Travels with Grace: New York, 1919 Part 2

Posted on January 22nd, 2019 by


Welcome to our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Travels with Grace, where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


November 8, 1919

Stayed in today and received our friends. They have a famous painting in this hotel in the bar which is now closed, it is “Old King Cole and his Fiddlers Three” [1] by Maxfield Parrish. Caruso and wife have an apartment here and I saw June Caprice, the movie star in the Elevator!


November 9, 1919

View of Bronx River, Bronx Park, New York, 1910. Courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library digital collections.

Went to see Uncle Mayer [Heowberger?] nice old man. Took Aunt Julia for a ride. In the afternoon visited the botanical gardens[2][3] in the Bronx Park. This is the prettiest natural park I have seen. The Bronx River runs thru it and forms a series of beautiful cascades. The Guggenheim family have given some new hot houses for orchids and the displays of rare specimens are charming. We then rode thru Van Cortland Park where they have fine golf links free to the public. Saw a new suburban development called Fieldstone but do not think it as pretty as our Balto suburbs. Saw Alice Joyce in movies tonight at the Broadway – The Vengeance of Durand.

Advertisement for the American silent drama film The Vengeance of Durand (1919) with Alice Joyce, on page 82 of the November 1919 Shadowland. Via.


November 10, 1919

Spent this morning at Dr. [Fraueuthal’s] hospital. He is one of the leading orthopedic surgeons in New York and has done some wonderful work. Took dinner at the Plaza. This evening we went to the Plymouth theater to see the Barrymores in “The Jest” a most marvelous play which is the sensation of the present theatrical season. I have never witnessed such wonderful acting.


November 11, 1919

Wannamaker’s Department Store at Broadway and 9th street, 1913. Courtesy of the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library digital collections.

We spent the morning at Wanamaker’s. They have on their pre-xmas toy display and it is fascinating, especially the fairy tales enacted by electrically propelled figures. Stayed here for lunch. This afternoon I was Mrs. [Leerburger’s] guest at the Waldorf-Astoria for a dramatic reading by Jane [Mauners] of Hervieaux’ “The Torch.” This evening the Maas family entertained us at a huge dinner at a Rumanian restaurant in Broom St.

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, 1908. Courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library digital collections.


November 12, 1919

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1910. Courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library digital collections. While the Met was between special exhibits during her visit, check out their 1919 Guide to the Collections for some of what Grace may have seen on her visit! (Thanks to Melissa Bowling at the Met Museum Archives for pointing me to this great resource!)

We devoted the entire day to a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which was a real revelation to me. Aunts Julia and Henriette joined us there and we had lunch together. Saw so much that I can scarcely remember it all. Only sorry that I cannot come here every day. Tonight we went to see Francine Larrymore in “Scandal” at the 39th St. theater.


[1] Up Close: Maxfield Parrish’s King Cole Bar Mural

[2] New York Botanical Garden

[3] Secrets of the NY Botanical Garden


 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Travels with Grace: New York, 1919 Part 1

Posted on January 15th, 2019 by


Welcome to our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Travels with Grace, where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


Aerial view of New York City, 1919. Ensign Joseph A. Eaton Photo Album, Naval Aviation Museum.


Novmber 2, 1919

November 2, 1919: Sunday Evening. Dinner at Hotel Pennsylvania[1] on arrival. Then to Hotel Knickerbocker[2], our temporary home, where the Maas family called in the evening. My first visit to New York and I am so excited.

Left: Postcard showing the interior of Café Rouge, the Hotel Pennsylvania’s restaurant. Via. Right: The Hotel Knickerbocker, c. 1907. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs.


November 3, 1919

Postcard showing the Aquarium, pre-1923. Via.

