Part XIII: A Whirlwind Romance

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Villa Tranquilla, Palm Beach. 1950. "Isabel, Mrs. du Pont's cook, feeds the seagulls."

Part XIII: A Whirlwind Romance and A Walk Down the Aisle
January 1950-March 1951: Medway Plantation, Palm Beach, Paris, Hanover, Normandy, St. Tropez, Dublin, & Chestnut Hill

Ellen Glendinning Frazer and Lucius P. Ordway traveled together from South Carolina to the South of France, from Palm Beach to the beaches at Normandy, amid unspoiled landscapes and towns still in ruins shattered by the war. Apparently, in the course of this rambling fifteen-month odyssey between January 1950 and March 1951 Ellen and Lou Ordway realized they were inseparable. Here is a look back at their world on the threshold of a new beginning.

January 1950
Medway Plantation

On board the Medway Plantation limousine, Lester and Aleka Armour, Jimmy and Candace Van Alen, and Lou Ordway.
Gertrude Legendre has one more coffee-to-go.
Alexandra “Aleka” Pavlovna Galitzine Romanov Armour and Lester Armour. Following Lester and Leola Armour’s divorce, Mr. Armour married “Princess” Alexandra Romanov in 1949. She was previously married to Prince Rostislav Romanov, an Imperial Royal great-grand and great-great grand of various Russian tsars.
Time for lunch at Medway Plantation. Gertrude has help from Lou Ordway, Jimmy and Candace Van Alen, and Lester and Aleka Armour.
Lester and Aleka Armour photographed leaving a Charleston club. The couple remained married until Mr. Armour’s death in 1970.

February 1950
Chestnut Hill

Jay Cooke, Ellen Frazer’s brother-in-law and “the nicest man on the Main Line,” was a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania. He lost in the Republican primary.

January-February 1950
Villa Tranquilla

Ann du Pont.
“Pootsie” Frazer.
Charlotte Partridge (Mrs. John G.) Ordway. A graduate of Miss Spence’s, Charlotte Ordway favored women’s suffrage and supported women’s welfare concerns.
Tat Saunders. Opening her first fashionable boutique at Boston’s Ritz Carlton, Tat Saunders operated high-end seasonal shops in Watch Hill, Manchester, and Palm Beach.

3 March 1950
Chestnut Hill

Ellen Frazer’s youngest son Rippie married Diana Dunning on 3 March 1950.
The groom, Robert G. “Rippie,” Frazer, the groom’s mother Ellen Glendinning Frazer, and the bride Diana Dunning Frazer. The couple honeymooned on Palm Beach.

March 1950
Palm Beach

Robert and Diana Dunning Frazer. Taboo, Palm Beach. 1950.

March 1950
Villa Tranquilla, Palm Beach

Poolside fashion at Club du Pont.
Rodman “Roddie” Wanamaker 2nd works on his tan.
Rodman Wanamaker 2nd. The son of Thomas Brown and Mary Lowber Welsh Wanamaker, Rodman 2nd and his younger brother Thomas B. Jr. inherited a considerable trust amounting to one-third interest of Thomas Brown Wanamaker’s more than $10 million estate following their father’s unexpected death in 1908 at the Hotel Liverpool in Paris. His uncle Louis Rodman Wanamaker served as a trustee of the estate. Historical accounts often confused Rodman 2nd with his uncle L. Rodman Wanamaker whose daughters, Fernanda and Marie-Louise, were a prominent presence in Palm Beach after they married the Munn brothers — Fernanda married Ector Munn and Marie Louise wed Gurnee Munn. Two years after her husband’s death, Rod 2nd’s mother, a granddaughter of one time US Minister to England John Lowber Welsh, married Archibald Thomson. In the close-knit gene pool found amidst Old Philadelphia society, Ellen Frazer’s former father-in-law Persifor Frazer II was first married to Mary Newbold Welsh, John Lowber Welsh’s daughter.
Ann du Pont with Big Ben, her much adored dachshund.

