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Scrapbooking the Season of 1898-99

Nov 15, 2015
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“The Three Graces a-muse themselves with this book.” A page from the scrapbook titled A few Reminiscences of the Season of 1898-’99.

“The Three Graces a-muse themselves with this book.” A page from the scrapbook titled A few Reminiscences of the Season of 1898-’99.

As a popular resort destination during the last decades of the nineteenth century, Pasadena welcomed numerous tourists, especially during the Southland’s mild winter months. Outdoor activities such as shooting parties, hiking, golf, and tennis were organized by the local social clubs. Entertainments such as concerts, card parties, dinners, and dances were hosted in private homes and at Pasadena’s famously promoted resort hotels. The annual social season was enjoyed not only by the wealthy guests who spent the winter in Pasadena, but also by the city’s own elite.

In the Fenyes household at 251 South Orange Grove Avenue, the winter social season of 1898-99 set the stage for the beginnings of a new life in a soon to be new century in Southern California. Eva and Adalbert Fenyes and Eva’s daughter Leonora Muse had been living in Pasadena for two full years and were now comfortably settled in their brand new thirty room mansion. Eva occupied her time investing in real estate and sketching the local scenery. Adalbert practiced medicine and studied entomology from his office at the mansion. Leonora attended Miss Orton’s Classical School for Girls and enjoyed a busy and cultured social life. As the family became acquainted with the Southland’s business communities and prominent families, the Fenyes and Muse names began to appear regularly in local newspapers. Young Leonora, who had just turned nineteen, clipped many of these articles and pasted them into her scrapbook. And so, while browsing through her memorabilia, we discover that the family’s social season during the winter of 1898-1899 began with a society column announcement anticipating the arrival of Eva’s cousin.

“Scott Haycock, a cousin of Mrs. Fenyes and a Santiago hero, will arrive soon from Washington D.C., to spend part of the winter with Dr. and Mrs. Fenyes on Orange Grove avenue.”[1]

Proud of their home, enthusiastic about California, and generous with their good fortune, Eva and Adalbert invited friends and family from the East to share for a time the pleasurable social season in Pasadena and the region’s beauty and fine weather. Eva had been corresponding with her cousin George Haycock for several years while she sought his advice regarding the settlement of her parents’ estates. No doubt appreciative of his help, she extended an invitation to his family to come to California for a visit.

George replied. He would not be coming to California, but perhaps his wife and their son Scott might enjoy a visit. But where would they stay and for how long?

“You couldn’t graciously turn them adrift in a strange land, and as I am led to believe your new home is a very convenient, comfortable and desirable mansion in which to live, they would certainly be very slow in taking hints to leave. Scott would it is true not be altogether tame. He certainly would give you many picturesque hours. He would ride a wheel with you & Leonora & the doctor, or singly if invited. He would paint when you painted & his efforts would give you periods of an exquisite collapse. He would shoot with you, & drive with you, & be a beau gallant. He would dance with Leonora & she would have lots of fun showing off her English looking cousin, & he would fight any young man that dared to look at her twice, & then as brothers & cousins are wont to do would bully & tease her. Yes, he could not fail to prove an interesting character to you all. The doctor would certainly like him, for he would never refuse to join him in Beetle hunts, (though he has a way of falling asleep in the grass if the game is not over abundant.) I repeat, he would certainly prove interesting.”

George then added lengthy cautions regarding his and his wife’s daily habits and concluded with the warning, “Think what is before you. Undo it ere the lightning strikes and the deluge is upon you.”[2] It seems that George and Mrs. Haycock did not come, but Scott came and stayed at the mansion. Scott Haycock, hero of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, would certainly be welcomed by the Fenyes family who, during the previous social season, had hosted a Spanish American War themed card party for Leonora’s Octocorasian Club.

Just prior to Scott’s arrival, Miss Sara Craig Bennett appeared on the scene. As companion and caregiver to Eva’s mother Rebecca, Sara had continued her relationship with Eva after Rebecca’s death. In December 1896 when Eva and her family first arrived in Pasadena, Sara had written, “Ever since the receipt of your very welcome letter I have been thinking of you happily fixed in your new house.[3] You are to be congratulated on getting settled so rapidly. It delights me to hear you like Pasadena. I trust you may all continue to be pleased with Cal. – Particularly do I hope your daughter may realize all her bright expectations in returning to live in ‘dear America.’ ”[4] By the autumn of 1898, Sara was a house guest at the newly built mansion, and being close in age to Leonora, she became Leonora’s social companion for the season. The stage was set and the Fenyes household prepared for Scott Haycock’s arrival.

 

“Mrs. Fenyes reads a letter which announces a visit from ‘The Cousin.’” Leonora coifs while Eva reads the letter.

“Mrs. Fenyes reads a letter which announces a visit from ‘The Cousin.’” Leonora coifs while Eva reads the letter.

 

Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 5

“And Leonora anticipates” Hmm, a possible suitor?

 

Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 6

“While Miss Bennett arranges the flowers” Blossoms in winter to signify California’s warmth and hospitality.

