Where They Lived

Yesterday, on a rainy, chilly Sunday morning, the seminar went house-hunting.

Devoted followers of this space may recall that last summer, the team made a pilgrimage to Green Mount Cemetery, where we found the final resting places of several members of the WLCB– and not a few names of women whom we had only known, at that point, by their husbands’ first names.

This time, we were looking for where they actually lived. Many members lived in the neighborhoods of Bolton Hill and Mt. Vernon, located in central Baltimore just west of I-83 (the street in yellow that bisects the map below).

This is where we went:

walking tour route
Walking tour of WLCB sites, Apr. 15, 2018. The colored dots on the map, which is currently under construction (so please excuse debris!), indicate residences of WLCB members over the years, color keyed by year (1890-1915).
  1. 1507 Park Ave.  Christine Ladd-Franklin
  2. 1520 Park Ave.  Francese Litchfield Turnbull
  3. 1807 Bolton St. Virginia Woodward Cloud (1890 only)
  4. 254 Robert St. (no longer standing) Lucy Meacham Thruston (1905-1915)
  5. Streetcar tracks on Linden
  6. Linden Ave. apartment buildings, 1910-1920 (no longer standing), many members, including Emily Paret Atwater
  7. 1404 Eutaw Place  Sidney Lanier
  8. 1414 Madison Ave. Elizabeth Meredith Reese (1895)
  9. 1324 McCulloh St. Marguerite Easter (1890-1895)
  10. 1214 Madison St. (now a parking lot) Laura De Valin (1900-05)
  11. Altamont Hotel (now a vacant lot) Clara Newman Turner (1895-1900)
  12. 1100 block Eutaw Place, The Cecil  Clara Newman Turner (1905-1915)
  13. 300 block Dolphin Lane  Club officers Mrs. Jordan Stabler (339 Dolphin), Lydia Crane (313 Dolphin)
  14. 5 W. Biddle St. Louise Clarkson Whitelock
  15. 1037 N Calvert St. Letitia Wrenshall, Katharine Wrenshall Markland
  16. 1004 N Calvert St. Louise C. O. Haughton
  17. 937 N Calvert St. Elizabeth Lester Mullin
  18. 15 E. Eager St. Mary Spear Tiernan
  19. 12 E. Eager St.  Annie Weston Whitney
  20. 1307 Park Ave.  F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is what we saw, in the order we encountered them on the tour:

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Highlights of the trip:

  • Being welcomed into the home of the current owners of 1507 Park Ave. (residence of Christine Ladd-Franklin): walking the hallways and staircases, meeting the family (including Jon Kucskar, Emily Levenson, daughters Caroline and Emma, & dog Truman), who now lives in this house but had no idea of Ladd-Franklin’s existence before the research done by our class was published.
  • Seeing the streetcar tracks on Linden Ave. along which the New Women of the WLCB (and perhaps some of the older ladies of the neighborhood) may have traveled to meetings at the Academy of Arts and Sciences at 105 W. Franklin Ave.
  • Learning about the different kinds of structures– homes, stables, carriage houses, apartment buildings, hotels, condos, and how they evolved over time.
  • Seeing where buildings and homes used to be.
  • Seeing homes of people we’ve read about– including that of Sidney Lanier (room for rent!)–and sites like Friends School, the house where House of Cards was shot.
  • Farmers’ market mini-donuts brought by Bolton Hill neighbor and WLCB fan, Peter Van Buren!! Thank you Peter!

For next time:

Unfortunately, due to rain which became increasingly insistent and wind that grew increasingly persistent, we decided to severely truncate the trip, skipping the following stops (which follow the cluster of dots below and to the right of tour stop #14 on the map above):

  • 875 Park Ave., Mary Noyes Colvin (founding member)
  • 829 Park Ave., Elizabeth King (leader of breakaway contingent & founder of Arundell Club, 1893)
  • 825 Park Ave., Eliza Ridgely (founding secretary)
  • 711 Park Ave. Maud Early (founding member)
  • 708 St. Paul St. Emma Brent
  • 113 W. Monument St. Hester Crawford Dorsey (founder of WLCB)
  • The numerous early members (1890-1895) who lived around Mt. Vernon Place & the Washington Monument

But really, 20 stops was plenty, and the hot bowls of pho and pots of green tea that welcomed us at Indochine were really quite necessary after 2+ hours of walking in the rain.

