Friday, November 15, 2013

Resort Life, Chapter XXIX: 1965-1966

Palm Beach, 1966.
Resort Life, Chapter XXIX: 1965-1966
High Society: Medway Plantation + Palm Beach + Boca Grande

By Augustus Mayhew

As C. K. Dexter DeHaven in the 1956 film High Society, Bing Crosby could have well-played his own persona — someone who was comfortable being rich and famous. Crosby was a friend, business partner, and golf pal of Palm Beacher and Oklahoma oil tycoon George Coleman. During the 1960s, the popular singer-actor-golfer became a frequent guest at the Seminole Club golf course and some of Palm Beach’s very special gatherings. And whether having drinks and dinner with Bing and Kathy Crosby, poolside lunch with Harry and Ruth du Pont in Boca Grande, or brunch with her lifelong friend Gertrude Legendre on the patio of the lakeside log cabin at Medway Plantation,  Ellen Ordway had her camera loaded with unlimited rolls of film. Ellen delighted in photographing her swell well-known friends. However, probably even more, she enjoyed snapping her dogs, shooting the lions and tigers at Lion Country Safari, and recording every step and splash of her grands and great-grands. Her photograph albums can now be appreciated by her great-great grandchildren who only need to turn the pages of her remarkable photographic odyssey to rediscover that now lost treasure, the Great American Family.

Here is a look back at life during the era of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

November 1965
Thanksgiving at Medway Plantation
Medway Plantation. "Thanksgiving week at Medway …"
Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Ethel Shields Darlington Garrett, and Tom Evans.
The Honorable George Garrett and Tom Evans.
Billy Baldwin.
Peter and Landine Legendre Manigault with their children, Wendy Wood, Gabrielle Manigault (on "Birthday Girl"), Peter Manigault, Landine Legendre Manigault and Peter (Sandy) Wood. Described as "the quintessential Charlestonian," Peter Manigault (1927-2004) headed the family's newspaper and media conglomerate. His son Pierre, who would later marry Elizabeth Van Allen, became chairman of the Evening Post Publishing Company in 2004.
Gabrielle Manigault.
Mother and daughter, Landine Legendre Manigault and Gertrude Sanford Legendre.
The Manigaults with their children. L-r, Landine, Wendy Wood, Peter Manigault, Sandy Wood (on "Birthday Girl") and Gabrielle.
Bob Montgomery and Ethel Garrett.
George Gallowher and Elizabeth "Betty" Bleecker Carey Matthiessen.
Duck hunting at 5:30 a.m.
Duck hunting at Medway Plantation.
Duck hunting at Medway Plantation.
Billy Baldwin.
Fashion appropriate Gertrude Legendre and George Garrett.
Katharine White "Babs" Caulkins and George Gallowher. A noted big-game hunter, explorer, and gardener, Babs Caulkins' first marriage to naturalist and explorer William Douglas Burden ended in divorce. A co-founder of Marineland with Sonny Whitney, Mr. Burden was the grandson of W. D. Sloane and Emily Vanderbilt Sloane. Her second marriage was to Dan Platt Caulkins in 1939. She recorded an album in 1958 that included Noel Coward's "Chase Me Charlie," and "There's Something Fishy about the French."
Jimmie Snowden and Gertrude Legendre. Cameras at the ready.
Marie and Jimmie Snowden, New York, Southampton, and Palm Beach. Snowden's father James Hastings Snowden was a notable Oklahoma oil baron.
Marie Snowden, banker Dan Platt Caulkins, and Jimmie Snowden. During the Eisenhower administration, Caulkins (Princeton '26) served as a White House director for national security affairs.
Babs Calkins and George Gallowher.
December 1965
Palm Beach
Loel Guinness and his grandchildren, Loel and Alexandra, arrive at the Miami Seaquarium. A school friend lived next door to the Guinness' Manalapan estate. Her family enjoyed nothing more than when the Guinness' took off or landed their helicopter.
December Duke. "December and Josie came up from Coconut Grove for a holiday party." Josephine "Josie" Duke.
March 1966
Duchess of Needlepoint – Ellen Ordway

Palm Beach Life magazine article by Betty Raveson
Ellen Ordway, "Duchess of Needlepoint," at Villa Bel Tramonto.
Duchess of Needlepoint.
Alice in Wonderland needlepoint screen, Villa Bel Tramonto.

