Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Goddard, Mrs. Frederick Worth (Gladys Torrance Benjamin) '16 President 1934 - 1935

1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937 Treasurer Book Active

1932 Directory* Address: 831 Madison Avenue, Plainfield
* = This directory is not dated but presumed to be from the year 1932.

1938 - 1939 Treasurer Book: Mrs. Frederick W. Goddard 1/31/38 pd. 2/17/39 Pd. Transferred Ass. List Oct. 9/39

1938 Treasurer Book, Associate: "trans. Oct. 9/39" Mrs. Frederick W. Goddard

1940-1941 Treasurer Book, Associate: 1/26/40 Pd. 1/20/41 Pd.

1942 Directory: 747 Dixie Lane
NOTE: Mrs. Frederick W. Goddard is listed as an "Associate Member"

NOTE: It is curious that Mrs. Frederick W. Goddard's membership year is listed at "'16" since her name does not appear in th 1919 or 1922 directories. This is most likely a mistake and her membership year was circa 1930.

1941 - 1942 - 1943 Treasurer Book: Mrs. Frederick W. Goddard 12/28/44 Pd "resigned"

1958 Address: 318 Franklin Place, Plainfield

June 2011: Delivered Shakespeare-in-Bloom invitation to 831 Madison Avenue.

1915-1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

1915-1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

New York Times Wedding Announcement June 2, 1909

Frederick W. Goddard an usher

1930 Blue Book List

Address in 1930 is 831 Madison Avenue, Plainfield

August 26, 1894 New York Times article

Plainfield City of Homes

Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Plainfield Garden Club by Lucy Von Boskerck

1941 - 1947 Club History by Etheldreda Anderegg

1941 - 1947 Club History by Etheldreda Anderegg version 2

[Editor's note: The original document was too faded to scan. This is a different version of a history written by Mrs. Etheldreda Anderegg from 1941 – 1947]

Plainfield Garden Club History
Continued to 1947

On May 14th, 1941 – six years ago to-day in Cedarbrook Park – the Anniversary Dogwood Trees were formally presented to the Park Commission. In making the presentation, Mrs. Arthur Nelson, president, said the garden club wished to make a gift of lasting beauty to mark its anniversary. Mr. Tracey responding for the Park Commissioners commended the club for its civic interest and declared the trees would bring a touch of beauty to thousands of lives. The gift was identified by a large boulder bearing a bronze marker. Mrs. Holliday as chairman of the Dogwood Tree Committee and of the Boulder Committee arranged the anniversary celebration.

That year, 1941, an article appeared in Horticulture in praise of our Shakespeare Garden.

A teacher of the Jefferson School staff was sent to the Audubon Nature Camp in Maine.

Handsome new yearbooks containing a revised constitution, membership lists and permanent covers with loose leaves were issued. About this time some of our members looking back upon some of our achievements of the past, and forward for new horizons to explore, agreed that once more we should storm the ramparts of the Garden Club of America. No organization in garden club circles offers to its members such a wide field of opportunities and assured prestige. This reporter has sat in many important national and state conferences were the effect of this prestige could be observed. When important decisions were due there was an intangible inference in the atmosphere which stemmed to imply – "All those not members of the Garden State of America may now retire to the Jim Crow car."

Better to have failed in the high aim than to succeed vulgarly in the low one" said Browning.

So a committee to explore the possibilities of our being accepted for membership was named by Mrs. Nelson. With Mrs. Corriel as chairman, the committee consisted of Miss Elsie Harmon, Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler, Miss Elizabeth Browne, Miss William Tyler, Mrs. William A. Holliday, Mrs. James Devlin and your historian. Our search for new worlds to conquer began with a meeting at the home of Mrs. William Tyler, on February 21, 1941, when your historian read a letter she had been asked to write to Mrs. Frederic Kellogg, of Morristown Garden Club, prominent garden club personality. The letter would be interesting at this point, but unfortunately it has been lost. Suffice to say, our prise of ourselves was so completely uninhibited that the committee itself was profoundly impressed by the record of performance of the Plainfield Garden Club set forth therein. Shakespeare said "Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful." After all they could not know our worth unless we told them. This time we forestalled a verdict that we had "accomplished nothing."

It might be interjected here that during Mrs. Goddard's regime an effort was made to join the Garden Club of America. Mrs. Kellogg, approached on that occasion, graciously entertained Mrs. Goddard and Mrs. Holliday at luncheon, and they left with the impression that Plainfield, having rejected an invitation to become a charter member of that organization during Mrs. Herring's tenure, it would be futile ever to hope for membership.

An active campaign was launched by all who had relatives or friends in member clubs. This was accelerated when it was learned that a neighboring club had an identical ambition, and had found a sponsor. Because of geographical allocation, we realized that only one of us would be admitted. When it became apparent that we had aroused interest, and had a semblance of chance for acceptance, a special meeting was called at the home of Mrs. Corriel, and the advantages of membership in the Garden Club of America, as well as the financial obligations thoroughly explored. The club was asked to decide whether they wished the committee to proceed with the negotiations. The vote was unanimously affirmative.

Subsequently Mrs. Kellogg requested that the Morristown Club have the pleasure of proposing us, and Mrs. Lauderdale of Short Hills offered to have that club second us. While we waited for the verdict, our campaign never waned.

On May 11th, 1941, tenth anniversary of Iris Garden, the executive board gave a tea to honor Miss Halloway. Mrs. Holliday arranged a delightful affair in the field house. Members of the garden club and thirty guests were invited. Miss Halloway's friends came from far and near while the Iris Garden glowed in a rainbow of colors for the occasion.

The war which was sweeping over France while Mrs. VanBoskerck's history concluded had now reached our shores. "Come to open purple testament of bleeding war." (King Richard) Our members were working for the U.S.O., the Red Cross and Camp Kilmer, apart and in conjunction with the garden club. Plans were sent to the camp to enhance its barren scenes, and seeds to Brittain. Victory gardens were planted, two new chairmanships were added to the executive board – War Activities and Victory Gardens.

In May 1943, we provided vases and began to send flowers regularly to the chapels at Camp Kilmer. This is still being done. Garden books from the Garden Center were placed in the Public Library. Because of gasoline and food rationing it was becoming difficult to hold meetings. Speakers were reluctant to use scarce gasoline and tires for small groups. The war organizations were asking for more things, more effort and more money. The garden club was striving to provide all three.

In June 1943 a delegation from the Garden Club of America came to inspect our members' gardens. Those gardens chosen to head the list were duly explored and approved, but unfortunately the sand of time ran out before they could see them all, and they will never realize all they missed. However, they did see the dogwood planting, the Shakespeare and Iris gardens.

At the annual meeting Mrs. Samuel Carter gave a particularly interesting history of the Shakespeare garden, which was later read by request at the Shakespeare Club. Mrs. Carter said in part: "It has been said that we of the Western World love flowers for what they are, and that the peoples in the East love them for what they suggest. A Shakespeare Garden is full of suggestions, a speaking garden revealing the tradition, folklore and romance of the ancient and timeless plants." Mr. Tracey quoted an authority on the subject as saying that Mrs. Carter's was the finest Shakespeare Garden in the country and that over 15,000 people visited it last year.

