Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49

**There were two "Mrs. Seymour Perkins" One listed in '49 and the other listed '71**

Parents' home: 930 Woodland Avenue, Plainfield
Seymour Perkins, Jr.'s parents' home: 502 West 7th, Plainfield

1950 - 1951 Treasurer Book, Active: Perkins, Mrs. Seymour July 9, 1950 June 1951 Sept. 1952

1953 - 1980 Address: 1143 Evergreen Ave.

1981: Membership changed to "Sustaining Member"
1981 Address: 1737 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Plainfield

NOTE: The letter from "Esther B. Perkins" in 1981 says she has been active member since 1971?

1986 Address: The Gables, 20 Devonwood Drive, Farmington, CT 06032

1984 - 1985: Sustaining
1985 - 1986: Resigned

Sister to Mrs. William K. Dunbar (Elizabeth Hail Barlow), Jr. '47

Most likely related to Mrs. George T. Moody '22

Also related to:
Barlow, Mrs. Carlton M. (June Simms) '71
Barlow, Mrs. DeWitt Dukes (Mary Lee Brewer), Jr. '65
Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Day, Mrs. Thomas Mills (Anne Perkins Smith) '16

Mrs. Seymour Perkins, Jr. '49

photo circa 1950

Mrs. Seymour Perkins, Jr. '49

back of photo, circa 1950

Unknown relationship with Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) Cox '25

Dewitt Dukes Barlow, father of Esther Moody Perkins

DeWitt Dukes Barlow 1880-1945
Dewitt Dukes Barlow, engineer, was born in Philadelphia, October 4, 1880, son of Thomas Arnold and Elizabeth Dukes Barlow.
His first paternal American ancestor was George Barlow, who came from England about 1637 or earlier and settled in Boston. From him and his wife, Jane Besse, the descent is through Nathan and Mary ____; Peleg and Elizabeth Perry; Thomas and Mehitable Wing; Jesse, a minute-man at the Lexington alarm, and Sarah Nye, and Arnold and Ann Brittin, the grandparents of DeWitt Dukes Barlow. His father was a builder, who died when his son was eight years old.

He received his preparatory education in the Philadelphia public schools, and won a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated B.S., cum laude in civil engineering in 1901, having been awarded high honors in mathematics and English, and having been elected to Sigma Xi.

In 1901-02, he was a draftsman with the American Bridge Co. He was engineer for the Cape May (NJ) Real Estate Co. in 1902-03 and city engineer of Cape May in 1903-04. In 1905 he joined the Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific Co. of New York city as engineer. He became secretary of the company in 1910, secretary and treasurer in February 1911, and vice president in August 1911. From February 1921 until his death he was president of the company. This company engaged in engineering and contracting, particularly in river and harbor improvements and land reclamation by hydraulic dredging. It was one of the outstanding organizations in the industry and made many contributions toward improvement in the art of hydraudlic dredging. Besides being president and director of this company, he was president of the North Atlantic Dredging Co., the National Association of River and Harbor Contractors and the Dredge Owners Protective Association. He was chairman of the emergency dredging committee in 1917 and associate chief of the dredging section of the War Industries Board in 1918. In 1909-10 he was assistant professor of engineering at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. Active in the civic affairs of Plainfield, NJ, he was a member of the common council in 1922-23, of the board of health in 1923-24. and of the board of education from 1924-1937, being president of the last-named board during 1927-1937. From 1937 to 1939, he was mayor of Plainfield. As a member of the board of education he was active in promoting the expansion of the school system to meet the needs of the community and contributed much to the planning and building of the Maxson and Hubbard schools as well as additions to the Emerson and high school buildings and later an addition to the Maxson school building. He was particularly responsible for the expansion of the music activities in the public schools, and it was due entirely to him that the efficient music curriculum was developed in the Plainfield schools. In recognition of his contributions to the public schools and to civic life generally the board of education named for him the Barlow School. During his term as mayor, Barlow found that many municipalities throughout the state were not receiving their just apportionment of franchise and gross receipts taxes from public utility corporations, which should have been issued them by the state tax commission. He organized and headed a committee which had remedial legislation enacted to correct this injustice, thus gaining for many New Jersey towns a substantial increase in income.

In 1937 he was chairman of the New Jersey Citizens Committee for the Princeton Local Government Survey. Later he served on the advisory council of the School of Engineering of Princeton University, and as trustee of Union Junior College at Cranford, NJ. From February 1940 until his death he was chairman of the Plainfield- North Plainfield chapter of the American Red Cross. During United States participation in the Second World War, he was a member of the Enemy Alien Hearing Board No. 3 for the district of New Jersey.
A Presbyterian in religion, he was an elder and trustee of the Crescent Avenue Church, Plainfield.

In politics he was a Republican locally, but independant nationally, and he was a steadfast supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a member of Freedom House. All his life he fought racial discrimination and was a warm friend of the colored people of Plainfield. For many years he taught Sunday swchool and contributed financially, to Bethel Chapel, a colored church in Plainfield.

His chief avocation was music. He played the flute and the cello and from 1925 until his death, was president of the Plainfield Symphony Society. He was a member of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Opera popular season in 1935-37. He was the author of "Notes on the Physics of Music" (1932), for which he made a fellow of the Royal Society of arts of London. His other interests included literature, travel and the study of languages and advanced mathematics, in which field he planned to do research when he retired from business.

For outdoor recreation he enjoyed golf, tennis, and mountain climbing. It was said of him that "there was no man or woman, of whatever class or creed, whom he saw as the victim of injustice or friend." He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and University of Pennsylvania clubs in New York City, the Plainfield Engineers and Plainfield County clubs, the Madison (Connecticut) Beach Club and the Madison Country Club.

He was married in Philadelphia, May 16, 1905, to Elizabeth Hail, daughter of Carlton Montague Moody, of that city. They had six children:

1. Anne May, who married George Melville Shepherd, Jr.
2. Esther Moody, who married Seymour Perkins, Jr.
3. Elizabeth Hail, who married William Kuhn Dunbar, Jr.
4. DeWitt Dukes
5. Carlton Montague
6. Jean Lewis Barlow, who married William Ravenel Peelle.

He died in Plainfield New Jersey, September 23, 1945.

The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, contributed by Kent Barlow

All news articles and photo, contributed by John F. Barlow
Plainfield Courier January 2, 1937 Copy of original with photograph.
Incoming Mayor of Plainfield Takes Oath from Predecessor

Dewitt D. Barlow, who became Plainfield's Mayor at noon yesterday is shown being sworn into office by retiring may _____. Shortly thereafter, the new Mayor performed his first official duties and was host at a reception in City Hall. Among those who paid their respects were the fire and Police Departments, led by their chiefs.

Copy of Original article with photograph

Barlow School Opens; Vistors are Enthused

Board of Education members were enthused over favorable comments expressed Sunday at the reception in the new DeWitt D. Barlow School in Farragut Rd. From 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., there was a steady flow of visitors.

Most impressive feature of the school is that it appears "less institutional" than any other school in this vicinity. According to Frederic W. Cook, the designs are the very latest in school construction. In fact, said Mr. Cook, some of the plans incorporated are less than a year old.

Many parents were heard jokingly to say "Let's start school again" as they visited the various rooms, of which many had inlaid linoleum floors. The color idea is carried out wherever possible. Some of the rooms have wallpaper of different colors.

The school was officially opened for classes today. However, formal ceremonies dedicating the building will not be held until after Feb. 15 when form Mayor DeWitt D. Barlow will return to the city for the reception. This announcement was made yesterday by Mrs. Stuart Bavier.

Besides Mr. Cook and George Zimmer, clerk of the Board of Education, all members of the board were present Sunday to greet visitors. They included Dixon C. Philips, president, Mrs. Bavier, the Rev. Aurello R. Mangione, T.R. Loizeaux and Raymond M. Smith.

The Plainfield Courier January 02, 1940

Copy of Original article

Plainfield Courier, September 25, 1945

DeWitt Dukes Barlow, a resident of Plainfield for almost 40 years, a former mayor, councilman and president of the Board of Education for many years, died at Muhlenberg Hospital last night (Sept. 23, 1945); of a heart ailment.

Death came unexpectly to the well known Plainfielder, who had spent Saturday afternoon playing golf at the Plainfield Country Club after which he went out to dinner with Mrs. Barlow, his son, Carlton and the latter's wife.


During dinner the former mayor complained of a sudden stomach pain and he was taken home. Dr. Thomas D. Blair was called. It was decided to remove the patient to Muhlenberg Hospital and the ambulance was called about 2 a.m. Sunday. Dr. N.B. Stanton was called in consultation. Last night, shortly after 10 o'clock Mr. Barlow died.

A year ago Mr. Barlow had gone to John Hopkins Hospital for a complete check-up. The report showed him to be in good physical condition. Mr. Barlow would have been 65 years old next week, his birthday being Oct. 4. Mr. and Mrs. Barlow have lived at 930 Woodland Ave.

Mr. Barlow was active in local Republican politics for many years and although he supported Wendell Wilkie in 1940, switched to Franklin D. Roosevelt last year when the Democratic President was seeking reelection. His public announcement at the time came as a surprise to many staunch Republicans in the city.


Born in Philadelphia Oct. 4, 1880. Mr. Barlow was education (sic) in the public schools of that city and the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with honors from the Department of Civil Engineering in 1901.

Mr. Barlow married Elizabeth Hall Moody of Philadelphia, May 15, 1905, and two years later moved to Plainfield. Here the Barlows raised a family of six children, all of whom attended the local schools.

He was employed for a time by the American Bridge Company and subsequently by the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company, of which he has been president since 1921. The company, with offices at 15 Park Row, New YOrk, is an engineering and contracting concern which engaged in dredging, oiling and land reclamation.