"Lady Dunraven 'Nancy' and Melissa Yuille come for supper."
Lady Dunraven (Nancy Yuille) and Bettina Dale. In 1934, Yuille married the 6th Earl of Dunraven in the courtyard at Louwana, the Gurnee Munn-Louise Wanamaker Munn estate, that was being leased for the season by her sister Ellen Yuille Blair (Mrs. Wolcott Blair).
Melissa Yuille Bingham (Mrs. Harry Payne Bingham).
"George and Augusta Harrison drop by ..."
Augusta "Gussie" Harrison. A close friend of Truman Capote's, Harrison's life and personality were considered one of Capote's inspirations for Holly Golightly, one of the author's most iconic characters. A well-known model in New York and known for her eccentric parties, Capote was a good friend. Her first marriage to Tom Higgins ended in a 1952 divorce. Twelve years later, as Augusta Hall Cutter, she married prominent Virginian and Palm Beach resident George Evelyn Harrison, a close friend and neighbor of the Ordways. George Evelyn Harrison. Harrison married Augusta after divorcing Phyllis Dickinson whose parents the Philemon Dickinsons were part of the Chestnut Hill-Palm Beach circle.
Former sugar baron George Fowler, gallerist Malcolm Vallance, and Perky Frazer. Mr. Fowler's father was the prominent British sugar plantation owner in Cuba.
George Fowler and Ellen Ordway.
"Around town"
Bokara Legendre. Everglades Club golf course.
Taking in a close-up of Mike Phipps' helicopter are Master Lucius O. Frazer, Perky Frazer, Randy Frazer, Bettina Dale, and Mollie Frazer.
Bess McGrath and Lady Cowdray (far right) join Randy Frazer, Verner Reed, Perky Frazer, and Lucius O Frazer on their Lake Trail bike ride.
"Happy little rays of sunshine." Ellen Ordway, Channing Hare, and Lillian Bostwick Phipps.
March 1966
George and Dawn Coleman's dinner for Bing and Kathy Crosby
1029 North Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach
Mrs. George L. Coleman Sr., Kathy Crosby, and George L. Coleman Jr. Mrs. Coleman Sr.'s late husband acquired an Oklahoma mining fortune. At one time, it was said Coleman controlled the world lead and zinc market. When his son George Jr. developed an interest in golf, he built his son a nine-hole course in the family's backyard. Longtime golfing pals and business partners George Coleman, who was a founder of Pennzoil, and crooner Bing Crosby, along with Barry Van Gerbig and Virgil Sherrill, were part owners of the San Francisco Seals, a National League hockey team.
Victoria Fairbanks Van Gerbig, Barend ("Barry") Van Gerbig 2nd, and Van Gerbig's godfather, Bing Crosby. The daughter of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Mary Lee Fairbanks, Victoria Fairbanks and Van Gerbig married in December 1965. The son of Howell and Dorothy Fell Van Gerbig and grandson of Mrs. Ogden Mills, Van Gerbig's first marriage to Lois Hochschwender ended in divorce.
Mary Lee (Mrs. Douglas) Fairbanks Jr., Michael Phipps, and Dawn Loomis Coleman.
Mary Lee (Mrs. Douglas) Fairbanks Jr. and Mollie Phipps.
Victoria Fairbanks Van Gerbig, Bess McGrath, and Tony Heminway.
"Bess, Bing and Michael."
Legendary golfer Ben Hogan. A friend of Barry Van Gerbig's for more than 30 years, Van Gerbig wrote Ben Hogan at Seminole for Golf magazine: "Every February he'd come to Seminole Golf Club, in South Florida, where I was a young member in my 20s, and he'd spend six weeks there … Some time later Hogan said to me, 'The things you have, this life you have, you haven't earned it. It's time for you to become your own man.' When he was finished — and he was brief — he said, "Are we O.K.?" What he said I needed to hear. Soon after, Victoria and I moved to London and I got a master's degree in medical psychology and became involved in the early hospice movement. I started to call Hogan Ben … Hogan died in 1997. I wish he could have known my current wife, Ginny, a former Seminole manager. She's my Valerie Hogan . Ben would have loved her. In my 69 years I have not loved many people, but I loved Hogan. He felt my pain and saw my promise. I'll go to my grave grateful to him. He treated me like the son he never had. I needed that, and I guess he did too." 8 June 2009, Golf.