Mrs. Coriell announced at the executive board meeting February 2nd, 1944, that Plainfield Garden Club had been elected to membership in the Garden Club of America, and letters of welcome received from sponsoring clubs. It had required three years to reach the new horizons, but a poet once said, "A horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight" so each one attained shows another beckoning in the distance.

Because of rationing, meetings were held in semi-public places of central location. Speakers stressed every phase of conservation. Garden club members were working hard at Camp Kilmer, for the Red Cross and the U.S.O.

In 1945 we became a Founder of the Blue Star Drive, our members contributing generously to this beautiful tribute to the men who served in the armed forces. It is hoped, and the hope is rapidly being fulfilled, that ultimately it will stretch from New Jersey to California.

A new custom was instituted, that of sending a sum of money to the Red Wood Tribute Grove in memory of deceased members. This year, 1945, a dance recital was given to help defray expenses of war activities. Naturally it was under the chairmanship of Miss Maud vonBoskerck, whose motto might well be "Music is my talent – my dearest one." It was very successful artistically and financially.

We helped the New York Botanical Garden celebrate its Fiftieth Anniversary by sending hostesses every day for a week, and by a substantial sum of money for plant research.

In 1945 Lyons Hospital was included on our flower and plant list, and we have continued to supply it weekly for two months of each year. Flowering trees were planted along Blue Star Drive in memory of members' sons lost in the war.

Mrs. Samuel Carter and Miss Harriette Halloway received awards from the Garden Club of New Jersey for their work in Shakespeare and Iris gardens respectively.

Besides bouquets were made twice a week for the wards at Camp Kilmer, beginning in May. Our members volunteered to arrange them.

By this time we were discovering that those "new worlds to conquer" for which we had longed, were providing more opportunities than we could well cope with, and so a junior membership was formed, now numbering six.

The associate membership was enlarged to thirty-five so that active members might be enabled to transfer to it. A questionnaire was sent of work they wished to do. In a Garden Club of America contest for a year's program, Miss Halloway's won honorable mention.

Beginning early in December members of the club met every day in Mrs. Boardman Tyler's studio to make Christmas decorations for the hospital at Camp Kilmer. A big fire blazed in the stove, tons of varied evergreens were provided as well as all other necessary equipment. The studio hummed like Santa Claus' workshop, and great quantities of wreaths with large red bows, small bouquets and other favors emerged to cheer the soldiers at Camp Kilmer and Lyons Hospitals. Joyce Kilmer, for whom the camp was named, wrote of his experience in the other World War: "My shoulders ache beneath my pack, Lie easier cross upon his back" We hoped we eased their burden just a little.

The opportunities offered by the Garden Club of America in the field of conservation are so many and so varied, it was necessary to choose which tangent to pursue. In view of the community and national problems of vandalism and child delinquency, it was thought wise to concentrate the major effort in combating these evils. Working through the public schools seemed the most logical procedure. Mr. Wimer of Jefferson School and Mrs. Rulison of the Park Commission have offered sympathetic cooperation. The first step in the program is the establishment of school gardens, now in process of being planted. The garden club provided the funds. A trial garden, or proving bed was started in Cedarbrook Park in 1946. This year many new perennials were added.

Mrs. Hubble's artistic ability was employed so successfully in redecorating the Garden Center, this observer could scarcely recognize it.

The Garden Club of New Jersey bestowed an award upon us for meritorious work at Camp Kilmer. Miss Halloway has made additions to the peony, Iris and Narcissus gardens. It again became necessary to raise money, and a repeat performance by request, of the dance recital was staged by Miss Van Boskerck.

A suggestion from the Garden Club of New Jersey that we plant a tree to honor garden weekled, after consultation with Mr. Tracey, to the beginning of a dogwood arboretum comprising all the varieties that will grow in this vicinity. Twenty-five varieties have already been planted.

Santa Claus helpers gathered again in Mrs. Tyler's studio to make decorations for Camp Kilmer, and surpassed their effort of the previous year. Our work in this Project was not equaled by that of any club either year.

A thrill of pride must have quivered through our membership from founders to newest recruits, triumphs of our members who exhibited in the New York Flower Show. In the realm of flower arrangement there is no more coveted award than the Fenwick Medal. Our Mrs. deHart was runner up fro that prize last year. This year four exhibits won three blue ribbons and two special awards. It was a magnificent performance which won for us third place in the sweepstakes.

Chapel flowers still are sent to Camp Kilmer. Our members arrange them. We take our turn with the other clubs supplying flowers for the entire hospital regularly from gardens when possible, from florists in cold weather. Two gray Ladies representing Plainfield Garden Club, arrange and distribute the flowers through the wards. The by-laws were again revised and new books issued for the permanent covers.

The executive committee has not overlooked the fact that a War Memorial is of paramount interest to the garden club. Much time as been spent in discussion and deep thought given the matter. Mrs. Boardman Tyler has been named a member of the committee. This year we are sending a teacher to the Audubon Nature Camp in Maine, and another to the Conservation Workshop in Trenton.

Several members have been invited to speak on varied subjects, notably Mrs. Garret Smith on Church Gardens, and Miss Halloway on horticultural subjects. Mrs. Garret has been honored as founder of the Little Garden Club of New York City, of which she is honorary president.

A big of biographical information picked up while perusing the minutes is that our new president, Mrs. Loziuex, became a member of the club in 1940, second vice president in 1942, again in 1945, first vice president in 1946 and president in 1947.

Having been a member of the club only ten years, your historian cannot speak with absolute authority, but thinks it probably that the club reached greater heights of achievement under this administration of Mrs. Tyler than during any comparable period of time. This is partly true because of the new opportunities offered by affiliation with the Garden Club of America, and partly due to Mrs. Tyler's dynamic energy and her determination that the Plainfield Garden Club take advantage of these opportunities and assume its rightful position in the vanguard of progressive garden clubs.

Junius described Mrs. Tyler perfectly when he wrote: "the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct and the hand to execute."

We notice as we go over the chronicles of the garden club, the absence of names once listed so frequently:

Those whom we loved so long, and see no more
Loved and still love,
Not dead, but gone before.

If we ever adopt a coat of arms, it might well show crossed trowels over a field of flower arrangements, the other expounding the futility of vandalism to a young cub. And the motto? It must be from Shakespeare, and it is from The Tempest: Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground.

Or if we choose to abandon the classics: Never a dull moment!

Etheldreda Anderegg
Historian, 1947

Corresponding Secretary Annual Report May 24, 1999

831 Madison Avenue

Plainfield Library Photo File

G-372 1934 Y Grimstead House at 831 Madison Avenue 831 Madison Avenue Large Queen Anne with multiple dormers, oval window in front gable, two-storey bay on right, awnings over corner of wrap-around porch, partial view of carriage house at right. Van Wyck Brooks

Tri-County Visiting Nurse Association Records 1894 - 1991

The Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield was organized in 1911 as a committee called the Nursing Bureau. The bureau functioned in close connection with the Charity Organization Society with the purpose of combinging the work of various charitable societies and supporting a district nurse. The Bureau was maintained by the City Union of King's Daughters, Board of Education of Plainfield and North Plainfield, Anti-Tuberculosis Leage and the Charity Organization Society. In this capacity the services grew in various directions, notably in child health, communicable diseases, school health and home health services.

