Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Notebook 1: Green-Leach & du Maurier Controversy Part 3

Jan. 20th 1925

Mr. C. A A Parker   Editor   L.Alouette??
30 Waite St. Malden Mass

Dear Sir. Mr. Parker

Many thanks for yours of Jan 17th. I had not heard that your Magazine was passing into other hands but I had heard of course of the Green-Leach and du Maurier controversy.
As it was represented to me that Mrs. Green-Leach had not treated Miss du Maurier fairly I appealed to the members of the Circle as to whether they were prepared to vote any want of confidence in Mrs. Green-Leach, and I was assured on the contrary that they are full of loyalty and devotion to her and their sympathies entirely on her side. Most of them live in town and know both ladies equally intimately, (as I living in the country) "bloom unseen or waste their sweetness on the desert air." but should let their poems be a source of joy and inspiration to others. 

Yours Very Truly,
Lucy Derrick Swindells

This is one of those notes in which I'm not entirely sure the end goes with the beginning! The last page may actually be from another letter, but they were side by side in the notebook. At any rate, I'm assuming Mr. Parker was at one point the editor of a now defunct poetry magazine, which I couldn't find any references too. What's interesting is again Lucy broaching the subject of the infamous Green-Leach & du Maurier controversy! It's amazing to me that word of the controversy could have reached outside of Baltimore all the way to the offices of a magazine editor in Malden Massachusetts! - Carrie

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Notebook 1: Poem for Mrs. Green-Leach

March 31st 1925

My dear Mrs. Green-Leach,

You expressed a wish last night to see the poem, "Hot afternoons have been in Montanta" and I remembered sending the cutting to Mrs.Valliant who at a former meeting expressed the same wish. 

I did not know she would return it, but she has kindly done so. This morning & I got it back this morning. I am therefore very pleased to be able to send it on to you. 

With our love,
Very Sincerely yours, 
Lucy Derrick Swindells

One of the joys of reading Lucy's letters is reading and learning about the poems she references. I had a very clever & kind English teacher in 11th grade named Mrs. Little.. Mrs. Little opened up the world of poetry to me in a way I will never forget. She helped me to see the beauty, intelligence, humor, history, and wisdom that can be found in the genre of poetry.The poem Lucy shares today, "Hot afternoons have been in Montana" is written by Eli Siegel who was the founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism. The poem encompasses a variety of themes from love of the earth, to a history of people around the world, to the different meaning of poetry, to sexuality, etc... I wonder what Lucy and/or the poetry society would have thought of this worldly writing and it's many interpretations! - Carrie

Monday, December 6, 2010

Notebook 1: A note on Flappers & short hair...

April 2nd 1925

I should like to make a few comments on the letter "Flappers at 60" in this mornings paper. Why should women mind making the change which circumstances have already forced upon men.  
Until well into the eighteenth century gentlemen wore long hair. I say say gentlemen advisedly for poor men had already had to dispense with it. 
Long hair unless exquisitely tended is the ugliest thing in creation. Is not the charwoman style of curtains and a little twisted knob good for a laugh in any Pantomine. Where as the Prince in the Pantomine has always short hair not quite to the shoulders delicious curling all round the neck. 
The almost impossible task of doing long hair attractively before hurrying out to the day's work forced men to discontinue it. 
So now that daughters of most households work in offices or other places instead of lolling gracefully on sofas. They too have learnt the value of time. They have incidentally become most all more attractive and Mothers seeing their daughters charms with short hair like to look pretty too. 


This is the first letter we read that shares Lucy's strong opinions on the need for women to have short hair. One of her most well known (and published) letters to the Baltimore Sun contains a letter she sent to the King of England about his resistance to women cutting their hair. Today's letter contains wonderful language, I love that she mentions a "charwoman" - which is an older English term for a maid or cleaning woman. It is interesting to me how Lucy uses such generalizations about women such as... they don't have time to be lolling on sofas anymore... that long hair is only seen on maids or cleaning women (or therefore women of a lower class). The last sentence is rather telling as well. I wonder if Lucy initially cut her own hair when it became the style for her daughter to do so in the 20's. To see a picture of Lucy read the About page.   - Carrie

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Notebook 1 - Nov. 17th 1924: Dog Problems

Unfinished letter

The Chief of Police
Nov. 17th 1924

Dear Sir:
Today Mrs. Kensey at corner of Rehbaum & Arbutus Ave. threatened my dog because she said he had wetted her porch. The reason for this is that...