Victoria Van Gerbig and George Coleman. Coleman and Ben Hogan enjoyed driving golf balls into the ocean in Coleman's backyard. Mr. Coleman was said to "own five percent of everything." His first wife Elizabeth Fullerton married William W. Crocker, scion of the California railroad banking fortune. When Crocker died in 1964, she became embroiled in a will contest with her step children when they learned she inherited half of their father's multi-multi-million estate. Nonetheless, she went on to marry the Duke of Manchester.
Bing Crosby and Michael Phipps.
Tony Heminway, Ben Hogan, Bess McGrath, and Valerie Hogan.
Bess McGrath, Limerick-Biarritz-Palm Beach.
"We drop by and visit with Lil Phipps."
Kathryn "Kathy" Grant Crosby. Actress Kathy Crosby was 23 when she married 53-year-old Bing in 1957, a marriage that was subject of her book A Very Good Life, My Life with Bing.
The terrace at Ogden and Lil Phipps' Moorish-style villa at 1486 North Lake Way.
Bess's scarf and Kathy Crosby at the Phipps house on North Lake Way.
Palm Beach Daily News. Seminole Club golf tournament. George Coleman, Bing Crosby, Virgil Sherill, Barry Van Gerbig, and Chris Dunphy.
"Bing and Kathy come for dinner at chez Ordway"
Ellen Ordway and Bing Crosby.
Kathy Crosby, Bing Crosby, and Perky Frazer.
Ellen Ordway, Bess McGrath, Bing Crosby, and Lady Dunraven (Nancy Yuille).
Bing Crosby and Lady Dunraven.
Mollie Phipps.
"Kit Ordway comes for supper."
Katharine "Kit" Ordway and Bess McGrath. Whether the Katharine Ordway Natural History prairie in Minnesota, the Katharine Ordway Preserve in Weston, or the Katharine Ordway Gallery at Yale, Kit Ordway was among of the nation's most generous conservationists and philanthropists. When she died in 1979, the remaining $500 million Ordway trust was split between twelve grandchildren, according to published reports.
"Buddy and Dysie come by to walk the dogs."
E. T. Bedford "Buddy" Davie.
"Buddy, Dysie, the dogs …"
Villa Bel Tramonto
Banyan Road
Dysie Davie.
Bridget Ordway (Mrs. Peter Ordway).
"I fly down to Lantana with Mike and Mollie in the helicopter."
"The Shrimp Palace," Ellen's name for Mike and Mollie Phipps' house on North Lake Way.
The Par-3 Golf Course, President of Palm Beach condominium, and Ibis Island, looking northeast from the Intracoastal Waterway to the ocean.
"Blair House (lower left) and The Breakers beach, looking northwest across The Breakers golf course." Today, the oceanfront house to the left of the beach cabanas at 115 South Flagler Drive, designed by Marion Wyeth, is one of the Lauder family houses, adjacent to 126 South Ocean Boulevard.
The Ordway house. Villa Bel Tramonto, Banyan Road.
Charles Munn. Sketch by Zito.
"Tea time with Mollie's mother …"
Muriel Lane at Mike and Mollie Phipps' house. Mrs. Lane was Mollie Phipps' mother.
Author Ethel Petit Roche and Muriel Lane. Roche's husband was the author Arthur Somers Roche. Her best-known novels are The Rich are Always With Us and Move Over- A Novel of our Better Classes.
"John and Leslie come for a visit."
Ellen Ordway, John Ordway, and Leslie Ordway. Everglades Club golf course.
John Ordway with his aunt, Kit Ordway.
Betty Ordway Duke Dunn and Bridget Ordway, Peter Ordway's wife.
December Duke.
Peter Reed. The son of Ellen's good friends Verner and the late Gaggy Reed, Peter and his wife Polly "stop by for a visit."
Polly Reed.
Peter and Polly Reed's boat. "They plan to sail to Europe."
The bow of the Reed's boat.
Polly Reed.
Winona Hunt works on her needlepoint.
Winona Bell Hunt. Her fashion-forward Worth Avenue shop was a Palm beach institution, introducing many Italian designers to the resort, especially Emilio Pucci.
March 1966
Boca Grande