We’re all pretty soaked–I mean STOKED–about finding 5 W. Biddle St., former home of Louise Clarkson Whitelock, author of Buttercup’s Visit to Little Stay-at-Home. Photo by Peter Van Buren.

Here we all are near the end of our journey, at the former residence of founding member Louise Clarkson Whitelock. We were pretty wet by this time, and cold, but exhilarated by walking the streets on which these women lived, and walking up the steps they walked to their front doors. It was quite an adventure!

More from the slush pile

More reviews from the class, with links to the texts.

  • Louisa C. Osborne Haughton, “The Ever-Ready Edgar,” fiction. WOW, EDGAR!  What a player!!! I cannot believe how bold this man is. However, I love Eleanor not falling under his spell.  Honestly, it really seems like men have not changed since 1906.  I like this and think it is worth including because it addresses relationships at the time and it is relatable today. Also the ending is WILD. —Marina
  • Emily Paret Atwater, Trixsey’s Travels, fiction. Finally, a work of children’s lit that doesn’t include dialect! Stories of Trixsey the squirrel and Pansey, the girl who keeps him. This seems like it’s a cute little collection. Trixsey speaks in “squirrel language” but Atwater, thankfully unlike Whitelock, doesn’t represent animal voices with racialized dialect. Bonus points for beginning in medias res and building up a little bit to the reveal that Trixsey is a squirrel.—Clara
  • Emily Emerson Lantz, “Suburban Baltimore: North Charles St.,” newspaper feature. I’m continually impressed with the range and scope of Lantz’ knowledge pertaining to Maryland history. I can’t help but wonder how much of it she actually knew by heart, and how often she had to consult other sources. Anyway, given just how many works we have access to by her (upwards of 400), I’m thinking we might want to apply two filters for selection: (1) works pertaining to the history of Loyola and the surrounding area, and (2) works pertaining to women or womanhood. This work fulfills that first criteria. —Hunter
  • Elizabeth Latimer, The Prince Incognito; novel. This was interesting because the writing varied so much from Latimer’s other fiction writing style. It also differed a lot from Litchfield’s style of writing with a swooning woman that seems to need a strong male counterpart. This has a lot of landscape description and it seems to be fiction based on some kind of historical or sociological background so it makes sense knowing that Latimer specializes in historical fiction and historical works. I would be interested in continuing to read this which I think says a lot about this work.—Ellen
  • Lizette Woodworth Reese, “The Thrush in the Orchard” from A Quiet Road, poetry. This poem is very Victorian with its stanzas and expressions. This seems like a break-up poem at first with the talk of coldness in spring, spring often symbolizes new beginnings. But on the other hand, the more I read this poem, the more it sounds like a bad sexual experience. I have mixed feelings about this one. —Tara
  • Virginia Woodward Cloud, “The Lecture” (1903): short fiction. This piece is hilarious and witty. I love the ironic depiction of feminist ideals which she upholds. I think this should definitely be included in the anthology, as it expresses the radical ideology of club members, as well as balances out some of the more conservative, Victorian pieces. Her use of accents is also a subtle hit on the “southern womanhood” which we find central to some club members. —Monica
  • Lizette Woodworth Reese, A Wayside Lute, poetry. Another collection of her poems, this work was once again very melancholy – did Reese enjoy discussing sad things? Poems such as Tears, Taps, The Unforgotten Things, and The Shadow on the Dial (including many other works) were all very sad to read, and alluded to times past. Her poems seem to focus on how life is stuck in a doldrum state, where good times are long past, and we can only live in that past. After reading her poems, it makes me wonder – what happened to make Reese so sad? —Jonathan
  • Lucy Meacham Thruston, Songs of the Chesapeake, poetry. This poetry collection was quality and beautifully illustrated. The poems were nature centric, but enjoyable to read. I also think the Maryland theme of the Chesapeake pertains to the geography of the group and is a theme many of the writers took up. The collection is also fairly short and I believe the whole thing could be included.—Katie Shiber

Surprising Find in Frederick, MD

Over the weekend I took a trip to Frederick, MD for the day. The beautiful town lies northwest of Baltimore, close to the Virginia border. Among the mountains the town boasts colorful buildings and shops, as well as rich history. I had visited with Dr. Cole two years ago for a class trip to the Civil War Medicine Museum, but I hadn’t expected my second visit to tie in with our current class.