In 1915, the Nursing Bureau changed its name to the Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfiled and North Plainfield with its own constitution and by-laws was incorporated in the state of New Jersey. Mrs. Frederick Goddard was elected President of a Board of Trustess consisting of 21 members and several committees to assist with the financial and operative work of the Association.

Mr. & Mrs. George H. Goddard

Charter Members of the Shakespeare Society 1896 - 1998

November 14, 1895 New York Times

New York Times November 14, 1895


In Aid of Muhlenberg Hospital – Good Attendance and Reason for Expecting Financial Success – The Booths.

PLAINFIELD, N. J., Nov. 13 – There was a grand opening of the kirmess at the Columbia Cycle Academy Monday night, and the building was decorated very elaborately.

Not since the charity ball have the society fold here been interested in a like event for such a worthy cause. The kirmess is given for the benefit of Muhlenberg Hospital, and, judging from the attendance at the opening night, the hospital will be greatly bettered financially.

Booths have been very prettily arranged about the academy, making an exceedingly tasty show. The equipment of the booths is as follows:

French Booth – Mrs. Albert Hoffman Atterbury, Mrs. Irving H. Brown, Mrs. Charles B. Corwin, Miss Bessie Ginna, Mrs. George C. Evans, Mrs. Charles J. Fisk, Mrs. Ellis W. Hedges, Miss E. E. Kenyon and Miss Whiton.

Florentine Booth – Mrs. I. N. Van Sickle, Mrs. David E. Titsworth, Mrs. W. M. Stillman, Mrs. John D. Titsworth, Mrs. F. A. Dunham, Miss Louise Clawson, Miss Bessie TItsworth, and Mrs. Lulu Lewis.

Gypsy Booth – Mrs. Joseph W. Reinhart, and Mrs. Howard Fleming.

Venetian Booth – Mrs. Hugh Hastings, Miss Emelie Schipper, Mrs. George A. Chapman, Miss Havbiland, Mrs. Samuel Huntingont, Mrs. Emil Woltman, Mrs. Samuel St. J. McCutchen, Mrs. Conklin, Mrs. C. S. West, Mrs. W. E. Lower, Miss E. R. Cock, Mrs. Frank O. Herring, Miss Huntington, Miss Maud Van Bosckerck, Miss MacCready, Miss Clara D. Finley, Miss Ahrens, Miss Aynne MacCready, Miss Mondanari, Miss Graff, Miss Yerkes, Miss Gertrude Walz, and Miss Pierson.

Japanese Booth – Mrs. Charles Seward Foote, Mrs. George Clay, Mrs. S.P. Simpson, Mrs. L. Finch, Mrs. Constantine P. Ralli, Mrs. William Lewis Brown, Mrs. L. Dennis, Mrs. WIlliam Pelletier, Miss Ellis, Miss Anthony, Miss Dryden, Miss Morgan, Miss Bowen, Miss Lawrence, and Miss Rodman.

Spanish Booth – Mrs. S. A. Cruikshank, Mrs. A. T. Slauson, Mrs. J. F. Wichers, Mrs. T. H. Curtis, Mrs. Marion S. Ackerman, Mrs. T. A. Hazell, Mrs. H. L. Moore, Mrs. D. T. Van Buren, Mrs. E. H. Mosher, Miss Harriott, Miss Louise Patton, Miss Maud Lord, Miss May Kirkner, Miss Louise Van Zandt, Miss Annie Horton, Miss Titsworth, and Miss Meredith.

German Booth – Mrs. Mason W. Tyler, Mrs. Logan Murphy, Mrs. John H. Oarman, Mrs. Charles J. Taggart, Mrs. Benjamin R. Western, Mrs. J. E. Turill, Mrs. Arthur T. Gallup, Mrs. Horsley Barker, Mrs. John Haviland, Mrs. George Wright, Mrs. Amra Hamragan, Mrs. William L. Saunders, Mrs. William Wright, Miss Annie Murphy, Miss Wright, Miss Western, Miss Bartling, Miss Helen Warman, Miss Emma Adams and Miss Ann Thorne.

Stationery Booth – Mrs. John Gray Foster, Mrs. Elliott Barrows, Mrs. A. W. Haviland, Mrs. John D. Miller, Mrs. James R. Joy, and Miss Emily R. Tracy.

Parisian Flower Stall – Mrs. Harry M. Stockton, Mrs. Evarts Tracy, Mrs. Daniel F. Ginna, Mrs. W. H. Ladd, Mrs. Frederick Yates, Miss Marlon Dumont, Miss Ginna, Miss Baker, Miss Huntington, and Miss Van Bosckerck.

Refreshments were dispensed by Mrs. Orville T. Waring, Mrs. George W. Van Bosckerck, Mrs. John Bushnell, Mrs. Gifford Mayer, Mrs. George H. Goddard, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. H. P. Reynolds, Mrs. C. C. Guion, Mrs. N. P. T. Finch, Mrs. Henry McGee, Mrs. De Revere, Mrs. Ruth C. Leonard, Mrs. George W. Rockfellow, Miss Annie Opdyke, Mrs. Van Alstyne, Mrs. Utzinger, Mrs. Nelson Runyon, Mrs. Henry Tapsley, Miss Martine, Miss Edith Allen, Mrs. J. Parker Mason, Mrs. J. K. Myers, Mrs. Walton, and Mrs. H. C. Adams

August 26, 1894 New York Times Article: Plainfield, City of Homes

Some of the others that do business in New York and have handsome homes here are . . . George H. Goddard, a broker;

318 Franklin Place

Plainfield Public Library
Detwiller Archives

Collection Detwiller
Title Alterations for Apartments Residence of Mr. & Mrs. O.H. Lounsbury 318 Franklin Pl. Plainfield N.J.
Description Additions and alterations to house for conversion to three apartments.
Building Type Residence
Work Type Alteration and/or Addition
Elevation Yes
Condition Acceptable
Blueprint ID D-11491
Permit NOP462
Year of Permit 1956
Microfilm Roll 0232
Microfilm Frame 0278
Condition 1003
Address 318 Franklin Place
Historic District Crescent Area
City Plainfield
Architect Charles H. Detwiller, Jr.
Architect Firm
Owner O.H. Lounsbury
Business Owner
City of Plainfield
Planning Department
Historic District Addresses
Address 316-326 Franklin Place
Block 642
Lot 24
Year Built 1970
Architectural Style Contemporary
Historic District Crescent Area

Courier News articles

Goddard Frederick W. D. 7/3/1945 Obituary

Courier News articles for "Goddard"

Goddard Elsie 4/22/1960 News
Goddard Frederick W. D. 7/3/1945 Obituary
Goddard Harriet 4/22/1958 News
Goddard Harriet 4/13/1959
Goddard Harriet 4/22/1960 News
Goddard Harriet 9/28/1970 News
Goddard Harriet 11/28/1974 News
Goddard Harriet 3/24/1979 Clipping (nonCN)
Goddard Harriet 11/14/1979 Annotation death
Goddard Harriet 3/23/? Clipping (nonCN)
Goddard Harriet n.d. Obituary
Goddard John 8/31/1943 News
Goddard John 9/1/1943 News
Goddard Michael 6/30/1971 News death
Goddard Michael 7/1/1971 Obituary

Plainfield Public Library Archives

HONORED AT ANNIVERSARY LUNCHEON – Miss Margaret McCutchen, third from left, first president of the Plainfield College Club, receives announcement of the college scholarship named in her honor from president, Mrs. Louis Reinken, fourth from the left. Listening to the announcement are: left to right, Mrs. Patrick J. White, Mrs. Charles W. Buckelew, another original club members, Miss McCutchen, Mrs. Reinken, Mrs. Redman Cornell and Mrs. Harold W. Scherer, luncheon chairman. Mrs. White and Mrs. Cornell are wearing costumes that were in fashion 50 years ago.

