Amanuensis Monday: Muriel Arrington Ferguson

I posted this photo awhile back but the correspondence was not attached at the time, so I thought I would do another post.

Muriel Arrington & Betty Peters with their dates
Betty’s dress made by Agnes Peters

Dear Betty

I promised you I would send you a copy of this picture.

It goes back a long way.  I don’t even remember where and when it was taken!

Oh how young we were.  We certainly don’t look the same.-but we have had long, interesting and fruitful lives Thank God.

You seem to have a better memory than I have.  Maybe you can remember where and when.

I hope and pray you are doing well and enjoying….

…all the good times you and Walter enjoyed with each other and with your children in your home and with your many friends.

This picture is the past and will remind you how you had fun then and how much more you have had since then.

Love

Your friend, Muriel.

Oh how I wish my mother was still here.  I would have so much to ask her.  Oh how I miss her, and I guess I always will.

Amanuensis Monday: Wedding Solomnized At Marian Anderson Estate

     Miss Dolores Duncan was my mother’s friend from childhood.  This is an article I found in the Amsterdam Newspaper from April 22, 1950 that reported on the wedding of Dolores Duncan Wharton.  My mother Betty Peters was her Matron of Honor and my grandmother Agnes Peters, renewed the Heirloom dress that Dolores wore.  I recently visited my mother’s friend Dolores and finding this article adds to the richness of the Historical Novel I am preparing to write.
Top Society Wedding Solemnized at Anderson Estate…
GERRI MAJOR
New York Amsterdam News (1943-1961); Apr 22, 1950;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers New York Amsterdam News: 1922-1993
pg. 21
Top Society Wedding Solemnized…

Miss Dolores Duncan WedsClifton Wharton of Bostonby Gerri Major      DANBURY, CONN-In the artistically appointed studio of Miss Marian Anderson, on her Danbury, Connecticut estate, last Saturday afternoon at three o’clock, two of the country’s most distinguished families were united in an Episcopal service.  Miss Dolores Mae Duncan, daughter of Mrs. James Owens of Kenosia, Conn, and Kenneth Duncan of New York, became the bride of Clifton R. Wharton, United States Consul General to Lisbon, Portugal, and Mrs. Wharton.     The double ring ceremony was performed by the Rev. Oliver B. Dale, rector of the Church of St. Augustine’s and St. Martin, Boston, and the Rev. Shelton Hale Bishop, rector of St. Phillips Church, New York City.Bridal Costume     The beautiful bride wore an heirloom dress of point d’esprit which designer Agnes Peters combined with nylon net.  The fitted bodice and full skirt ending in a short train were edged with rows of ruffles.  The original gown was the wedding dress of Mrs. Thomas Dorsey of Philadelphia, great-aunt of the bride, who as Miss Blanche Bradford was wed Nov. 14, 1901 in St. Luke’s Church, Washington, D.C.     From the bride’s cap of lilies of the valley, flared a full, waist length veil, dotted with sprigs of lilies, the creation of Mrs. Dorothy Gatling of Philadelphia.  White shoulder length gloves and white satin slippers completed the wedding costume.     The only jewelry worn by the bride was a necklace of matched pearls, a graduation gift to the late Miss Helen Dorsey, her cousin.  The bride carried the prayer book of her great-aunt, Miss Mary A. Bradford.  From a white orchid which rested on the book, cascaded white ribbons and lilies of the valley.Bridal Attendants     The Bride was given in marriage by her stepfather, the well-known composer and arranger, James Owens.  She was attended by Mrs. Ira Aldridge, Jr. matron of honor, Miss Bettye Peters, both of New York City; and Miss Bettye Fitzgerald of Boston, a cousin.  They were attired in gowns embroidered organza over taffeta-pink for the matron, yellow for bridesmaids, gifts from the bride.  They wore fuchsia caps, outlined with lilies of the valley, and carried bouquets of yellow snapdragons and lavender iris.     The bride’s mother selected a navy blue chiffon with an under-dress of chartreuse taffeta, and a picture hat of bottle green French felt trimmed with roses.  The groom’s mother wore a cocoa French lace gown, and flower and lace trimmed sailor.     The groom’s 16-year-old brother, William Wharton, a student at Boston English School, served as best man.  The ushers were Jack Duncan, brother of the bride, Ira Aldridge, Jr., of New York City, and Joseph Mitchell, Jr. and William Ellis of Boston.  The latter was the classmate of the groom.     The wedding processional was played by Steuart Griffin of Danbury, who also furnished incidental music for the reception.  Miss Georgette Howell, guest soloist, sang the Lord’s prayer by Malotte.Wedding Reception     The wedding reception also was held in the Anderson studio which was bedecked in white and yellow spring flowers.  The bride’s table was dominated by a three tier festooned cake.  At another table, champagne punch was ladled from a magnificent silver-encrusted bowl.  Plates of chicken salad, relishes and rolls were served from an adjoining room.     Many guests followed the bridal couple to the Owens’ home at nearby Lake Kenosia, where a room of wedding gifts were displayed-linens, silver, glassware, china, bedding, household appliances, and a set of dirilyte, gift of the bride’s parents.  The Groom’s family sent a handsome silver well and tree platter.      For traveling, the bride selected a brown wool, tailored dress with matching cape, gift of Agnes Peters and a straw bonnet.