As I was walking through the town absorbing the old buildings, I came across a sign that read “Trail Mansion”. This rang a bell in my head, but I couldn’t remember why that name held significance. “Trail” I kept repeating; “Why do I know the name ‘Trail’?” Suddenly it dawned on me–I was thinking of Florence Trail, member of the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore. I realize this could’ve been a common Maryland name or merely a coincidence, but I snapped a few photos anyways, determined to do a little research.

It turns out the mansion belonged to the wealthy Frederick resident Charles Edward Trail, Florence’s father. To double-check this information, I turned to Marina’s blog post about Florence Trail. Yep, she grew up in Frederick; this must have been her childhood home. The red brick building stands tall, with a unique face in comparison to the other dwellings on the street. Nonetheless, it lies tucked away. The mansion serves as a landmark which marks a specific time in history, and today it functions as a funeral home.

The Slush Pile

Things have been a little quiet on the blog because the class has been reading … reading … reading. Having collected literally hundreds (over 500 by my count) works by our industrious Club authors, we now have been trying to read and evaluate as many as we can. Our goal is to choose at least one work by each published author who belonged to the Club, and publish them in a volume we are tentatively titling Parole Femine: Words and Lives of the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore (1890-1941). 

(The title comes from the motto of the WLCB, “Parole Femine,” which in turn comes from the Maryland state motto, “Fatti Maschii, Parole Femine”—”Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.”)

We will be ready to release a table of contents pretty soon, and hope to preview some of the book’s contents as well as provide more profiles of authors in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, here is a sampling of capsule reviews written by members of the class. You can read the works for yourselves by accessing them on our WLCB archive site through the links provided– and please, we’d love to get your comments!

