Philadelphia in Palm Beach: Part V, 1938-1939

Featured image
Michael Phipps and Sidney Legendre. January 1939. Los Incas, Palm Beach.

Watch Hill – Middleburg – Palm Beach

During the carefree summer of 1938 Watch Hill Beach Club and the Misquamicut Golf Club members sharpened their backhands and refined their putts, unsuspecting of the looming disaster from the late September hurricane that would devastate their idyllic resort. But however much the Great Hurricane of 1938, as it was called, took lives, leveled picture-perfect cottages and forever reconfigured the coastline, the summer colony was quickly rebuilt unlike the chaos happening across the Atlantic where Europe was on a rapid course towards world war.

Ellen Glendinning Frazer’s images reflect the pleasures before the storm and the ruin after when she was permitted to see what was left of her summer house. Then, a tally ho to Virginia’s hunt country where she joins her Sewickley friend Ethel Shields Darlington Garrett and her husband international financier George Garrett who had positioned themselves in a Washington mansion on New Hampshire Avenue and a Middleburg farm. Following a family holiday in Chestnut Hill, Ellen and her mother retreat to Casa dei Leoni, their Palm Beach villa where the 1939 season behind the walls of one of the world’s few remaining safe havens had already begun.

Watch Hill
August-September 1938

The calm before the storm, an August afternoon along the Rhode Island shore. Among the beachcombers at the Watch Hill Beach Club, Rod Griscom, Betty Griscom, and George Marston.
L to R.: Dan Caulkins. Dan Caulkins was Richard King Mellon’s brother-in-law.; Alan Magee Scaife. Mr. Scaife was also Richard K. Mellon’s brother-in-law, married to Mellon’s sister Sarah Cordelia Mellon.
Drew Fletcher and Mr. Clement A. “Olga Lihme” Griscom.
Jane Scott, lunch at the Watch Hill Beach Club.
Arthur Gardner and Marie Williams.
Allen West. Mr. West was a co-founder of the George H. Walker Company.
Clement A. Griscom and Jimmy Snowden.

Watch Hill
September 1938, After the Great Hurricane

The King White house.
Mrs. Bettle’s house.
Frank Saunders’ shop.
“Hunter Marston’s boat blown up by the Plimpton hotel.”
“What remains of Watch Hill’s bathing pavilion.”
“Our house with a boat in the front yard.”


5 November 1938
Philip Danforth Armour and Julia Biddle Rush Henry

Top right: Leola Armour. Above, right: Tom Evans and Lester Armour.

18 November 1938
John Morris Legendre and Nancy Newbold

November 1938 – “Horse Days in the Old Dominion”
Middleburg and Warrenton, Virginia

The Middleburg Hunt Club. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

A Luncheon at Foxcroft hosted by Charlotte Haxall Noland

L to R.: Charlotte Haxall Noland. The legendary founder
of Foxcroft, Miss Noland was the school’s headmistress until 1955. Founded in 1914,
Foxcroft is set on 500 acres near Washington, DC.; Helen Choate Platt. The daughter of a diplomat, her father Joseph Choate was ambassador to Great Britain, Mrs. Platt was married to architect Geoffrey Platt who in 1961 became the first chairman of New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Ethel Shields Darlington Garrett and Harry Bronfman.
Mr. and Mrs. Billy Marvel, of Wilmington, Jane Scott, and far right, J. Simpson Dean.
Frederick Warburg.
George Garrett. Following his OSS service during the war, financier George Garrett was minister and ambassador to Ireland from 1947 to 1951.
L to R.: Dolly Carhart. The Amory Carharts’
Ashland Farm was in Middleburg.; Mrs. George Sloan, of New York and Warrenton, Virginia.

“After lunch we went to the Middleburg races …”

F. Ambrose Clark. Of Old Westbury, home to his Broad Hollow 500-acre estate, Mr. Clark was one of the most accomplished horseman in the US and the UK. His niece Lillian Bostwick McKim Phipps was equally as renowned in equestrian circles.
“Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., on the right with the plaid jacket, surrounded by reporters.” A law student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the previous year FDR Jr. had married Ethel duPont.
Foxcroft School Horse Show. Library of Congress.

