I have a picture of Madeleine and JJ's son, taken when he was about 3 years old. I haven't seen pictures of the Forces.
Also, as to other pictures of Madeleine, I had one which I gave to Don Lynch years ago, showing her in mourning attire walking on 5th Ave. This image was used in the A&E documentary. It was taken from one of my old Vogues, I think from late 1912.
I'm not absolutely sure on this one and need to do some investigation--but I'm thinking that she had just been to Aiken to deal with the aftermath of the fire and then headed on down to her home in Florida and died very shortly thereafter. She apparently still owned the property at the time of her death and it would have passed to her sons by W.K. Dick. One of them settled near Charleston, SC but I've never seen anything indicating that they rebuilt in Aiken. That will bear some futher scrutiny--am about 2.5 hours from Aiken--maybe Meister and I can make a run over one Saturday and see what we can find out. For obvious reasons I'm particularly interested in South Carolina connections to Titanic.
This is a double post - it originated on the L. Duff-Gordon thread, but should be over here also as it relates to the unsinkable Madeleine Astor - Mac Smith
Speaking of Titanic divas to whom men cling in times of bad weather - here in Maine we are going to get our fourth snow storm this week tonight, and already there are 3-foot snowdrifts along the roads, making pulling out from a stop sign deadly. It is cold and miserable, and January is only half over, not to mention February.
This is when I turn to Madeleine Astor. In Maine, Bar Harbor symbolizes the beauty of summer, and to me, Madeleine Force Astor symbolizes Bar Harbor. It was here that J. J. Astor IV met his second wife while she played tennis on the courts at the Kebo country club. After her marriage the local papers were vicious in their items concerning Col. and Mrs. Astor:
"THE ASTOR-FORCE CASE AGAIN
For it's off with the old love, and on with the new;
Divorces are easy and we all draw a few.
The lady is "cute," and she's only eighteen,
But whether the new Force'll hold him is yet to be seen." (1911 Bar Harbor newspaper)
Boarding the Titanic, stewardess Violet Jessop commented on how sad Mrs. Astor looked (can't find the clipping), making Ms. Jessop reflect that she was glad she had not married for money the one chance she had had.
The sadness of Mrs. Astor upon entering the Titanic (smacking of the character "Rose" in the 1997 movie "Titanic") is not surprising because, with all the viciousness that she had felt because of the wedding (including a huge social snub at she and J.J.'s first big party they planned in New York in January 1912, I believe), Madeleine knew that she was headed back into the lion's den, at the
beginning of the social season, five months pregnant. (She must have been showing by then.) If the public and the press had been this bad thus far, imagine what she would hear when she and her husband arrived in America on the Titanic.
That did not happen, but that summer she returned to Bar Harbor.
She started off slow, following dictates of mourning, except that she would not wear black, her mother announced.
In 1916 she married William Dick. At the time of her marriage a local paper wrote about her time since the loss of her first husband:
"Bar Harbor has been largely devoted to dancing for the past few seasons, and at the regular dances at the Swimming club, the Malvern, and various other places where society gathers, she was generally to be found. In fact, after an extremely quiet period after the Titanic disaster, it seemed that when convention and her own wishes allowed, she inteneded to make up for the gloomy years that she had spent after the ocean tragedy."
The articles also says "Last summer she was the acknowledged leader of society, and both the Swimming club and the Kebo golf club were almost daily visited by her."
Madeleine arranged impromptu picnics at Echo Lake, where she burned her finger while broiling chops over an open fire, as well as many other last-minute picnics and other social activities, at which Mr. Dick was often in attendance but not "with" Mrs. Astor.
"Before her marriage to Col. Astor, the Forces have been coming to Bar Harbor for many years, and she and her sister had grown up here. They had a small cottage in an unfashionable locality, entertained very modestly, and had rather a modest place in fashion's whirl here. Her marriage to Col. Astor, whom she won solely by her beauty and charm, at once placed her in a position to dictate to the
resort here and families who would have gladly snubbed her as plain Madeleine Force, were forced to recognize her unquestioned social leadership as Mrs. John Jacob Astor and mother of the heir to the Astor millions. Since her marriage, her social position has been unquestioned here."