  • The Ever-Ready Edgar,” by Louisa C. Osborne Haughton. We have to include this one. It’s a revenge story in which four women team up against a playboy, all of whom had previously been seduced by him. There’s some enormous plotholes/coincidences: all of the women Edgar courts share the same initials as himself (E.M.), and all of them happen to be acquainted despite the fact that he met and interacted with them all over the globe. This one was discussed at club meetings at least once—maybe several times. Furthermore, its subject matter deals overtly with gender.—Hunter Flynn
  • Anne” (Her Eyes are Like the Violet), by Lizette Woodworth Reese (poem, 1887). This poem was read and discussed on June 3, 1890 during the 3rd Salon. “Anne” is a sweet and (in my reading) sapphically charged poem about an older woman admiring a young girl. The young girl is compared to violets, a flower symbolizing innocence. The girl’s innocence and goodness are also juxtaposed with the stiff, old tradition of the church, and the narrator concludes that she is unafraid of the preacher’s threats of hellfire because, “she is highest heaven to me.” It doesn’t get sweeter than that.—Katie Shiber
  • Two Negatives” (1889, short story), by Mary Spear Tiernan. This short story opens with women working in a Confederate treasury. I immediately said yikes, mostly because the Confederacy makes me cringe. However, I must say that I am glad I got past my initial reaction, because this story was entertaining. One woman wants to let a man down easy instead of letting his proposal “dangle” like all the other men she writes to (bringing up the question- how easy was it to get a marriage proposal back then?).  The ending has a fun twist, with a case of mistaken identity getting settled with new romance.—Marina Fazio
  • How Sammy Went to Coral-Land, by Emily Paret Atwater (children’s fiction, 1902). About a salmon named Sammy who ventured from the north to Coral-Land. He goes on a journey where he meets others unlike him. He learns that a hug from an octopus is not affection, but the squeeze of death as well as a school of fish is not a classroom with a teacher. Sammy encountered many situations and obstacles to find out what he was looking for were right there all the time—HOME. —Ju’waun Morgan
  • Buttercups and Daisies, by Elizabeth Graham (poetry, 1884): poetry. Graham uses fairytale, sing-songy rhymes, and her poetry centers around romantic, mystical imagery. Nevertheless, the physical appearance of her book of poems—both the font used and the illustrations—is gorgeous. I enjoy the poem “Children of the Sun,” finding the subject matter deeper than merely child-like poetry. The language is simple but somewhat sensual, which surprised me. The book of poetry praises summer and spring in relatively generic ways, but I still find the text beautiful and intriguing because of the typeface and illustrations. There appears a turn with the poem “Mid-Summer”, and the urgency within the poem illustrates the fleeting time left in the season. I think that and “Waiting” are stronger than the poems that precede. —Monica Malouf
  • The Tale of the Wild Cat,” by Maud Early (folklore?, 1897). I chose this to read first for the title only and thank God I did. This is so bizarre and fantastic. I love it. Without a doubt should be included. Also, I love how she says “they are very rude primitive drawings at any rate” as if that weren’t completely evident already. I can conclude by this that Maud Early has too much time on her hands, but nonetheless, I am pleased. —Ellen Roussel
  • A Royal Pawn of Venice, by Francese Litchfield Turnbull (novel, 1911). I don’t not like it. It’s another one that I can’t really tell if it’s good. It reminds me of books on royalty I used to read as a kid, so I’m not sure if it’s meant to be for children or not. I like the switch of perspectives in the chapters. I also think it’s funny the way Turnbull throws in random Italian words to prove she is #fortheculture. “Dio! But it was good to be born in Venice, where life was a festa!” —Katie Kazmierski
  • Pollyanna’s Jewels, by Harriet Lummis Smith (novel, 1925). The story begins with Pollyanna and a man named Jimmy moving to Boston with their children Jimmy Junior, Judy and a baby named “Baby.” Pollyanna’s job is to be a stay-at-home mother and care for the children. She also has to deal with bothersome pets and troublesome relatives. The story is actually very dark which surprised me greatly. During the story, a boy name Philip loses both of his parents because they left everyone to be together (leaving their own child behind). People living in the neighborhood are extremely mean to Phillip and shun him because of his family. Pollyanna feels pity for Phillip, and attempts to be nice to him, but will not allow her own children to play with Phillip because she fears her family will be shunned also. Overall, the story has additional sub-plots that seem to all turn to a dark ending. Going into this book, I was under the assumption that it would be cheerful, but in reality, it was very sad. I don’t recommend reading the book unless you enjoy sad endings. —Jonathan Flink
  • De Clar Pitcher” by Letitia Yonge Wrenshall (story, 1906): This is……….Not Good. I don’t know why I expected anything other than bad racialized dialect from Mrs. Wrenshall, but here we are. As I think some others have pointed out, this might be good to include since it so perfectly captures the insidious racism present through the highest offices of Club leadership. —Clara Love
  • The Cottage by the Sea, by Mrs. James Casey Coale (novel). The book offers a messy and unplanned plot which becomes incredibly predictable when devices are introduced. There is almost no character development at all. It felt like there was this big, grand, Victorian novel in the making by Coale, but she shaved everything down so much that it lost almost any significance as a piece of writing. The only redeemable aspect of this novel was Coale’s description of the main character and her best friend: “The two girls kissed each other, and now began the day of all the week to each of them. It was the one in which they were the happiest. It seemed as if they could not do enough for each other. The benefits of this friendship was mutual, for the refinement of their ideas which one imparted was received by the other, and it did not have the effect of lifting her out of the sphere in which she had been placed, and in which she contented, because she was good and happy. Nelly gave such true affection to her friends that it was a benefit to them on both sides. A true loving nature does bestow happiness to those, who have that in them, that is able to receive and appreciate kindness. The minds of some unfortunate people being so filled with either envy or jealousy, or both, there is no room for a better feeling” (11). —Tara Brooky
  • Finding Five-Cent Christmas Opportunities,” by Emily Emerson Lantz (journalism, 1915). This is weird. It feels a bit like one of those commercials designed to bring tourism to a city that is, once you get there, kind of lames. But I can’t explain why I enjoyed reading it so much. It really gives you a picture of some of the best Baltimore had to offer for five cents in 1915, with shout-outs to just about every major landmark in the city (including Loyola College in its downtown location). Lantz is clearly an animated writer, and I would love to see some stuff like this included. Made me crave fried oyster and wienerwurst. (This is admittedly only interesting to a niche audience.) —Hunter Flynn
  • Old Manors in the Colony of Maryland, by Annie Leakin Sioussat (history, 1913). Old Manors in the Colony of Maryland is a nonfiction account of a bunch of rich white man stealing land from Native Americans and pouring their money onto it. The content is not particularly appetizing. She clearly has a pride of the land and those who “settled” it, collecting from the dedication that her ancestors were among them. I am unsure as to how much this work would contribute to the anthology and the ends we seek to accomplish. —Katie Shiber

