Philadelphia in Palm Beach: Part III, 1935-1938

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July 1938. Margaret "Peggy" Mellon Hitchcock. David and Ailsa Mellon Bruce's Luncheon at Bonnie Dune.

Tea in Chestnut Hill with Mrs. Albert (Rebecca) Pancoast, mother-in-law of Joseph Widener, a weekend hunt at Gertrude “Gertie” Sanford Legendre’s Medway Plantation, cocktails and dinner with Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny” Whitney and Kay Denckla at the Arizona Desert School, lunch with Amory and Dolly Carhart on Fishers Island, tennis with Cordy Robertson, golf with Donald Ross in Wilmington, breakfast at High Pool with Deering and Polly Howe, and join the festivities at the horse show and house party at the duPonts with Drexel Biddle.

Watch Hill, 1938. Libby Baker, of Wilmington, looking at Ellen Glendinning Frazer’s book of photographs that you are now browsing.

Take a few minutes to peruse the last of what might have been among the 20th century’s idyllic days as seen through the lens of Ellen Glendinning Frazer whose untouched photographs of her family and friends make for the most authentic of social records.


May 1935. Greentree Road, Chestnut Hill. The terrace of the Glendinning Frazer house.

15 May 1935
Sunnybrook Golf Club

Ellen Glendinning, Mildred Dickinson, and Eddie Cassard.
Mildred Dickinson, Eddie Cassard, Bill Adamson, Mary Cooke, Mildred and John Packard, and Jay Cooke.

June 1935
The Squirrels, Chestnut Hill

“Mother’s rose garden at The Squirrels, Chestnut Hill.”
Left: Agnes Warden & Elizabeth Glendinning. Agnes Morgan Warden was the second wife of Standard Oil heir William C. Warden who built what became known as the Warden House on North Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach. Right: Mrs. Henry Norris (Page) Platt, Agnes Warden, and Elizabeth Glendinning.
June 1935. Laura Smith and her mother Glee Smith.

October 1935

“Glee Smith napping on my terrace.”

November 1935

Bettina (Elizabeth Carpenter) Frazer and Perkie (Persifor IV) Frazer in their first formal clothes.
In January 1936 Ellen had her portrait done by Vicomtesse Dorothy de Vaulchier, the former Dorothy Knapp.

March 1936
A visit to the cousins

L to R.: The Dougherty’s estate. Persifor Frazer III’s sister Maria Frazer was married to Graham Dougherty.; Frazer Dougherty. Dougherty and Robert Fulton Jr. invented the Airphibian which is now parked at the Smithsonian.

June 1936
Lunch at The Squirrels

Mrs. Albert Pancoast. Rebecca Pancoast was Joseph Widener’s mother-in-law, part of the established Philadelphia Assembly that balked at allowing the Widener’s daughter, her granddaughter Fifi to make her debut with other Assembly families because Mr. Widener was not Old Old Philadelphia. Because the Widener’s immense estate was technically outside the limits of Philadelphia proper, the Assembly offered to invite Fifi as an “out of town guest debutante.” According to published reports, this infuriated Joe Widener who had his daughter invited after he warned that his checkbook would be closed to many of Philadelphia’s charities.
“Walter Janney and Mother.”
Peggy Dale and Green Adamson.
Alex Van Rensselaer Devereaux Wanamaker, the soon-to-be former Mrs. Wanamaker II.
June 1936. Beatrice Patterson. The soon-to-be second Mrs. Rodman Wanamaker II.
Aunt Eleanor Patterson.
Dolobran, 231 Laurel Lane, Chestnut Hill. Clement A Griscom III residence. Grandson of the founder of an international steamship company, “Clemmy” and his wife Olga Lihme Griscom were among the Glendinnings’ closest Chestnut Hill and Watch Hill friends.

May 1935
Wilmington Golf Tournament

L to R.: Renowned golf course designer Donald Ross and Sonny Baker.; Polly duPont Dean, Mrs. Simpson Dean of Wilmington.