Visit the Aquarium[3][4] in Battery Park. Rode to the top of Woolworth Building[5], 56 stories high, now tallest building in the world. Ride thru Chinatown, Italian quarter (little Italy) with its push cart parade and Jewish East side. All very picturesque and foreign. Pass the Tombs prison, as gruesome as its name. See the curb-broker in Broad St. (wild excitement – such complicated signaling with caps and hands from street to windows) and the Stock Exchange and City Hall. In the evening saw Fritz Kriesler’s “Apple Blossoms” at the Globe Theater.

Left: Woolworth Building, c. 1913. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs. Right: Globe Theater, c. 1920. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs.


November 4, 1919

Grant’s Tomb, North of Riverside Drive, c. 1920. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs.

Rode along Riverside Drive to Grant’s Tomb which I found very impressive. Called on Madeline and Miss Gordon and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Museum of Natural History which was most interesting. In the evening enjoyed the performance of “Happy Days” at the Hippodrome. Father and mother joined in the singing of the old songs and had a good time.

Left: Museum of National History, c. 1913. Photo by Irving Underhill, courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs. Right: Exterior of the Hippodrome Theatre. Courtesy of the Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library, digital collections.


November 5, 1919

Went to Altman’s this morning, one of the finest stores I have seen. Took a ride along Fifth Avenue and through Central Park. This afternoon Aunt Julia gave a reception for us at her home, 32 W. 85th Street, where we met all our relatives, near and distant. Stayed for dinner and in the evening Fred entertained me with the old family albums.

The Altman Building, 1914. Courtesy of the Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections.


November 6, 1919

Left: Columbia University, c. 1901 – 1907. Courtesy of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections. Right: Student Chapel, Fordham University, c. 1901-1907. Courtesy of Courtesy of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections.

We were shown all over Tiffany’s this morning. The salesmen are so courteous and obliging in showing things even when they knew we did not come to buy. Such marvelous jewels, crystal ware, bronzes, clocks and ornaments of the rarest. Rode out to see the buildings of Columbia University and Fordham College. Paid a most enjoyable visit to the Bronx Zoo. Tonight we saw “The Storm,” a most exciting melodrama at the 48 St. theater.

Left: Bronx Zoo, c. 1911. Courtesy of the Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collection. Right: 48th Street Theatre, 1912. Via.


November 7, 1919

Left: Biltmore Hotel, 1913. Courtesy of Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collection. Right: Opera singer Amelita Galli-Curci, c. 1919. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs.

We went to hear the Friday morning musicale at the Hotel Biltmore where we saw some exceedingly smart looking people. Galli-Curci sang, Stanley and Wilkinson accompanying. Stayed at the Biltmore for lunch. This is quite a gay hotel. This evening we had company at the Knickerbocker. In the afternoon we visited [Van Tynes?] where we saw some beautiful oriental importations including a magnificent screen with mother-of-pearl panels and carved ebony frame. Also went in Lord and Taylor’s.

Lord and Taylor’s Establishment on Grand Street, 1905. Courtesy of Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections.


[1] The Historic Hotel Pennsylvania: Saved!

[2] Hotel History: The Knickerbocker Hotel

[3] When the New York Aquarium was in Batter Park

[4] New York Aquarium

[5] The Woolworth Building


 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Traveling With Grace: Welcome to our new Tuesday series!

Posted on January 8th, 2019 by


A blog post by JMM Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman. To read more posts from Rachel, click here.

Do you follow #TravelTuesdays on your social media platform of choice? (If not, I recommend it!)

On JMM’s social media, we’ve been sharing #TravelTuesday posts for the last couple of years, starting out with general photographs from the collections of people on vacation, visiting relatives, and sightseeing, then branching out to postcards from lands far and near.

For 2018, we decided to do something a little different – (almost) every week we shared a passport from our archives. Where possible we shared additional collection materials related to the owner of the passport (and sometimes other related tidbits or facts). But as the year (and my list of passports) began to wind down, it was time to make a decision: How should the Museum celebrate travel in 2019?

