 June 1931 - 6 June 1932
Gibraltar, Algiers, Naples, Pompeii, Venice, Brioni, Vienna, Hungary, Paris, Holland, and St. Moritz.
"Sailed for Europe on M/V Vulcania on 24 June 1931," wrote Ellen Frazer. The family celebrated the Fourth on board the Vulcania, an Italian Line ship.
The Frazer children aboard their first transatlantic crossing turned the ship into their playground. Bettina, Rip and Perkie were joined by the Ethel Darlington's children, Frank, "Cullie" (McCullough), and Elaine.
A treat for the kids.
The Frazers and the Darlingtons arrive in Naples, along with the children's nanny Miss Roberts.
Old Philadelphia and Pittsburgh visit an even Older Pompeii.
St. Marks, Venice. 1931.
St. Marks. Venice, August, 1931. L. to r.: Persi Frazer III, Elizabeth Carpenter Glendinning, Robert Glendinning, and Ellen Frazer.
Venice, 1931. Mother and daughter, Elizabeth Glendinning and Ellen Frazer, from their balcony at the Hotel Royal Danieli.
July-August, 1931. Brioni

Before Brioni became a fashion brand, it was known for being an island in the Adriatic off the Dalmatian Coast, acquired by Italy in 1918 and reacquired by Yugoslavia following WW II. Between the wars, it became a favorite summer spot for European aristocrats.
A few of the Frazers' friends at Brioni.
L. to r.: Jean Franco, Violette Newell, Mario Borgonia, and Ellen Frazer.
Persi Frazer and Ellen Frazer ready to ride. Beyond, the harbor at Brioni.
Tim Clark "off to play polo." For many years Brioni was the only spot in Italy where polo was played.
September, 1931. Vienna. Persi and Ellen Frazer lunch with their Chicago friends Lester and Leola Armour.
Christmas and New Year's, 1931-1932
Palace Hotel, St. Moritz
Corviglia Ski Club, St. Moritz. L. to r.: Harry Darlington, Ellen Frazer, Ethel Darlington, Whitney Bourne, and Glee Wright.
Up for a gallop in St. Moritz.
Christmas, 1931. Palace Hotel, Marquise de Jaucort, Charlie Chaplin, and Mdme. Andre Citroen. The Frazers and their friends found themselves at The Palace Hotel and the Corviglia Ski Club during the same several weeks Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks were at the hotel. Ellen Frazer was photographed on the slopes by several magazines.
A personal note to Ellen Frazer from Douglas Fairbanks, who along with Chaplin, attracted the international press to St. Moritz during the winter of 1931-1932.
Ellen Frazer and Louise Bailey Laughlin (Mrs. Tom Laughlin), photographed in a St. Moritz limousine. Sportsman and clubman Tom "Tommie" Laughlin was President Taft's nephew, his mother and Mrs. Taft were sisters. His uncle Irwin Laughlin was Ambassador to Spain. The Laughlins had a house in Manhasset and shared stables with Charlie and Joan Whitney Payson who was a bridesmaid at Louise and Tom Laughlins' wedding in 1931.
Lunch at the Corviglia Ski Club.
Whitney Bourne and Helen Pillsbury.
Persi Frazer and Ed Thayer. "Moving fast."
Persi Frazer and Glee Wright. Jacques Dumont and Noni Griggs.
New Year's Eve, 31 December 1931. Palace Hotel. L. to r.: Noni Griggs, Ted Ryan and Ellen Frazer. Ted Ryan was a Thomas Fortune Ryan grand. New Year's Eve. 31 December 1931. Palace Hotel. Helen Gibson, Whitney Bourne's mother, and Persi Frazer.
Midnight in Paris. Ritz Hotel, January 1932. Ellen Frazer, center, at a party hosted by her Sewickley friend Ethel Shields Darlington, second from left. Darlington kept an apartment at the Hotel Raphael.
Paris, 1932. Dinner at 2 am; dancing till long past dawn. L. to r.: Vicomte del la Beraudiere, Ellen Frazer, and George Brockton.
During the Frazers stay in Paris they were on every guest list.
1932. Biarritz. Betty Bonstetton and Dorothy Meacham Price. In 1925 Dorothy Hurt became Mrs. Malcolm Meacham during a wedding held at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach.