 

 

The….Continued on PAGE 27Miss Dolores Duncan Weds Clifton Wharton of Boston Continued from PAGE 21 ….Miss Dolores Duncan Weds-4 destination of the couple was not disclosed.     The bride, a graduate of Bethel High School, attended New York University and the Neighborhood Playhouse.  She currently is studying under Martha Graham in New York.     The groom is an alumnus of Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard cum laude in 1947.  He was the first Negro admitted to the School of Advanced International Studies where he received an M.A. in international affairs in 1948.  At Harvard and the School of Advanced International Studies, he held the Oliver Bishop Harriman and the William Benton Foreign Service scholarships awarded by the U.S. Department of State.     Mr. Wharton, who is bilingual in Spanish and English, is a program analyst with the American International Association for Economic and Social Development, of which Nelson A. Rockefeller is President.  He has published several articles dealing with Latin American economic problems and the problems of underdeveloped areas in the “Inter-American Economic Affairs” and other magazines.     Relatives and close friends from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, New York and Danbury attended the wedding.

From New York were: Dr. and Mrs. Louis Fairclough, Dr. and Mrs. Sylvester Carter, Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Maxwell; also Messrs, and Mmes, Grenier Turner, Emanuel Howard, Theodore Daniels, William Carman, Jr. and Sr., Joaquin Fiorillo, William Austin, Alexander Rose, John Swartz, Clifford Alexander, Earl Brown, B. Stewart, Clarence Curley, James Conway, Robert Mangum, Goodwin Alston, Charles Wharton, Robert Cooper, Robert W. Hudgins, James Maddox, Lawrence Levy, Bernard Grogan.     Also Mmes, Helen Sterrett, Louise Hart and daughter, Eva Duncan, Minta Turner, June Thompson, V. Thompson, D.W. Anderson, Iris Kreigar, Thornton Wood, Thomas Harmon, Vivian Ford and daughter; also Misses Daisy Hamer, Marguerite Reid, Wendy Salmond, Selma Kroll, Evelyn Kiner, Rosemary A. Rockford, Jean Davis, Emma Gilbert; also Messrs, William Holland, William Small, George Carter, Clifford Alexander, Jr., Bill Graham, Raymond Savoy, William Lippman, Charles L. Drayton, Rockwell Colaneri, William Anastos.

Among the Danbury and Bethel residents present were: Dr. and Mrs. Conrad Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Rotella, Mr. and Mrs. O Hodge Fisher, Mrs. C. Bethany Powell; also Misses Janie Ritchie, Rose and Adell Eyes; also father Salmone, William Goldburg and daughter; and Dr. James Leee of Waterbury.     From Boston were: Mr. and Mrs. Everett Yates and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Ellis; Mmes Joseph S. Mitchell, McFarland Fitzgerald, and Thomas H. Hicks; also Miss Barbara Hill, Harold Smith, Harold May.     Philadelphia guests included: Messrs. and Mmes. Thomas Dorsey, Harry Black, John Gatling, Norris Brown, Stanley Lomax; also Mmes. Albert Bradford, Thomas H. Lee, Anna Anderson, Rosa Allen, Rita Feirson; also Misses Mary Bradford and Mary Clayton.     Baltimore was represented by Mr. and Mrs. Bradford James, Mrs. Howard Wright, and Mrs. Beatrice Hawkins.     From Liberia was Rudolph Grimes.

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Amanuensis Monday: There’s REAL Progress in San Diego

     A few years ago, the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database was offering free access for a week.  I took advantage of it and inputted family and close friends of the family names to see what articles I would find.  I had found about 80 articles that I felt were relevant to my family and historical research.
     The article below had my father “Wally Porter” and my Uncle, “Henry Hodge” along with some of the community leaders of San Diego that I knew, of which I bolded their names.

