Florence Jaffray Harriman's Visitors' Book: High Society and Progressive Politics in New York and Washington, 1915-1936

Author: 
Florence Jaffray "Daisy" Harriman (1870–1967), American socialite, suffragist, social reformer, organizer, and diplomat
Publication details: 
1915-1936
£10,000.00
SKU: 19957

The present item - Daisy Harriman's Visitors' Book - is a significant artefact. Harriman was an important social activist and one of New York's leading socialites (at age 86, as Life Magazine reported, she still continued to host regular Sunday dinners for around twenty guests). Grouped together within its pages are several hundred signatures of influential figures of the Progressive Era, mixed with those of members of the high society of the Gilded Age of Edith Wharton's New York, and of American and international figures from politics, the arts and the aristocracy; the dating and annotation of the album providing a historical record of their interactions.Over a period of nine decades Florence Jaffray 'Daisy' Harriman occupied, as she states in her autobiography 'From Pinafores to Politics' (1923), 'a box seat at the America of my times'. A daughter of the shipping magnate F. W. J. Hurst, at the age of six, during the 1876 election campaign, she witnessed a visit to her family home by Presidents Garfield and Arthur, and in 1963, at the age of 87, she received a Citation of Merit for Distinguished Service from President Kennedy, for her 'singular and lasting contributions to the cause of peace and freedom'. A lifelong Democrat and leading proponent of women's suffrage, Harriman campaigned on a range of social issues, from child labour to insanitary housing. In 1903 she co-founded with the wife of John Jacob Astor IV the Colony Club, New York City's first club exclusively for women, and in 1909 she lent her financial support to the New York Shirtwaist Strike. In 1912 President Woodrow Wilson appointed Harriman a member of the first Federal Commission on Industrial Relations, whose report she refused to endorse, organising the publication of an alternative. President Roosevelt praised her as 'the woman who was most responsible for helping to provide milk for dependent poor children in the great city of New York'. As United States Minister to Norway in the Second World War she organized the safe evacuation of members of the Norwegian royal family. An interesting lighthearted 'graphological diagnosis' of Harriman's character is provided by 'H. Bergson', i.e. the French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941), one of the twelve signatories to this album on the occasion of 'Washington's birthday dinner - 1917', who writes besides Harriman's own signature ('Florence J. Harriman'): 'Logique, esprit de comparison, suite dans les idées, décision, bonté, amabilité. | Voilâ mon diagnostique graphologique. | H. B.'The volume is 101pp., landscape octavo (17 x 22 cm). In worn and stained brown leather binding and all edges gilt, with repaired front cover, rebacked with 'Florence Jaffray Harriman' in gilt on spine; original green silk endpapers; all edges gilt. Internally in fair condition, on aged paper, with light damp staining to fore-edges. Covering the periods 1915-1917 (54pp.), 1920-1927 (42pp.), 1930-1936 (3pp.).On the reverse of a page on which Harriman notes that on 'Monday, April 2nd. 1917 - | President Wilson went to the Congress to ask for a declaration of a State of War' is a caricature of the President, in overcoat and hat, striding forwards while trailing three toy boats on a string, and at the same time holding up a glass to receive wine from a large bottle, captioned 'HON. F. D. R. LEADING THE NAVY TO THE GRAPE JUICE'. The volume is accompanied by a 1987 TLS from Frances M. Seeber, Chief Archivist, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, discussing the caricature and its possible authorship by the page's