Margaret Sutton Briscoe: Honorary Yet Extraordinary

Photo found at: https://consecratedeminence.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/margaret_sutton_briscoe_hopkins.jpg

Margaret Sutton Briscoe was a prolific writer and an honorary member of the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore. Although she published numerous texts, her greatest contribution to the Club appears to be her reputation. As I researched Briscoe, I kept finding short-story after short-story, as well as poems and essays; however, I barely found mention of her within the WLCB’s meeting minutes. Sure, she was in the meetings, but she only played a minor role. I found this very curious, but as I’ve learned more about the club, her honorary status has become less and less surprising.

Briscoe wrote and worked as a publisher in New York City, where she met and married her husband, Arthur Hopkins. She moved with him to Amherst, MA where they both served as faculty and influential individuals at Amherst College. She was involved in numerous philanthropic and women’s clubs, as expected of a society woman of the time. In fact, she checks off all of the expected boxes in my mind. She wrote, worked, traveled, devoted her time to social activities and clubs, knew Mark Twain, allegedly used the pseudonym “Travers Hopkins”, and boasted a high reputation. She possessed interesting anecdotes about her life, identifying as a true southern woman (in what I assume she would consider a sea of Yankees), was shipwrecked in the Adriatic Sea, and had a text written about her by a student. She opposed suffrage, a fact that is disappointing but not surprising for the traditional, southern Christian woman. She was a successful writer, counselor, and socialite, and although I imagine her southern sympathies would prove problematic (her family owned a plantation on the Chesapeake Bay), there remains something likable about her.

Briscoe still proves a bit of a mystery to me, even though biographical information is widespread thanks to Amherst College’s archives and Five College Archives & Manuscripts (asteria). I still wonder how much involvement she had with the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore, and I hope to unearth some hidden minutes or mention of Briscoe. I enjoy her writing; it’s no surprise that she gained such popularity in periodicals like Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Harper’s Bazar, Century Magazine, etc. Her language, work, and biography mirror the witty and sassy look in the eyes of the woman whose photo accompanies this text. She is charming and challenging, and for this reason I keep hoping she will surprise me with more involvement in WLCB.  I expect she will remain a mere influential individual, bringing to the Club prestige and clout, but some part of me will hold out for a new discovery while continuing my research.

 

Biographical information found at The Consecrated Eminence: The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College and Five College Archives & Manuscripts Collections (hyperlinked above).

Alice Emily Sauerwein Lord

A woman, with the name longest name ever I might add, Alice Emily Sauerwein Lord was called “the literary life of Baltimore” in her obituary published in the Baltimore Sun. Her father’s name was Peter G. Sauerwein. She spent most of her adult life residing in her home on 1728 St. Paul street with her husband Charles.

Charles W. Lord as I previously mentioned was Alice’s husband. Born in Newberry Port Massachusetts, he moved to Baltimore in 1848. He worked for his own firm, not so ironically named Charles W. Lord. Alice was his second wife, he chose to marry her after his first wife’s passing in 1876. Charles seemed like a good fit for Alice, a very accomplished man to compliment a very accomplished woman. He was very generous to many churches, was the head of his own firm, and also was the director in the Baltimore and Cuba Coffee Company, the Maryland Fire Insurance Company and the Peabody Heights Company. Overall he was an extremely active member in the Baltimore community and had many positive impacts on it. I mean we all know that behind every great man is a great woman, right? I’m guessing that Alice was that woman. Charles was 81 year’s old when he passed. Alice stated in his obituary in the Baltimore Sun that this was due to a brief illness caused by extreme stress at work.