Always interested in civic matters and projects for the betterment of Plainfield, Mr. Barlow held various municipal offices. Hew was councilman from the Second Ward in 1922 and 1923. He was a member of the Board of Health for a year and a half, resigning in 1925 to become a member of the Board of Education, former Mayor James T. MacMurray making the appointment. The deceased served nine years as president of that board, resigning to take over the office of mayor in 1937-38. The DeWitt Barlow School was named in his honor in recognition of the services he rendered the city's educational system.


During World War I he served as chairman of the Emergency Dredging Committee and as associate chief of the Dredging Section, War Industries Board. In the war just ended he heaed the Salvage Division of the Civilian Defense organization being a member of the Defense Council. He was an elder and trustee of the Crescent Avenuse Presbyterian Church.

In addition to being president of the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company, Mr. Barlow was president of the North Atlantic Dredging Company, chairman of the Dredge Owners Protective Organization and also chairman of the National Association of River and Harbor Contractors. He was a member of the Alien Enemy Hearing Board, District of New Jersey.

Interested in music, he was president of the Plainfield Symphony Society and a member of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Popular Season Inc. He served as chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Princeton Local Government Survey.

A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Sigma Xi Mr. Barlow belonged to the Engineers Club, University of Pennsylvania Club (New York), Plainfield COuntry Club and Order of Founders and Patriots of America.


Mr. Barlow has been chairman of the Plainfield-North Plainfield Chapter of the American Red Cross during the recent war years. Last spring he was appointed a trustee of the Union Junior College at Cranford.

Five of the six Barlow children reside in Plainfield, the other, Mrs. George M. (Anne May) Shepard Jr., residing in New Hope, Pa. Those living here are: Mrs. Seymour (Esther Moody) Perkins Jr., Mrs. William K. (Elizabeth Hall) Dunbar Jr., DeWitt D. Barlow Jr., Carlton M. Barlow and Mrs. William R. (Jean Lewis) Peelle. Eleven grandchildren survive.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 3 p.m. from the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. Copy of Original Article

New York Times September 25, 1945

President of Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co. Dies at 64 – Once Mayor of Plainfield

Special to the New York Times

PLAINFIELD, N.J., Sept 24 – DeWitt D. Barlow of 930 Woodland Avenue, president of the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company of New York and its affiliates, died here last night in the Muhlenberg Hospital after a brief illness. His age was 64. Born in Philadelphia, he was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1901 with an engineering degree and came to Plainfield six years later.

Mr. Barlow had served as president of the National Association of River and Harbor Contractors and during the first World War was chairman of the emergency dredging committee and associate chief of the dredging section of the War Industries Board. Head of the code authority of the industry during NRA days, he was for many years an executive of the National River and Harbor Improvement Association.

Active in affairs here, Mr. Barlow was a Councilman from the Second Ward, 1922-23, and served on the Board of Health until 1925, when he resigned to accept appointment to the Board of Education, of which he was president in 1927. He was elected Mayor on the Republican ticket in 1936 for one term.

Mr. Barlow leaves a widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Moody Barlow; two sons, DeWitt D. Jr. and Carlton M.; four daughters, Mrs. George M. Shepard of New Hope, Pa., and Mrs. Seymour Perkins Jr., Mrs. William K. Dunbar Jr. and Mrs. William R. Peelle, all of Plainfield, and eleven grandchildren.

BARLOW - De Witt DUkes, suddenly, on Sept. 23, 1945, at Muhlenberg Hospital, Plainfield, N.J., beloved husband of Elizabeth M. Barlow. Service at the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Wednesday

May 19, 1980 Board Meeting Minutes

March 3, 1981 Letter from Esther B. Perkins

March 3, 1981 Letter from Esther B. Perkins

March 17, 1981

March 18, 1981 Meeting Minutes

Letter from Esther

The Gables
Devonwood Drive
Farmington, CT 06032

Dear Ladies,

Please accept my resignation from the Plainfield Garden Club. I enjoyed my membership for many years – but I am now living in Connecticut and I expect to remain here – although I miss you all very much.

With best wishes – Most sincerely,

Esther B. Perkins

June 6, 1986

From the Corresponding Secretary file

Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Perkins

Charter Members of the Shakespeare Society 1896 - 1998

1984 Questover Designers Showhouse Program

Questover Program pages 1 through 55

Questover Program pages 56 through 106

Questover Program pages 107 through 131

1974 Junior League Designer Showcase: The Martine House

1974 Designer Showcase Martine House Cover to Page 25

1974 Designer Showcase Martine House Page 26 to End

In addition to saving the 1988 Program for the Designers Showhouse of Cedar Brook Farm (aka The Martine House) which was organized by the Muhlenberg Auxiliary, PGC Member Anne Shepherd also kept the 1974 Designers Showcase of the very same home, organized by the Junior League.

Within the program pages, you will find mentioned many PGC members. They include: Clawson, MacLeod, Kroll, Davis, Wyckoff, Stevens, Loizeaux, Swain, Hunziker, Connell, Foster, Dunbar, Elliott, Fitzpatrick, Gaston, Hackman, Holman, Lockwood, Morrison, Royes, Rushmore, Sanders, Williams, Barnhart, Bellows, Burger, Burner, Carter, Clendenin, DeHart, Detwiller, Eaton, Eckert, Fort, Frost, Gonder, Keating, Laidlaw, Loosli, Madsen, Mann, Marshall, Miller, Moody, Moon, Morse, Murray, Mygatt, Barrett, Peek, Perkins, Pfefferkorn, Pomeroy, Pond, Royes, Samek, Sandford, Sheble, Stevens, Shepherd, Stewart, Stout, Trewin, Vivian, Zeller, Cochran, Mooney and Hall.

Related to the Ginnas? Frances Perkins Cox?

June 20, 2012

Trees with plaques on Park Avenue are removed. One was dedicated to DeWitt Dukes Barlow

June 20, 2012

Maxwell Perkins

William Maxwell Evarts ("Max") Perkins (September 20, 1884 – June 17, 1947), was the editor for Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. He has been described as the most famous literary editor

Perkins was born on September 20, 1884, in New York City, grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire and then graduated from Harvard College in 1907. Although an economics major in college, Perkins also studied under Charles Townsend Copeland, a famous teacher of literature who helped prepare Perkins for his career.

After working as a reporter for The New York Times, Perkins joined the venerable publishing house of Charles Scribner's Sons in 1910. That same year he married Louise Saunders, also of Plainfield, who would bear him five daughters. At the time he joined it, Scribner's was known for publishing eminently respectable authors such as John Galsworthy, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. However, much as he admired these older giants, Perkins wished to publish younger writers. Unlike most editors, he actively sought out promising new artists and made his first big find in 1919 when he signed F. Scott Fitzgerald. This was no easy task, for no one at Scribner's except Perkins had liked The Romantic Egotist, the working title of Fitzgerald's first novel, and it was rejected. Even so, Perkins worked with Fitzgerald to drastically revise the manuscript and then lobbied it through the house until he wore down his colleagues' resistance.

Its publication as This Side of Paradise (1920) marked the arrival of a new literary generation that would always be associated with Perkins. Fitzgerald's profligacy and alcoholism put great strain on his relationship with Perkins. Nonetheless, Perkins remained his friend as well as his editor to the end of Fitzgerald's short life, advancing him money, making personal loans, and encouraging the unstable writer in every way. Perkins rendered yeoman service as an editor too, particularly in helping Fitzgerald with The Great Gatsby (1925), his masterpiece, which benefited substantially from Perkins' criticism.

It was through Fitzgerald that Perkins met Ernest Hemingway, publishing his first major novel, The Sun Also Rises, in 1926. A daring book for the times, Perkins fought for it over objections to Hemingway's profanity raised by traditionalists in the firm. The commercial success of Hemingway's next novel, A Farewell to Arms (1929), which rose to number one on the best-seller list, put an end to questions about Perkins' editorial judgment.

The greatest professional challenge Perkins ever faced was posed by Thomas Wolfe, whose talent was matched only by his lack of artistic self-discipline. Unlike most writers, who are often blocked, words poured out of Wolfe. A blessing in some ways, this was a curse too, as Wolfe was greatly attached to each sentence he wrote. After a tremendous struggle, Perkins induced Wolfe to cut 90,000 words from his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel (1929). His next, Of Time and the River (1935), was the result of a two-year battle during which Wolfe kept writing more and more pages in the face of an ultimately victorious effort by Perkins to hold the line on size.[1] Grateful to Perkins at first for discovering him and helping him realize his potential, Wolfe later came to resent the popular perception that he owed his success to his editor. Wolfe left Scribner's after numerous fights with Perkins. Despite this, Perkins served as Wolfe's literary executor after his early death in 1938 and was considered by Wolfe to be his closest friend.

Although his reputation as an editor is most closely linked to these three, Perkins worked with many other writers. He was the first to publish J. P. Marquand and Erskine Caldwell. His advice was responsible for the enormous success of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, whose The Yearling (1938) grew out of suggestions made by Perkins. It became a runaway best-seller and won the Pulitzer Prize. Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country (1946) was another highly successful Perkins find. His last discovery was James Jones, who approached Perkins in 1945. Perkins persuaded Jones to abandon the novel he was working on at that time and launched him on what would become From Here to Eternity (1951). By this time, Perkins' health was failing and he did not live to see its success, nor that of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea (1952), which was dedicated to his memory.[2] Perkins died on June 17, 1947 in Stamford, Connecticut.

Perkins was noted for his courtesy and thoughtfulness. He also recognized skilled writing wherever he found it and nursed along writers as few editors did. That Ring Lardner has a reputation today, for example, is because Perkins saw him as more than a syndicated humorist. Perkins believed in Lardner more than the writer did in himself, and despite the failure of several earlier collections he coaxed Lardner into letting him assemble another under the title How To Write Short Stories (1924). The book sold well and, thanks to excellent reviews, established Lardner as a literary figure.

Apart from his roles as coach, friend, and promoter, Perkins was unusual among editors for the close and detailed attention he gave to books, and for what the novelist Vance Bourjaily, another of his discoveries, called his "infallible sense of structure." Although he never pretended to be an artist himself, Perkins could often see where an author ought to go more clearly than the writer did.