signatories, Roosevelt's Harvard classmate Samuel A. Welldon, his wife Julia and Gertrude Beeks. The volume also contains three photographs (including one relating to Harriman's time in the Red Cross Motor Corps. These and the volume's other insertions are discussed with other points of interest at the end of this description.The signatures are sometimes accompanied by comments (see the descriptions of Upshur's poem and Aidy's drawing at the end of this description). Besides the obvious (Christmas, New Year, Easter, Thanksgiving), the signatures are grouped around the date of the social engagement at which they were given. Comments added by Harriman regarding specific dates include: 6 May 1915, 'Hearings Labour Conditions on Penn. Railway'; 7 May 1915, 'Hearing on Pennsylvania Constabulary'; 13 May 1915, '"Labour & the Law"'; 'Today - April 19 - 1916 The U. S. demands that Germany modifies her Submarine Warfare '; 'Preparedness Week - 1917 - Jan. 25. 26. 27. 28'; 'Washington's birthday dinner - 1917'; 'Ethel's nineteenth birthday dinner - Dec. 11. '16'; 'Decoration Day - luncheon - May 30 - 1922'. One page is headed: 'Ennis Cottage Newport R.I. | December of 1916 - | Arrived June 29'. It is also Harriman's practice throughout the album to write in pencil the names of guests who did not sign, as for example on 29 May 1917, when she writes 'Mr. Hoover'; on 11 June 1917, 'Mr. Marconi'; on 30 November 1920, of a visit from President Wilson, 'C in C'; and on 21 January 1923, 'Italian Ambassador'.The volume begins with Harriman living mainly in Washington as a result of her work on the Federal Commission. This was a time when, as 'Current Biography' stated in 1940, she was considered one of the city's 'foremost and most envied hostesses', and it is clear from the album that the pergola of her house provided a social hub. (On signing the album on 13 May 1915, the Progressive attorney Frank P. Walsh (1864-1939), the Chairman of the Commission on Industrial Relations whose report Harriman refused to endorse, describes it as 'The Pergola, Militant'.) The first page is headed by her: 'Under the Pergola - | 1709 H. St. Washington D.C. | April 30 - 1915.' Affixed to the page is a photograph of two men and a woman seated at a dining table under her pergola. The page carries the signatures of two of these individuals: the artist and sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941), and Harriman's friend Beatrice Bend (1874-1941), daughter of bankrupt New York stockbroker George H. Bend. (Bends signature features on a number of occasions, latterly as 'Beatrice Fletcher', after her marriage in 1917 to Henry Prather Fletcher (1873-1959), American diplomat under six presidents. Following the marriage a page carries signatures of those attending a 'Farewell Dinner to Prather & Beatrice - March 3 - 1922'.) Harriman notes in pencil the identity of the other party in the photograph, 'M.E. Stone Jr.'Members of the Harriman family sign throughout (for example her daughter 'Ethel Harriman Russell' (born Ethel Borden Harriman) (1897-1953), with her husband Henry Potter Russell (1893-1943); and her sister Elise Mairs [born Caroline Elise Hurst], with her husband George Hope Mairs (1866-1933), but these individuals do not of course provide the volume's main interest. The following list of signatories, by no means exhaustive, is divided into sections: 1. Politics; 2. High Society; 3. Activism, Women's Rights and Philanthropy; 4. Business and Finance; 5. The Arts and Culture; 6. Journalism; 7. Britain; 8. International. It is followed by a short section on Further Points of Interest.POLITICS: Margaret Woodrow Wilson (1886-1944), daughter of the President, and Hindu mystic and translator, who at the time of writing (21 May 1915) was the First Lady of the United States [ 'list of distinguished figures, headed by the First Lady . . .']; 'Eleanor W. McAdoo', i.e. Eleanor Randolph Wilson McAdoo (1889-1967), another daughter of President Woodrow Wilson; 'Alice Longworth', i.e. Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980), eldest child of President Theodore Roosevelt; Warren Delano Robbins (1885-1935), diplomat, first cousin of F. D. Roosevelt, with his wife Irene de Bruyn Robbins (1887-1960); Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour (1848-1930), British Conservative Prime Minister, 1902-1905; William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950), Prime Minister of Canada; William Phillips (1878-1968), US diplomat, twice Under Secretary of State; David Franklin Houston (1866-1940), Democratic politician, Secretary of the Treasury, while Secretary of Agriculture (2 June 1916), with his wife Helen Beall Houston; Rear Admiral Cary Travers Grayson (1878-1938), personal aide to President Woodrow Wilson and chairman of the American Red Cross, with his wife Gertrude Gordon Grayson (1892-1961); John Purroy Mitchel (1879-1918), Mayor of New York; James Clark McReynolds (1862-1946), Woodrow Wilson's Attorney General; Charles Richard Crane (1858-1939) American businessman and Arabist, founder of the Institute of Current World Affairs; Leland Harrison (1883-1951), American diplomat; Henry White (1850-1927), American diplomat; Joseph Clark Baldwin (1897-1957), American Republican politician; William Henry King (1863-1949), Democratic Senator, and his wife Vera Sjödahl King (1891-1955); Thomas James Walsh (1859-1933), Democratic Senator; Gilbert Hitchcock (1859-1934), Democratic Senator; Henrik Shipstead (1881-1960), anti-interventionist Senator; Smith Wildman Brookhart (1869-1944), Republican Senator; William Bourke Cochran (1854-1923), Democratic Representative, and his wife Anne Ide Cockran (1876-1945), daughter of Henry Clay Ide, friend in Samoa (where she was known as 'Levei-malo') of Robert Louis Stevenson, to whom Stevenson 'legally' donated his birthday; Joseph Clark Baldwin (1897-1957), American politician in the House of Representatives; Eliot Wadsworth, Boston lawyer, executive head in Washington of the American Red Cross, 1916-1919, and later an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.HIGH SOCIETY: 'Vincent Astor', i.e. William Vincent Astor (1891-1959), businessman and philanthropist, and his wife 'Helen Astor', i.e. Helen Dinsmore Huntington Astor (1893-1976); 'Emily Vanderbilt White', i.e. Emily Thorn Vanderbilt (1852-1946), philanthropist who financed the creation of New York's Sloane Hospital for Women in 1888 with an endowment of more than $1,000,000 ; Grace Vanderbilt (1870-1953), socialite; Edith Vanderbilt (born Edith Stuyvesant Dresser, 1873-1958) wife of George Washington Vanderbilt II, later Edith Stuyvesant Dresser Gerry; Muriel Vanderbilt (1900-1972), socialite and racehorse breeder; George Gordon Moore (1875-1971), American railway millionaire famous for his lavish parties, lawyer, polo player, horse breeder and philanthropist; Alice Huntington Marshall (1898-1966), wife of Charles Marshall, sister of Helen Astor, wife of Vincent Astor, who adds '(one meal)'; Adele Livingston Allen [ 'Daisy', born Adele Livingston Stevens ] (1864-1939), whose mother eloped in the 1880s with the Marquis de Talleyrand Perigord, with her husband New York lawyer Frederick Hobbes Allen (1858-1937); 'Percy R Pyne Jr', i.e. Percy Rivington Pyne (1896-1941), described by E. R. Salvini as 'the poster boy for the idle rich'; John Welldon (1858-1911) and his son Samuel Alfred Welldon (1882-1962), Harvard classmate of FDR; Vera B. Whitehouse, 'a New York society lady who had been sent to Zurich to run the American propaganda campaign among the Swiss' (James Srodes, 'Allen Dulles: Master of Spies'); Isabel Townsend Labouisse, wife of Peter Labouisse, whose assault by a black man in New Orleans in 1903 had led to his lynching; Mildred Montagu Kimball (1885-1970); Cornelia Martin Wilder (1890-1962) and her sister Sylvia Wilder, daughters of Brig. Gen. Wilbur Elliott Wilder; John Ballantine Pitney (1892-1927) and his bride-to-be Francise Williams; Irene Howard King Carley (1884-1939).ACTIVISM, WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND PHILANTHROPY: Mabel Thorp Boardman (1860-1946), American philanthropist involved with the American Red Cross; Juliet Barrett Rublee (1875-1966), feminist, birth control advocate, pacifist, film maker; Mary Crocker Alexander [later Mary Crocker Alexander Whitehouse] (1895-1986), leader of civic groups, and the first woman to be elected to the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whiting Williams (1878-1975), co-founder of the Welfare Federation of Cleveland, a predecessor to the Community Chest and United Way charitable organizations; Dorothy Straight (1887-1968), heiress to the Whitney oil fortune, women's rights activist, benefactor of Cornell University, founder of Dartington Hall; 'Thérèse Lubo-mirska', i.e. Thérèse Lubomirska, Princess Sapieha. (1888-1964), Wife of Prince Eustach Sapieha, President of the Polish Red Cross Society in London; Gertrude Beeks, before her marriage in 1917 to Ralph Easley, whose National Civic Federation she would oversee after his death; Margaret Benn [ Viscountess Stansgate ] (1897-1991), theologian, President of the Congregational Federation, and advocate of women's rights; Ishbel Maria Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair (1857-1939), Scottish aristocrat, philanthropist and women's rights advocate, with her husband 'Aberdeen & Temair'; William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr. (1863-1941), husband of President Wilson's daughter Eleanor (see above), American lawyer and politician, a leader of the Progressive movement who played a major role in the Wilson administration, with his son F. H. McAdoo [Francis Huger McAdoo] and E. P. McAdoo; Cornelia Bryce Pinchot (1881-1960), feminist and political activist whose papers are now in the Library of Congress; Anne Hyde Choate (1886-1967), leader of the American Girl Guides movement; John Andrews Fitch (1881-1959), American writer, teacher, social investigator and contributor to the Pittsburgh Survey; "Gertrude Alice" Grayson [ Gertrude [Alice] Gordon Grayson (1892- 1961), civic leader, patron of medicine, racehorse breeder; George Foster Peabody (1852-1938), American banker and philanthropist; Daniel S. McCorkle (1880-1956), Presbyterian minister, social worker, educator and socialist; Percy Rivington Pyne (1857-1929), banker, financier and philanthropist.BUSINESS AND FINANCE: Adolph Caspar Miller (1866-1953), Governor of the Federal Reserve; Thomas William Lamont jr (1870-1948), American banker who made the cover of Time magazine in 1929, and his wife Florence Lamont; Harris Weinstock (1854-1922), founder of Weinstock and Lubin; Alfonso de Navarro, American industrialist; Henry Crosby Emery (1872-1924), economist; 'Lee Gwynne', i.e. Walter Lee Gwynne (1881-1955), New York stockbroker; Henry Potter Russell (1893-1943), husband of Helen Crocker (1897-1966) of the banking dynasty; William Herbert vom Rath (c.1887-1971), director of the I. G. Farben's American subsidiary General Aniline; Alexander Shaw, i.e Alejandro Shaw, Argentine banker and art collector, with his sister Gisele Shaw (b.1895).THE ARTS AND CULTURE: Elsie Janis (1889-1956), American singer and actress, 'the sweetheart of the AEF' in the Great War, with her mother ('and mother') Josephine Janis (1861-1930); Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917), English actor-manager, the most expansive signature in the volume, dated by him 9 March 1917, less than four months before his death in London; 'Winston Churchill Cornish N.H.', i.e the American novelist (1871-1947); John Lawrence Mauran (1866-1933), American architect; Ina Claire (1893-1985), American stage and screen actress; Violet