Wash’s Wash
Col Leon H. Washington Jr.
Los Angeles Sentinel (1946-2005); Feb 11, 1971
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Sentinel: 1934-2005
pg. A6

Wash’s Wash
       There’s REAL Progress in San Diego
                                Col. Leon H. Washington. Jr.

Several days ago I rode down to San Diego to see some old friends and to get a firsthand view of the growing city and its community activities.  Accompanying me on the trip was my assistant, Bill Robertson.
I was amazed at the building program now under way.  In practically every commercial area of the city you will find ultramodern facilities going up.
The recently built 1-1/2 mile toll bridge is a sight to behold,as the beautiful man-made island that has several famous-name restaurants on it.  The new airport is practically in the heart of the city.  There is no doubt that San Diego is fast becoming one of California’s most progressive cities.
Many years ago when I used to go to San Diego there were few Negroes in the city.  Now, I am told, there are more than 60,000 Negroes residing in the town.
My longtime friend, Atty. Al Montgomery, told me Negroes are really advancing and obtaining better paying jobs than ever before, in spite of the tight job situation.  Like in most places in recent years they had to do a bit of protesting and voicing their demands.
Montgomery, according to a reliable source, is reported in line for a judgeship.  The longtime Republican is one of the most prominent attorneys in the state.  I hope the governor appoints him very soon.
 Leon Williams, a very likeable young man, is the only Negro city councilman there.  Report on him is that he is doing a commendable job as a lawmaker.
We saw Wally Porter, a former Angeleno, who now lives there and is with the San Diego Adult School System.  Also learned that Henry Hodge is making his home there and is holding a big county position.
Understand there are quite a number of young lawyers, teachers and administrators there now who formerly lived in Los Angeles, Porter and Hodge are said to be among the top young men of leadership in the city.
While at Montgomery’s law office, my old friend H.W. Ragsdale came in.  He is the owner of the Anderson-Ragsdale Funeral Home.  He was looking fine and is still active in the progressive community programs.  He told me that confirmation for approval of San Diego’s first black bank had recently been made.
The proposed directors and organizers of the Community Bank of Sand Diego are: Richard A. Bland, who is also president of the Logan Heights Realty Board; George Walker Smith, member of the San Diego School Board; Charles T. Robinson, captain of the San Diego Fire Dept.; Hartwell W. Ragsdale, Atty. Alpha Montgomery, Mrs. Valleta Linnette, San Diego faculty member and Hayward Bland, real estate investor.
The trip was most delightful and I was pleased to see some of my old friends and spend the day looking at progress being made in the border city that will benefit the majority of its residents and visitors.
The community progress campaign continues!

Amanuensis Monday: Recital Given By Miss Jane Gilliam

In 2004, I discovered through the NewsBank/and or the American Antiquarian Society an article in the Worcester Daily Spy dated April 4, 1902 that announced Miss Jane Gilliam’s recital.

Jane Gilliam was my Great Grandmother’s (Nora Ann “Gilliam” Cully) Sister, which would make Jane my Great Grand Aunt.  Jane was born in North Carolina Oct of 1877 and moved to Worcester, MA when she was 3 years old.

Worcester Daily Spy News Paper
April 4, 1902

RECITAL GIVEN BY
MISS JANE GILLIAM

     Miss Jane Gilliam gave a recital last night in Elocution Hall, 24 Front Street.  She was assisted by the Cecilian Male Quartet and Fred Bates, tenor: George Cooper, baritone; George Stewart, bass: William Johnson, humorist: Miss Sadie Shannon, soprano: Miss Grace Johnson, pianist.  Miss Gilliam gave a number of readings which were much applauded.  There is but one more recital in the course given by the Worcester School of Elocution and Delsarte.  The next one will be by Miss Laura Joudrey.

Seeing this article had me think “That’s Why Zara Cully Brown was an elocutionist in Worcester.”  Zara Cully Brown was Jane Gilliam’s niece, and had been an actress on the “Jefferson’s” television sitcom.

Not Amanuensis Monday: Betty Peters 1942 -1944 Journal, Final Day

This is a continued effort to transcribe my mother’s 1942 Journal when she was 15 years old.

 

Jan 2, 1944
     So much has happened between last May and today that I can only touch on a very few of the outstanding events.
      Alvaretta came back to New York last fall.  She has been to see us several times.  Her lovely sister is living in the city with her four children.  Alvaretta is now living in Brooklyn with a married couple.