Madeleine Talmadge Force Astor Dick Fiermonte, 90 years later you still rock my cold winter world. You go, girl!!!
Hi guys. I was just wondering..... I read this article by Phil Gowan on the website titanic-titanic.com--
"Probably Mrs. Astor was wearing an evening gown - of course she would have had to dress for a dinner on a boat like Titanic... They said she had on only a raincoat, but I doubt that. .."
A man named A.J. Dickinson said that.
I watched Ghosts of the Abyss a few days ago and was inspired when i saw the scene where Madeleine was put into the boat. In the movie she is only wearing an evening gown. I'm a bit confused on what i should be making her wear. Any suggestions?
I have also seen that seen in Ghosts of the Abbys and I was wondered if she was really wearing evening gown only. She was in "delicate condition" so I think she should wear more clothes. And I was also wondered about her armpits. You could see she had shaved armpits but I heard that shaved armpits in the Titanic era were vulgar. But in cutted scenes of Cameron`s Titanic she had also a coat. I can send you the photo if you want.
The custom of shaving armpits for women is an interesting topic. Lots of early cultures from Egyptians to Greeks prized body hairlessness, but it seems like 1915 was the first year it became a must for women of that era to shave their underarms. It may relate to the moving pictures -Theda Bara appeared shaved that year in Cleopatra, as well as ladies' magazines in May (Harper's Bazaar) showing smooth pits. Prostitutes had the reputation of unshaven armpits also, and with the shorter fashions and more exposed skin which was to follow the Victorian period, it probably just looked nicer. I expect Mrs. Astor would have shaved- she was very athletic, bathing, tennis, horseback riding and such, and was probably keeping up with the trends before the multitudes copied them.
Yes, 'an interesting topic'. (But we'll not discuss hairlessness in regard to 'merkins'.) Shelley is almost certainly correct regarding Mrs Astor's armpits anticipating a new trend. If not, it would only be due to the fact that very few French women shaved, anywhere, before 1950. Perhaps the majority of Continental ladies still do not do so.
I also never thought of Mrs. Astor’s armpits as being a topic of conversation, but nothing is off limits these days. If I may weigh in on this, shaving was a Victorian custom of cleanliness in America, and perhaps elsewhere. I think it was more pervasive in Europe, at least among the theatrical set, than has been indicated here.
In 1906, for instance, soprano Mary Garden appeared in Paris in the play "Aphrodite," dressed in Grecian costumes by the designer Redfern. Two of these gowns were sleeveless, revealing her underarms, clearly visible in photos of scenes in which she raised her hands: her underarms are shaven. Also in images (from about this same date) of dancer Isadora Duncan, who wore sleeveless robes for her performances, her underarms are smooth.
I must add, too, that sleeveless evening gowns were chic well before 1915, as numerous photos and paintings show. But Shelley is right that the trend had so universalized by that year that it had become fodder for critics, who railed against and poked fun at the fashion in editorial columns and cartoons (and the pulpit, no doubt).
Shelley and Randy have, between them, given us much fun and info. I can very well imagine some pompous critic of the sort Randy refers to passing a comment like this: "There are, of course, women who raise their arms. And ladies who do not do so."
The development of the safety razor too, I suspect had an awful lot to do with women shaving . The old Victorian straight razor was nearly a murder weapon. In 1895 Gillette came up with the prototype for disposable blades and worked with an MIT engineer to produce a better model with a 2-sided blade by 1901. But it was WWI and Gillette's monopoly with the Armed Forces, supplying blades and safety razors to the troops overseas that made Gillette a household word, plenty of the things lying about the bathroom for Sis too. The style did not change- I recall using my Dad's Gillette in the 60's and it looked just like the 1906 model below. A "wind up " preview of an electric model came out in 1910 and was patented.An executive at Wilkinson Sword blademakers launched an ad campaign to court women's shaver purchase in 1914. It worked- and if you look at the starlets of the 1920's- the gals went right on to shaving off most of their eyebrows too!