Part IX: After the War, January 1946 – March 1947

Featured image
Villa Tranquilla, Palm Beach. February 1946. Kay Denckla, left, and Ailsa Mellon Bruce, right, enjoy lunch at Felix and Ann du Pont's oceanfront estate in Palm Beach. Kay Denckla lived in nearby Hobe Sound. At one time Ailsa Mellon Bruce owned three different Palm Beach houses, including La Billucia, an acronym for the house's original owners Bill and Lucy Kingsley, located next to the Bath & Tennis Club.

Part IX: After the War, January 1946 – March 1947
Palm Beach – Mackay Point Plantation – Bermuda – Aboard the SS America

For this series of images documenting Ellen Glendinning Frazer’s life following WW II, I have made selections from photographs depicting her return to Palm Beach at Felix and Ann du Pont’s Villa Tranquilla, a stop at George Widener’s Yemassee plantation, a trip to Bermuda, and her first of what would be several Transatlantic crossings to post-war Europe.  I have done my best to transcribe Ellen’s handwritten captions below some of the photographs, placing uncertain spellings in quotes.  This chapter ends with her arrival in Cherbourg on 25 March 1947 aboard the SS America.  Because I became captivated by far too many images of Europe devastated by war, Ellen’s overland travels will make up the most part of the next chapter — from the Ritz in Paris to friends’ chateaus throughout France and then to Copenhagen to visit US Ambassador Josiah Marvel Jr. and his wife “Gee”(Gwladys Crosby Hopkins), who married Marvel following her divorce from CV “Sonny” Whitney.

January 1946

Ellen Frazer received a commendation from the Red Cross for her service during WW II.

8 February 1946

Ellen kept a meticulous record of her drive to Florida.

10 February 1946
Mackay Point Plantation, South Carolina

One of George Widener’s guests drew a sketch of life at “Mackay Point – The Sportsman’s Dream.”
Jane Marvel Scott, “… knit one, purl two …” on the terrace at MacKay Point.
L to R.: Wolcott McCormick Blair.; Charlie “Laurence.”
Mr. Widener begins to cook quail, assisted by Margaret, but soon develops a problem keeping the charcoal fire lit.
“Charlie Laurence offers advise but George cannot keep the fire lit …”
Finally, Margaret comes back, gets the fire going, and the quail begins cooking.
George Widener does the finishing touches and the quail is served.
L to R.: There was a time when the Palm Beach Daily News and The New York Times recorded nearly all arrivals and departures to Palm Beach during the season.; Villa Tranquilla, Palm Beach. Addison Mizner, architect. The front entrance is along El Brillo Way.
Felix du Pont and Anna Coxe Newbold Ingersoll Toogood. In 1942 “Coxie” married Granville Toogood following her divorce from Warren Ingersoll. In 1915 T. Coleman du Pont sold his share of the family business to six family members; Felix du Pont was one of them, along with Pierre, Irenee, and Lammot du Pont. The great-grandson of company founder Eleuthere Irenee du Pont, Felix became a company director; four years later, he was elected a vice-president and a member of the executive committee. He retired in 1946.
Ann du Pont.
Jane Marvel Scott.
Ann Dilworth. Her husband Richardson Dilworth was a Philadelphia political figure, a former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania and city treasurer of Philadelphia.
Ethel Shields Darlington Garrett, Ellen’s longtime friend of Sewickley, Paris, Middleburg, Dublin, Washington, DC, and Palm Beach. During the early 1960s, Ethel and George Garrett lived at 200 Regent’s Park Road.
Richardson Dilworth with Dick and Katherine Barr.
Richardson Dilworth and Ann Dilworth. “Mercy Meade, can’t you do better than this …” wrote Ellen as a wry caption for this photograph.
Lucius P. Ordway. In 1948, Mr. Ordway married Kay Denckla.
Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Reggie Schwartz, and Jane Marvel Scott. In 1945 Ailsa Mellon Bruce and David Bruce divorced. During the war David Bruce was the OSS commander of the European theater. According to several Mellon family biographers Ailsa was nicknamed “What ails ya?” because she was prone to develop various indeterminate ailments that frequently made her a recluse. According to one biographer, she was bitten by sand fleas during her 1926 honeymoon in Rome and never fully recovered. As seen above n 1946, she apparently had no loss of appetite.
Ann du Pont oversees lunch at Club du Pont.
“Coxie” and Felix du Pont.
In 1946 The Patio was one of Palm Beach’s most popular spots.