He’s a negro artist and she’s white.  Alvaretta claims to be living in a very cultured atmosphere and is very happy (now).
     Marian Anderson and Razz Fisher are married.  They tied the knot last summer.  It was in all the papers.  We sent them a card of congratulation and called them up.  They sent us a Christmas card.
     June and Palmer have been married for seven months.  The wedding was lovely.  Everything went off as planned, only better.  Moving pictures were taken which I haven’t seen as yet.  Aunt Vi Thompson sent us a photo-…

…graph though.  June went to Florida (where Palmer was shipped) and stayed for a month until he was shipped to North Carolina.  She’s home now.  She and Sis LaVant are both working at Sack’s 34th St. now.  June and I went out to lunch together and she ran out and left me to pay the bill.  How’d you like that?!!
     Richard Timpson and I had a fleeting romance that lasted from June 1943 to about the middle of September.  He ditched me because I was too virginal.  After fooling around with Barbara Franklin (who is one of them things) he was shipped away to Texas because of bad behavior at the New York Army Hall.  He became sick and had….



...to spend some time in the hospital out there but he’s out now.  He used to go around with Arlene Alvaranga and then Agnes Wethers.
    The summer was very warm and pleasant.  I acquired a sunburn whist I still haven’t entirely lost.  Late in August I spent a few days with Hilda (Bonnie) Proctor!  She knocks me out with her “dear lamb” Sonny banks from Boston and Lester.
     She visited me for the Christmas holidays.  Let me say right now that they are the most glorious holidays I have ever spent.  I can really see myself growing up now.  I’m doing so many…

…things now that I couldn’t ever do before.  (I was 17 years old on the 17th of November 1943). 
     We had a big tree for $4.08. Blonnie came X’mas Eve.
     Here are my activities.  (Christmas was on Saturday)
     Friday Night: Cocktails at Aunt Burnette’s house. (Blonnie and I had Pepsi Cola).  Bed about 4:00.
Saturday: 1. Loads of X’mas presents.
2. Dinner with the Family, Aunt Burnette and Uncle Albert, Blonnie, Joyce, Lester.  Ernest Craig, “septical” a hippy jerk from way back came back.
Sat nite: Lester & Hilda smooch while Joyce and I play records.

St. Martin Episcopal Church
230 Lenox Avenue (Malcolm X Blvd)
NY NY

Sunday: St. martin’s Church. Rain! Rain! Rain!  We meet Rev. Johnnie Johnson’s…

…son, David and plan party for Tuesday night.  Later we go to movies (Hamilton). Picture: “Sweet Rosie O’Grady”  Betty Grable, Robt. Young
Monday: We went Ice skating at Iceland (50th St.  I fell down twice.  Mon. Nite: Movies: “The Cross of Lorraine” with Pierre Aumont, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf *** (in my estimation).
Tuesday: We fool around all day.  Go to David Johnsons party that night with Max and Charlie Yergan.  Nice party, just nice.  Jackie Canton is there.
Wednesday Night: THE COMUS CLUB







My first formal dance.  At the SAVOY.  Maxi Yergan escorted me.  (Is he handsome).  I hope he comes to see me.  I had a ball.  Other’s there were Blonnie, Lester, Barbara, Bobby, Frankie, Dixon (he’s a doll, I just love him), Pat Rainey, Betty Pogue, the fellow with the white streak in his hair, Pat Cuffee and scads of othhers.  What fun!
     A formal dance. Ha!  I’m growing up.  Thursday Blonnie went home.  My house was packed from morn till night with kids.  Friday was New Years.  We kids about 100 of us went first to Barbara’s then Bobby’s.  We carried on!  Had a ball!  Bobby was on furlough from the Navy, Frankie, from…



…the army.  God Bless them and all the others.  I didn’t go to Earl, Stanley, Wallace, Sonny’s party Monday because they didn’t want Blonnie and she was my guest Saturday Night.  Aunt Burnette and Uncle Albert drove Mom, Unk, me up to the Bronx to the Paschall’s new home.  Very nice time had.  When we came home, we went to Grace Thompson’s and ate candy, fruitcake, spareribs, blackeyed peas, drank rockin rye and milk. OW!  This is Sunday and I’m doing trig homework.
    Tommie Owens came over for a piece of cake, (his first time in my house) but it was all gone.  He a darling.  I…



…understand him now.  I love him too.  His friend, “Al”, the other fireman is going away to the Army on January 4 (Tuesday).


Boo! Hoo!  Ruthie and Liela are getting chummy again.


Oh Gee!  I love everybody.  Frankie Touie, Maxie.  What a mixup.  Dear Me!

 

 

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