Monday, March 12, 2012

Part XIV: The Social Pyramid, 1951-1958

27 January 1952. The Great Pyramid & Sphinx, Giza, Egypt. For a trip around the world, Ellen and Lou Ordway, center, were joined by Arthur Lewis, far left, saddled on a camel, and Tom Evans, far right, straddling a donkey.
Part XIV: The Social Pyramid, 1951-1958
Palm Beach – Around the World –- Ireland – Scotland – Long Island

By Augustus Mayhew

Since Ellen Frazer and Lou Ordway already shared much the same social orbit, both as comfortable within the realm of private clubs as they were having their names mentioned in New York newspaper columns, you might think marriage would not have changed the couple’s social standing. And yet, the merger of Ellen’s reserved Philadelphia-Watch Hill-Northeast Harbor circle with Lou’s notable New York-Newport-Midwest prominence resulted in an even wider-ranging social spectrum, if that was possible. Whether hitting the greens at the Everglades Club or doglegs at Gleneagles, sailing in Newport or Cannes, hosting dinners for Verner and Gladys Reed or the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Ordways were at home nearly everywhere in the world.

For this period, Ellen Ordway’s photographic journal contains as many as 75,000 photographs organized chronologically within 100 volumes documenting two distinct phases: first, from the time of their marriage in 1951 until Lou Ordway’s death in 1964; followed by, the 12-year span ending when Ellen took her last breath and snapped her last photograph in 1976. While many of these pages recount the couple’s far-flung travels and family celebrations, I have focused more on the recognizable individuals and places who populated what is considered the 20th-century’s social history.

Here is the first installment of Mr. & Mrs. Lucius P. Ordway’s life together during the 1950s.

January 1951-December 1951
Palm Beach

Villa Bel Tramonto, facade. 241 Banyan Road, Palm Beach. Ellen Ordway standing at the entrance to her new home, designed by architect Maurice Fatio in 1929 for Lou Ordway and his first wife Josephine Green Ordway.
Villa Bel Tramonto, north elevation. 241 Banyan Road, Palm Beach.

“While settling in and cleaning drawers at Banyan Road, I came across these old photographs …”
Lucius P. Ordway Jr., c. 1895. Originally from New York, Mr. Ordway’s parents settled in St. Paul where the senior Ordway “made his first million.” Lucius P. Ordway Jr., c. 1905. During this time, Ordway’s father became the president of 3M.
Lucius P. Ordway Jr., c. 1910-1915. East Hampton. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), a St. Paul, Minnesota notable, was an Ordway family friend. Both the Fitzgeralds and the Ordways lived on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue.
Elizabeth Rodman Fisher Carpenter Glendinning and her daughter Ellen, c. 1901.
Elizabeth Glendinning’s garden, c. 1910. The Squirrels, Chestnut Hill. As a founder of the Philadelphia Garden Club and the first honorary president of the Palm Beach Garden Club, Elizabeth Glendinning had a lifelong passion for gardening.
Ellen and Mary Glendinning in the backyard playhouse their father built for them. The Squirrels, Chestnut Hill. c. 1905. “Daddy built this playhouse for us himself.”
Elizabeth Glendinning with her daughters Mary and Ellen in her backyard terraced rose garden with the family’s fox, pictured to the right of Mrs. Glendinning and her daughters. Ellen’s father was the Master of the Hounds at Whitemarsh Hunt Club. “We kept this fox in mother’s rose garden.”
Ellen Glendinning and the garden fox, c. 1905. The Squirrels, Chestnut Hill. “Daring Ellen ventures over to the animal.”
Ellen Ordway’s son Persifor “Perky” Frazer was the co-founder of Mark Fore & Strike, a national chain of resort sportswear shops first opened in Delray Beach and East Hampton.
28 July 1951, Saturday Evening Post. Lou Ordway’s son Peter Ordway was an accomplished journalist, screenwriter and author, having written “Father Bought a Ball Team” for the Saturday Evening Post. The senior Ordway bought the Florida International League team in 1947. In the lower left photograph, Ellen Ordway cheers on her husband’s minor league baseball team, the West Palm Beach Indians.
January-February 1952
Palm Beach-Nassau-Azores-Lisbon-Madrid-Rome-Athens-Cairo-Bombay-New Delhi-Calcutta-Bangkok–Hong Kong–Manila–Tokyo–San Francisco–Palm Beach