Only a few short years later, Malcolm Meacham died, apparently having plunged out his 11-story Park Avenue window, leaving his widow the chief beneficiary of his $10 million estate.
March, 1932. Aintree. Grand National Steeplechase. Above: Josephine Forrestal, Persifor Frazer, Ellen Frazer. Above right: Tom Laughlin and Persi; below center, Ethel Darlington, Persi, Melissa Yuille. Several years later, Melissa Yuille married Harry Payne Bingham. Here is a link to watch THE WORLD'S GREATEST RACE (aka 1932 GRAND NATIONAL).
May, 1932. Ellen Frazer on her way for an afternoon at Villa Trianon, Elsie de Wolfe, Lady Mendl, and Sir Charles Mendl's villa, the first left turn past Versailles.
With the invitation came graphic driving directions to Villa Trianon.
Ellen Frazer and Sir Charles Mendl, who served as the press attaché at the British Embassy in Paris.
May, 1932. Villa Trianon. Ethel Darlington, Sir Charles Mendl, Kitty, and Norton.
May, 1932. Villa Trianon. Dickie Benson and Lady Mendl. Beginning in the 1940s, Dickie "Mrs. Duggett" Benson managed the Worth Avenue Gallery in Palm Beach for many years.
May, 1932. Villa Trianon. With the onset of WW II, the Mendls lost their prized villa during the German occupation.
May, 1932. Villa Trianon. Lady Mendl, photographed by Ellen Frazer. Lady Mendl at Villa Trianon.
Elsa Maxwell and Ethel Darlington.
After their year abroad, in June 1932 Ellen and Persi Frazer returned to the United States aboard the Europa.
July 1932. Pamplona. Mrs. Robert Scotten, the William Wisters, Mrs. Thomas Laughlin, and Chip Bohlen.
Paris, 1932. On the right, an early Diana Dalziel Vreeland.
Cornelius and Gladys Whitney photographed in 1932 during Sonny's campaign for the US Congress.
1932. Morocco. Marjorie Oelrichs photographed in the Marrakesh camel market by artist Charles Baskerville.
1932, India. Big game hunters, Noni Griggs, "Shrotkey" and Ted Ryan sent Ellen this photo of their latest acquisitions.
16 July 1932. The Marshall Fields' Circus Party. Dorothy Meacham Price and her twin sister Margaret "Peggy" Hurt Isham. Dorothy Price's daughter Marjorie Meek was a longtime Palm Beach resident. Among the guests at the Fields' circus party, pictured above, Priscilla Preston and Phil Brown.
Marshall and Audrey Fields' circus party attracted 1200 guests to their North Shore Long Island estate. Above: Ellen Frazer pictured between "Natty" Lewis and hostess Audrey Field.
1932. Raymond Guest and rhinoceros.
A gift from Winston Guest to Ellen Frazer.
1933. Portrait. Savely Sorine, artist. Mrs. Harold Talbott, the former Peggy Thayer.
1933. A portrait of Ellen Frazer by Cecil Beaton.
1933. Helen Gibson and her daughter actress Whitney Bourne. After she appeared on Broadway the following year, Whitney Bourne was dropped from the Social Register. 1933. Luella Glaenzer. Mrs. Jules Glaenzer obtained a Reno divorce in May 1934.
Society portraits took on a glamorous tone during the stylish 1930s. 1933. Mona Williams.
Watch Hill, 1932-1934

Every summer the Frazers, Glendinnings, and their friends congregated along the shore at Watch Hill. Seemingly endless days where the children built sand castles and sailed while their parents lounged on porches, followed by Saturday nights at the Misquamicut Golf Club and every other Friday night dinner dances at the Yacht Club. The Watch Hill archive includes numerous photographs of Jack Geary, Liz Geary, Jane Scott, Jim Coombs, Roxanna Van Renssalear, Frances Richmond, Peter and Anita Shields, Margaret Nichols, Gertrude Harder, Hunter and Minnie Marston, Sam and Josephine Rea, Bill Adamson, Ed Starr, Jean Smith Harvey Cross, Lucille Cross, Ted Schultz, Clement A. Griscom, Bradford and Florence Shenkle, Lucius and Josephine Ordway, Ted Schultz, Ed Johnston, Allan West, Ed Cudahy, Tom Evans, Richard Mellon, and Sarah Mellon Scaife.

Here are a few of Ellen Frazer's photographs including her husband Persi with Peggy Isham during the summer of 1932 and a first glimpse of Lucius P. Ordway who twenty years later became Ellen's second husband.
Rippie, Bettina and Perkie Frazer, at play.
Peggy Isham and Persi Frazer III. The following year, Col. Ralph Isham filed for divorce, claiming Frazer and his wife Peggy began an affair at Watch Hill during the summer of 1932 when Ellen Frazer took this photograph. Following the Frazers' divorce in 1934, Isham and Persi Frazer married in February 1935.
Field Day. The high point of a Watch Hill summer. The Ocean House sets the background.
The one-legged race was one of the popular Field Day events.
L. to r.: Far left, Lucius P. Ordway, a first image of Ordway who Ellen Frazer married twenty years later. Kaiser Manley, back, Josephine Rea, and Tom Prinedeville.
George Garrett and Ellen Frazer. Three years later, Garrett married Frazer's good friend Ethel Darlington.
Ellen Frazer, Hunter Marston and Beatrice Patterson.
A 1933 column item about Beatrice Patterson.
L. to r.: Ellen Frazer, Bill Adamson, Anne Starr, "Minnie" Marston, and Lucius Ordway.
Beatrice Patterson. During the summer of 1938 Bea Patterson married Rodman Wanamaker II.
Ethel Shields Darlington and Ed Johnston.
A Watch Hill summer.
Hunter Marston. The Marstons were good friends of Ellen Frazer's. When the Huttons pulled up on the Hussar, they were in Watch Hill to see the Marstons. Minnie Marston was a Vanderbilt cousin.

Along with E. F. Hutton and Anthony Drexel Biddle Duke, Marston was a co-founder of the Seminole Golf Club in North Palm Beach.
Having filed for divorce, Ellen Glendinning Frazer relaxes on her Watch Hill porch with her mother and father, Elizabeth and Robert Glendinning.
Top, left: Mary Ellen Cooke. Right, Anne Starr. Bottom, l. to r.: Sarah Mellon Scaife, Polly Holmes, and Green Adamson.
Jay and Mary Glendinning Cooke's house, Watch Hill.
Railroad titan Sam Rea and Richard Mellon.
Lallie Lloyd, an Anthony J. Drexel grand.
Ted Ryan and Liz duPont.
Nassau, 1933.
Mr. Green, Robert Glendinning, Jessie Gamble, "Phine", Susie Stewart, Ellen Frazer, and Mrs. Morris, standing.
"Greenie", Ellen Frazer, Marshall Brown, Mrs. Sam Morris, Robert Glendinning, and Phineas Whelan.
Click here for Philadelphia in Palm Beach: Part II, 1931-1935, con't


Photographs are from the Collection of Lucius Ordway Frazer.