Not so Wordless Wednesday: Agnes Cully Peters’ Fashions in the Newspaper

I am so grateful to ProQuest as they made their African American History available for free during the first half of Black History Month to researchers and anyone interested in exploring their Black History Collection.  This was available a few years ago, and I had the opportunity to collect lots of articles connected to my family.  This year was different as I collected more that had not been in the database from the first time I researched.

I decided for this Wordless Wednesday, I would showcase one of the articles regarding my maternal Grandmother Agnes Mae [Cully] Peters.  I have shared before that she was a fashion designer in the 30’s-50’s in Harlem, New York.  I hope to actually make this into a series to showcase her many newspaper articles as I find them fascinating as the people in the community felt that the events were news worthy.

This is a gown my grandmother Agnes Cully Peters designed and sewed for the Winter Fashions Collection show.  Miss Ruth King was a regular model for Agnes and continued modeling even after my grandmother moved to Los Angeles in 1953.

Harlem-Sugar Hill, New York Family Research Trip

This is the first trip I took to dig a little deeper into the life of my mother and her parents.  The trip was life-changing for me. Here is a slide show presentation that I did for research group, “The African American Genealogical Research Group.”  It is very long, but I hope you enjoy it.

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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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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Scrapbook Sunday: Betty Peters Communicants Class Part #1

My mother Betty Peters (1926-2004) had a really nice red scrapbook that she put together in her Communicants Class;  that included church programs, little booklets of various gospel books of the Bible, news article clippings and things that interested her or were her favorite things.

I want to take the time every Sunday to go through my mother’s scrapbook & post each page, as the pages are falling apart and disintegrating.  The red scrapbook is over 70 years old and she put it together when she was attending St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem.  It was 1940 and my mother was 14 years old.

Religion and Spirituality was very important to my mother’s life.  The way she practiced evolved over time.  On various occasions she would discuss the different types of churches she attended and impressed upon me that one’s spirituality is more important than what type of church one was attending.

St. James Presbyterian Church
Mother attended catechism in 1940

Photo Taken by Vanessa Moore June 2010

This Scrapbook is the size of a regular sheet of paper.
I was always intrigued by the cover of this book, and wanted
to know what was inside of it.

[Transcribed]

My Prayer

Thank you dear father,
For our parents so grand,
For our friends true, and loyal,
For our free, happy land,
And may the world soon realize,
With joy, and with mirth,
That nothing is sweeter
Than peace on the earth….Amen

{Original by Betty Peters}

Back inside cover of Scrapbook

[Transcribed]
Betty Peters
460 West 147th Street (mom’s residence)
St. James Presbeteryan Church
Communicant Class
Scrap book

Some of the gospel books in the scrapbook..(The book of John was missing, as I remember losing it years ago…must find.)

St. Mark
St. Matthew
The Shorter Catechism

What is inside the envelope???

Well, let’s see below…

Medical Aid for China (stamps)
I was trying to find information online regarding these stamps, and really didn’t find anything.  In 1940, it was a time of war and upheaval in other countries. Two website’s I found that require further investigation through the archives are: United Service to China Records: 1934-1967 and World Events during the 1940’s .  I will do further inquiry, and if anyone else knows, please contact me.

Our Church

By

Theodore F. Savage

Evangelism

Board of National Missions
of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
156 Fifth Avenue  New York, N.Y.

9 Reasons Why a Christian
Should be a Church Member

1. Is is an obvious means of confessing Christ.
2. It serves as a wholesome restraint under temptation.
3. It furnishes a stimulus to well-doing.
4. It provides a delightful spiritual fellowship.
5. It makes my example an influence for good.
6. It is a step in the path of obedience which strengthens faith and enriches experience.
7. It is the only way to perpetuate the visible Church.
8. It affords the best facilities for service, giving the advantage of organized effort in Christian activities.
9. As a member of the Father’s family I ought to be in His house, at His table, and openly identified with His work and worship.

Street name changed to:
 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd

 ALL REQUEST PROGRAM

PARKER WATKINS
TENOR

THURSDAY EVENING
MARCH 7th, 1940
AT 8:30 O’CLOCK

AT
SALEM METHODIST CHURCH
129th STREET, 7th AVENUE
NEW YORK CITY

MINISTERS:
REV F.A. CULLEN
REV. J.C. HILL

(Rev. F.A. Cullen was Poet Countee Cullen’s unofficial adopted father.)

(To see details of the program, click on the picture)

Info on Salem Methodist Church  and More info on Salem Methodist

Part #2 of Scrapbook August 28, 2011

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