16 January 1952

“We left Palm Beach at 8 am for Nassau where we caught a BOAC flight to Lisbon on the first leg of our trip around the world …”
The BOAC G-ALHC was a Canadair C-4 Argonaut. From Nassau, the plane refueled in the Azores before proceeding on to Lisbon.
January 1952. A map of Europe showing Lou and Ellen’s itinerary.
January 1952. Map of Madrid showing the Palace Hotel and Horcher’s restaurant.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Altar of the Confessional. Stato della Citta del Vaticano.
Athens. The Acropolis. 1952.
24 January 1952. With the Parthenon in the background, Tom Evans, Arthur Lewis, Ellen Ordway, and Lou Ordway listen attentively to a few words about Ancient Greece’s architectural grandeur.
January 1952. A restaurant bill tabulated in drachma.
January 1952. From Athens, the travelers flew to Egypt where Ellen collected an extensive array of colorful cards documenting Egyptian antiquity.
January 1952. “In order to leave Egypt and fly to Bombay, we had to prove we were non-Jewish, in case we made a forced landing in Saudi Arabia.”
28 January 1952. As the above headlines illustrate, the Cold War had heated moments.
Map of India. 1952.
Jaipur. The Palace of the Winds.
7 February 1952. Statesman newspaper. “World mourns death of King George.”
Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, and the scene from our hotel window.
Oriental Hotel, Bangkok. Lou Ordway having a swim at the hotel pool.
Bangkok. The elusive James H. W. Thompson, the “Thai silk king,” whose mysterious disappearance in 1967 caused endless speculation. A former OSS and CIA operative, Thompson is the subject of William Warren’s book Jim Thompson: The Unsolved Mystery.
1952. A map showing Ellen and Lou Ordway’s journey across Southeast Asia and the return to the United States.
Gloria Corrigan and Peter Ordway.
Peter and Gloria Ordway photographed on their wedding day. Following a Reno divorce in 1964, Suzy Knickerbocker reported the former Mrs. Peter Ordway was dining with Peter Widener in London where she ran Christian Dior’s boutique. In 1969, she married Solon C. Kelly III.
Author and screenwriter Peter Ordway and his “best man,” his father Lou Ordway. Peter and Gloria Ordway lived in Cannes.
Christmas 1952
Christmas card, 1952. Tony and Betty Ordway Duke and the kids, Josephine, December, Cordelia, John, and Nick.
Christmas card, 1952. Paul and Angelica Ilyinsky and family.
March 1954
Florida Southern College, Lakeland
Lou Ordway was honored by Florida Southern College for his gift of an industrial arts building that today serves as a fine arts complex. Here is a tour of The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed campus featured in NYSD.
March 1954. “Dr.” Lucius P. Ordway Jr. , Florida Southern College, Lakeland.
March 1954. Newspaper article about Lou Ordway’s honorary Doctor of Law degree from Florida Southern College.
Lou Ordway and Jack Ordway, pictured above, honored their father Lucius Pond Ordway Sr. (1862-1948) at the dedication of the Lucius Pond Ordway Industrial Arts Building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, at Florida Southern College, Lakeland.
Lucius P. Ordway Arts Building, exterior, looking southeast. 1954. Florida Southern College, Lakeland. Frank Lloyd Wright, architect. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Lucius P. Ordway Arts Building, main room, looking northwest. 1954. Florida Southern College, Lakeland. Frank Lloyd Wright, architect. Courtesy Library of Congress.
January 1955-March 1955
Palm Beach
“Socialites are also athletes” reads the caption beneath this picture taken at a bowling alley in West Palm Beach. Left to right, a barefoot Dolores von Furstenberg, Gloria Guinness’ daughter from a second marriage, Charles Munn, Alfredo Cernados, Mrs. Cernados, Dorothy Spreckels Munn, and Gloria Guinness. In October 1955, Dolores married her stepbrother Patrick Guinness, becoming her mother’s daughter-in-law. A familiar figure in the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Dolores von Furstenberg Guinness was named to the International Best Dressed list during the 1950s and 1960s.
Palm Beach. Ellen Ordway and Pootsie.
Palm Beach. Lester Armour, Ellen Ordway, Rostislav “Rosti” Alexandrovich Romanov Jr. with a school friend, Aleka Armour, and Lou Ordway. As you probably know, Rosti is a great-grandson of Tsar Alexander III, what with his grandparents being Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia.
July 1955
East Hampton
Boys Harbor, East Hampton. Angier Biddle Duke, his younger brother Anthony Drexel “Tony” Duke with his son, and a camp supporter Harold E. Talbott. A distinguished ambassador and presidential chief of protocol, Angier Biddle Duke (1915-1995) held various appointments during his foreign service career. A former secretary of the Air Force, Mr. Talbott died in Palm Beach in 1957. Tony Duke founded Boys Harbor, now Boys and Girls Harbor, as a camp in 1937 to “ help disadvantaged children and their families overcome educational and social obstacles …” Between 1947 and 1954, Boys Harbor moved from Long Island to Connecticut before moving back to its permanent Hamptons location, and later, establishing centers in Manhattan.
Boys Harbor, 1955. Lou Ordway and Gary Cooper.
July-August 1955
Ireland & Scotland

During the summer of 1955, Ellen and Lou Ordway went to Ireland and Scotland with Aleka and Lester Armour.
Gertrude Legendre’s cottage, near Dublin.
Bokara Legendre, Gertrude Legendre, and Lou Ordway.
“Some of us drink …” Gertrude Legendre. “Some of us sit…”
“And some, needlepoint (note my empty chair). Lester Armour, Gertrude Legendre, and Bokara Legendre."
Portmarnock Golf Club. Golf Links Road, Portmarnock, County Dublin, Ireland.
Portmarnock Golf Club. Ellen Ordway’s score card.
August 1955
Gleneagles Hotel. Perthshire, Scotland.
Turnberry Golf Club, Ailsa Course. Firth of Clyde, Scotland.
Strathaven Lodge. Hamilton Road, Lanarkshire.
Roger and Pat Vassaley.
“Matty” Matthison.
Grouse hunting, Scotland. Mrs. Peter Harrison.
“Everyone pitches in during the hunt…”
Mrs. Waddington.
December 1955-January 1956
Palm Beach
Lou and Ellen Ordway, foreground, join Laddie and Mary Sanford for a Sunday afternoon polo match at Gulf Stream.
Lilly and Peter Pulitzer step up to the bar for drinks at a Palm Beach party.
Christmas 1958
Christmas 1958. “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Consuelo and Jacques Balsan.”
Next: Part XV: Newport, 1959-1961

Photographs are from the Collection of Lucius Ordway Frazer.
Click here for NYSD Contents