Lord was known throughout her life as being strongly related to literature. She was a member of the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore (duh), long with the Woman’s Club of Roland Park, an honorary member of the Lend-a-Hand Club of Mount Washington, and also was a member of the Woman’s Club of Mount Washington. This was one busy lady. She was a pretty well known writer. Some of her most famous and influential works include A Symphony in Dreamland and The Days of Lamb and Coleridge.

Her funeral service was held on March 18th 1930 and was conducted at a funeral parlor near Orchard and McCulloh street. The Reverend who held this service was named R.S. Litsinger, who belonged to Lord’s parish of St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church located in Mount Washington. She is buried in the Green Mount Cemetery, which is conveniently located 11 minutes from Loyola’s campus… oh I feel closer to her already.

Overall finding out information about Mrs. Lord’s life has presented me with a pretty difficult task. Despite this, I will keep searching for more information and hopefully will post again about her again soon.

 

Mary Noyes Colvin, PhD

As I write this, my head is spinning with so much information on the woman, the myth, the legend, Mary Noyes Colvin, and yet also, so many questions left frustratingly unanswered. Let’s start from what I consider the beginning. I only found two published works by Colvin: one, an edited translation of “The Siege and Conqueste of Jerusalem”, by William of Tyre from way back in 1130-approximately 1190, complete with an extraordinarily detailed introduction and notes, index, and vocabulary by Colvin. The other, her dissertation for her PhD… in German. Think she’s cool yet? Yeah, it gets better.

After studying at Mount Holyoke College and teaching thereafter for a few years, Colvin enrolled in the University of Zurich. There, in 1888, she became the first woman in the university’s history to be awarded a PhD. I found this information from an article about her being appointed professor of romance languages at the Western Reserve University in Ohio in 1893. Interestingly enough, I came across more or less the same blurb in countless newspapers from the time in January 1893: The Indianapolis Journal in Indiana, Galena Weekly Republican in Kansas, the Lafayette Gazette in Louisiana, Buffalo Evening News in New York, the list goes on. Mary Noyes Colvin was appointed a professor at a college in Ohio, and cities around the country told her story. She was, it seems, kind of a big deal.

That particular article goes on to tell that since 1889 Colvin was secretary of the Bryn Mawr Preparatory School, a Baltimore girls school that still exists today. That’s where Baltimore comes in, and with it, our WLCB. According to our membership list, Colvin was only a member of WLCB in its first season, 1890-91, but I think she must’ve been a member from 91-92 as well, as her and the Club in 1892 played a big role in fighting to improve Baltimore schools, specifically girls schools. In an article sub headlined “Many of the Defects Pointed Out by the Committee of the Woman’s Literary Club Have Been Remedied Since the Committee Made Its Investigation”, Mary Noyes Colvin is credited as having reported on the areas in which Baltimore schools were failing. Professor Wise, the Superintendent, supposedly takes Colvin’s advice, and it is announced that the several changes to schools have been made, including “raising the curriculum of the female grammar schools to an equality with male grammar schools”. You go, Mary.

And yet, while I can find information like all of this, I can’t find Mary Noyes Colvin’s birthday. She might’ve grown up in New York, as the earliest information I can find about her is from 1882 in an article announcing her previous work experience as a teacher in Dansville, New York, and appointment of another position at Genesco State Normal School. The same article credits her as being the daughter of Judge Noyes and “possessing rare accomplishments”… lol. Maybe if I had Judge Noyes’s full name I could find him, and in turn, find Mary Noyes’s date of birth and death, but alas, for once, it has proven difficult to find even a man from this time period. I guess I can’t complain, considering I’ve found more about Mary Noyes Colvin than her judge father or even her husband, who must exist, because of the whole, “Mrs. Colvin” thing but he’s MIA too.

So, I still have questions. But I’ve got a good amount of answers, too. Mary Noyes Colvin was nothing short of a badass. And to further solidify that, check out these people who knew her vouch for it in this compilation of letters of reference of hers, circa 1882-88.

*Mic drop.*