After some thought, discussions with a colleague in the field, and some searching in our collections database, I hit upon our next venture: travel diaries! What better way to explore the world of travel than with first person accounts? Happily, we have a few different travel diaries (also sometimes called travel journals) in the collections. Even better, we have multiple (7 to be exact) travel diaries from the same writer, one Grace Amelia Hecht, spanning trips from 1919 to 1954!

Our Director of Collections, Joanna Church, was kind enough to do a little digging for me. While we haven’t found a lot of information about Grace, she did gather some basic biographical details. Born in 1897 to Moses and Florence Hecht, Grace appears to have been an only child and remained unmarried. The family lived around Eutaw Place and Druid Hill – specifically the Alhambra in the 1920s and 1930s. Grace may have also lived at the Rivera Apts. Sadly, Grace passed away at the fairly young age of 58.

Based on her travel writings it is clear that Grace and her family were very well off. This is further supported by the disposition of her assets as related in this 1955 article from The Baltimore Sun. We are particularly intrigued by her decision to create the Grace Amelia Hecht Fund for the prevention and cure of polio at Johns Hopkins University.

There are mentions within her travel diaries of sporadic wheelchair use, and in this 1954 photo you can see Grace using a pair of crutches (JMM 1985.154.2.10). It is highly possible that Grace herself was a victim of the disease – though this is unconfirmed. We also have a brief mention in The Sun of a surgery in 1910 at St. Agnes’ Hospital, which could be related. The brief mentions of accessibility within her travel diaries give a very small look (through a very privileged lens) of one experience traveling with a disability.

In preparation for this whole endeavor, there was (and still is!) some work to be done – most importantly, transcribing the handwritten diaries. To make this process easier, I’ve been photographing each written page, so I can blow it up on my screen, which makes “translating” Grace’s handwriting simpler, but there are still plenty of words I haven’t quite been able to make out, and, as a human and not an all-powerful artificial intelligence, I am as prone to errors as anyone, so I’m sure there will be a few transcription errors throughout. I hope you’ll forgive me. (And if you’ve got a better guess on some of the trickier words, please let me know what you think!) And while one trip (from 1929) had been transcribed in the past, it was on a typewriter, so still needed to be retyped into a digital format.

Part of the transcription process has been minor editing – mostly for punctuation (Grace wasn’t too fond of commas!) to help with reading comprehension. In some cases I have corrected or updated spellings where leaving the original would cause confusion, but otherwise I have tried to leave Grace’s words as she wrote them. Words or letters appear in brackets [like this] are best guesses on my part, either because a word was missing or because it was difficult to make out Grace’s writing. Additional notes or commentary may appear as footnotes as well. Introductory remarks will appear at the top of each post and will be italicized to help make it clear that these comments are from me, and not part of Grace’s diaries.

Starting next week, on January 15th, I’ll be sharing Grace’s travel diaries – sometimes her entire entries, sometimes selections (but I’ll try and always make the full transcripts available) here on the JMM blog every Tuesday. Wherever possible, I hope to illustrate these posts with period appropriate photographs and illustrations, as well as sharing interesting articles and other reading about the people and places Grace mentions throughout her travels – images will generally link to their sources and the additional facts and stories will appear as direct links or links in the footnotes.

A word of caution – Grace is very much a product of her time, and there are words and phrases used throughout that today would not be acceptable. There are also occasionally events that many of us today might find hard to handle (for example, Grace’s description of a bull fight in Mexico). I’ll do my best to give content warnings at the head of a post and ask you to make your own best care decisions when it comes to reading.  Overall, however, Grace’s recounting of her travels (at least those I’ve transcribed so far) are lighthearted and focused on the beautiful scenery she finds herself in.

For now, I’ll leave you with the earliest entry we have from Grace’s travel diaries:

November 2, 1919: Sunday Evening. Dinner at Hotel Pennsylvania on arrival. Then to Hotel Knickerbocker, our temporary home, where the Maas family called in the evening. My first visit to New York and I am so excited.


 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Next Page »