Philadelphia in Palm Beach: Part II, 1931-1935
In March 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.
A Year Abroad, 24 June 1931 – 6 June 1932
Gibraltar, Algiers, Naples, Pompeii, Venice, Brioni, Vienna, Hungary, Paris, Holland, and St. Moritz.
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.
Christmas and New Year’s, 1931-1932
Palace Hotel, St. Moritz
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.
Philadelphia in Palm Beach: Part II, 1931-1935 … Continues tomorrow (7/12/11)…
Photographs are from the Collection of Lucius Ordway Frazer.