Maxwell Perkins was the grandson of U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Attorney General & U.S. Senator William M. Evarts, the great-great-grandson of Declaration of Independence signer Roger Sherman, and the uncle of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. He was also descended from the Puritans John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton.

Perkins' home in Windsor, Vermont, located on 26 Main Street, was purchased from John Skinner in the 1820s for $5,000 by William M. Evarts and passed down to Evarts' daughter, Elizabeth Hoar Evarts Perkins, who in turn left the home to family members, including her son Maxwell. The home stayed in the family until 2005, and was recently restored and reopened as Snapdragon Inn. Snapdragon Inn is open to the public and features the Maxwell Perkins Library, which displays and collects items related to Maxwell Perkins and his extended family. His house in New Canaan, Connecticut, the Maxwell E. Perkins House, is on the National Register of Historic Places. His granddaughter, Ruth King Porter, is a Vermont writer.

December 1910

On New Year's Eve, in the Episcopal Church in Plainfield, NJ, Maxwell Perkins, 26, marries Louise Saunders, 17. It is quite a family affair. His brothers and her sisters are part of the wedding party, and his uncle performs the service.

The young couple had both attended this church while growing up, but had only taken a serious interest in each other about 18 months ago. As a young reporter with the New York Times, Max knew he couldn't support a wife and family. But his new job gave him regular working hours and a steady salary. He had recently joined the venerable publishing house of Charles Scribner's and Sons. In the advertising department.

Elsewhere in the US, Scribner's future star writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 14, Ernest Hemingway, 11, and Thomas Wolfe, 10, are dreaming of becoming novelists.

As Ever Yours

Maxwell E. Perkins, famed editor of such literary luminaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Thomas Wolfe, was a man whose personal and professional lives often intersected. Nowhere is this more evident than in his correspondence with Elizabeth Lemmon, the Virginia socialite who became his long-distance confidante. Despite the platonic nature of their relationship, others realized the intensity of their connection. The letters contained in As Ever Yours, published here for the first time, reveal an epistolary love story–and they provide fresh insights into Perkins the man and Perkins the editor. Max first met Elizabeth in 1922 at the Perkins home in Plainfield, New Jersey. Immediately drawn to her stark beauty and southern charm, he struck up a correspondence with her that lasted until his death in 1947. As Ever Yours contains 121 of Perkins's letters to Lemmon as well as the 20 extant letters from Lemmon to Perkins; the rest are presumed lost or destroyed. Letters from Fitzgerald and Wolfe also shed light on the pair's dynamic relationship. The letters make for compelling reading as Perkins details his personal life in New Jersey and Connecticut and his professional life in the New York publishing world. The writers he discovered, edited, and encouraged at Charles Scribner's Sons emerge as endearing and believable characters, brought to life in Perkins's vivid narrative voice. He is witty, self-deprecating, and painterly in his descriptions of people and locales together with the social milieu of his day. Protected by distance, Max used his letter-writing relationship to unburden himself in a way he could not with hiscoworkers, his authors, or even his wife–and these letters simultaneously highlight his editorial judgment and disclose his private feelings. Expertly edited by Rodger L. Tarr, As Ever Yours will be important to students and scholars of the history of publishing. The Perkins-Lemmon letters illuminate the thoughts and experiences of the greatest literary editor of the twentieth century. Rodger L. Tarr is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Illinois State University. He is the editor of a number of books on Thomas Carlyle and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, most recently Max and Marjorie: The Correspondence of Maxwell E. Perkins and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1999) and Thomas Carlyle: Sartor Resartus (2000).

See Plainfield GC Member file: Morison, Mrs. Nathaniel H. (Fanny C. Lemmon) '16

James B. Perkins

Paid Notice: Deaths PERKINS, JAMES B.
Published: October 22, 1999

PERKINS-James B., a resident of Stamford, CT. died of cancer, on October 14, 1999 at his home. Born June 29, 1919, Plainfield, NJ, son of the late Seymour and Maude R. Perkins. Graduate of Rutgers University, Veteran of WWII, associated with Deering Milliken Inc. and Springs Industries until his retirement in 1985. Survived by his wife Billie M. Perkins; sons: James B. Perkins Jr., John W. Perkins, Jeffrey M. Perkins and a daughter Suzanne Perkins; his sister Mrs. Susan Jarrell. Predeceased by his brother Seymour Perkins Jr. Services private. Memorials may be made to Bennett Cancer Center, Shelburne Road, Stamford, CT. 06902 or Hospice Care, 1029 Main Street, Stamford, CT. 06902.

December 1, 1907 New York Times Marriage Announcement

Miss Maude Rodgriguez Weds

Her Marriage with Seymour Perkins Celebrated in Trinity Chapel

The marriage of Seymour Perkins, son of the late Henry C. Perkins, and Miss Maude Rodriguez, daughter of Erlado Rodriguez, took place yesterday afternoon in Trinity Chapel, West Twenty-fifth Street, the Rev. Dr. William Vibbert officiating. As the bridegroom is in mourning only relatives and a few intimate friends were invited to the ceremony.

The bride wore a gown of white lace with tulle veil, caught with orange blossoms, and carried lilies of the valley and white orchids. Her father gave her away in marriage.

Miss Edith Anderson was the only attendant. She wore white chiffon and carried pink and yellow roses.

Ralph Richter was the best man. There were no ushers. Mr. Perkins is a member of the Society of Colonial Wars and of the Seaanhaka-Corinthian Yacht Club. After a bridal trip Mr. and Mrs. Perkins will live in Plainfield, N.J.

Learn more of the literary connections between Perkins, Doubleday and de Graff

Mrs. James Wilde (Carrie T. Milliken) de Graff '15

1952 Check Book

No. 980
Dec. 10, 1952
Esther Perkins for change

1954 Check Book

No. 1078
April 22, 1954
N.Y. Botanical Garden
dues - sustaining
1954 - 55

No. 1079
May 13, 1954
Constance T. Foster
Flowers for Mrs. W. Tyler
& Mrs. DeForest

No. 1080
May 13, 1954
Esther B. Perkins
change for cash box for Garden Fair

1955 Check Book

No. 1147
March 16. 1955
Esther B. Perkins
change for auctions

No. 1148
April 12, 1955
Founders Fund

No. 1149
April 22, 1955
New York Botanical Garden
dues 1955 - 1956

August 20, 2012 Neltje Doubleday

Email from Mary Kent to Susan Fraser:

I am forwarding you a question from Marian Hill about Neltje Doubleday. I do not recall the name. I was sure if anyone knew it would be you.

Best, Mary

Email from Marian Hill (GCA President) to Mary Kent:
From: "" <>

Subject: Re: Neltje Doubleday
Date: August 18, 2012 8:50:04 PM EDT
To: Mary Kent <>

Dear Mary,

I have a quick question: Was Neltje Blanchan Doubleday a member of your garden club. Thank you for verifying this for me. She is one of my favorite authors.

Hope you are enjoying these last wonderful summer days,

Susan Fraser's Response to Mary Kent:

Hi Mary,

I do indeed know that name and really wish we had more time to get over to the Plainfield Library and crack open our vault of records. Sadly as of today's date, I don't believe Neltje was a member. However, I am fairly certain she was the niece of founding member:

Mrs. James Wilde (Carrie T. Milliken) deGraff '15

I also think she was related to MANY of our Plainfield Garden Club members. Her son's wife, the famous Robert deGraff, sent in a memorial fund for Polly Heely in 1988. She was a local Plainfield girl and must have known Polly – perhaps grew up with her?

Neltje was part of the elite of Plainfield (and Plainfield Garden Club) both through her family and her husband, Frank Doubleday. Frank worked at first for Scribner publishing and his relative, Maxwell Perkins (related to MANY Plainfield GC ladies) was the very, very famous editor at Scribner's – he helped publish Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe and many more famous authors. (No coincidence that Scribners was the publishing company for Neltje.)

You can read about Maxwell here at this direct link:

Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) Perkins '49

Neltje's daughter married a Babcock, a very prominent Plainfield family, and that puts her in the same family of Tabby Cochran, Somerset Hills GC through Tabby's husband.

Other Plainfield GC members that Neltje was related to are listed below. Most notably Archibald Cox – whose mother was a Plainfield Garden Club member. Jennifer Gregory who lives in the Cox home has promised me that one day we can come for a tour! Susan

Huntington, Miss Florence '15
Huntington, Mrs. Howard (Agnes Fales Strong) '19
Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Nash, Mrs. Philip Wallace (Helen Babcock) '57
Nelson, Mrs. Arthur G. '32, President 1936 -1937, 1940 - 1942
Cochran, Mrs. Homer P. (Elisabeth Nash) '52 (Tabby's mother-in-law)
Harlow, Mrs. Edward Dexter (Elsie Cochran Martin) '15
Stewart, Mrs. Percy Hamilton (Elinor DeWitt Cochran) '15

Mrs. de Graff's son, Robert Fair de Graff, was the famous creator of paperback books! It was his wife that sent the memorial for Mrs. Heely in 1988.