March 14 1957

College Club, 50 Years Old, To Give New Scholarship

The Plainfield College Club celebrated its golden anniversary yesterday with the announcement of the Margaret W. McCutchen scholarship, in honor of the club's first president, a guest at the anniversary luncheon a the Plainfield Country Club.

The Margaret McCutchen scholarship, made possible by the growth of an endowment fund began in 1928, will be awarded to a senior high school girl in May.

College club president, Mrs. Louis W. Reinken, introduced Miss McCutchen, Mrs. Charles W. Buckelew, another funding leader and Mrs. Roy F. Macintyre, the club's only life member. Messages from other founding members wre read, including congratulations from Miss Harriet Goddard, first vice president, Miss Elsie Goddard and Mrs. William M. Stillman.

Past Presidents Introduced

Golden anniversary chairman and past president, Mrs. Harold W. Scherer, introduced past presidents of the college club who attended the luncheon: Mrs. Ellis Enander, Mrs. J. Harold Reppert, Mrs. Charles H. Hutchinson, Mrs. William Land, Mrs. Joseph Katrausky, Mrs. Frazier Graff, Mrs. Dwight Herrick and Mrs. James W. Smith.

Reminiscing through 50 years of history was done through a fashion parade by members, to the accompaniment of the college club Choral Group and the narration of Mrs. Robert Coates.

The choral group began a chorus of "School Days" and "Sweet Adeline" while Mrs. Coates said, "Looking across the gulf of two world wars, the America of 1906 seems young and far away . . . at this time a small group of enthusiastic and determined young women felt the need to encourage girls to enter college." This, she said, led to the founding of the Plainfield College Club with its first meetings "of a social nature, consisting of 'business,' a short play, skits or stunts, sometimes music, then tea."

Growth of Club Traced
This was the time too, when as

the parading models indicated members wore picture hats and dresses with leg of mutton sleeves.

Music, fashions and narrative traced the growth of the College Club through the First World War, when members did . . . work at home or overseas, . . . 20s, when it seemd for a . . .that interest in the club . . . But an end to war . . . a large membership drive . . .remedied the situation.

During the 20s, education . . grams gained in popularity in 1928, the College Club, had once shunned world . . .voted to endorse the reso . . urging Congress to endorse . . Kellogg Peace Treaty. In . . . the club affiliated with the . . . ican Association of Uni . . . Women, and during this . . . it grew rapidly and took . . . creasing part in state and . . . AAUW activities, including raising money for AAUW . . . lowship fund.

Throughout World War . . . club not only . . . scholarship aid and . . .lowship fund cont. . . raised money for . . . refugee children.

$500 Study Grant
In honor of its . . sary, the College Club . . . sented an annivesary . . .gift of $500 study . . . advanced scholar . . . Plainfield Branch . . . of "And we are proud, . . . Coates, "Of the five . . . now attending college . . . our aid." Since the . . . ship gift of $30 in . . . has loaned $3,850 and . . . right gifts of $25, 330 . . . girls needing collge.

She suggested that . . . duty in the future . . . "hold the doors wide

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

June 17, 1938

Editor's Note: Members of the Plainfield Garden Club prepared material for this week's garden page exclusively for Jersey Life. Guest contributors next wee will be members of the Northfield Garden Club of Livingston

Plainfield Garden Club Began Iris Garden
Inspiration Came From Iris Society
by Harriette Halloway

Two questions frequently asked about this garden are answered in the following paragraph; but the answer to a third – constantly asked – requires all the rest of the space!

The Iris Garden was inspired by The American Iris Socity whose officers and members give nearly all the plants. The Plainfield Garden Club, after having a share in establishment and development, continues active interest in it; and the Union County Par Commission which supplies the land and the labor is officially in charge.

"When is the best time to see the iris?"

The dwarf border – so suitable for the front of borders, for rock gardens, for groups with daffodils – usually are in full bloom duirng the first wee of May. There are rug-like masses – a hundred varieties – in all colors except pink. So that the first week in May is a "best" time.

The last of the these dwards and the first of the intermediate bearded always overlap. Between the 15th and the 20th of May there can be seen about 80 varieties of intermediate some of the crested and a few of the species, and the majority of the superb progocyclus. The handsome new intermediates cannot be ever-praised; and the same is true of the pogocylus. Although the colors of the later are not gay like the former, they are of Persian richness; and the one huge beg with 40 varieties, is an unforgettable mass of breath-taing beauty. No other public planting or garden has such a collection of these royal artistocrats. As just stated, their maximum bloom usually occurs between the 15th and the 20th of May, and consequently that is another "best" time.

The greatest numbers of flowers of the tall bearded iris in all colors are open between the 20th and the 25th and as there are 800 varieties that is the most spectacular (thought not the most interesting, nor the most important) week of bloom. It is also one of the two most enjoyable times for people who can see the garden only by driving past it – because unable to walk around in it. So the third week in May is another "best" time.

At the same time, the Siberians – over 40 varieties – have been blooming and the species getting under way. This collection of Siberian includes some of the handsome new orginations from Canada. The iris species, which are native wild iris of our own and other lands, and their hybrids – 50 varieties – fill three beds. These latter in fascinating shades and charming forms – the most pleasing of all iris for flower arrangements – are far too little known and used. For seeing these, the "best" time is the latter part of May and the first week in June.

The Japanese – over 100 varieties – which begin to open before the last of the species have gone, continue all through June and well over the Fourth of July holiday.

So the answer is – "What kind of iris does the questioner want to see?" For there are these five "best" times – all of them average dates, depending on the weather!

In Honor Of Shakespeare
by Dorothea Tingley

What more fertile field for the exercise of creative imagination than gardening! Few can resist it. In 1928 the Plainfield Shakespeare Club became imbued with the unique idea of making an old English Garden full of plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare's palys. They turned for help to the Plainfield Garden Club and the Union County Park Commission. The idea appealed to them. The Shakespeare Garden in Cedarbrook Park came into being.

The rustic arbor which forms its upper boundary can be seen from the drive on the left. The garden occupies a curving, shallow terrace, with a rustid fence along the back and a low retaining wall in front. The flower beds have sawtooth brick edgings and their contents are all mared with two kinds of labels – one with the correct botanical names of the sweet growing things; the others with appropriate quotations from Shakespeare's plays.