I hate I don't have the rest of this amusing letter. (I'd love to know Lucy's reasoning behind the dog "wetting" the porch!) This snippet makes me laugh no matter how many times I read it. Poor Lucy, she really could have used the advice of Judge Judy! - Carrie

Friday, December 3, 2010

Notebook 1 - Nov. 13th 1924: The Chief Charm

Nov. 13th 1924

My dear Mrs. Green-Leach,

Many thanks for your letter. The address of the Printer (Soldier) I mentioned is:
C. Kenneth Greer
3 Grindon Lane
Learford Road, Balto M.D.
Telephone No. "Hamilton 0612 W"

We all missed you very much at the meeting on Monday. Your personality makes the chief charm of the Poetry Circle. We were however pleased to hear that the reason of your absence was a pleasureable one.

With our love
Very sincerely yours
Lucy Derrick Swindells

Another note to Mrs. Green-Leach. First of all, you just couldn't make up a name like that. Lucy is always overly polite to Mrs. Green-Leach. I don't know if this is because she is genuinely her friend or if it's a friendship that she hopes to build through the social connections of the Poetry Circle. I love that Lucy complimented Mrs. Green-Leach by calling her "The chief charm" of the Poetry Circle.  I'd love to know more about what Mrs. Green-Leach planned on printing via Mr. Greer. - Carrie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Notebook 1 - 1924 Piano Tuning

Undated letter probably from 1924

Mr. F. Schulze
Piano Tuner 1201 N. Lucerne Ave.

Dear Sir:

Will you kindly let me know what would be your charge for coming out here to tune my piano.
The Tuner who was in the habit of tuning for this district has been away in a sanitorium for some months on account of ill health, so that if it should be convenient for you to come out - by sending out circulars in advance you could probably do a day's work here. Halethorpe is the terminus of the Halethorpe & Wilkins Avenue Car Line of No. 9 Cars.

Yours Faithfully

L. D. Swindells

This is a very interesting letter to me in multiple ways. First either Lucy or her daughter Heather probably plays piano (Son Ian is deaf, so therefore, I'm assuming he most likely would not play piano.). In later letters Lucy references to Heather singing so she may play piano or Lucy may play for her. Secondly, I love Lucy's bold business sense in suggesting to the piano tuner that he could probably have an entire day's business if he sent flyers (or circulars) out prior to his visit. Lastly, it's interesting how Lucy describes to the Piano Tuner where she lives at the end of the letter ( I assume so he would know where to send circulars!). "Terminus" may refer to a train station or cable car station in Halethorpe MD area. I can't figure out if "No. 9 Cars" refers to trains or cable cars though. Have any thoughts?  - Carrie

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Notebook 1 - February 27th 1925

February 27th, 1925
Miss Elise Luckett
2315 North Calvert St.

My dear Miss Luckett,

Just a line to tell you that there will be no meeting of the Poetry Circle on March 2nd as most of the members are going to hear Edna St. Vincent Millay speak.
We were sorry you were not with us last Monday & I hope you will be able to come on the 9th.

Very Sincerely,
Lucy Derrick Swindells

The same to Mrs. Merryman, 118 Cakedale Ave. (B.?) & Miss Maria Hammond, 1622 John St.

This is a good example of Lucy's responsibilities as secretary of the Poetry Circle. This letter acted as a template for notes she needed to send to several members. I wonder what she would have thought of MS Word software and Mail Merge technology! It's also fascinating to note that Lucy probably saw Edna St.Vincent Millay, a famous female American poet, speak live at a public event! - Carrie

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Notebook 1 - Feb 15th 1925

February 15th, 1925

The Editor of the "Sunday Times"

Dear Sir:
I notice in your Photogravure Secture of today's issue where the Earl & Countess of Coventry are shown, that they are said to have been married 75 years and to be over 92 years old.
This is a mistake as they were married 60 (sixty) years ago, (And 60 years being called a "Diamond Wedding" in England) and the Earl is only 89, having been born in 1838.
The enclosed cuttings from the Overseas Daily Mail may be of interest to you, I do not need them returned.