October 17, 1988 Esther Barlow Perkins

Perkins Esther (barlow)
October 17, 1998
PERKINS Esther (Barlow)

Esther (Barlow) Perkins 90, formerly of Plainfield, N.J., and Madison, widow of Seymour Perkins Jr., died Thursday, (Oct. 15, 1998). Born in Plainfield, N.J., June 4, 1908, daughter of the late DeWitt D. & Elizabeth (Moody) Barlow. She was a graduate of The Hartridge School, Plainfield, N.J., and Vassar College, Class of 1929. Prior to retiring in 1970, she was associated with Plainfield Trust State National Bank and The National State Bank. She was an active member of the Garden Club in Plainfleld, was one of the founders of the Plainfield Recycling Program and was very concerned with environmental issues. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Seymour & Jane S. Perkins III of Hindsdale, IL.; her son and daughter-in-law Brewster B. & Judith B. Perkins of West Hartford; her daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth P. & L. Steven Sternberg of Point Arena, CA.; two sisters, Mrs. (William) Elizabeth Dunbar Jr. of Bayhead, N.J. and Mrs. (William) Jean Peelle of West Hartford; a brother, Carlton M. Barlow of Essex; five beloved grandchildren; Richard Shepherd Perkins of Boston, Sarah Kate Perkins of New York City, Alexander Barlow Perkins of Seattle, WA., Austin Bailey Perkins of West Hartford and Laela Seymour Perkins of West Hartford. She was predeceased by her sister, Anne B. Shepherd and her brother, DeWitt D. Barlow, Jr. Memorial services will be held Monday, (Oct. 19) 11 a.m. at The Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave., Hartford, with the Rev. Karin Fowler officiating. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Alzheimer's Association, Northern Connecticut Chapter, 790 Maple Ave., Hartford, CT 06114, or to The Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford, 30 Arbor St., Hartford, CT 06106. Arrangements are being handled by The Ahern Funeral Home, 180 Farmington Ave., Hartford.

Residence of Charles A. Edwards, 1143 Evergreen Avenue

In this illustrated book, the Courier-News has sought to present some of the representative homes of The Plainfields and adjoining territory, together with such other buildings of interest and importance as would serve to convey an idea of the physical attractioins of one of the most beautiful and healthful cities in the Metropolitan District. The homes reflect the desirability of this community as a place of residence.

The churches, schools, clubs and public buildings pictured serve to give the stranger some conceptions of the beauty of the city and its right to be termed the "Queen City" of New Jersey.

With picturesque Watchung Hills as a background, this section with all its natural advantages, plus a progressive spirit, coupled with high class local governing bodies and a live Chamber of Commerce, is pecularily adapted for home sites and, as a result, it has enjoyed a steady and healthy growth for many years.

publication circa 1917

Archibald Cox related to Maxwell Perkins

Cox was the son of Archibald and Frances Perkins Cox. His mother was the sister of Maxwell Perkins, an editor at the publishing house of Charles Scribner's Sons. A native of Plainfield, New Jersey, Cox attended the Wardlaw School, and St. Paul's School

William Maxwell Evarts

William Maxwell Evarts (February 6, 1818 – February 28, 1901) was an American lawyer and statesman who served as U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Senator from New York. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of author, editor, and Indian removal opponent Jeremiah Evarts, and the grandson of Declaration of Independence signer Roger Sherman.

School, family, and early careerWilliam attended Boston Latin School, graduated from Yale College in 1837 and then attended Harvard Law School. While at Yale he became a member of the secret society Skull and Bones[1] , but later in life spoke out against such societies at the 1873 Yale commencement alumni meeting, claiming they bred snobbishness.[2][3]

He was admitted to the bar in New York in 1841, and soon took high rank in his profession. He married Helen Minerva Bingham Wardner in 1843. They had 12 children between 1845 and 1862, all born in New York City.

[edit] Early political careerA Whig Party supporter before joining the fledgling Republican Party, Evarts was appointed an assistant United States district attorney and served from 1849-1853. In 1860 he was chairman of the New York delegation to the Republican National Convention where he placed Senator William H. Seward's name in nomination for President. He served on New York's Union Defense Committee during the Civil War. In 1861 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate from New York. He was a member of the State constitutional convention in 1867-1868.

[edit] Service in the Andrew Johnson administrationHe was chief counsel for President Andrew Johnson during the impeachment trial, and from July 1868 until March 1869 he was Johnson's Attorney General.[4]

[edit] Service in the Grant administrationIn 1872 he was counsel for the United States before the tribunal of arbitration on the Alabama claims at Geneva, Switzerland. Evarts was also a founding member of the New York City Bar Association, and served as its first president from 1870 to 1879, by far the longest tenure of any president since.

Service in the Hayes Administration
Evarts served as counsel for President-elect Rutherford B. Hayes, on behalf of the Republican Party, before the Electoral Commission in the disputed presidential election of 1876. During President Hayes's administration he was Secretary of State. He was a delegate to the International Monetary Conference at Paris 1881.

[edit] U.S. SenatorFrom 1885 to 1891 he was a U.S. Senator from New York. While in Congress (49th, 50th and 51st Congresses), he served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Library from 1887 to 1891. He was also a sponsor of the Judiciary Act of 1891 also known as the Evarts Act, which created the United States courts of appeals.[5] As an orator Senator Evarts stood in the foremost rank, and some of his best speeches were published.

[edit] Chair of the American Committee for the Statue of LibertyHe led the American fund-raising effort for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, serving as the chairman of the American Committee. He spoke at its unveiling on October 28, 1886. His speech was entitled "The United Work of the Two Republics." "Taking a breath in the middle of his address, he was understood to have completed his speech. The signal was given, and Bartholdi, together with Richard Butler and David H. King Jr., whose firm built the pedestal and erected the statue, let the veil fall from her face. A 'huge shock of sound' erupted as a thunderous cacophony of salutes from steamer whistles, brass bands, and booming guns, together with clouds of smoke from the cannonade, engulfed the statue for the next half hour."[6]

[edit] RetirementSenator Evarts retired from public life due to ill health in 1891. He was also part of a law practice in New York City called Evarts, Southmoyd and Choate.

He owned a large number of properties in Windsor, Vermont including Evarts Pond and a group of historic homes often referred to as Evarts Estate. The homes included 26 Main St. in Windsor, Vermont. The home was purchased from John Skinner in the 1820s for $5,000 by William M. Evarts and was passed down to his daughter, Elizabeth Hoar Evarts Perkins, who left the home to family members, including her son Maxwell Perkins. The home stayed in the family until 2005. 26 Main Street in Windsor, Vermont was recently restored and reopened as Snapdragon Inn. Snapdragon Inn is open to the public and features a library that displays and collects items related to the history of William M. Evarts and his extended family.

He died in New York City and was buried at Ascutney Cemetery in Windsor, Vermont.

Van Wyck Brooks and Perkins Connection

SEE: Mrs. Henry D. Hibbard '15

Brooks, Van Wyck (16 Feb. 1886-2 May 1963) , literary critic and cultural historian, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of Charles Edward Brooks, a stockbroker, and Sarah Bailey Ames. From the beginning, Van Wyck Brooks was precocious. He did well in the Plainfield public schools, profited intellectually from a whirlwind year mostly with his mother and brother in England, France, Germany, and Italy (1898), and in due time entered Harvard (1904). While there, he associated with many fellow students, notably Maxwell Perkins , who were also inclined toward literary careers. Brooks privately published some poetry (1905), became an editor of the Harvard Advocate (1905), and, although enrolled in the class of 1908, graduated a year early and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Brooks tried briefly but could not manage to initiate a literary career in New York City; so he went for two years to England, wrote for journals, and published The Wine of the Puritans: A Study of Present-day America (London, 1908; New York, 1909). Cast in the form of a dialogue between a practical and an idealistic American, this book deplores the fact that the original settlers of New England poured their European culture (old wine) into an explosive new environment (new bottles)–the twofold result being American Transcendentalism (delicate aroma) and commercialism (spoiled wine). Taking to heart his pleas for the emergence of an organic American culture, he returned to New York, where he supported himself by various writing chores (1909-1911).

After moving to Carmel, California, in 1911 he married Eleanor Kenyon Stimson, a Plainfield friend from childhood. The couple had two children. Brooks wrote as much as he could while spending what he felt was too much time and energy teaching composition and survey courses in British and American literature at Stanford (1911-1913). While there, he attended meetings held by local Socialists and was influenced by Stanford faculty Socialists, including Hindu philosopher Har Dayal and economist Max Lippett. (It is thought that in the 1912 presidential election Brooks voted for Socialist party candidate Eugene V. Debs .) Meanwhile, Brooks was working on biographies of H. G. Wells and John Addington Symonds.

The years 1913-1914 found the Brookses back in England and France. Brooks taught at a workers' association and also published The Malady of the Ideal (1913), concerning French novelist Étienne de Sénancour, French poet Maurice de Guérin, and Swiss critic Henri Frédéric Amiel. In this work, Brooks theorizes that writers obsessed by universal ideality fail to compromise with reality and hence wither. More significant were three books he completed in England but published after he and his family returned home at the outbreak of World War I. They are John Addington Symonds: A Biographical Study (1914), The World of H. G. Wells (1915), and America's Coming-of-Age (1915). Brooks reasoned that whereas Symonds let the puritanical establishment force him to hate the world, Wells saw science and socialism combining to create a fine new order. In America's Coming-of-Age , a manifesto containing astute theoretical insights, Brooks divided America into "Highbrow" (post-Puritan, Transcendental gentility–often meaningless) and "Lowbrow" (opportunistic, materialistic commercialism–often mindless). He praised Walt Whitman for uniquely harmonizing American idealism and materialism, reviled capitalism (even when paternalistic) in favor of socialism, and called for the gradual, not radical, humanizing and liberalizing of American culture. During the years 1918-1924 Brooks published translations of books in French by Henry Malherbe (an appeal to French patriotism) and by Léon Bazalgette (on Henry David Thoreau ); Brooks and his wife also translated Georges Berguer's psychological biography of Jesus.

Brooks coedited and published in the Seven Arts , a short-lived liberal, pacifist magazine (1916-1917). It called for a conscious effort to unify America culturally, decried political nationalism and materialism, and encouraged experimental literature. Brooks collected his seven essays from it in Letters and Leadership (1918), in which he criticizes America's excessive reliance on puritanism, materialism, false optimism, and unimaginative pragmatism, and urges cultural leaders to develop an organically centralized community of the arts. The book gained him national prominence as a critic.

