Theodate Pope Riddle


May 12, 2005
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For those interested in Lusitania's passengers and who also appreciate the arts and gracious living, there is a wonderful tribute to Theodate Pope Riddle, America's first woman architect and Lusy survivor, in the current (April) issue of Victoria Magazine.

To those unfamiliar with this gem of a publication, it's basically the history buff's answer to House Beautiful.

Anyway the article on Theodate is lush with exterior and interior photos of her family home, Hill-Stead, in Farmington, Connecticut, now a museum. Theodate's gardens, her living room (with its Degas and Monet paintings), her bedroom, and even her closet - still full of Edwardian finery - are all pictured. There is also a stunning portrait of Theodate from the Hill-Stead archives.

Pick up a copy and enjoy learning about this extraordinary woman.
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi Geoff,

I will bring you a copy of this magazine when I come over. It says she took the name Theodate from her grandmother.

Randy
 
May 19, 2002
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Geoff, Randy,

accoding to the Pope family bible she was born Effie Brooks Pope on 2nd Feb 1867- even though her gravestone says 1868.

according to her diary she changed her name from Effie to Teodate between Jan & June 1886

Cliff
 
May 12, 2005
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Thanks for the link. Theodate was a remarkable woman and is in need of a biographer. She privately published bits of a memoir, there are a few commemorative catalogues about, and her god-daughter wrote a short, limited-edition biography. But she requires a full-length study.

(By the way, "Effie" sounds hopelessly conventional and Victorian - not her style! Glad she changed it.)
 
E

edlk

Guest
There *is* a full-length biography of TPR that has just been published (this week) -- _Dearest Genius: A Life of Theodate Pope Riddle_ by Sandra Katz. Professor Katz will be doing a reading and book-signing at Hill-Stead in Sunday, May 18, starting at 1:00pm.
 
K

Karen Gibbs

Guest
I'm the grand-daughter to one of Theodate Pope Riddle's wards. In learning that she kept a diary, I'd like to read it to learn more about my grandfather. Is her diary published? Any other information about her personal writing would help us.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I finally made it to Hillstead yesterday, and for anyone who loves the Gilded Age, amazing women, or art and architecture-this is a must for a visit. Theodate, (who took her Quaker granny's name, disliking"Effie")designed Hillstead, and the family moved in in 1901. A large stern-looking portrait of Granny Theodate hangs in the reception room. She and her parents, in anticipation of the house, had been collecting beautiful objets d'art including impressionist painters(there are Degas and Monet as well as Cassat), celandon pottery, french clocks and all manner of beautiful things. The furnishings are all there, right down to Theo's parrot, who is stuffed but charming in his pagoda cage in her morning room. The sunken garden and gazebo, by Edith Wharton's niece, Beatrix Farrand, carriage house, and farm are all restored-and the grounds were lovely with the New England fall foliage at present. Nineteen rooms are on the house tour, including the room where Theo died, which has an open closet just full of her exquisite clothing from the 1918-1930's period, beautifully conserved. Hats, shoes, a lady's travelling case fitted out by Tiffany with silver-topped bottles, tortoise shell brushes and combs-the first complete set I've ever seen. Kidskin opera gloves repose in an open drawer, feathers, jewelry, and the most wonderful cloche hat are on display. The family silver and china can be viewed in the Edwardian kitchen, which had several ingenious contraptions to make life easier for the butler( who stayed with Theo for 60 years and is buried with the family at nearby Riverside Cemetery). The English carpets have little tuffets like pompon marshmallows woven in to act as door stops behind the door-fascinating.Even monogrammed bathtowels still hang over the huge porcelain tubs. It seems as if the family might return at any moment.

Theo, her husband, adopted little boy, Gordy (who died tragically young), and the butler are all buried side by side with very plain rectangular ground stones, with a simple laurel leaf wreath at the top. Riverside Cemetery is on Garden Street, perhaps five blocks off Rt. 10 (Farmington Ave.) where the distinguished Miss Porter's School for girls (of which Theo was a graduate) is located.

There are a number of good books and booklets on Theo and her remarkable life, and marriage to "Totum", her tall husband, Mr. Riddle, who called her his "Dearest of Geniuses". To think, but for a fluttering eyelash, this amazing lady might have been left for dead. Very little of the Lusitania story is told at Hillstead, but it is addressed in the recent biography. This is a lovely day's outing for the whole family, with many hiking trails on the property, only 15 minutes from Hartford-and the Mark Twain house is on the way home in downtown Hartford.
http://www.hillstead.org/information.html
 

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