Lucy Derrick Swindells

This is another one of my favorite aspects of Lucy! She is never shy about correcting the local newspaper in areas that she feels she is an expert, particularly politics and English Society. While Lucy left England in 1921, she never lost her love of being English. She was extremely proud of her heritage and her mother country. - Carrie

Monday, November 29, 2010

Notebook 1 - April 3rd 1925 - Selling Stories

April 3rd 1925
The Editor
The Pictorial Review

Dear Sir or Madam:
I shall be pleased if you will make me an offer for the enclosed short-story culled from my experiences as an artist. Relative to which I enclose a cutting. I have also been an author since my first story was accepted for a magazine in 1907. Also And since coming to America the Elizabeth Sunday Times contained a short-story from my pen every week for 18 months that I lived in Elizabeth (New Jersey), the Elizabeth Daily Journal also publishing many of my articles. While there I was chairman of the Committee to the Arts' Club & painted portraits of the President & Vice President of the Women's Club, and many lovely children of the wealthy residents. Nearly 2 years ago I moved re-moved here & am now at work upon a Jubilee Presentation portrait of the Rev. Dr. Peregrine Wroth who has been for just upon 50 years Rector of the Church of the Messiah, Baltimore.
I have been a subscriber to the Pictorial Review ever since I came to America.

Very Sincerely Yours,
Lucy Derrick Swindells

This letter gives us one of the first glimpses of Lucy finding ways to earn money. She was primarily a poet, a writer, and an artist. She often sent letters to local businesses trying to find customers for portraits, along with writing newspapers, magazines, and department stores to see if she could sell her short stories and poems. As an English woman raising her older teenage children in America, with very little help from her husband, she really had to work hard to scratch out a living, especially to help maintain her need to feel like an upper class Baltimore socialite. - Carrie

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Notebook 1 - A woman's social life is so fatiguing...

Undated partial letter ~ 1925? is a branch of All Saints presided over by Mr. Manning as also it is an hour's ride in the car each way to Baltimore and I find it so fatiguing that I cannot help dropping out of my former activities there.

With kind regards and all good wishes

Yours Sincerely,
Lucy Derrick Swindells

While this partial letter doesn't tell us much about Lucy's life per se, I find the language very amusing! It's such a cliche for women of earlier times to faint or be easily "fatigued." I suspect in general this is probably not the case for Lucy as she lives such a busy life.. it's still fun to "hear" her using the phrase to decline a social activity. - Carrie

Notebook 1 - Feb 9th 1925 - Poetry Circle Notes

FEB. 9th 1925
Meeting of the Baltimore Poetry Circle at the home of the President Mrs. Leacey Naylor Green-Leach at 1613 Bolton Ave. 

1. Committee Meeting to discuss Preparation for Card Party to be held on Valentine's Day at the Women's Club, Roland Park. 

2. Read by Mrs. Helen Bayley-Davis. "Skit on Montana" by M. Lippman. 

3. Mrs. Green-Leach announces that the "Contemporary Verse" Magazine is in it's last year. 

4. Read by Mrs. Helen Bayley-Davis and Mr. Arthur Miller Easter a Duet - from Browning. 
    "In a Gondola" by Mr. Easter
    "Say after me these words" Mrs. Davis

5. Read by Miss Rives & composed by her: "Rastus Possum" by: Miss Jane Gilliam Rives

6. Read by Mrs. Helen Bayley-Davis: "Evelyn Hope" by Browning.

7. Read by Mrs. Virginia New Merryman: "Wanting is What" by Browning.

FEB 14 - Card Party at the Women's Club. at Roland Park
In Charge of Party: Mrs. Ferguson, Mrs. Anna Hamilton-Wood, and Mrs. Helen Bayley-Davis -- under direction of the President. 