His next two major books stirred violent controversy. They are The Ordeal of Mark Twain , published in 1920, during which year he and his family moved to Connecticut, and The Pilgrimage of Henry James , published in 1925. Brooks theorized that Twain crippled himself by surrendering to eastern Christian commercialism and profeminist criticism, failed to express what should have been an unbridled personality, and developed a dual nature because of the vestigial remains of his Calvinistic Mississippi Valley childhood. Brooks theorized that James disastrously deracinated himself from his vigorous American heritage by expatriating himself in England, where he failed to sink nourishing roots, and came to stress "vapid" form over popularly meaningful content. Brooks contended that American acquisitiveness caused both Twain and James to miss true greatness. While working on these two controversial studies, Brooks also wrote critical articles and weekly reviews for the Freeman (1920-1924), which he also coedited.

Even as he was planning a biography of the idealistic Ralph Waldo Emerson , Brooks grew depressed, harbored thoughts of suicide, suffered nervous breakdowns, and was periodically hospitalized (1926-1931). He became a worry and a burden to his family. While recovering, Brooks was flattened by the suicide of his devoted brother Ames in 1931. In 1932 Brooks published The Life of Emerson and Sketches in Criticism (containing some of his Freeman pieces). More significant, however, was what followed. With great patience and care, Brooks wrote his five-volume masterpiece, Makers and Finders: A History of the Writer in America, 1800-1915 (1952), the five parts of which are The Flowering of New England, 1815-1865 (1936; Pulitzer Prize winner in history, 1937), New England: Indian Summer, 1865-1915 (1940), The World of Washington Irving (1944), The Times of Melville and Whitman (1947), and The Confident Years: 1885-1915 (1952). These classics trace the history of mainstream American literature. They have been praised and criticized for being solid, detailed, and knowledgeable but also sentimental, replete with unneeded information, and reductive.

Brooks's last busy decades were marked by an ever-increasing conservatism and a kind of "middlebrow" style–neither "high" nor "low." Brooks assembled old and new critical perceptions in book form: A Chilmark Miscellany (1948) and From a Writer's Notebook (1955; enl. ed., 1958). He also wrote biographies of John Sloan (1955), Helen Keller (1956), William Dean Howells (1959), and Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (1962). A unique book by Brooks is The Dream of Arcadia: American Writers and Artists in Italy, 1760-1915 (1958). It dramatizes its author's lifelong dilemma: Brooks intellectually admired Americans who sought cultural inspiration abroad, but at the same time he patriotically–even jingoistically–lamented their prolonged expatriation. Eleanor Brooks died in 1946. Brooks married Gladys Rice Saltonstall Billings in 1947, and they traveled together to the British Isles (1951, 1959) and Italy (1956). Brooks reminisces charmingly in a three-volume autobiography: Scenes and Portraits: Memories of Childhood and Youth (1954), Days of the Phoenix: The Nineteen Twenties I Remember (1957), and From the Shadow of the Mountain: My Post-Meridian Years (1961). He died in Bridgewater, Connecticut.

Van Wyck Brooks was one of the important literary critics of his era. He helped fellow American intellectuals, and less academically trained readers as well, recognize the dangers of rigid puritanism, indifferent expatriation, and capitalistic industrialism, and also appreciate the accomplishments of all of the major and many of the minor figures in America's complex literary past.

Brooks's papers are located in more than seventy American library collections, but the most important collections are in the Museum of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, and in the Charles Patterson Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania. A lengthy primary and secondary bibliography is in Van Wyck Brooks: The Early Years, A Selection from His Works, 1908-1925 , ed. with an introduction and notes by Claire Sprague (1968; rev. ed., 1993). Brooks's three autobiographical volumes were reprinted in one volume as An Autobiography (1965, foreword by John Hall Wheelock and introduction by Malcolm Cowley). The Van Wyck Brooks-Lewis Mumford Letters: The Record of a Literary Friendship, 1921-1963 (1970), with an illuminating introduction by the editor, Robert E. Spiller, reveals the separate strengths but mainly the intellectual and emotional symbiosis of two of the leading minds of their epoch. Three excellent evaluative biographies are James R. Vitelli, Van Wyck Brooks (1969); James Hoopes, Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture (1977); and Raymond Nelson, Van Wyck Brooks: A Writer's Life (1981). William Wasserstrom in The Legacy of Van Wyck Brooks: A Study of Maladies and Motives (1971) theorizes on Brooks's love-hate relationship to American culture. Critical essays on Brooks, ranging from laudatory to venomous, are collected in Wasserstrom, ed., Van Wyck Brooks: The Critic and His Critics (1979). A lengthy obituary, including a portrait, is in the New York Times , 3 May 1963.

Robert L. Gale

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Robert L. Gale. " Brooks, Van Wyck ";;
American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.
Access Date: document.write (new Date()); Tue Oct 4 21:08:13 CDT 2005

January 4, 2008 Time Magazine: Van Wyck Brooks -- Literarian

Today we read writers like Fennimore Cooper, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Stephen Crane, Bret Harte and Theodore Dreiser as if they've always been there, and if we haven't read them we have at least heard of them. The point is they would not have been here to read without the work of one man, one American, Van Wyck Brooks.

Origins - Plainfield, New Jersey

Van Wyck Brooks was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, on February 16th 1886, which, in that year, was no longer the small backwater it had been, but a thriving, bustling New York commuter dormitory, which didn't suit people like Van Wyck's mother Sallie Brooks, who thought it unnecessary and rather common.

Sallie Brooks

As James Hoopes reminds us in his 1977 biography, Van Wyck Brooks - In Search of American Culture...

" Sallie Brooks never questioned her own qualifications as an arbiter of American taste and culture, and it would have been surprising if she had done so, with her secure upper-class childhood and ancestry that was, as she understood the word, impeccably American. Consciously proud of her Dutch and English forebears, she was quick to join the Daughters of the American Revolution when the organization was founded in the 1890s."


The first of Sallie Brooks' ancestors to settle in America, some seven generations before the birth of Van Wyck, was Cornelius Barente Van Wyck, who settled in New Amsterdam in 1659, with his descendants becoming prosperous Long Island farming gentry, with two of his great-grandsons fighting as generals with the American Army during the Revolutionary Wars. One of the general's sisters, Altje Van Brooks, married a colonel, John Bailey, who was of English descent. One of their sons, Theodorus, became a senator, with another, William, becoming - by marrying into the Platt family - a wealthy land owner. His son, Theodore, became an admiral in the American Navy, and was second-in-command at New Orleans when the Union took that city's surrender in the Civil War. John Bailey, the brother of the landowner, was Sallie's grandfather who " married a poet, Emily Thurber, who bore him three sons (two of whom perished in the Civil War) and in 1832 a daughter, Phebe, who became Sallie's mother."

Phebe was raised in Plattsburgh (named after the land owning family) and educated in a Manhattan boarding school, where one of her best friends was a relative of James Fennimore Cooper, whose family she got to know well. Phebe married Charles Ames in the 1850s, giving birth to Sallie, her only child, in 1858.

Sallie's experience of men was limited, but in February 1880 she fell in love with Charles Brooks.

Charles Brooks

Charles Brooks' family were cotton brokers in New York, a business his father, Mitchell, ran successfully until the Civil War, when it went bankrupt. Mitchell quickly picked himself up and enjoyed a second career as the manager of a New York department store, before dying of pneumonia at the age of forty-four.

Soon after his father's death Charles broke off relations with his three brothers over a bitter argument about the inheritance of their father's money. Charles then bought himself a partnership with a brokerage firm in New York, spending ten years in Europe looking after the firm's affairs there.

On his return to the US he went into business for himself, cutting quite a dash with his polished European ways, Sallie couldn't resist him. They were married in June 1882. Their first son, Charles Ames Brooks, was born in April 1883, and Van Wyck Brooks three years later.

Sadly Charles had no real acumen as a businessman, and soon after Van Wyck's birth his company went bust.


James Hoopes, Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture, The University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst 1977

Van Wyck Brooks, From The Shadow of the Mountain: My Post-Meridian Years, J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1961

Copyright Steve Newman

Read more at Suite101: Van Wyck Brooks - Literarian | Suite101
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Louise "Peggy" Perkins King Dies

June 22, 2013 Dan Damon Blog: Maxwell Perkins Last Child Dies. Who?

Word came recently that Louise 'Peggy' Perkins King, born and raised in Plainfield, passed away at the age of 97.

Who, you say?

Peggy was the last surviving child of famed book editor Maxwell Perkins and his wife Louise Saunders Perkins.

The name of Maxwell Perkins may not ring a bell with you, but it is him we have to thank for being able to pick up and read the books of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe.

He also encouraged Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings develop what became her most successful book, The Yearling. He brought Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country to press, and persuaded James Jones to abandon the novel he was working on to develop what became From Here to Eternity.

Maxwell Perkins' sister Frances married Archibald Cox, and they lived at 1010 Rahway Road. Their son Archibald, Jr., later became famous as the independent counsel in the Watergate investigation that brought down President Richard Nixon.

The Perkins' and the Coxes had other connections to the Plainfield community, many of which Susan Frasier of the Plainfield Garden Club has tracked down.

You can see some results of her research on the Garden Club's website –

Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Day, Mrs. Thomas Mills (Anne Perkins Smith) '16
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49
Cox, Mrs. Edward Vermilye (Julia Bulkley) '35
Cox, Mrs. Fred J. (Elizabeth Rand Adams) '35
Barlow, Mrs. Carlton Montague (June Simms) '71
Barlow, Mrs. DeWitt Dukes (Mary Lee Brewer), Jr. '65
Dunbar, Mrs. William K., Jr. (Elizabeth or "Libby" Hai…
Moody, Mrs. George T. '22

Some of their Plainfield Homes & Gardens:
310 West 7th Street
502 West 7th Street
511 West 7th Street
648 West 8th Street
740 Carlton Avenue
1143 Evergreen Avenue
1130 Gresham Road
816 Madison Avenue
1010 Rahway Road
1737 Sleepy Hollow Lane
1415 Watchung Avenue
930 Woodland Avenue

I was taken by learning that Peggy King, who lived for many years in Alliance, Ohio, where her husband practiced, was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 60s and 70s.

It truly is a small world.