March 1950
Seminole Golf Club, North Palm Beach
11th Annual Latham Reed Pro-Am Tournament

Standing, left to right: Arthur A. Houghton, Ellen Glendinning Frazer, and Lou Ordway. Front, sitting, left to right: Chris Dunphy, Jane “Pootsie” Scott, and Reginald “Reggie” Boardman Jr., known as “one of the resort’s best amateur golfers.” Houghton, Ordway, Dunphy, and Boardman were directors at the Seminole Golf Club. Heir to Corning Glass Works, Arthur Houghton founded Steuben Glass as well as served as chairman of The Met and several other NYC concerns. Mr. Boardman was the son of Carrie Louise Munn Boardman Waterbury.
Lou Ordway and Robert “Bob” Dinsmore Huntington. A longtime Palm Beacher, Mr. Huntington was often overshadowed in the press by his much-more photographed sister Helen Huntington Astor Hull. Bob and Edith Huntington’s eclectic Monterey-style brick house at 300 El Brillo Way was designed by architect Maurice Fatio.
L. to R.: Thomas Shevlin Jr., Mrs. Thomas “Durie” Shevlin, a fellow golfer, and Lou Ordway. Heir to a Midwest timber fortune, Mr. Shevlin became a prominent member of the New York-Palm Beach set; Mrs. Shevlin was a recognizable figure from among the world’s best-dressed women’s list.
L. to R.: Ogden Mills Phipps (white cap) and Sam Snead (banded hat). In 1937, Ogden “Big Og” Phipps married Lillian Bostwick McKim whose daughter became known as the resort world’s most iconic fashion stylist Lilly Pulitzer. Head pro at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, by 1950 “Slammin” Sam Snead was the acknowledged “King of Golf.”
Ellen Frazer and Lou Ordway were the lead item in Cholly Knickerbocker’s The Smart Set column.

In 1946, TWA began flights between New York and Paris.

11 June 1950, 11:00 a.m.

“We arrived in beautiful Paris and checked in to The Ritz …”
Place Vendome, Paris. June 1950.
Ellen Frazer’s French driver’s license.
Paris. 1950.
Théâtre de l’Opéra, Paris. 1950.
Dinner invitation from the US Ambassador to France. From 1949 to 1952, David K. E. Bruce was the US Ambassador to France, the first of his three post-war envoy appointments. When Bruce’s marriage to Ailsa Mellon ended (1926-1945), he wed Evangeline Bell three days after his divorce. During World War II, Bruce was the chief of the OSS London bureau. Gertrude Legendre was serving as a director of OSS communications in Europe when she was captured by the Germans, becoming the war’s first woman prisoner-of-war.

June 1950

“We took the train from Paris to Hanover where nearly everything was bombed out and devastated …”

The train route from Paris to Hanover.
“We arrived in Hanover …”
“We arrived in Hanover …”
Hanover. June, 1950.
Hanover. Gertrude Legendre and Walter Gosewisch. Held captive by British and American forces between 1945 and 1947, Herr Gosewisch was a chief of signal communications for the Luftwaffe.

June 1950

“From Germany, we returned to France …”

Hostellerie du Tourne-Bride. Le Pin-Au-Haras. “We spent the night here …”
“At this chateau, Count and Countess Bagneaux invited us to lunch …”

Pavillon Colombe
Rue de Montmorency, St. Brice-sous-Forêt

“Lela de Talleyrand invited us to lunch at the Pavillon Colombe …” In 1938, the Marquis de Talleyrand-Perigord married Cincinnati heiress Lela Emery who was divorced from her first husband Alistair Mackintosh. Hély and Lela de Talleyrand lived at the Pavillon Colombe, previously owned by Edith Wharton. During the war they decamped to the United States where they lived for a time at a South Carolina plantation near Gertrude Legendre’s Medway Plantation. After V-E Day, they returned to their XVIIIth-century Louis-Louis styled maison. In 1952, after Hèly ascended as the 7th Duc de Talleyrand, Lela went from being the Marquise to being named the Duchesse de Talleyrand, a title once held by Anna Gould who had married the 5th Duc de Talleyrand, an uncle of Lela’s husband.
Situated north of Paris amidst the forests of Montmorency, the Pavillon Colombe was acquired by Edith Wharton in 1918 as a summer house.
Pavillon Colombe. A view of a terrace overlooking the garden, c. 1925. Edith Wharton restored the interior of the petit maison while her niece Beatrix Farrand designed a rose garden. Following a stroke, Wharton died in 1937 at Pavillon Colombe. Photo Library of Congress.
Lela de Talleyrand and Gertrude Legendre enjoy a summer afternoon in the garden at Pavillon Colombe. Lela’s sister Audrey “Princess Anna” Emery was a double royal from her marriages to Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and Prince Dmitri Djordjaze. Lela’s nephew and Audrey’s son Paul Ilyinsky was one of Palm Beach’s most popular mayors.
Gertrude Legendre and Lela Emery de Talleyrand go for a walk in the gardens at Pavillon Colombe. After the de Talleyrands acquired the estate, they retained Russell Page to revamp the formal gardens. In December 1962, Lela de Talleyrand died in Rome. She left her share of her father John J. Emery’s fortune, once estimated at more than $40 million, to Sheila M. Vigano, formerly the Countess Rochambeau, and Lorna M. St. Aubyn, her two daughters from a first marriage to Alistair Mackintosh.