I love these notes taken by Mrs. Lucy at a Poetry Circle Meeting! The members were obviously fans of Robert Browning. I don't know a lot about how the meetings were planned, but it would be interesting to know if certain poets were highlighted each month. Members often shared their own poetry as well. When I visited Baltimore one summer during college I looked up the streets that were mentioned in Lucy's letters. Amazingly where I stayed that summer was right in the middle of downtown Baltimore, with the streets of Lucy's friends literally surrounding me. It was haunting in a way. - Carrie

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Notebook 1 - Dec 22nd 1924 - Dancing Lessons

December 22nd 1924
Professor Watkins
614 N. Fremont Ave

Dear Sir:
Will you kindly let me know your terms for teaching dancing. I have a son & daughter aged 16 & 21 respectively who would like to take lessons, but I should like first to see your studio and if possible your pupils dancing.
Hoping to hear all particulars.

Yours Faithfully,
L.D. Swindells

This is the first letter that mentions Lucy's two children: Ian & Heather Derrick-Swindells. Lucy might be considered an overprotective mom of a 16 & 21 year old, as she mentions wanting to see the studio and pupils dancing. I wonder whose idea the lessons actually were! - Carrie

Friday, November 26, 2010

Notebook 1 - December 22, 1924

Halethorpe (MD)
Dec. 22nd 1924

Dear Mr. Swift,

Would you kindly put the enclosed notice in the journal. Altering it in any way if you wished, but making it a fitting response to the enclosed touching appeal from dear Mrs. Andrews.

Would you kindly return her letter which is very precious to me and send me several papers so I may send her one.

With the complements of the season,
Sincerely yours,
Lucy Derrick Swindells


Ch. Eliz.
An appreciation of the late Ethelbert H.J. Andrews, Rector of S.Marks Plainview Texas
by Lucy Derrick Swindells, Secretary of the Baltimore Poetry Circle and fellow of the International Order of Bookfellows.

On Dec. 7 there passed away at Plainview Texas the Rev. E.H.V. Andrews who for almost a decade was Priest in Charge of All Saints Church El Mora Ave Eliz. and who - with Mrs. Andrews was most deeply loved.

Mrs. Andrews was the granddaughter of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar who was elected President of Texas in 1838 and whose family still resides there and it was in order to try the benefit of her native air on account of her delicate health that Mr. Andrews took his wife to Plainview in 1922.

Mr. Andrews had always possessed considerable literary ability and he was a member of the International Order of Bookfellows. In Texas he edited the North Texas Adventure, and at a recent convention of the Texas Press Association he was elected it's Poet Laureate.

I cannot adequately express describe the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews to us when we arrived from England, three years ago (1921), lonely strangers in a land which was new to us, but their lives have been such a ministry of love and service and it has been such a perfect union which now seems so cruelly severed.

In conclusion I desire to quote the following poem from the pen of Mr. Andrews which I was privileged to use in an In Memoriam notice of my brother who died on Nov. 1, 1923, his fatal seizure following his presence at Holy Communion on All Saints Sunday.

The following poem was printed on Nov. 1 this year in the Hertfordshire Express England and now becomes doubly appropriate for it's Sainted Author who was called home on Sunday eve about nine o'clock after a day's beautiful service, after a lifetime of beautiful service:

- In Memoriam: A Rendezvous with God. -

Sadly, the poem itself is missing. We learn a lot about Lucy from this lengthy tribute. She arrived from England 3 years earlier, this family was incredibly kind and helpful to her family. Her brother (Ellis Raves) died in November of 1924.  Lucy is definitely close to several members of the Andrews family which we will read about more in later letters - Carrie

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Notebook 1 - Green-Leach & du Maurier Controversy Pt. 2

Partial undated letter probably from late 1925 - early 1926 

(to Mrs. Croker - another member of the Poetry Circle -- Carrie)

...quietly accept the fruits of all Mrs. Green-Leach's labors so dear Mrs. Croker you will see that as to me, Mr. Meredyth and Miss de Maurier appear a couple of unscrupulous schemers...

Your warm reception of Mr. Meredyth & his fiance show that you do not believe that this couple are the unscupulous schemers which other members of the Circle believe them to be their actions have proved them not to be so I do feel you will have the goodness give some explanation we should all be indebted to you could give some explanation to throw any light..