The four beds at the lower end of the garden are devoted to herbs. All of the flowers used in this garden are old-fashioned varieties. No modern hybrid, however lovely, is allowed. Beneath the arbor are some seats, and at one end a modest boulder with a bronze commemorative plaque.

Plainfield Garden Club
by Alice R. Welles

Shortly after its organization, the Plainfield Garden Club began a policy of putting aside every year a sum of money to be used in "the beautifying of the city. The first of the activities which have grown from this policy was the gift of a number of dogwood trees to Cedar Brook Park.

The interest and the aid of Mr. R. W. Tracy, the Union County Park executive, was secured and with his help, trees were purchased and a suitable place selected for planting.

Shortly before the committee . . . .

Ten Groups Make Use of Garden Center

Club Sponsors Idea

The Union County Garden Center was established in 1935 under the auspices of the Plainfield Garden Club. Through the courtesy of the Union County Park Commission, the lower floor of the Field House in Cedarbrook Park, Plainfield, was placed at the disposal of the committee and was furnished by the Plainfield Garden Club as a resting place and center of information for gardeners.

During the past three years the work of the center has been . . on by the following garden groups – Plainfield Garden Club, Plainfield Spade & Trowel Club, Mountainside Garden Club, Fanwood Garden Club, Westfield Garden Club, Cranford Garden Club, Watchung Garden Club, Metuchen Garden Club, Watchung Nature . .. Club, an organization of . . . who specialize in dahlias. Public meetings dealing with topics of interest to gardeners, demonstrations of seed planting, bulb planting, pruning, soil testing, etc., flower shows and classes in flower arrangement have been held from time to time at the Center. There also is available a small library of horticultural books and garden magazines. Its location opposite the Iris Garden, rated as one of the finest in the East, and close to the Shakspeare Garden makes it a pleasant gathering place for those who come from a distance to study these plantings.

The Wild Flower Garden and the Daffodil Garden, recently added to the Park are also points of interest for visitors. The Center has until this year been in charge of Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard and Mrs. James Devlin both officers of the Garden Club of New Jersey. It is now under the direction of Mrs. Stephen Van Hoesen of the Fanwood Garden Club, who is planning the activities for the coming season. Associated with her are representatives of the Member Clubs.

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Wednesday, May 20, 1936

Garden Club Executives and Prize Cup

. . . Garden Center flower show yesterday in Cedar Brook Park were, left to right, Mrs. . . of the Plainfiled Garden Club; Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard, president of the Garden . . .; and Mrs. James L. Devlin, chairman of the county Garden Club arrangements. . . presented by Mrs. Goddard, may be seen in the center of the table. It was won by Mrs. William B. Tyler

County Garden Center Holds First Show

First flower show in the Union County Garden Center, Cedar Brook Park, was held yesterday afternoon, with Mrs. James L. Devlin as chairman of arrangements.

Associated with her were the following members of the Plainfield Garden Club, Mrs. Leslie Runyon Fort, president; Mrs. Henry L. deForest, Mrs. William A. Holliday and Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard, president of the Garden Club of New Jersey.

Member garden clubs in the county, which exhibited, included Mountainside Garden Club, Cranford, Westfield, Watchung Hills, Fanwood, Spade and Trowel and the Neighborhood Gardeners of Rahway and Colonia.

Judges for the show were Mrs. David L. George, South Orange; Mrs. Arthur Hetherington, Bound Brook, and Mrs. Frederick Hood, East Orange.

A coveted prize award was a silver cup offered by Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard to the exhibitor winning the greatest number of points. This resulted in a tie between Mrs. Leslie Runyon Fort and Mrs. William B. Tyler. On a draw, the award went to Mrs. Tyler.

There were a total of 90 entries in each of the 12 classes, with first, second and third awards and honorable mention in each.

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Plainfield Public Library Archives

Residence of George H. Goddard, 205 E. Ninth Street

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

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Mrs. G. H. Goddard
209 East Seventh Street

Mrs. Frank E. Blackwell

New York Times

Daughter of James Birney, Former Minister to the Netherlands

Sunday, 18 Oct. 1936.

Mrs. Frank Engs Blackwell, daughter of the late James Birney, United States Minister to the Netherlands, and the grandaughter of James G. Birney, who ran for President on the Abolitions ticket, died yesterday of heart ailment in her home at 1,235 Park Avenue.

Mrs. Blackwell, who was in her eighty-fifth year, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her childhood was spent in Bay City, Mich. She enter Vassar College the second year after the opening of that institution.

Her husband, the late Frank Engs Blackwell, a descendant of an old New York family, was a member of the bar in this city for forty years. Mrs. Blackwell resided in New York since her marriage more than sixty years ago.

Three children, Mrs. Francis W. Frost of Plainfield, N.J.; Mrs. James Harvey Williams and Frank Engs Blackwell of this city survive.

Sunday, 18 Oct 1936:

BLACKWELL - Alice Birney at her residence, 1,235 Park Av., on Oct 17, wife of the late Frank E.Blackwell and daughter of the late Amanda Moulton and James Birney, in her eighty-fifth year. Funeral private. It is requested that no flowers be sent.

1907 - Wedding of daughter, Miss Alice Birney Blackwell. (Added Jun, 2009)

The New York Times, Oct. 27, 1907

Will be Held Nov. 26 in the Church of the Incarnation.

Miss Alice Birney Blackwell, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Blackwell, and Frank Willoughby Frost who are to be married on Nov. 26 in the Church of the Incarnation, have decided upon their attentdants. Miss Blackwell will have her sister, Miss Jennet D. Blackwell, as her maid of honor and only attendant. Harry Fowler Woods of Cincinnati is to be the best man. H. Harwood Frost and Edwin Hunt Frost, brothers of the bridegroom; Birney Blackwell, a brother of the bride; Robert Arthur Beebe, Frederick Worth Goddard, and Wylie Brown will be the ushers.

The ceremony will take place at 3:30, and will be followed by a small reception at the home of the bride's parents, 32 West Seventy-Fifth Street.

Additional Notes:

Alice A. Birney was the daugher of James Birney III and Amanda S. Moulton. Her marriage to Frank E. Blackwell took place on September 24, 1874, at her parent's residence in Bay City, MI. They had the following children: Birney, Frank, Alice and Jennett.''
1850 - New York Births: Columbia, New York

Frank Engs Blackwell born April 4, 1850, parents James M. and Jannet D. Blackwell.
1860 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

Birney, Alice - b. 1853, Ohio
1900 - Census: Manhtatten, New York

Blackwell, Frank - age 54, b. NY
Alice, wife - age 47, Ohio
Frank, son - age 25, NY
Alice J., daughter - age 20, NY
Jennet, daughter - age 15, NY

Mrs. Goddard

1936 - 1937 Meeting Minutes

1938-1939 Meeting Minutes

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Area Historic District

Post Office: Plainfiled
Zip: 07060

Hillside Avenue Historic District
Van Wyck Brooks Historic District

The Crescent Area Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2013, The Gombach Group.