May 15, 2013 New Great Gatsby Film

At the box office this week is another glamorous version of the novel, The Great Gatsby. Bloggers and reporters have been writing about all things regarding the movie. One such blog reminded Sally of a special garden trip taken by the PGC to Long Island – the place that inspired Fitzgerald to write "the great American novel." To learn more about this trip click here.

You will also learn why Leo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan should thank Plainfield in their possible Oscar speeches!

May 15, 2013 Old Westbury Gardens

1954 - 1970 296 Images from Plainfield Library Scrapbook

1973-1974 PGC Directory

1973-1974 Treasurer

1974-1975 Directory

1975-1976 The Junior League of Plainfield

Finance, Sustainer: Esther Perkins

May 1, 1974 Barbara Sandford's dues notice

1941 Courier-News Plainfield Merits Classification as 'City of Beautiful Trees'

November 30, 2013: Found in Barbara Tracy Sandford's memorabilia. Written by PGC Member Mrs. Garret Smith

"I call Plainfield the City of Beautiful Trees," and out-of-town visitor remarked to me the other day. "My business takes me to many towns about this size clear across the country. Trees, or their lack, always impress me most about a town. Beautiful building can't make up for the lack of them. Many towns seem to have choice trees only in one or two sections. Others have only a few tree-lined avenues. But every part of Plainfield has not only interesting individual trees, but long stretches of streets where treetops meet in green arches above the traffic. That doesn't just happen. This town must have been founded by tree-lovers."

The stranger was right, as many specimen trees on old private properties testify. They are trees that were rare and expensive when planted years ago. A number of well-to-do property owners appreciated trees and collected choice kinds. The street trees of about this age also show that far-sighted men planned to make the town keep growing more beautiful in ways that everyone enjoys.

Trees have always been essential to Plainfielders. In the early days elms stretched down North Ave. from east to the west city boundaries. Many still remain now 70 to 80 years old. That avenue helped to establish Plainfield's policy of "beautiful trees for every street."

Value Appreciated
The city's mayors and councilmen have appreciate the value of trees . . . Ginko . . . now ripening, in the edge of the station grounds, near the corner of the drug store.

Among its immediate neighbors, at this station are a Red Maple, Austrian Pine, English Elm, Horse Chestnut, several Magnolias and a Sycamore Maple, the latter near the middle of the grass oval. Purple Beech, White Pine and two Hemlocks stand at the west exit.

Lindens at Spot
On the North Ave. side of the station is an interesting clump of three Lindens – no two alike. Evergreens are represented by three Scotch Pines, an Austrian and a White Pine, and a tall, slender Spruce. In this little park are also Sugar Swamp and Silver Maples, and a clump of low-growing Beeches. Looking upward to the railroad level, one sees, besides the specimen Ginko mentioned, two Catalpas, a Weeping Mulberry, two Red Maples and an Austrian Pine. A big Pin Oak, two or three Scarlet Oaks, a . . . .

. . . boats glided over Green Brook and when Plainfield and New York social leaders came in big carriages, drawn by spanking teams, to garden musicals, gay dinners, dances and teas as the Johnston's guests.

All of Plainfield's school grounds are constantly growing more attractive. Environment of vines, trees, plants and shrubs awaken appreciation of Nature's beauty that is a lifelong source of pleasure.

Hubbard School, one of the city's architectural gems, has always been regarded as in a class by itself. Its beauty is greatly enhanced by choice plant material on its ample grounds, partly framed by Barberry. Large specimen Japanese Yews arrest attention, along with Sourwoods, or "Lily-of-the-Valley Tree," whose branches bear long one-sided racemes of white flowers in summer and whose leaves are vivid scarlet in autumn.

White Pine, Cedar, Pfitzer Junipers are shadowy evergreen foils for airy bloom of Weeping Japanese . . .

Among them are the old Elms in North Ave., mentioned before; London Planes from Watchung Ave. to Terrill Rd.; Ash in St. Mary's Ave.; Pin Oaks and Planes in Park Ave.; Sycamore Maples in Bellevue Ave.; Norway Maples in both Leland and Monroe Ave. sections. Tulip trees now grow in Central St., along Maxon School grounds, and Ginkos in Landsdowne Terr. In Cleveland Ave., near Grace Church, the lacy foliage of the decorative Mountain Ash, or Rowan Tree, contrasts at this season with bunches of bright hollylike berries. Many years ago the late Simeon Cruikshank planted Buckeyes along his corner property ["Sacmoore" 831 Belvidere] at Belvidere and Watchung Aves. Much smaller than familiar Horse Chestnut and with brighter pink flower-spikes they have always been greatly admired. In autumn the brilliant, scarlet, star-shape leaves of Liquid-ambar, or Sweetgum, glorifies a patch of Ravine Rd. After a shower, or if bruised, the foliage is fragrant. Corky bark and thorny-skinned fruit like little apples, complete this tree's unique characteristics.

Close to 150 trees, of many species, are part of the Muhlenberg Hospital landscape. The long front path beneath the Maples, and on the west the wide Elm-bordered stretch of green lawn leading to a quiet pool, with its amusing little bronze fountain figure, form two vistas of ever-increasing charm. Wide borders of intermingling trees and flowering shrubs frame the property.

The purple leaves of the two Schwedler Maples attract much attention in the spring. So do the Apple trees and Dogwoods that trim the grounds like big bouquets, set off by Hemlocks, Spruce and Pine. Chinese Dogwoods, given by graduate nurses, are especially prized. Devoted interest of the late Marie Louis, nature-lover and for years superintendent of Muhlenberg, helped turn once common-plant "grounds" into a tree-shaded garden spot both restful and diverting.

Dogwood Favorites
Native Dogwoods are favorites among the city's flowering trees. The Plainfield Garden Club, on its own recent 25th birthday, gave small grove of these "Jewels of the Forest" to Cedar Brook Park. On the T. H. Van Bosckerck grounds on Prospect Ave. is the handsome large group of Dogwoods on private property in town. On Dr. Elmer Weigel's lawn on Belvidere Ave [630 Belivdere – see Mrs. Joost]. Chinese Dogwood bears much larger and later blooms. Directly across the street from this, and close to the sidewalk, a low-growing Witch Hazel (Hamanelis) bears yellow Forsythia-like flowers in winter.

Before the Talmadge dwelling [714 Belvidere], in the the same street, are majestic Copper Beeches. In early days Beeches were popular selections for large grounds. Probably the finest Weeping Beech in the city grows in deserted grounds in Central Ave. Nearby on the Witon property is a huge Purple Beech – both almost perfect. Farther down the avenue, on Wardlaw School grounds [1030 Central Avenue - see Below], is a fine old Ginko.

The only Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) in Plainfield is owned by former Mayor Leighton Calkins [929 Madison – see Below]. Its strange trunk and heart-shaped leaves, purplish when young, are unusual. It grows in front of the house in Madison Ave.

Unique among Plainfield trees is a native Orange of the South. it is today laden with velvety, green fruit in Mrs. Howard Tracy's Prospect Ave. garden [1331 Prospect Ave]. Probably nowhere else in this region can one be found, according to Shade Tree Commissioner Lithgow Hunter. Sent north from Maryville College in Tennessee 50 years ago. . . .

. . . residents seeking permanent homes. These officials have always planned with the Shade Tree Commission since its organization, so that every year more trees come marching in. Some fill vacancies in the ranks of old trees along old streets. Others shade tireless blocks in new sections of town.

For the last 17 years, one man, Sidney Durant, the Shade Tree Commission's expert supervisor of trees, has directed its work. it includes feeding, pruning, watering and repairing the city's 25,000 street trees, as well removal of dead or too-badly-injured trees and planting new ones. For nearly 20 years Thomas F. Hylan has served on the commission, of which he is now president.

Of all the city's trees, the strange Ginko, or Maiden-hair tree, grows to a height of 80 feet or so. The delicacy of its little leaves, resembling those of the Maiden-Hair fern, contrast sharply with the arrow-straight upswept branches of what is considered one of the most beautiful and unusual of all hardy exotic trees. The Ginko's origin is a mystery. Nowhere on earth is it been found wild, yet fossils prove it was once scattered all over the world. Nothing else today resembles the Ginko, so paleontologists reason that some series of misfortunes destroyed all missing links. Today's closest relative is the Yew family, thought at a glance they appear as unrelated as a Chines and a New England Yankee.

Planted Near Temples
Early explorers found Ginkos planted around Chinese and Japanese temples. The Chinese called in Yin-Hing – "Silver Apricot" – referring to the greenish-yellow, fleshy fruit having a single stone. This fruit, slightly roasted, was served throughout the formal Chinese dinners which lasted all day. Guests nibble the finlike fruit between courses as an aid to digestion.

The Ginko did not reach England until 1754. The first specimen in this country was planted in Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia. In 1889 the Ginko fruited for the first time there on the grounds of Charles Wister. fifty years ago these newcomers to America were not only scarce, but expensive. That Plainfield has so many beautiful old specimens of these trees is possibly due to the fact that John Taylor Johnston, then president of the New Jersey Central Railroad and a resident of this city, was not only a patron of the arts, but a lover of trees. Each of Plainfield's railroad station grounds had not only fine specimens of the Ginko, but also a varied collection of other trees, evidently selected by an expert.

Netherwood, nearest the Johnston home [see Below], was especially favored. Here, beside the north track, stands a regal Ginko, carefully located as an artist would plan his canvas, so that its top is etched against the sky. This emphasizes the beauty of leaf and branch and trunk as viewed from the eastbound station platform. ?? may see a younger . . .

. . . White Oak and Elms are among the trees fringing the western boundary.

"The property as a whole is a remarkable small arboretum," said a well-known visiting tree scientist recently, after inspecting the Netherwood station park. "In my travels I've seen no other railroad station grounds with such a variety of trees. This landscaping, too, I can see was done by an expert."

In employing such an expert to beautify the railroad property in his home town, Mr. Johnston was carrying out the spirit of the statement he made at the time the Metropolitan Museum of New York City was founded at his Fifth Ave. mansion. He was quoted as saying:

"The public ought to have a chance to see, to hear and to know more about whatever feeds the mind and is inspiring, if we are to have the best kind in America."