March 1946
Seminole Golf Club, North Palm Beach

Florence Spalding, Isabel Dodge Sloane, and George Garrett.
Hunter Marston and Kay Denckla.
Left, Sister Tibbett and Valentine Bartlett.

Society in Vogue

L to R.: Vogue. March, 1946. Eleanor Biddle Barnes “Lallie” Lloyd and her daughter. In 1991 to honor her contributions, UPenn’s Institute of Contemporary Art named its main gallery the Eleanor Biddle Lloyd Gallery.; Vogue. March, 1946. Mrs. James Gowen. The former Sally Henry and Mr. Gowen married in 1925. James E. Gowen was president and chairman-of-the-board of the Girard Trust Company. Opened in 1812, the Girard Bank in Philadelphia occupied the site of the First Bank of the United States.

April 1946

Following their stay in Palm Beach, Ellen and Jane Scott drove back north. “We stopped in Williamsburg and the Churchills were in town.”

November 1946

In November Ellen flew to Bermuda for a weekend.
Flatts Village, Bermuda. 1946.

December 1946

Christmas, 1946. Ethel and George Garrett at their Middleburg farm.

February 1947
Villa Tranquilla, Palm Beach

The Palm Beach Daily News social columns reported the comings-and-goings at Club du Pont.
Hunter Marston and Felix du Pont. In 1940 Felix wrote a book titled Undersea with Helmet and Camera about his underwater photography off the Bahama Islands.
Ann du Pont.
Luncheon behind the walls at Felix and Ann du Pont’s estate. With one of the longest-running fortunes in American history, the du Pont family’s more than $15 billion is reported today to represent the 8th largest fortune in the United States, according to Forbes magazine.
“The divine Mary Donnelley.”
Mary Donnelley. The former Mary Barnes Norvell, she was the second Mrs. Thorne Donnelley. The Donnelleys divorced in 1948. According to several reports, she received one of the largest settlements in Illinois history. Within months Mr. Donnelley remarried Virginia Lee Gracious, a staff writer for NBC.
Anna Coxe Newbold Ingersoll Toogood.
Jack Kelly. Often regarded as the model for the character George Kettredge in Phillip Barry’s Broadway show The Philadelphia Story, in 1941 President Roosevelt named John Brendan Kelly Sr. the nation’s Physical Fitness Director.
“Dr. Bubes.”
Jane Marvel Scott and Hunter Marston.
Hunter Marston.

19 March 1947
Aboard the SS America

“Polly Howe and I sail aboard the SS America to Cherbourg.”

Commissioned in 1940 as a flagship of the United States Lines, the SS America was renamed the West Point when it converted into a troop ship for the US Navy during WW II. After the war, the West Point was refurbished as a luxury liner and rechristened the SS America. I n November 1946 the liner set a crossing record of four days and 22 hours. With the onset of air travel, cruising lost its appeal. In 1964 the SS America was bought by the Greek shipping company, Chandris.
Ellen snapped this photograph from an upper deck as the SS America was leaving New York harbor.
Bon voyage New York.
On deck aboard the SS America passengers keep their blankets close for the five-day sail across the Atlantic.
Helen Gibson and Polly Howe. “Another delicious luncheon on deck.”
Helen Gibson, Polly Howe, and Harvey Gibson. A president of Manufacturers Trust Company of New York, Mr. Gibson served as the Red Cross Commissioner to Britain during WW II.
Lord and Lady Adare ( “Dickie and Nancy to you probably …”) The Adares were married at Louwana in Palm Beach The daughter of a tobacco tycoon, the former Nancy Yuille married the Viscount whose family estate was in Adare. Her sister Ellen was married to Wolcott Blair; their sister Melissa was Mrs. Harry Payne Bingham.
Commodore Harry Manning. “Commander Manning, our commander-in-chief.” Capt. Manning retired, “quit the bridge,” in 1953.
“We disembarked the America at 8 am and made our way to the Ritz in Paris …”

Next: Part X: France, Germany, and Denmark after the War, 1947.

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