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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Fashion Parade Article: Agnes Cully Peters

Fashion Parade-Knit Wear-Frocks-Hats….
New York Amsterdam News (1943-1961) Nov 25, 1950
ProQuest Historical Newspapers, New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993)
Pg. 22


Fashion Parade-Knit Wear-Frocks-Hats….

Kanters from Fashion Knitting Knook, shown at Golden Gate last Saturday Evening shown by Miss Annice Hairston.  Left to Right are: Miss Adele Rogers in knitted suit and crocheted beaded bag; Miss Anna Chase in daytime frock of wool with crocheted pockets, belt and neck trimming; Miss Helen Mitchell, in an evening dress with crocheted cummerbund and beaded bag, and Miss Fannie Ricks who carries a hand crocheted beaded bag with a sports suit.

Miss Billie Taylor wears a two-piece sport dress with detachable cape and brown leather belt, from the collection of holiday clothes to be shown by Agnes Cully Peters, Sunday evening, Dec. 3, in Crystal Room of  Brevoort Hotel in the Village.

Other models include mmes. and Misses Delores Duncan Wharton, Betty Peters, Rhoda Wynn,  June Thompson, Hazel Sharper, Hermine Pair, Fannie Robinson, Iona Newsome, Janice King, Antoinette Hamilton, Beulah Hagans, Dorothy Graham, Marian Davis, and Bessie Buchanan.

Brevoort Hotel with Mark Twain House in Background

Hats by Sarah Foye for holiday parties, are modeled by (l to R) Miss Mary Lauchner in a green velvet bonnet with veil; Mrs. Laura Holt who wears a Persian hat gilded with sequin; and Miss Lillian Credel in a saucy green felt derby.

Dress made by my Grandmother
Agnes Cully Peters
Model, Miss Billie Taylor
Original Photo from Cully Photo Collection,
 shown in News article

According to this article, My mother Betty Peters and her friend Dolores Duncan Wharton were to be in my grandmother’s fashion show.

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Amanuensis Monday: Newspaper Articles Agnes Cully Peters (My Grandmother)

My Grandmother Agnes Cully Peters was a Fashion Designer in Harlem, New York. I grew up knowing this fact about my Grandmother, that she sewed for Marian Anderson and other well known performers, but the only hard evidence that I had was my Mother’s stories, and a couple of pictures.

When I went on my Family History Research Trip to Harlem, one of the first places I went was the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I immediately went searching for any and all articles on my family and their very close friends.  I had great success!  Below are a few articles of documentation.

New York Amsterdam News, Nov. 18, 1939
[Transcribed]
Marian Anderson’s Modiste
MARIAN ANDERSON, America’s Number 1 contralto, has engaged
Mrs. Agnes Cully Peters, Modiste, of 460 West 147th Street, to
design an make her clothes for a year.  For a long time the singer has
had many of the European experts to attend to that important detail
for her and they certainly have done an excellent job.  However, since
she could not go abroad this season, Miss Anderson has decide to
give that job to one of her own race-and she should be commended
for doing so.

(Modiste, a maker of fashionable clothing and accessories, with the implication that the articles made reflect the current Parisfashions.)

The article above stated that Agnes would design Marian’s clothes for a year, but she did many years after, and through the 1950’s.  Below is another article dated in 1949.
 [Transcribed]
MARIAN ANDERSON, best dressed women, is proud no end of the talents of Agnes Cully Peters who designs all of her street clothes. She considers Agnes a blessing to keep her in style since she has so little time for shopping. Miss Anderson will be a guest of honor when Agnes stages her “New Look” fashion show at the Club Sudan on the 23rd……