Being Mrs. Green-Leach's personal friend it is unreasonable to suppose you would "run with the hare & hunt with the hounds" as we say in England without some very strong motive. Please do forgive me for asking your kindness in explaining all this for being English I do feel at such a disadvantage. 

Hoping to hear from you.

Very Sincerely Yours, 
Lucy Derrick-Swindells

This letter from Lucy to Mrs. Croker, which is trying to delve deeper into the Green-Leach & du Maurier controversy is classic "Lucy." I love how sweetly she comes across as simply being nosy and is dying to figure out what happened within the Circle to cause Miss du Maurier to leave! I love the false assumption that because she's British she's at a social disadvantage to understand the ways and means of Americans. This whole letter could be summed up as Lucy saying to Mrs. Croker, "Would you just tell me WHAT is going on?" But that would be too brutally American! - Carrie

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Notebook 1 - The Green-Leach & DuMaurier Controversy

Undated letter probably from 1925 or early 1926

My dear Mrs. Davis,

I have been anxious to have a little quiet chat with you for some time, but have been ill during the holiday, and our living out of town does increase our difficulty in seeing each other. I will therefore write a few lines as I am anxious to have your opinion and the opinion of any members of the Circle you are able to reach on the Green-Leach / du Maurier controversy.

At the beginning of December, Miss du Maurier resigned from the Circle and upon my urging Mrs. Green-Leach by letter to investigate the matter & try and get Miss du Maurier back. Mrs. Green-Leach came over to see me, & gave me to understand that the breach was final. Shortly after, Mr. Meredyth & Miss du Maurier came to see me & complained that, dating from their engagement Mrs. Green-Leach had subjected Miss du Maurier to considerable annoyance and had spoken of Mr. Meredyth (to?) as a common working man etc... having heard both sides of the question I yet have heard nothing suggested to explain the matter except  annoyance on Mrs. Green-Leach's part at the engagement.

It seems to me that for two members of the Poetry Circle to get engaged is not a crime, especially as the Poetry Circle is more or less of a social character. Yet for this offence, Miss du Maurier was in a way pushed out...

-Unfinished letter by Mrs. Lucy Derrick-Swindells, Notebook 1

This is one of my favorite letters in the first notebook. Lucy often sees herself as upper class and socializes with those in the upper class society in the Baltimore of the 1920's and 30's. However, financially they are anything but upper class as we will discover in later letters. While Lucy is a proud woman and enjoys associating with people who are more well off than she is, I admire her tenacity and her ability to see through conflicts that seem silly today. - Carrie

Notebook 1 - 1919 Letter from a doctor

55 Brunswick Square
Hove, Sussex

17th Sept. 1919

Dear Mrs. Swindells,
I thank you for cheque 11 guineas. The amount should have been 12 guineas but we will consider it settled.
I was sorry to hear the boy had still some contraction and hope it has yielded to the treatment.

Yours Sincerely,
(Lucy's Doctor with illegible name.)
Burgess Hill

Most likely this early note from 1919 is regarding payment for treatment done to Lucy's son Betram Ian Derrick-Swindells. He went by the name Ian and was deaf. I love this note it just shows you that bill collectors have always been around, although often not nearly as accommodating! - Carrie 

Notebook 1 - $5 Membership

Feb. 23rd (probably 1925?)

Mrs. Green-Leach suggested that 20 members should give $5.

-note to self, Lucy Derrick-Swindells

*This is most likely referring to dues to the Baltimore Poetry Circle that Lucy was a member of and later became the president of. -Carrie

Notebook 1 - July 24,1925

July 24, 1925

Dear Sir:
I am a most-accomplished artist trained in the best art schools in London and Paris and should be pleased to come and see you and bring a specimen of my work. In England I painted the portraits of many distinguished people from life until the War spoiled my business. I came to America hoping for better things -- but find too many artists already in Baltimore. As I am a married woman with a home which demands part of my attention; I copied photographs for "Boots" a high class drug store and fancy store which has branches in every large town in England. I am a married woman & like work which I can do in my home.

- Unfinished letter from Lucy Derrick-Swindells, Notebook 1