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Moments in Time

Mar 31, 2015
Eva Scott Fenyes, n.d. (Photograph by Underwood & Underwood Portrait Studios, New York, N.Y. (Courtesy Pasadena Museum of History Archives, FCP.63.10)

Eva Scott Fenyes, n.d. (Photograph, partial, by Underwood & Underwood Portrait Studios, New York, N.Y. (Courtesy Pasadena Museum of History Archives, FCP.63.10)

Last week I went to see Pasadena Museum of History’s companion exhibits Pasadena Pursuit and Mystery History for the third time. Fascinating historical facts, artifacts, and photographs fill two galleries. Fun, informative, and interactive! The curator of Pasadena Pursuit, Dan McLaughlin, set up a kiosk in the North Gallery where you can search Pasadena Public Library’s online database, the Pasadena News Index or PNI. So I sat down, typed the name Fenyes into the subject field and set the date parameters to search between the year Eva Scott Fenyes arrived in Pasadena, 1896, and the year she died in Pasadena, 1930. The first three “hits” were citations for articles about her death, two articles from Pasadena Star News and one from Pasadena Post. The first citation looks like this:

Quiet services for woman’s funeral : Intimate friends only to attend rites : Mrs. Fenyes here three decades : Noted for charities and interest in arts, (obituary). Pasadena Star News, 2/5/1930, Page 24, Column 2, Article Size: Medium
Illustrations: Photos
Subject Headings: Fenyes, Eva Scott

 

Full_FCP_63_10_Eva Scott Fenyes_Underwood portrait

 

I wondered about the “Photos” the newspaper had used for this obituary, so I decided to take a look at the article. Full newspaper articles are available on microfilm at Pasadena Public Library, and sometimes they can be found in Pasadena Museum of History’s clippings and/or ephemera files. I used the museum’s ephemera files and found a photocopy of the clipping.

Only one photo accompanies the article, a three quarter head view that appears to be cropped from the photograph shown above. This portrait of a dour looking matron seems appropriate for an obituary. It is formal, composed for the day of the sitting, and it signifies the life of a mature woman of means.

Technically such photographs capture only a single moment in time, but as the curator of Mystery History, Ann Erdman has shown us that photographs can suggest a story, leave a lasting impression, and raise questions. For me, this photograph raised a question that led to other questions. What of Eva’s youth? What came before that day when she sat for her portrait at Underwood & Underwood Studios in New York City? Who was the child, the girl, the young woman, the person before middle age? For her times, Eva Scott Fenyes lived a long life, from 1849 to 1930, eighty years, thirty-four of them in Pasadena. And long before Eva knew she would come to Pasadena, there were other moments, other photographs. The formal portraits shown here follow Eva back in time, suggesting more stories, making more impressions, and raising more questions.

 

“Mrs. Wm S. Muse taken at Newport R.I,” circa 1884. Eva Scott married William Sulivane Muse in 1878. They divorced in 1891. An interesting side note: In later years, photographer Julius Ludovici’s family lived on North Orange Grove right across the street from the Fenyes family. (Photograph by Julius Ludovici’s Photographic and Crayon Studios, Newport R.I.; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.38.1.5b)

“Mrs. Wm S. Muse taken at Newport R.I,” circa 1884. Eva Scott married William Sulivane Muse in 1878. They divorced in 1891. An interesting side note: In later years, photographer Julius Ludovici’s family lived on North Orange Grove right across the street from the Fenyes family. (Photograph by Julius Ludovici’s Photographic and Crayon Studios, Newport R.I.; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.38.1.5b)

 

“The Sphinx,” circa 1872-74. Eva Scott traveled with her parents Leonard and Rebecca in Europe and Egypt between 1867 and 1871. Perhaps this costume was a souvenir from her trip. (Photograph by J.H. Kent, Rochester, N.Y.; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.29b)

“The Sphinx,” circa 1872-74. Eva Scott traveled with her parents Leonard and Rebecca in Europe and Egypt between 1867 and 1871. Perhaps this costume was a souvenir from her trip. (Photograph by J.H. Kent, Rochester, N.Y.; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.29b)

 

“Eva Scott,” circa 1868. Taken in Italy during her tour of Europe and North Africa, 1867-1871. (Photograph by Grillet & Co., Naples, Italy; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.45b)

“Eva Scott,” circa 1868. Taken in Italy during her tour of Europe and North Africa, 1867-1871. (Photograph by Grillet & Co., Naples, Italy; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.45b)

 

“Miss Eva Scott,” circa 1866-67. This portrait was probably taken during Eva’s school years at Pelham Priory in New York. (Photograph by Sarony’s, 680 Broadway, New York City, N.Y.; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.2a)

“Miss Eva Scott,” circa 1866-67. This portrait was probably taken during Eva’s school years at Pelham Priory in New York. (Photograph by Sarony’s, 680 Broadway, New York City, N.Y.; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.2a)

 

Eva Scott, circa 1860-63. On March 11, 1863, Eva’s father wrote to his cousin, possibly referring to this photograph, “...I enclose Eva’s likeness – It is a very truthful one – so you may know just how she looks in her ordinary mood – neither excited nor depressed.”  (Photograph by Mathew Brady Studio; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.1.47)

Eva Scott, circa 1860-63. On March 11, 1863, Eva’s father wrote to his cousin, possibly referring to this photograph, “…I enclose Eva’s likeness – It is a very truthful one – so you may know just how she looks in her ordinary mood – neither excited nor depressed.” (Photograph by Mathew Brady Studio; Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.1.47)

 

“Eva Scott aged 2 years,” tintype, circa 1851. Eva Scott was born to Leonard Scott and Rebecca Briggs Scott on November 9, 1849 at an unknown address on West 26th Street, Manhattan, New York City.  (Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.32a)

“Eva Scott aged 2 years,” tintype, circa 1851. Eva Scott was born to Leonard Scott and Rebecca Briggs Scott on November 9, 1849 at an unknown address on West 26th Street, Manhattan, New York City. (Courtesy PMH Archives, FCP.37.2.32a)

 

Thank you, Ann and Dan, for your thought provoking exhibits that led me on a quest. What fun!

 

Julie Stires
JStires@pasadenahistory.org
Pasadena Museum of History
470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena 91103
PasadenaHistory.org

 

Currently at Pasadena Museum of History:

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. California played a surprisingly important role in the conflict, with contributions of both men and materials, and after the war, large numbers of veterans, both Union and Confederate, emigrated West.

On April 22, PMH will unveil two accompanying exhibitions that explore the profound impact Civil War veterans had on the city and surrounding communities. When Johnny Came Marching West: How the Civil War Shaped Pasadena, curated by local historians Janet Kadin and Nick Smith, and Thaddeus Lowe: Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army, curated by Michael Patris of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection, will bring to light the remarkable stories of these veterans and the lasting impressions they left on the region’s financial, political, and cultural life.

 

Civil-War-header_final

 

TICKETS: Admission to the exhibition galleries is $7 per person; Museum members and children under 12 are free. Free parking in the Museum lot and on Walnut St. PMH Members are invited to preview the exhibit for three days before they open to the public. For more information on Member Preview Days, please visit the Members Events page.

 

~~~

 

[1] Leonard Franklin Scott to Rebekah Chase, 11 March 1863. Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers, FCP.4.3, Pasadena Museum of History Archives, Pasadena, California.

[2] Rebecca Briggs Scott to Eva Scott Fenyes, n.d. FCP Papers, FCP.30.30, PMH Archives




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