July 1950
Maillot, Seine-et-Marne

“Lunch with Ludmilla Vlasto and a tour of house where Paul Cezanne was said to have lived …”

“Gertrude, Lou, and Ludmilla at the house where Cezanne once lived …”
The Paul Cezanne house.
The Paul Cezanne house.
The Paul Cezanne house. Garden view.

July 1950
Deauville, Normandy, Nancy & Limoges

Deauville. Landine Legendre takes time to ponder the French classics.
Deauville. Gertrude Legendre wears her high-heels to read the Daily Express.
Hostellerie Guillaume le Conquerant (William the Conqueror), Dives-sur-Mer, between Deauville and Caen. Louis XIV courtyard.
Hostellerie Guillaume le Conquerant (William the Conqueror), Dives-sur-Mer. Interior.
Arromanches-les-Bains. Winston Harbour. “The key to the liberation of France.” 6 June 1944. During the ten months following D-Day, the Allied forces reportedly used the harbor to land more than 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of supplies.
The Normandy beaches at Arromanches as seen during the summer of 1950.

Gertrude Legendre stands at one of the D-Day invasion sites along the Normandy coastline.
Hotel Hermitage Barrière, La Boule. “Our hotel.”

11 July 1950

“Lucius Ordway joins us and now to make room for his luggage.” Gertrude Legendre, Lou Ordway, and Landine Legendre.
“Gertrude shows us how…”
“A stop to gas the car.”
“The view from the gas station.”
“In Limoges, we stopped here for lunch.”

July 1950
St. Tropez

St. Tropez. A view of the waterfront. Still a fishing village-artist’s colony in the summer of 1950, and not quite the colorful picturesque resort it is today, St. Tropez was heavily bombed during World War II as it was the first town along the French Riviera to be liberated by the Allies.
St. Tropez. The village’s modern history is most often associated with actress Brigitte Bardot who moved to St. Tropez in 1958 following the success of her film And God Created Women.
St. Tropez. Long associated as a favored setting for some of France’s greatest artists, St. Tropez also played an influential role in the development of the bikini, leading to the preference for topless sun bathing.
St. Tropez. Lucius Ordway.
St. Tropez. Gertrude Legendre.
“In St. Tropez we were invited for a day sail …”
Ellen Barry.
Ellen Glendinning Frazer and Marie Norton Whitney Harriman.
Mrs. Averell “Marie” Harriman. Averell Harriman and Marie Norton Whitney (1903-1970) were married for 40 years, having wed in 1930, the year after her divorce from C. V. “Sonny” Whitney. Before becoming New York’s First Lady in 1955 when Mr. Harriman was elected governor, she owned the Marie Harriman Gallery on 57th Street. While much of her private collection was donated to the National Gallery of Art, her gallery was known as a significant showcase for prominent French artists. When her friend Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin died in 1937 from complications after giving birth, she became a surrogate mother to her friend’s son Peter Duchin.

July 1950

American Embassy, Dublin. Front entrance gates. In 1947, President Truman appointed George Garrett the US Ambassador to Ireland. George and Ethel Garrett were longtime friends of Ellen Frazer’s.
US Ambassador’s residence. Dublin, Ireland. 1950.
US Ambassador’s residence. Dublin.
Ethel Garrett and Lou Ordway.
“We visited and had lunch with the Powerscourts’ at their 12th-century castle at Enniskerry.” L to R, 9th Viscount Powerscourt (Mervyn Wingfield), Ethel Garrett, Lou Ordway, and the Viscount’s wife Sheila Beddington Wingfield. Here is a look at what is known today as Powerscourt House and Gardens.

December 1950
Palm Beach

19 March 1951
Chestnut Hill

“Lucius and I were married …”
After the ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. Lucius P. Ordway with Ellen’s daughter Bettina standing to her right.
Two pages of telegrams from the more than ten pages of congratulations Lou and Ellen Ordway received after they announced their marriage.

March 1951
Everglades Club, Palm Beach

Mr. & Mrs. Lucius Pond Ordway Jr. at the Everglades Club.

Next Part XIV: Around the World, 1951-1952.

Ellen Glendinning Frazer’s photographs are from the Collection of Lucius Ordway Frazer©.

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