26 June 1935
Raymond Guest & Lily Polk’s wedding

11 October 1935
The Futurity Run, Belmont Race Track, New York

Louise Laughlin and Charlie Payson.

November 1935
Princeton-Harvard Football Game weekend followed by a Dancing Party at Edgar Scott’s house

Beatrice Patterson, Eddie McIlvain, and Tom Evans.
L to R.: Rodman Wanamaker II, “not drunk.”; Howell Van Gerbig.

Thanksgiving, 1935
Brooks School, North Andover, Massachusetts

Perkie Frazer and Tommy Allan.

December 1935
Beaux Arts Ball, New York

Elsa Maxwell presided as the Grand Eunuch.

WATCH HILL, 1935 -1938
(before the Hurricane in September 1938)

The Glendinning Frazer house.
Rippie, Perkie, Mary Glendinning, Ellen Glendinning Frazer.
Perkie and Rippie with Grandpa.
Ellen Glendinning Frazer and her Watch Hill limousine. Photographs by Hunter Marston.
Robert and Elizabeth Glendinning, Ellen’s front porch.

August, 1935
Watch Hill Beach Club

Philadelphian Matthew Baird headed up the Arizona Desert School in Tucson.
Ethel Shields Darlington Garratt.
L to R.: Senator Truman Newberry.; Hunter Marston.
Josephine Rea and Margaret Nichols.

August, 1935
“On my porch”

Hunter Marston, Sam Rea, Harris Hammond, and Ed Johnston.
Libby Marston.
Warren Leslie.
Charles W. “Sonny” Baker, of Wilmington.

August 1935

Joseph Marvel.
Polly Howe.
Cordelia Drexel Biddle Duke Robertson & Ed Johnston.
L to R.: “Cordy” Robertson.; Edward Starr.

Labor Day Weekend, 1935
Watch Hill Beach Club

Bill Innis.
L to R.: Muscoe Garnett.; Sarah Mellon Scaife.
Mathilde Johnston and Benjamin Brewster.

Warren Leslie and Ellen Glendinning Frazer.

September, 1935
Misquamicut Golf Club

Marion Krock, Pat Sturhahn, Lloyd Griscom, and Eleanor Perrin.

Fancy Dress Ball, Misquamicut Golf Club

Allan West, Jane Scott, Kay Rodman, Ada Forgan, and Hunter Marston.
September, 1935. “Mother and Daddy leave Watch Hill after days of rain.” Robert Glendinning, “sportsman and financier,” died in April 1936.

August 1936 & September 1937
Dunes Club, Narragansett

Agnes Wetherill.
May and Eckley Coxe III.
Wister Randolph.
Top: Pauline Whelen, Mrs. Lewis Bell Whelen. Below: Wissy Randolph and Josephine “Fifi” Widener Wichfeld.
Mary Norris Randolph, Mrs. Wister Randolph.
Izzy Flemming.
Lisa Norris Harrison.

January 1936
Arizona Desert School, Tucson

Ellen Frazer attended Parents Day along with several of her closest Chestnut Hill-Watch Hill-Palm Beach friends. Rippie Frazer attended the Arizona Desert School with children who were among his parents’ friends and Watch Hill play pals, among them Lester Armour Jr. and Ed Johnston Jr.
Kay Denckla. Ellen’s train compartment “roomie” who went to Tucson with Ellen. Katherine “Kay” Norwood Rodgers Denckla was a social presence in Southampton and Hobe Sound for many years.
Lambert Johnston, Kingman Douglas, Rippie Frazer, and Culpepper Lee.
Kay Denckla and Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny” Whitney at the Arizona Desert School luncheon.
Sonny Whitney, far right, judging the colts.
Rippie Frazer, at rope.
Some fancy rope work.
Sonny Whitney, Ellen Glendinning Frazer, and Ed Johnston at an “after party.”
Kay Denckla.
Ellen Glendinning Frazer, “the Contessa,” with camera and hat.

Photographs are from the Collection of Lucius Ordway Frazer.

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