Prior to the arrival of the white man, the Lenni-Lenape Indians, part of the Algonquin Tribe, lived in this area of New Jersey. The Ice Age had endowed this area with a protective terrain, productive farmlands and forests and "wonderful pure air and springs." Indian trails became the highways and streets still in use in Plainfield today.Watchung Avenue located in the heart of the Crescent Area Historic District was once one of those trails. Remains of an Indian village and burial grounds have been found in the locality of First, Second and Third Place which are within the boundaries of the Crescent Avenue Historic District.

The first white settlers from Scotland and Holland arrived in the area in the 1680's. The first permanent settler was Thomas Gordon whose home was on Cedarbrook Road adjacent to Crescent Avenue, and whose land holdings covered most of what is present-day Plainfield. The enthusiastic letters back home detailing the healthful climate, plentiful game, fish and fowl, good soil and water brought other settlers to New Jersey, in spite of the "Flee by the salt marshes, most troublesome in the summer." These elements continued through the years to attract new residents.

During the Revolutionary War, patriots from area families served in militia regiments as foot soldiers and officers. An important battle, the Battle of the Short Hills, was fought in the area in June of 1777 and was instrumental in repelling the British in New Jersey. Some of the homes of those who supported the cause of the Revolution still exist today: The Drake House Museum, where Washington rested and briefed his officers, and the Vermule Homestead, where the officers were quartered.
Following the war, industry and transportation began to grow and take on added importance, contributing to the economic prosperity. Plainfield became officially recognized on April 1, 1800 with a population of 215. The Gordon Gazetteer in 1834 gave a glowing account of all the rich resources in Plainfield and noted that "the society is moral and religious."

It was in Plainfield in 1847 that the model for the public school system for the state was devised. Through the efforts of Dr. Charles H. Stillman, Plainfield physician, the New Jersey Legislature empowered the city to raise money by taxation in order to establish a public school system. An account of the day declares, "No one can measure the effect of this enlightened policy in extending the fame of the city and building up its prosperity." Many of the people who were active in education and cultural activities lived within the bounds of the Crescent Area Historic District.

The most influential force to the development of Plainfield was the railroad, which brought about a change in the social and economic character of the town. When a direct connection was made between Plainfield and New York City, c.1850, Plainfield became a commuter town.

During the Civil War, many local residents were involved in the fighting. General Sterling, a general on McCleland's staff, built his home and settled on First Place after the War.

Job Male, a philanthropist, who became known as "Plainfield's Grand Old Man", settled in Plainfield in 1867, following the Civil War. An inventor, he had simplified the loading of ferry slips with a patented leveling device. He purchased with Evan Jones, twenty four acres of land "in the suburbs and laid it out in village lots and streets and erected twenty substantial residences of fine architectural design, drawing the plans for them all himself." He was his own contractor and owned a greater part of the land that includes Crescent Avenue and Watchung Avenue. He designed a particularly distinctive style of architecture "stucco-walled, Mansard roofed, still standing today." He continued to build homes in different parts of the city until his possessions included more than one hundred Plainfield houses. His obituary notice in 1891 noted that "his purse always ready to respond to the calls of deserving charity." He was a public benefactor, making possible the Public Library and the Job Male Art Gallery, and donating the land for the hospital, the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Church.

A Central New Jersey Times account in 1870 of "Our Town Improvements" wrote, "The improvements in building is the expression of a spirit that leads to progressive movements in other directions. The old houses are not recognizable with tints of brown and cream and olive, their plain roofs metamorphosed by pediments, fancy gables and cornices, their primitive simplicity converted into modern beauty by wings, bay windows, recessed projections and every variety of architectural development." The writer further comments on the "new houses, with their aspiring towers, French roofs and cupolas." It was the kind of community that led the Elizabeth Herald in May of 1888 to write, "The bustling activity of the city of remarkable." And to conclude, "The next move in Plainfield, no doubt, will be the horse cars."
Plainfield had become a fashionable summer resort and eventually attracted many wealthy New York businessmen to settle here year 'round. The Gas Light Age evokes memories of Plainfield with theatricals, minstrel shows, roller rinks and other forms of entertainment. The site of many hotels, the Netherwood was reputed to be one of the "most healthful, comfortable and accessible inland summer resorts in the country."

By 1890, with substantial wealth and improvements, Plainfield continued to advance and prosper, attracting people of substance to live here. As successful businessmen and their families settled in the Crescent Avenue area, they became active in the cultural, religious, and educational affairs of the city. James W. Jackson, William D. Murray both served as presidents of the newly-formed YMCA. Henry C. Squires established the Hope Chapel on January 1, 1888 as a branch of the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. Augustus Baldwin worked closely with Job Male in establishing the first free public library and the art gallery. In 1883 some of the first subscribers to "the last word in modern efficiency," the telephone, lived in the District: George Goddard, F.O. Herring, Leander Lovell, and the Dumond family. Many served as members of the Common Council.

After Job Male's death, Plainfield continued to be a highly desirable neighborhood and remained that way until the 1930's, when many of the large homes were converted to apartments. This process continues with single family residences almost non-existent today. The alterations for the most part are tastefully done and are not detrimental to the basic style and charm of the original building. This makes for a particularly fine collection of buildings appropriate to an Historic District.
Notes on Recollections of Long-time Residents of the Area
Longtime residents of Plainfield have been interviewed regarding their recollections of famous residents of this area. Those persons interviewed were Mrs. Lawrence Heely, Mrs. Henry Noss, Mrs. Dorothy Wills, Mrs. Helen Mygatt, Mr. John Harmon, Miss Gwen Cochran, Mrs. Dorothy DeHart, Miss Dorothy Leal, Mr. Alfred Genung, Mr. Alex Kroll, Mr. A.L.C. Marsh, Mrs. Hendrick Van Oss and others.

Many people have lived there who were outstanding in cultural fields, education and politics, as well as very successful professional and business men, active both locally and in New York City. Also educators and statesmen lived here.

John Carlson, a renown artist and member of the National Academy lived on 3rd Place as did Alex Seidel who achieved international fame for his designs for Steuben Glass. Another prominent artist who lived here was Thomas Hart Benton whose brother lived for many years on Crescent Avenue. Also William Gilbert, a well known illustrator, lived on Crescent Avenue.

The author of the White Cliffs of Dover, Alice Duer Miller, A. Van Dorn Honeyman, the famous historian, lived on 9th Street, and also Van Wyk Brooks another well-known author. Ernest Ackerman, a representative in U.S. Congress in the 1870's and his brother Marion Ackerman, who lived on Crescent Avenue, founded the Lone Star Cement Company and were deeply involved in many large national important financial and industrial enterprises.

The famous opera singer, Mario Caruso, married a Goddard and was frequently a visitor to Plainfield to the Goddard House at 213 East 9th Street. This family had a profound influence on the musical advancement of the entire area.

The area abounded in lawyers, judges and politicians, including four Mayors of Plainfield, and people in the foreign service for 25 years, such as Hendrick Van Oss, most recently served as ambassador to Madagascar and other countries.

The Crescent Avenue area was truly the heart of the town and boasted the most important and influential people of the period 1860 through 1920. The homes of these people reflect their taste, affluence and are a tangible piece of architectural history reflecting a glorious past.