Luncheon with Ethel and George Garrett followed by a Skeet Shoot
Warrenton, Virginia

Sitting, second from left: George Garrett next to Fred Prince Jr. Standing, far right: J. Simpson Dean.
L to R.: Fred Prince. The son of Frederick Henry Prince
Sr., Mr. Prince’s father was regarded as the
richest man in New England by Time magazine,
having acquired Newport’s Marble House as well
as Armour and Company, among their
considerable trophy properties.; Herbert W. Scholtz. A first secretary at the Third Reich’s Washington embassy, the following year Herr Scholtz became the consul general in Boston.
Herbert Scholtz and Frau Scholtz enjoying some leisure moments away from reading the latest cables from Berlin at the German embassy. As consul general in Boston, Scholtz sponsored a “German Jamboree” at Harvard for German students enrolled in area colleges.
L to R.: Don Luis Mariano Zubenbuhler. A second secretary
at the Argentina embassy in Washington, Sr.
Zubenbuhler married George Garrett’s daughter,
Margot. In 1942, the Zubenbuhlers were killed in a
plane crash.; J. Simpson Dean. A treasurer of the duPont Company, Mr. Dean was married to Paulina duPont.
Angel Sanchez-Elia, described as “a wealthy conservative Buenos Aires businessman,” Frau Scholtz, and Mariano Zubenbuhler.

Tally Ho!
The Warrenton Hunt

The Warrenton Hunt Club was first organized in 1887.

January 1939
Palm Beach

Polly, “born July 19, 1938.” Polly is Ellen Frazer’s first image in her 1939 volume.

“Palm Beach’s Extra Man”
January 1939

Casa dei Leoni
450 Worth Avenue, Palm Beach

Ellen Glendinning Frazer at Casa dei Leoni, photograph by Charles L. Harding. Head of a New England textile mill, Harding and his wife, the former Hariette Appleton Knowles, were longtime Palm Beach residents and friends of the Frazers.
L. to r.: Dolly O’Brien, noshing, Doc Holden, and Josephine Ordway, having lunch at Casa dei Leoni.
Josephine Ordway, the first Mrs. Lucius Pond Ordway, on the terrace at Casa dei Leoni.
Nancy and Morris Legendre, “the newlyweds.”
Drexel Paul and Mother, Mary Glendinning. “The Drexel Pauls came down from Hobe Sound for lunch.” Mr. Paul’s sister Mary Astor Paul married Charles Munn in 1909; following their 1930 divorce, she married Jacques Allez.
Ed Fish.
Isabel Biddle Paul, ready to light up.

Swim and Lunch at the Sanfords’ house
Los Incas

Landine Legendre with Polly.
Mr. and Mrs. Earl Edward Tailer Smith. The Smiths married in 1936; Mrs. Smith was the former Mimi Richardson.
Mrs. Earl “Mimi” Smith and Sidney Legendre.
The luncheon table with Cobina Wright Sr., at far end of table facing camera, Cobina Wright Jr., sitting to the left, and Laddie Sanford, back to camera. Born Elaine Cobb, Cobina Wright Sr. made her debut at Carnegie Hall in 1924, going on to become a wealthy divorcee following her marriage to William May Wright.
Mrs. Herbert “Mary” Weston.
Mary Sanford, Herbie Weston, and Hariette Harding.
Cobina Wright Jr.

Palm Beach Country Club
Two Ball Mixed Foursome

L to R.: Capt. Robert Amcotts Wilson and polo immortal Lawrence Waterbury.; Ruth Wardell.
J. Jay O’Brien, Dolly O’Brien, and Mrs. E. F. “Dorothy” Hutton.
Carrie Louise Munn Boardman Waterbury. Following her divorce from Reginald Boardman, Carrie Louise Munn married sportsman Lawrence Waterbury.

Swim and Lunch with Isabel Dodge Sloane
Concha Marina, 102 Jungle Road

Isabel Dodge Sloane and Pop Corey study the racing sheets, “the morning workout.”

Above: Winifred “Winnie” Dodge Seyburn. Mrs. Wesson Seyburn’s house Casa Giraventa was on Via del Selva.
Left: Pop Corey. The legendary Alan Corey Sr., son of the president of US Steel, William E. Corey, who died in 1934.
Below: Mrs. John Gaston.

Swim and Lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Hill

Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Hill, at leisure. Mr. Hill was a London financier of some note; Mrs. Hill a renowned golfer.
Mrs. Charles Sweeny.
Mrs. James “Josephine” Forrestal. A former Vogue editor, Mrs. Forrestal was a prominent social presence while her husband became the nation’s first secretary of defense.
Vivian Dixon Boardman. With invitations to her 22 May 1937 wedding to T. Dennie Boardman already in the mail, when she and Boardman married two weeks earlier, her family described it as a “semi-elopement,” according to published reports.

Photographs © Lucius Ordway Frazer. All rights reserved.

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