 

They welcomed Scott with graceful charm, but when he arrived in Pasadena and took up residence in the mansion, disruption ensued. His father’s predictions proved true—Scott was indeed “not altogether tame.” Too soon the man’s incessant demands betrayed his self-centered nature and he exasperated the entire household. Demands on the family’s time escalated. Tempers were tested, relationships strained. It seems the ladies had misjudged the effect the hero would have on the household. Wisely, they relieved the tension with a bit of backstage humor. Eva, Leonora and Sarah conspired and made a book, a scrapbook of select magazine pictures, neatly cut, pasted, and cleverly captioned. They titled their book “A few Reminiscences of the Season of 1898 -’99.”[5] As we see by the “Three Graces” image they chose to represent their collaboration, this virtual burlesque allowed the ladies to vent their most hidden thoughts and imagined moments of melodrama with a sense of glee as well as with grace. They never revealed the cousin’s name in their story, but simply cast the man as the soldier, the hero, the hopeful intent on wooing the lovely Leonora.

The following images, selected from the scrapbook, tell the story of the cousin’s visit.

 

“The Hero.” This Frederic Remington depiction of “A Typical Trooper” appeared in the July 1891 issue of The Century Magazine.[6] In the ladies’ scrapbook the image assumes a quality of caricature.

“The Hero.” This Frederic Remington depiction of “A Typical Trooper” appeared in the July 1891 issue of The Century Magazine.[6] In the ladies’ scrapbook the image assumes a quality of caricature.

 

“ ‘The Hero’ demands a few Christmas Presents” “The Hero” becomes “The Hopeful” as the shirttail cousin woos Leonora.

“ ‘The Hero’ demands a few Christmas Presents.” “The Hero” becomes “The Hopeful” as the shirttail cousin woos Leonora.

 

“His Expectations of the Future” Life as Mrs. Haycock? Scrapbook - page 11

“His Expectations of the Future.” Life as Mrs. Haycock?

 

“The Hopeful undecided” Eva entertains “The Hopeful” with sketching excursions. Scrapbook - page 13

“The Hopeful undecided.” Eva entertains “The Hopeful” with sketching excursions.

 

The Doctor entertains “The Hopeful” with a shooting party.

The Doctor entertains “The Hopeful” with a shooting party.

 

“The Doctor exasperated”

“The Doctor exasperated.”

 

“Mrs. Fenyes–Take yo’ clo’s ‘n’d go”

“Mrs. Fenyes–Take yo’ clo’s ‘n’d go.”

 

Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 19

“Miss Bennett’s desired mode for the ‘Hopeful’s’ exit.”

 

“Departure of the ‘The Hopeful’” At last…. Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 21

“Departure of the ‘The Hopeful.’ ”

 

Relief and disappointment. Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 23

Relief and disappointment.

 

“The Doctor is pleased." Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 22

“The Doctor is pleased.”

 

“I don’t care if you never come back.” So speaks Eva’s avatar. Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 22

“I don’t care if you never come back.” So speaks Eva’s avatar.

 

At last Scott Haycock has taken his leave. Finally the family can relax. But alas, the season of 1898-‘99 has only just begun.

 

And “Mrs. Fenyes tells the Doctor, ‘More Cousins have come!’ ” Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Box 54 Folder 5 Scrapbook - page 25

And “Mrs. Fenyes tells the Doctor, ‘More Cousins have come!’ ”

 

To view the entire scrapbook and enjoy the remainder of the season at the Fenyes mansion, visit the Reading Room at Pasadena Museum of History Research Library and Archives.

For some scrapbooking history, visit online The Smithsonian Magazine’s July 2014 article “When Copy and Paste Reigned in the Age of Scrapbooking.”

All the images shown here are from the scrapbook A few Reminiscences of the Season of 1898-’99 (FCP.54.5, PMH Archives).

Julie Stires
Pasadena Museum of History
jstires@pasadenahistory.org

 

Current Pasadena Museum of History exhibit: “Fabulous Fashions,” through February 14, 2016.

 

Two-piece silk damask evening gown with leg-of-mutton sleeves, 1890s. Gift of Elizabeth Pedder (Courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History; Costume and Textile Collection, 95.15.20a/b). Photo by Aaron Gil, Fotonuova.com.

Two-piece silk damask evening gown with leg-of-mutton sleeves, 1890s. Gift of Elizabeth Pedder (Courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History; Costume and Textile Collection, 95.15.20a/b). Photo by Aaron Gil, Fotonuova.com.

 

Pasadena Museum of History
470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena 91103
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Tickets: $7, general; $6, students and seniors
For more info, visit PasadenaHistory.org

 

~~~

 

[1] Newspaper clipping, n.d., Scrapbook, 1878-1901. Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers, FCP.103.1.39. Pasadena Museum of History (PMH) Archives, Pasadena, California.

[2] Letter, George B. Haycock to Eva Scott Fenyes, n.d. FCP.33.1, PMH Archives.

[3] The house she refers to was located in Pasadena at 75 South Grand Avenue. The family leased this house while building their first mansion.

[4] Letter, Sara Craig Bennett to Eva Scott Fenyes, 1 December 1896. FCP.28.1, PMH Archives.

[5] Scrapbook, 1898-1899. FCP.54.5, PMH Archives.

[6] “General Miles’s Indian Campaigns,” p 368. The Century Magazine, July 1891. Accessed at UNZ.org/Pub/Century-1891jul.

 

Chiffon and crepe dress with a dropped waist and beading, 1920s. Gift of the Beth Boadway Estate (Courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History; Costume and Textile Collection, 93.3.8). Photo by Aaron Gil, Fotonuova.com.

Chiffon and crepe dress with a dropped waist and beading, 1920s. Gift of the Beth Boadway Estate (Courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History; Costume and Textile Collection, 93.3.8). Photo by Aaron Gil, Fotonuova.com.

 

 

 

 




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