The Crescent Area Historic District is a great deal more than a lot of old houses. It is probably one of the finest collections of Victorian architecture in the country. The term Victorian is all inclusive and embraces numerous styles that echo tastes and decorative devices of other periods of architecture from other countries and other times than the one in which the present buildings were constructed. The majority of these have what in architectural terms is referred to as Italianate which stems from the architectural styles popular in Italy going back as far as Byzantine derivative styles, and 15th century Venetian palaces. These variety of design styles result in the sudden surge of interest in European cultures and an attempt by the suddenly successful and new class of wealthy businessmen who were anxious to reflect their success in the work of finance in their homes. These interests were stimulated by their travels abroad and what they had seen, which was considered elegant. Thus we have Tuscan towers, Italian villas, Palazzo's with loggia and arcaded window and arches, Renaissance, Egyptian motifs, classical elements, and finally the exuberant eclectic styles throwing the more American traits of Carpenter Gothic and Stick style in for good measure. English architecture is also reflected with half timber, projecting gables, Eastlake influence, Queen Anne and Edwardian styles. The detail photos of these buildings reflect the painstaking craftsmanship of the builders and imaginative design abilities of the architects. It is truly a tangible record of the past which should be preserved as close to its original state as practical, in their new role of many being converted for multi-family use.

The Crescent Area Historic District is one of the finest collections of suburban Victorian architecture in New Jersey. Developed as a speculative real estate venture in the 1870's by Job Male, the buildings are an impressive presentation of Italianate and Second Empire style architecture of the mid to late 19th century. The houses were primarily designed for wealthy businessmen and, consequently, visages within the district still retain a fine elegance in their total ambiance of buildings and their association with landscaping, rustic streets, sidewalks, and trees.

Blumenson, John J.G. Identifying American Architecture
Central New Jersey Times, 1870-1885.
Clayton, W. Woodford. History of Union & Middlesex Counties, 1882.
Cochran, Jean Carter. The History of Crescent Avenue Church
The Courier News, History of Plainfield, 1964.
The Courier News, November 1-4-8, 1954.
Devlin, Harry. To Grandfather's House We Go.
Downey, Andrew Jackson. The Architecture of Country Houses.
The Drake House Museum & The Plainfield Public Library, Scrapbooks and Files.
Dunham, F.A. Atlas City of Plainfield and Boro of North Plainfield, 1894.
Fitzgerald & Co. (Pub.). Springfield, Massachusetts, Plainfield City Directory, 1876-7.
Gowans, Alan. Images of American Living.
Honeyman, A. Van Dorn. History of Union County, Volumes I, II, & III.
Lapsley, Howard G. History of Plainfield, 1942.
League of Women Voters. This is Plainfield, 1954.
McCabe, Wayne. Historic Tour – Plainfield, N.J.
Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Plainfield Area, N.J.
Pub. by Plainfield Courier News. Plainfield & Vicinity in Pictures, 1926.
Plainfield Daily Press, Friday & Saturday, January 30, 31, 1891.
Plainfield Evening News, Saturday, May 23, 1888.
Plainfield & North Plainfield City Directory, 1879-80.
Plainfield & North Plainfield City Directory, 1894-5.
Pratt, Dorothy & Richard, A Guide to Early American Homes.
Smiley, F.T. History of Plainfield, 1891.
† Charles H. Detwiller, Jr., A.I.A., Architect and Marilyn Rupp, Architectural Historian, Crescent Area Historic District, Union County, New Jersey, nomination document, 1979, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Avenue Historic District form for the National Register of Historic Places

213-17 East Ninth Street
c. 1890
In 1894, the home of G. H. Goddard, "Broker, N. Y."

Domed tower with oriel window and oval shaped window in the lower portion. Corbelled and ornamented treatment in the chimneys. Fan shaped decorative brackets and spindles around the porch – well maintained lattice under the porch. Paired short columns support half-round shingle arches on the porch which have a concentric shingle pattern. Projecting balconies. Terra cotta ornamentation in the frieze in the semi-circular bay. Exuberant pattern work in the gable (columns grouped in threes), which has an arched Romanesque treatment, reminiscent of the Richardsonian style. Interior plan: three apartments – thirteen rooms.

One of the most unique houses in the District because of the variety of ornamentation and embellishments.

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Avenue Historic District form for the National Register of Historic Places

205 - 207 East Ninth Street
c. 1960

Contemporary apartment house
Two family – ten rooms
Refer to 209 East Ninth

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Avenue Historic District form for the National Register of Historic Places

316-26 Franklin Place
Apartment House with Colonial treatment
This building is one of the few intrusions in the District, with a plain and unrelieved modern Colonial treatment. The apartment, however, is well maintained.
Nov. 12, 1980

Rev. Benjamin Ball Newton

Children by his second wife include: Ellen Newton, George Newton, Elizabeth Prichard Newton Goddard, William Josiah Newton, Mary Louisa Newton, Adeline Prichard Newton, Benjamin Ball Newton, Edward Pearsons Newton.

Elizabeth Prichard Newton Goddard, b. Jan. 15, 1846, at Chelsea, Vt.; resides (1907) at 205 East Ninth St., Plainfield, N.J. She married at Brooklyn, N.Y., June 4, 1874, George Henry Goddard, son of Edward Lewis Goddard of Rutland, Vt., by his wife Elizabeth Worth of Nantucket, Mass., born in Charlemont, N.H., Oct. 27, 1845. Their children, all born at Plainfield, N.J. were:

John Newton Goddard
Frederick Worth Goddard
Harriet Goddard
Margaret Goddard
Elizabeth Goddard

New York Social Register 1914

Goddard, Mr. and Mrs. Fred'k Worth (Gladys T. Benjamin) Ht. Aht' 98
Phone No. 361J . . . 920 Woodland Av Plainfield NJ

Lilian B. Gilkes Papers

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Gilkes, Lillian B. (Lillian Barnard), 1902-1977.
Title: Lillian B. Gilkes Papers
Dates: 1900-1976
Quantity: 3 linear ft.
Abstract: The Lillian B. Gilkes Papers comprises the correspondence, writings, research notes, and memorabilia of the American author, educator, and biographer of Cora Crane (b. 1902). The collection not only illuminates Gilkes' professional writings, but also reveals a personal life marked by political activity and connections with radical artists and writers of the early to mid-20th century.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Library
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

American author, educator, biographer of Cora Crane.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Lillian B. Gilkes Papers comprises the correspondence, writings, research notes, and memorabilia of the American author, educator, and biographer of Cora Crane (b. 1902). The collection not only illuminates Gilkes' professional writings, but also reveals a personal life marked by political activity and connections with radical artists and writers of the early to mid-20th century.