To even a novice in landscaping, the Netherwood station grounds show that underlying motive. One could not imagine either the south or north oval either diminished of enlarged – so true is their scale. It would be hard to find more beautiful flowering trees than those Magnolias; or more intriguing contrast of leaf, branch and trunk than offered by the Ginko and the Pine. On the north side the clump of Lindens, combined with an apparently outcropping "pudding stone," make a "garden composition" that suggest to the home gardener similar effective arrangements, though not necessarily identical in material.

Beautiful Estate
Some old residents recall that Mr. Johnston's estate in E. Front St. was lavishly beautified with choice trees, as were those of most of his neighbors along that splendid avenue of that day. Some of those estates are still being kept up as homes of their owners today, while others have been divided into beautiful setting for developments of small homes.

The Johnston estate, however, furnished the basis of another public development of beauty spots. A portion of it became the site of the new Barlow School [see Below]. These school grounds are said to be unequaled in the state in the variety and placement of superb trees. What some consider the finest Weeping Beech in town grows here, also two majestic evergreens, one a White Pine, the other a Spruce. Elm, Ginko, Cucumber tree, Ash, "Button Ball," Willow and Sugar Maple are also outstanding.

Two of the most interesting, although not the most conspicuous of the group, are a true English Oak (Quercus Robur) and a Yellow Wood (Cladrastis lute). The first has smallish leaves, thick-set upon the branch. A strange characteristic is that the stem adheres to the side of the acorn. The writer knows of only one other English Oak in town – Central Ave., near Stelle Ave.

The Yellow Wood has wisteria-like racemes of white fragrant flowers in midsummer. Leaves resemble the locust. Another fine specimen grows on the property of Miss Laura Detwiller in Hillside Ave.

All were here in the days . . . .

. . . when Cherry, Dogwood and Crab. In early spring the large leathery-leaved evergreen Japanese Andromeda (Pieris) unfold delicate, coppery leaves and waxy white racemes of tiny flowers. These are classified as shrubs, but on these favorable grounds, are almost small trees of exceptional beauty.

Preservation is Theme
The good judgement of George R. Zimmer, who for many years has supervised Plainfield's school grounds, is shown not only in what has already been accomplished, but in developments being planned. "What can we preserve?" not "What can we cut down?" is his motto. Before clearing the recently purchased grounds adjoining Maxon School was begun this summer, Mr. Zimmer marked every large and small tree that "might some day be of use somewhere." Workmen were warned to cut not one of these.

The City Police Headquarters and also the old Public Library have a setting of trees. The little Library Park is said to have been reserved from farmland whose native trees – mostly, Red, White and Black Oaks – were left standing. Across the facade of Fire Headquarters are a Ginko, a London Plane and Horse Chestnut – each an unusually fine specimen. Among Netherwood firemen are enthusiastic gardeners. Each spring many of Plainfield's 3,000 commuters take great interest in "what the boys are doing to their grounds." Everything planted seems to do well, even the peonies, marking the line between the firemen's parklike grounds and the railroad cinder-bed.

On spacious City Hall grounds is not only a variety of evergreens, but also of deciduous trees, selected for beauty of form, leaf or flower. Two Cryptomeria, "Aristocrats of Evergreens," donated recently by Plainfield's near-centenarian, Miss Isabel Tweedy, and a tall Himalayan Pine in town was brought here by the late Harry K. Tetsuka, to adorn his well-known Japanese garden in Belvidere Ave [556 Belvidere].

The Holly tree on City Hall grounds is another tree found on but few properties. It was donated by Herbert Moody [see Below], when The Courier-news gift of 5,000 bulbs roused a widespread interest in more beautiful grounds, in keeping with the architectural beauty of the building. Evergreens were given immediately by former Mayor Marion F. Ackerman, and a Dogwood by Thomas F. Hylan, whose keen interest in the property extends back to 25 years ago, when, as Councilman, he served on the City Hall Building Committee. This season former Councilman Orville G. Waring, son of the late Mayor Waring, donated several valuable Pfitzer Junipers.

Not Monotonous
Many species of trees planted along our city streets make green lanes that are not monotonous.

. . . . stood for most of that time in this sheltered nook. The fruits, when ripe, are decorative, but not edible. Edible oranges grown only on grafted stock. The thorny branches of this small tree resemble Osage Orange, or "Indian Bow-wood."

Figs are also ripening now in Plainfield. Within a stone's throw of Netherwood station is Watson Ave. It is only three blocks long and from spring to fall it glows with flowers. In one little garden grows a carefully tended Fig tree that bears fruit yearly. Each fall the owner buries his Fig tree in a deep trench well below the frost-line. Each spring it is dug out and reset.

One great wide-spreading Mulberry (Morus Multicaulus) towers far above the roof-top of Leslie R. Fort's home in Cedarbrook Rd. This venerable tree is the historic survivor of a Mulberry plantation, established during the "Multicaulus Mania," by the late Senator Martine [11 Brook Lane, see Below], as a venture to yield gigantic profits on his farm that included the Cedar Brook tract. He believed with others that New Jersey would be one of the world's silk-growing centers. Convinced that silk was to take the place of cotton, New Jersey farmers set out thousands of acres of "silk-worm mulberries" about 100 years ago, only to cut down the trees when the bubble burst.

One of the most varied private collection of trees in the city is that of Miss Jessie D. Munger in Prospect Ave. In recent years instructors at Rutgers University have brought students to these grounds to study the trees and other plant material as well as the garden design. Last spring the general public enjoyed the same privilege.

Love of trees is part of the tradition that has helped mould Plainfield into a city of pleasant homes on quiet streets. The late Jonas Lie, one of our city's most distinguished citizens, sensed this characteristic of our community. In the Common Council Chamber at City Hall hangs his gift – a mountain woodland scene, interpreted by his illustrious brush as an inspiring message to us all.

To learn more about the history of some of the people and places mentioned in this article, visit these links:

[Maxson School]
Stillman, Mrs. William Maxson (Elizabeth B. Atwood) '15

[630 Belvidere]
Joost, Mrs. Sherman Brownell (Marie Murray) '19

[714 Belvidere]
Dunbar, Mrs. William Kuhn '17
Rock, Mrs. Robert B. '43
Runkle, Mrs. Harry Godley (Jennie Fitz Randolph) '15
Whitehead, Mrs. James Harold (Jean Fitz-Randolph Heiberg) '43

[1030 Central Avenue – duCret School]
Huntington, Mrs. Howard (Agnes Fales Strong) '19
McGee, Mrs. Walter Miller (Mary Alice Yerkes) '22
Zerega, Miss Bertha Virginia '23

[929 Madison Avenue]
Ackerman, Mrs. Marion S.(Sarah M. Wills) '35

[Johnston Estate on Front Street & Netherwood]
Mali, Mrs. Pierre (Frances Johnston) '18

[Barlow School East front Street – former estate of "Blojocamavi" owned by Lewis V. Fitz Randolph/Johnston estate]
Barlow, Mrs. Carlton Montague (June Simms) '70
Barlow, Mrs. DeWitt Dukes (Mary Lee Brewer), Jr. '65
Dunbar, Mrs. William K., Jr. (Elizabeth or "Libby" Hail Barlow) '47
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49
(Also see Mrs. Runkle and Mrs. Whitehead above)

[City Hall]
Moody, Mrs. George T. '22
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49

[11 Brook Lane, Martine House]
MacLeod, Mrs. Robert F. (Carolyn Waring) '55

1941 Courier-News Plainfield Merits Classification as 'City of Beautiful Trees'

1941 Courier-News Plainfield Merits Classification as 'City of Beautiful Trees'

October 19, 1971 Mayor's Annual Beautification Committee Fifth Annual Award Dinner

excerpts: Mrs. Seymour Perkins Jr. received a special award for her organizations of successful recycling program in Plainfield.

Mrs. Webster Sandford exhibited a group of slides showing various areas of the city before and after the Beautification Committee undertook projects.

Spontaneous applause greeted views of the flower beds in Madison-Park, the plantings, now five years at Depot Place, and at the Netherwood Station.

October 19, 1971 Mayor's Annual Beautification Committee Fifth Annual Award Dinner

Thursday, December 6, 1984 Eighteenth Anniversary Program of the Mayor's Beautification Committee

"Bless your heart, Esther" – written in by Barbara

November 20, 1974

November 20, 1974

September 25, 1974

September 25, 1974

September 25, 1974

May 14, 1983 Centennial The Wardlaw Hartridge School

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

Club History by Anne Marie v. G. Seybold

1984-1985 History of the Plainfield Garden Club by Anne Marie v. G. Seybold


In 1969 we began taking conservation field trips. We continued to give conservation packets to schools. In 1972 this resulted in downtown plantings and an anti-litter program. Mrs. Seymour Perkins organized the first recycling station in Plainfield. Recycling was later taken over by the City. We urged the use of recycled paper. We supported the Plainfield Beautification Committee and the New Jersey Roadside Council. 1980 did see some gains in conservation since President Carter signed a bill to protect another million acres in Alaska. Also passed was the 1.6 billion dollars waste clean-up bill. In 1981 we strongly supported the preservation of Assateague Wildlife Refuge and in 1984 joined the Great Swamp Organization, a non-profit citizens group for planning and preserving land use. In September, 1983 Mrs. Robert Hunziker and Mrs. Robert Loughlin prepared an educational poster entitled "Water" which was later submitted to the Zone IV Meeting.

The Club continues to honor its deceased members with gift of mooney to the GCA's Redwood Memorial Grove in California.

September 1971 Plainfield Beautification Committee

Slide converted from the Barbara Tracy Sandford memorabilia.

Slide stamped: SEP71

Woman on far right is perhaps Esther Barlow Perkins. Woman in the center may be Anne Marie Seybold. Woman bending over is unidentified.