"Ethel Garrett and I fly to Boca Grande to spend a few days with Sid and Jane Scott."
Boca Grande. Sid and Jane Scott's cottage.
Henry Burling Thompson (1897-1984). The following year, Thompson's younger brother Jim Thompson, the Thai silk king and former CIA bureau head, would make international headlines when he went missing during a trip to Malaysia. Several months later, his sister Kaa (Katherine) Thompson Wood was found murdered in her Main Line mansion. Both cases went unsolved.
Martha Chalfant Wheelwright Thompson. Following Henry Thompson's divorce from Mary Noyes White, he married Martha Wheelwright in 1946.
Mrs. Ruth (Henry Francis "Harry") du Pont and Sid Scott. Ruth and Harry duPont maintained homes in Manhattan, Southampton, Boca Grande, and at Winterthur. The du Ponts' mansion at Winterthur was opened to the public in 1951, becoming a notable landmark museum.
Henry Francis "Harry" duPont (1880-1969), Ethel Garrett, and "Adelaide."
Laura Pepper and Jane Scott.
Harry du Pont. After Winterthur opened as a museum, he and his wife Ruth moved to a smaller house nearby. Mr. du Pont assisted Jacqueline Kennedy with her makeover of The White House. He is the subject of a book written by his daughter Ruth Lord, Henry F. du Pont and Winterthur: A Daughter's Portrait.
D. Luke Hopkins.
Kitty Hopkins.
Charles Harding. Heir to a Massachusetts textile fortune, the Harding family's Palm Beach house Chiora was one of the early oceanfront mansions. His brother Henry Harding was a noted Palm Beach architect.
Laura Pepper and Charles Harding.
"Lunch at George and Deo Weymouth's house."
Boca Grande. George and Deo Weymouth's house.
Boca Grande. George and Deo Weymouth house, tile plaque.
George Tyler Weymouth and Laura Pepper.
Laura Pepper and Sid Scott.
"Sid showing a painting by Deo."
Dulcinea "Deo" Ophelia Payne du Pont Weymouth. Deo Weymouth was the oldest of Eugene Eleuthere du Pont Jr. and Catherine Moxham du Pont's four daughters. An accomplished artist, her son George Alexis "Frolic" Weymouth became a well-known painter and portrait artist who helped establish the Brandywine River Museum. The Weymouths were part of the Wilmington-Boca Grande-Fishers Island set.
Next: Resort Life, Chapter XXX: Paris, Biarritz, UK, Ireland, and Northeast Harbor
June 1966. Hotel du Palais, Biarritz. "Good morning from Nonie and Tommy Schippers."
Ellen Glendinning Ordway's photographs are from the
Gayle Abrams Collection.
Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland: Reflections on Palm Beach