Marian Thayer


S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
It is apparently scheduled to be published by the end of the year. Lewis Orchard has said that they are using illustrations from their extensive design and photo archive, which has been catalogued by two Lucile experts at the V&A

Also, there is an illustrated article about his own Lucile archive in last months Wonderland magazine. It has a really bad title 'sunk without a trace' !!! :)
 
Mar 20, 2000
3,107
33
323
I have had an email from one of the authors of the upcoming Lucile book, Amy de la Haye, with whom I've been in contact for some years in connection with my own book. She said that the release date by V&A Publications will come "via museum channels" in due course, and indicated that although they were "well on" with the book, publication "by the end of the year" is speculation at this point. Amy also pointed out that the book was not biographical but focused on the V&A's collection.

In her message she said: "Our books should dovetail very nicely as yours seems to be biographical and ours focuses very specifically upon surviving material preserved in the V&A archive, and particularly one fashion album from Autumn 1905 which is case-studied in some depth."

Lucile's grandson, the late Tony Earl of Halsbury, donated the photographic archive of Lucile designs to the V&A; these had been kept in a number of boxes by Lady Flavia Anderson (L's granddaughter) at her house in Edinburgh until she moved to a smaller place, at which time she sent them to her brother in London, who then gave them to the V&A. Former costume curator Madeleine Ginsburg assisted in this acquisition back in the 1970s or 80s; I know she pursued Lord H about it for a good while (he showed me her letters once), so thanks to her perseverance and Tony's generosity, these great images were saved!

Randy
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
The British designer Lewis Orchard has seen the archive a number of times and says that it is not just a photographic archive. He also went to see it with the Duff Gordon family, many of whom knew little or nothing about their famous ancestor!
 
Mar 20, 2000
3,107
33
323
I didn't say it was "just" a photographic archive. I was merely touching on that part of it. The V&A has numerous Lucile costumes, some accessories and a collection of watercolor designs. I, too, have visited the museum, and interviewed the curators, including Valerie D. Mendes, whose "Black in Fashion" (2000) I reviewed for a US fashion paper. A complete catalogue listing of the V&A's holdings on Lucile will appear in my book. Also, I'm aware of the recent visit of the Duff Gordon family to the V&A. They told me how thrilled they were to see all the V&A had on Lucile.

The family knew little about Lucile because Lord H was very reticent. However, he opened up a great deal in his last years, and I was honored to record his memories. His daughters now have copies of the complete record of our correspondence.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
>His daughters now have copies of the complete record of our correspondence.

Including the fascinating, readable, and historically important Gowan letters?
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Jul 4, 2000
6,367
390
433
An ad hominem message and a response to that message have been removed from this thread.

Please keep the discussion focused on the subject and not on the perceived qualities of the participants in the discussion. Thanks.
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
Randy, it seems from your postings that you are not aware of the archive that was recently catalogued by a Lucile expert from the Royal College of Art. The other holdings you describe are of course still there.

Anyone can visit the V&A, and can do their own research. (see website to make an appointment) Valerie Mendes, and Amy De La Haye no longer work there but are writing their book based on their many years combined working knowledge of the V&A archive.

It seems there may be a rush of Lucile books. Who is the publisher of yours?
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
Marian Thayer doesn't appear to be well served here...

I'm still rooting around to uncover information about her life and activities, both before and after the 'Titanic'. David and Brian - if nobody else - might be interested to know what I find, if it helps to contribute to our picture of the woman who is the ostensible subject of this thread.
 