Trefusis (1894-1972), English socialite and author, with her husband Denys Trefusis (1890-1929); Sum Nung Au-Young, Chinese poet and philosopher, founder of the School of Chinese Philosophy and Cultural Studies in New York; Marquise Laura de Gozdawa-Turczynowicz [ born Laura Christine Blackwell ] (1878-1953), opera singer noted for her charitable work in Poland during the Great War; Charles Suydam Cutting (1889-1972), the first Westerner to enter the Forbidden City in Lhasa, Tibet, and member of the Kelley-Roosevelt Expedition to Eastern Asia; Sydney Brooks (1872-1937), British author and critic; Hugh Stockdale Bird (1869-1931) Professor of Philosophy and Pedagogy; Clara Fargo Thomas (1891-1970), Wells Fargo heiress, muralist and painter; Leslie Buswell (1888-1974), Anglo-American actor and soldier; Sir Alfred Maurice Low (1860-1929), author and journalist; Giuseppe Brambilla (1888-1918), Italian professional cyclist; 'Ethel Crocker' (née Sperry, 1861-1934), Californian patron of French Impressionist art, wife of William Henry Crocker, President, Crocker National Bank; William Alanson White (1870-1937), surgeon and neurologist; Arthur Upham Pope (1881-1969), authority on Iranian art and founder of the American Institute of Persian Art and Archaeology; William Stephen Rainsford (1850-1933), Rector of St George's Church, Stuyvesant Square, New York; Martha Bibescu (1886-1973), Romanian-French novelist and socialite; Judith Listowel (1903-2003), Anglo-Hungarian author.JOURNALISM: 'Wickham Steed', i.e. Henry Wickham Steed (1871-1956), journalist, at the time (19 December 1921) editor of The Times of London; George Marvin, Washington editor of 'The World's Work' (on several occasions, one with note by him: 'May 23 [1916] - dinner. | First aid to the injured.'); William Hard (1878-1962), journalist, and his wife fellow-journalist Anne Hard (born Anne Scribner, 1877-1961); Thomas Power O'Connor (1848-1929), Fleet Street editor, Irish nationalist, and British Member of Parliament (he writes: 'T. P. O'Connor Late of London, now & for ever after, of Washington'), accompanied by Richard Hazleton (1879-1943), Irish nationalist British Member of Parliament; Norman Hapgood (1868-1937), editor of Harper's Weekly and diplomat; John A. Hennessy (1859-1951), editor of the New York Press and anti-Tammany politician; Oswald Garrison Villard (1872-1949), editor of the New York Evening Post, founding member of the NAACP, civil rights activist.BRITAIN: 'W. Wiseman' is Sir William George Eden Wiseman (1885-1962), who was in New York setting up the British Special Intelligence Service's New York office, 'Section V'; Air Commodore William Wedgwood Benn, 1st Viscount Stansgate (1877-1960), British politician, first Liberal and then Labour; 'Lee of Fareham', i.e. Arthur Hamilton Lee, 1st Viscount Lee of Fareham (1868-1947), English soldier, diplomat, politician; Brenda (née Woodhouse, died 1946), Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava; 'Diana Strathcona', i.e. Diana Evelyn, Lady Strathcona, and her husband 'Strathcona', i.e. Donald Howard, 3rd Baron Strathcona (1891-1959); 'Norman Angell', i.e. Sir Ralph Norman Angell (1872-1967), Labour politician and lecturer; John de Salis [Sir John Francis Charles de Salis, 7th Count de Salis] (1864-1939), British diplomat and landowner; Sir Guy Reginald Archer Gaunt (1869-1943), Australian-born British Royal Navy officer, later Conservative politician, at the time serving as a British naval naval attaché in Washington; Herbert Henry Spender-Clay (1875-1937), British soldier and politician, signing 'British Mission - May 1917'; Barry Domvile (1878-1971), Royal Navy officer (later an Admiral and interned in Second World War for pro-Nazi sympathies); Cyril Longhurst (1879-1948) of the Committee of Imperial Defence; 'M. P. A. Hankey', i.e. Maurice Hankey (1877-1963), aide to David Lloyd George and the War Cabinet; Wilfred Chapman (1891-1955), British engineer, soldier and botanist; 'Violet Campbell Cawdor Castle Nairn', i.e. Violet Calthrop Campbell, wife of Major General J. A. Campbell; 'Kenneth Lindsay - Worcester College - Oxford | (because of an epoch-making day [i.e. 15 December 1922])', (1897-1991), British Labour politician; Sir Alexander Frederick Whyte (1883-1970), British civil servant and Liberal politician, and his wife Margaret Emily Whyte (d.1958); 'Walter Cowan', i.e. Admiral Sir Walter Henry Cowan, 1st Baronet (1871-1956); 'Rennie Smith. 