September 1971 Plainfield Beautification Committee

Esther Perkins red pants; Anne Marie Seybold flowered top

September 1971 Plainfield Beautification Committee

Esther Perkins red pants

September 1971 Plainfield Beautification Committee

Esther Perkins in red pants

September 1971 Plainfield Beautification Committee

Esther Perkins

January 13, 2014 Release of the 1970 slides from Barbara Tracy Sandford

If you were living in Plainfield in 1971, you may have driven a new Datsun 1200 Sports Coupe that would have cost you $1,866 and paid for gas at .33 cents a gallon. Perhaps you would have driven to the movies to see Love Story or The French Connection. A movie ticket would have cost you $1.50.

In 1971 Barbara Sandford was making great strides in beautifying the eyesore that was Madison Park and other areas of town. Compared to the images from 1967 and 1968, she was enjoying quite a bit of success. Barbara's friends in the Plainfield Garden Club were also hard at work. Never-before-seen photos of Esther Perkins and Anne Marie Seybold have been discovered. Does anyone recognize the other women?

1971 Plainfield

1973 images from Barbara Tracy Sandford

January 26, 2014

1973 was an historic year for our nation. The Watergate scandal occupied most headlines and the stand-off between Nixon and his nemesis, Plainfield's own son, Archibald Cox, riveted not only Plainfield and the U.S., but the world.

Archibald Cox grew up at 1010 Rahway Road. "Archie's" mother was Plainfield Garden Club member Frances Perkins Cox '25.

In May 1973, Professor Cox (Harvard Law) was named special prosecutor to the Watergate scandal. It was he that demanded Nixon release the tapes and he refused Nixon's attempts at compromise. It was this tough stand that eventually led to Nixon's resignation.

Also in May 1973, the Washington Post, upon learning of Cox's appointment, was quick to announce that Archibald Cox was in no way related to Nixon's new son-in-law, Ed Cox. (Remember he and Tricia Nixon were married in the White House rose garden in 1971.) Hmm.

Well, the PGC suspects that there is some DNA that floats between the two men. At the very least, the Washington Post missed the familial relationships between the two "Cox" factions – and probably because they were known to one another through the female sides of the family, which is frequently ignored when tracing genealogy.

Nixon's son-in-law, Edward Ridley Crane Cox, was named for his great-grandmother, PGC member Annie Ridley Crane Finch '21 who lived in "Graystone" on Park Avenue and was a fellow PGC club member with Archibald's mother, Frances. Archibald had many relatives in the PGC (most notably the Perkins and Tracy families) so other than the PGC (and most likely Archibald) no man made the press at the time any wiser to their "circle of acquaintance" back in Plainfield.

Meanwhile Barbara Tracy Sandford began a new endeavor: Childrens Gardens. She solicited large corporations (Bell Labs, Sears) and received monies to start the gardens. Most notably, she started the Elmwood Garden Club, near the now famous Elmwood apartments in the West End. Local award-winning filmmaker Alrick Brown is working on a new film titled My Manz which is about growing up in the Elmwood Garden Projects of Plainfield.

To see what Elmwood looked like in '73 and other parts of the Queen City:

1973 Plainfield, New Jersey

January 28, 2014 1974 Images from Barbara Tracy Sandford

On August 8, 1974 my father called me inside from playing with the neighborhood kids to watch Richard Nixon resign the office of President. This was an historic moment, the most notable day of 1974, and he wanted to make sure all his children witnessed it. Forty years later I recall it with clarity.

The unshakable stance Archibald Cox took against Nixon is one of great pride for Plainfield. For us long-time members of the Club, we are never surprised to learn of the grand accomplishments of our members' children. The ladies, besides being wonderful gardeners and flower arrangers, were excellent people themselves. The apples do not fall far from the trees.

Archibald's cousin's wife, PGC member Esther Perkins, founded the first recycling center in Plainfield in 1974. Esther worked with her dear friend Barbara Sandford on all Barbara's Beautification Committee projects: Downtown, the Railroad Stations and the now very successful Children's gardens.

Get a glimpse of what now is Barbara's 8 years of work: 1974 Plainfield, New Jersey

Elizabeth Dukes Barlow

February 2, 2014

We received a very interesting email today regarding one of Plainfield Garden Club's "premier" families: The Barlows.

Robert Seyffert wrote to us to inquire if we knew any of the descendants of Elizabeth Dukes Barlow. Elizabeth was the daughter of Plainfield Mayor Dewitt Dukes Barlow. Robert Seyffert's grandfather, Leopold Seyffert, painted Elizabeth in 1919 and he wishes to know the whereabouts of the painting.

Robert himself has become somewhat famous. The New York Times wrote a wonderful article on him in 2010 and his quest for finding the portraits done by his grandfather.

Intrigued, the PGC network was quickly put to work and within hours the painting was located! It is in the possession of Elizabeth's great-grandson, Dewitt Dukes Barlow, in Rhode Island. Job well done PGC!

To learn more about the Barlow family, visit the PGC membership records for a few of the members of that family:

Barlow, Mrs. Carlton Montague (June Simms) '70
Barlow, Mrs. DeWitt Dukes (Mary Lee Brewer), Jr. '65
Dunbar, Mrs. William K. (Elizabeth Atwood Biggs) '17
Dunbar, Mrs. William K., Jr. (Elizabeth or "Libby" Hail) '37
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49
Moody, Mrs. George T. '22
Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Day, Mrs. Thomas Mills (Anne Perkins Smith) '16
Day, Mrs. Francis P. (Fanny Carter Keith) '50

Anne Shepherd sends in an edit: "Elizabeth Dukes Barlow was the mother of Dewitt Dukes Barlow not daughter and is the great grandmother of Anne Yearley who lives in Westfield. It is her nephew D.D Barlow who has the painting and lives in Rhode Island He is son of Mary Lee Barlow (Mrs. D.D. Barlow) who was a PGC member."

Mary Cleveland Perkins Olmsted

February 6, 2014

Martie Samek shared with Sally Booth the October 2013 issue of the Roxbury Latin alumni magazine. Why? Because there was a wonderful article on Shakespeare Garden creator, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

Frederick Jr. was a graduate of Roxbury Latin and the son of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of many of our nation's green spaces, perhaps most famous for the creation of Central Park.

Designing Shakespeare Gardens was not standard practice of the Olmsted firm. Olmsted and his sons were known for grand scale parks featuring vistas and monuments. How did it come to be that Plainfield possesses such a garden, designed no less by the Olmsteds?

When your Editor joined the PGC in 1997 she asked this very question to a much older member of the Club. The answer was not "Oh, it was just part of the Union County Park System that the Olmsteds were designing at the time." (A standard reply from local Olmsted researchers) Instead, the answer from this 75+ year-old member was, "Oh, someone here knew HIM."

"Him" would have to have been Frederick Jr. as his father had passed away by 1927. Doing research into our members has certainly proven they were the "movers and shakers" of the Gilded Age and post-Gilded Age period. Our members knew many of the most famous people of that time – All the US Presidents, Longfellow, Caruso, Mary Pickford and on and on.

But there has never been a connection to Olmsted – until now. On the second page of the Roxbury Latin article is a photograph of Frederick Jr.'s mother – Mary Cleveland Perkins Olmsted. Perkins. Of course. Mary was a member of the large Perkins clan which includes many PGC members. Perhaps Frederick Jr. did a favor for his cousins?

To learn more about the PGC Perkins members:

Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49
Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Cox, Mrs. Edward Vermilye (Julia Bulkley) '35
Cox, Mrs. Fred J. (Elizabeth Rand Adams) '35
Day, Mrs. Thomas Mills (Anne Perkins Smith) '16

It is also rumored that the Olmsted Landscape Architecture firm designed several gardens for private residences in Plainfield. One in particular – Mrs. Van Boskerck's garden on Prospect. This garden was included by the PGC into the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens. However, we have NO photos or documentation about the garden. Although noted by the AAG – they post nothing online. Yet another GH&D Plainfield mystery to solve.

Other stories we have done on Olmsted (with more information about the genesis of the Shakespeare Garden):

October 17, 2012 Olmsted Lecture by Jeanne Kolva
October 17, 2012 Olmsted Lecture by Jeanne Kolva – edited

Thanks for sending this in Martie & Sally!

August 28, 2014 Evarts Tracy

Email today from the Drake House:

There is a Netherwood House Tour on September 14, 2014, from 1-5PM. Details are on the attached flyer. [See Below]

One of the homes was designed by Evarts Tracy, architect. He also built the old Muhlenberg Hospital and the old Plainfield Police Station, and was the pioneering camouflage officer for the US government during WWI. It is spectacular on the outside.

Thank you for your support of Plainfield.

Nancy Piwowar
Historical Society of Plainfield

The Tracy Family had many many family members in the Plainfield Garden Club. They included:

Tracy, Mrs. Evarts '22
Tracy, Mrs. Howard Crosby (Minerva Bingham Lamson) '15
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

These three women open the doors for many more familial Plainfield relations which include the Cox, Streuli and Perkins clans. The Tracy family also boasts a special architectural & artist relationship to Mrs. Mead. In fact, there should be a home tour just using these families' abodes!

The Tracy family lived at 1009 Hillside Avenue – which sits directly behind 1330 Prospect Avenue which is currently owned by Shakespeare Garden helper Virginia Carroll.

Interestingly enough, 1330 Prospect Avenue was said to have been built by Mrs. Streuli, who lived on the next block of Hillside at #1035. Mrs. Streuli also lived at 1331 Prospect Avenue. Yes, that's correct – the next house over! Mrs. Streuli's daughter, PGC member Caroline, married the Tracy boy at 1009 Hillside and well, lets just say, Caroline didn't get too far from both her PGC mother and mother-in-law. Did she have any choice about joining the PGC!?!

Eight homes in Netherwood are photographed on the flyer – does anyone know the addresses? It would be interesting for all of us to see if they once belonged to one of our members!

Netherwood Heights Tour of Homes September 14, 2014

To help you figure out WHO lived WHERE consult our "Home & Garden" page.

Monday Afternoon Club Membership