David Paris

Member
Mar 27, 2008
21
0
71
Absolutely Martin! Please keep us updated! Though I haven't posted for a while due to current work overflow (ick!) I still stop by regularly and browse the forums and contribute where I can. And hello to Randy - thanks for the welcome and good to see you're still with us!
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
Further research has shown that, whilst references to the Thayer family in contemporary gossip columns are patchy, they do exist. As might be expected of friends of the ultra-gregarious Wideners and Carters, John and Marian were sometimes in attendance at the grander social events of the period. Indeed, when they themselves entertained, they did so in high style, and in the most illustrious company too. In late 1905, for example, Prince Louis of Battenberg (Lord Mountbatten's father) was visiting the States with his nephew, Prince Alexander. The smart set went into over-drive in their efforts to keep the two men amused, but Marian pulled off a particular coup when she enticed Prince Louis to lunch with her at Sherry's, the most exclusive restaurant in New York. Also included in her party was Ava Willing Astor, John Jacob Astor's virtually ubiquitous first wife, and they afterwards adjourned to the Madison Square Garden for an afternoon at the Horse Show, where they were installed in the box of A.J. Cassatt. As Jack Thayer would eventually marry Lois Cassatt, it is interesting to find this early reference to the two families playing host to one another. Once at the show, Prince Louis peeled off for a stroll around the arena with Ava. One hopes that Marian wasn't miffed to find her guest-of-honour poached in this way!

Several years later, at the very beginning of February 1912 (and so, presumably, only days before the Thayer family departed for Europe), Philadelphia Society was summoned en masse to what was described as 'the most exclusive dance of the season' at the opulent Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. Because George and Eleanor Widener had recently been criticised for what was deemed to be their over-the-top entertainment - featuring, among other divertissements, 'Miss Ruth St. Denis, a troupe of Hindus and writhing reptiles' (yes, really) - press reporters were barred and so only limited reports of the evening's festivities leaked out. Nevertheless, it was reported that the guests experimented with the latest 'animal dances' - the Turkey Trot, the Grizzly Bear and the Bunny Hug. The ball was unusual because the men, as opposed to their wives, were the hosts - one of them being John B. Thayer. He had been quite seriously ill in 1911 (I haven't been able to ascertain what his complaint was) but had evidently made a full recovery by this point, and he and Marian were once more socially active in the New Year.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
I've also been interested to learn a little about the considerable achievements of another branch of the Thayer family, that of John's brother, George Chapman Thayer. He married Gertrude Wheeler of Philadelphia in February 1902, at the Protestant Church of the Redeemer at Bryn Mawr. He was attended by two of his brothers, Harry and Walter, and the reception was held at the home of his mother, Mrs John B. Thayer Senior. Gertrude's sister, Mary, had previously married a German nobleman, Count Pappenheim, and had allegedly carried with her to Europe a dowry of $1,000,000 - although the press were at pains to point out that the count had not been on the look-out for a dollar princess, already being in possession of a very considerable fortune of his own. The Countess Pappenheim crops up fairly regularly in the Society columns of the day and seems to have spent a substantial amount of her time with the American ex-patriate community in London. George Thayer was apparently on hand to greet his bereaved sister-in-law and nephew upon their return to Haverford by rail in April 1912 and was certainly present at the dinner Marian later gave at her home for Captain Rostron and her fellow 'Titanic' survivors, Eleanor Widener and Martha Stephenson.

In the September of that same year, and after a full decade of marriage, Gertrude Thayer finally had a child, Avis, who would eventually become the eldest of six. She attended Bryn Mawr, but did not graduate, instead spending a year studying abroad. During a visit to her brother Charles, who was on post to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, she met Charles Eustis Bohlen, whom she married in 1935. Bohlen would go on to enjoy an extremely distinguished career in the diplomatic service and served as American Ambassador to the Soviet Union (which must have been sticky, right in the middle of the Cold War), the Philippines and France. Avis was active in the American Association of Foreign Service Wives and the Avis Bohlen Award administered by the American Foreign Service Association was established in her name in 1982, to honour the wives of Foreign Service officers.
Avis' brother (and so Jack Thayer's first cousin) was Charles W. Thayer, who himself became a very prominent diplomat and a writer of some note. His papers, many of which relate to his family and career, are currently housed in the Harry S. Truman Library. I've supplied the link below:

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/hstpaper/thayerc.htm
 
Jun 8, 2002
204
0
181
Hello, Martin:

I want to thank you publicly for your fine posts. They have enhanced our knowledge of the era and the major players in the story of the "Titanic". Like Randy Bigham, Shelley Dziedzic, George Behe, Pat Cook, Inger Sheil and many others, some of whom I've had the privilege of meeting face-to-face, I don't have the time to post much anymore. Still, I check in from time to time, and am always glad to read your very intelligent contributions. Thank you!