19. 1. 28. House of Commons. London.' (1888-1962), British Labour politician; E. T. Kitson; 'Priscilla Annesley', i.e. Priscilla Cecilia, Countess Annesley (1870-1941), second wife of 5th Earl of Annesley, daughter of William Armitage Moore; 'Listowel', i.e. William Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel.INTERNATIONAL: Jean Longuet [Jean-Laurent-Frederick Longuet] (1876-1938), French socialist and Karl Marx's grandson; V. S. Srinivasa Sastri (1869-1946), Indian nationalist politician; 'Riccardo de Sangro | Italian Mission' (29 May 1917); Prince Ferdinando of Savoy, 3rd Duke of Genoa, signing 'Ferdinando di Savoia' on his calling card as 'H.R.H. | The Prince of Udine'; Zinovi Pechkoff [Zinovy Alekseyevich Peshkov] (1884-1966), Russian-born French general; Prince Alfred of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, at the time serving on the diplomatic staff at the Austro-Hungarian embassy; Italia Anita Garibaldi, granddaughter of the general, who was in America lecturing 'for the benefit of her family'; 'Sr Borsarelli di Rifreddo', i.e. Luigi Borsarelli, Barone di Rifreddo (1856-1936), beside which he has written: 'S. S. of State Foreign Office | Member of Italian Mission | 1 of June 1917'; W. D. Snyman, Boer leader; 'G. Lecomte du Noüy' and 'M. Lecomte du Noüy'; Prince Achille Murat and Chasseloup Laubat Murat.FURTHER POINTS OF INTEREST: The volume also has three pages at the rear, two of them with negligible pencil notes, and the third carrying two jeux d'esprit in Harriman's hand, and headed: 'Dictated by Senator Fordyce M'ch 8 '22'. Laid down in the album are three black and white photographs. The first - on the first page - is a faded 8 x 5 cm image of two men and a woman (identified below) seated at a dining table under Harriman's Washington pergola; the second (8 x 13 cm) photograph ('Easter Sunday at 1718', 23 April 1916) gives a better view of the pergola, with eight men and women sitting happily beneath it. The third (12 x 15.5cm) is captioned 'Taken in Potomac Park - Saturday, May 1917 | Sections of Motor Corps of W. V. A. of D. C. Chapter - Mil. Red Cross. With ambulance', and showing thirty women in Red Cross uniform, sitting and standing around an ambulance. (A page in the album, headed 'Washington Auto Corps', and signed by the printer 'J. S. Wheelwright | April 17 1907' (also signed in pencil 'J. S. W | Amateur'), carries a draft of a form including ''day orders for each driver', and including a chain of command from 'Army & Navy' and 'Executive Com: of British Col. Red +' to 'Captn Commander Mrs J. B. Harriman'.) The page also carries a signed note: 'Oh Bayard of America | Thou Chesterfield personified | Without reproach with a fear | It seeming of me you have not died. | George L. Upshaw. | To my friend | Mrs. Harriman'. One page carries a long autograph poem by Admiral John Henry Upshur (1823-1917), headed 'May 30/1917 Decoration Day | To "the Chesterfield of the United States Navy" - Jno H Upshaw | Rear Admiral Rtd.' Also present are a tipped-in note signed by 'E. C. S.' and 'G. M.'; card inscribed 'To Lady Warwick | The maker of History | from an | Admiring Fireman'; full-page pencil sketch of sailing boats, signed by 'H. Aidy', facing a page carrying a spoof description of 'An average evening in the Quarter' (beginning 'Caruso to sing for us'), both dated 21 March 1916.