Regards,
Doug Willingham
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I do realise that many of my contributions to the board will be of only the most marginal interest (if of any interest at all!) to my fellow members but, speaking for myself, I feel it is so important to try to 'flesh out' the life-stories of those men and women who sailed on the 'Titanic', by fitting them into the broader social and cultural context of their time. Unless we do so, we can't hope to understand their reactions to the events of April 1912.

In the case of the first-class passengers, one is constantly amazed by how many of them knew or, at least, knew of one another before they sailed. Similarly, and quite apart from the obvious 'snob appeal' that comes from rummaging around in the biographies of the rich and famous, it is fascinating to trace their connections to the most celebrated figures of their day - whether that be in the field of politics, industry, high society, the arts or whatever. In so many instances, the disaster was but a single episode (albeit an extremely harrowing one) in otherwise diverse and rewarding lives; lives which really should not be exclusively defined by an involuntary involvement in the sinking and its aftermath.

Anyway, it is always nice to be appreciated.

With best wishes

Martin
 

David Paris

Member
Mar 27, 2008
21
0
71
I echo Dr Douglas' post Martin, thank you so much for putting any information out there. With the passengers no longer around to tell their own stories and information scant, every piece is always of interest - great stuff!
 
Jun 8, 2002
204
0
181
Hello, again, Martin , David and all...

I hope this is not redundant information on ET or elsewhere but has anyone else noticed, in the film "On Golden Pond", that the family surname is "Thayer" and that Henry Fonda's character was a retired faculty member at Ivy League University of Pennsylvania? Many of you will no doubt remember that Jack Thayer was both a graduate of and later university treasurer of Penn. I'm familiar with that school on a personal level, as my ex-wife was a triple alumna there, born and raised in Philadelphia. The campus is beautiful.

Could the author of the play/screenwriter have based his main character on Jack? It has always seemed to me to be too close to coincidence not to be possible.

Regards to all,
Doug
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
I was, this morning, delighted to discover that, as a young married woman, Marian Thayer sat for the miniaturist Carl Weidner. The art of miniature painting had gone into abeyance in the mid-nineteenth century, with the invention and rise in popularity of photography, but it enjoyed something of a renaissance in the 1890s and 1900s. Mrs Thayer is depicted half-length and in profile to the right, wearing a rose-pink gown trimmed with a deep flounce of white lace. Her brownish-gold hair (so interesting to see what colour it was) is upswept in the fashion of the day and is threaded with pink ribbon. The portrait is held in the collection of the New York Historical Society and I'm even more pleased to be able to supply the link which will allow you to view it on-line.

https://www.nyhistory.org/web/default.php?section=exhibits_collections

Simply type the key word 'Thayer' into the search engine and up she pops!
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
I've found several references in the contemporary press to John B. Thayer's illness during 1910 and 1911. As was standard practice at the time, the gossip columns treated this only very obliquely (just as the imminent birth of Madeleine Astor's baby was coyly described in early April as 'an interesting event') and I am not at all sure what was the matter with him. John was certainly able to travel and had at least one rest cure in Europe (from which he returned home aboard the White Star liner 'Adriatic') and, on another occasion, when laid low in London, an informal statement was issued which breezily claimed that all he required for a full recovery was a little peace and quiet.

I might be barking up the wrong tree entirely but one does wonder if Mr Thayer actually suffered from recurrent bouts of depression? Not one but two of his children (Jack being one of them) would commit suicide in later years and it is not inconceivable that this was a hereditary condition, passed on from their father.

Just a thought!
 

Similar threads

Similar threads