Spanning the years 1900 to 1976, the alphabetically arranged Correspondence-Subject Files (Boxes 1-4) consists of any combination of incoming and/or outgoing correspondence, clippings, photographs, miscellaneous printed material, and writings. Correspondence includes that of family members (Louise Davidson, Fannie Gilkes, Fannie E. Taylor); authors (Benjamin Appel, Margaret Culkin Banning, Paul Corey, Martha Dodd (Stern), Janet Flanner, Gladys Benjamin Goddard, Josephine Herbst, Robert Hillyer, Langston Hughes, Helen R. Hull, Ruth Lechlitner, Robert Morss Lovett, Grace Lumpkin, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Jennings Rice, Felizia Seyd, Genevieve Taggard, Richard Wright, Leane Zugsmith); Gilkes' co-authors (Millen Brand, Dorothy Brewster); performing artists (Geradine Farrar, Georgette Leblanc, Eva Le Gallienne, Enrico and Dorothy Caruso); political figures (Henry Wallace); and publishers (Margaret C. Anderson, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, and Charles Scribners's Sons). Subject files contain a variety of documents relating to anti-ballistic missile systems, an anti-fascist anthology project, Gilkes' New York University short story writing class, Nixon and Watergate, the Progressive Party (of which Gilkes was a member), and the Southern Tenant Farmers Union and Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Produced between 1926 and 1972, the twenty-two articles, several book reviews, three books, and notes constitute Writings (Boxes 5-6).
Memorabilia (Box 6) includes photographs of Gilkes; printed material, such as clippings, periodicals, British political pamphlets and flyers, Democratic Party publications, and programs; writings by others; and miscellany, including a World War I armband, a "Normandie" hatband, and a photograph.

Summer 1919 New York Social Register

Goddard, Capt. and Mrs. Fred'k Worth (Gladys T. Benjamin) USA.FA.AEF . . . Goshen, N.Y.

Park Benjamin Papers 1645-1925.

Columbia University

Box 6
Box 7-8
Genealogical Materials
Box 9
(Collected by W.E. Benjamin, with notes by Merle Hoover)

Demerara Accounts
Box 10-11
(Financial records of the Benjamin properties in British Guiana)

Box 12
Sheet Music with lyrics by P. Benjamin Box 12
Printed Materials
Box 13
Benjamin Family
Box 13-15
(Items related to Park Benjamin, Jr., Gladys Benjamin Goddard, Dorothy Benjamin Caruso, and Enrico Caruso. Gift of the Estate of Gladys Benjamin Goddard, 1976)

Merle Hoover
Box 16
Merle Hoover Notes
Box 17-21
Merle Hoover Biography–Notes
Box 22

The Times News May 5, 1953

Goddard Funeral Service in Tryon

TRYON, May 5. (Special) – The funeral service for Frederick Worth Goddard, who died Sunday following a long illness, was held today at the residence in Tryon.

The Rev. Charles L. McGavern, rector of Holy Cross Church, officiated. Pallbearers were members of the Polk County Memorial Post No. 250.

A native of Plainfield, N.J., he was the sone of George H. and Elizabeth Newton Goddard. He was a graduate of Amherst, class of 1898 and was associated with the firm of Johnson and Higgins Insurance adjusters for 45 years. An officer in the Essex Troop of New Jersey, he served with the organization in the Mexican Border War.

He served in World War I as an aide to General Rafferty.

Surviving are the widow, Gladys Benjamin Goddard; two sons and three sisters.

Park Benjamin Jr.

Park Benjamin (1849–1922) was an American patent lawyer, physician, and writer. He was born in New York City, graduated at the United States Naval Academy in 1867, resigned from the Navy in 1869, and graduated at the Albany Law School in the following year. He was associate editor of The Scientific American from 1872 to 1878 and subsequently edited Appleton's Cyclopedia of Applied Mechanics and Cyclopædia of Modern Mechanism.

Biography[edit source | editbeta]

Park Benjamin, Jr. was born in New York in 1849. His father, Park Benjamin, Sr., was extremely famous in his time, as a poet, editor and founder of several newspapers. He was sued for libel by James Fenimore Cooper, and was on personal terms with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. Poe, as a critic, singled him out as the greatest American writer of sonnets. Walt Whitman, one of Benjamin's employees and protégés, hated his poetry.[1] By the time his first son was born, he had settled down to quiet retirement in Long Island. By the 20th century, Park Benjamin, Sr. was virtually forgotten.

Junior graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1867 and published a book of his etchings of the academy that year. He resigned from the Navy, and after a year at law school was admitted to the New York Bar in 1870. He studied science at Union College and received his Ph.D. in 1877. Before completing his doctorate he was assistant editor of Scientific American (1872–78) and then editor-in-chief of Appleton's Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics (1879–96). By the time Benjamin began working at Scientific American it had become more associated with the commercial side of science and patenting of inventions. He was editor when Edison brought in his phonograph to the Scientific American patent agency, and its uses were for the first time described in an 1877 issue. Both Edison and younger brother Dr. George Benjamin were contributors to Appleton's when P.B. began editing.
In between those editorships Benjamin established, at 37 Park Row, a "Scientific Expert Office" that offered advertising and promotional help, as well as metallurgical and chemical expertise for inventors and manufacturers. Benjamin wrote three books on the history of electricity, one on the Voltaic cell and one on the U.S. Naval Academy. Like the later Scientific American editor, John Bernard Walker, he was very interested in the Navy and in coastal defenses, the northeast coast particularly. According to his article in the Who's Who, his story, The End of New York (1881), meant to warn of the navy's inadequacy, made quite an impression at the time. It features balloons which can float over targets and release bombs, an invention it seems he was quite worried about since he wrote an article warning about the dangers of balloon weapons the year before the story came out. This creative method of siege was used first by Austria against the rebellious Venetians in 1849. The balloon bombs were successful and their use was reported in Scientific American in 1849. Who knows why Benjamin saw it as a threat to New York thirty years later? "The subject is woefully trite," wrote the Nassau Literary Magazine when the story was reprinted in 1885, "the plot is extremely simple...Its interest is derived solely from its novelty." The End of New York may seem slow, and sometimes thick in Naval detail, but it is a unique origin point in American fiction. It was the first story in the mode of George Chesney's The Battle of Dorking (1871); at least six other stories in this collection fall in that category, and Benjamin's predates the next by seven years. These stories are defined by describing an imaginary invasion, having a clear purpose to expose the weaknesses of the author's home country defenses, and showing how those defenses could be improved. Many of these invasion stories use famous contemporaries as characters, but Benjamin's story is the only one that kills off some of these real people, like Captain Greer, Lieutenant-Commander Jewell and Vice-Admiral Rowan (at the end of Chapter II). His work is the first New York story to describe specific buildings toppling into the streets, and the ruin of the city and mass evacuation in its gory detail.
In 1918, Benjamin's daughter Dorothy, 25, eloped with opera star Enrico Caruso, who was 45. Caruso was the most famous tenor in the world at the time. Benjamin initially approved of the marriage but later withdrew his consent citing the differences in their "ages, nationality and temperament." Another of his daughters married that year and Benjamin was also conspicuously absent from her wedding.
In 1919, Benjamin legally adopted Dorothy's long time governess, Anna M. Bolchi, as his daughter. His wife was ill and living in a sanitarium at the time. Caruso died in 1921 at the age of 48 and Benjamin died the next year at the age of 74 at his summer home in Stamford, CT. All of his children, except Dorothy, were at his bedside when he died.
He left each of his biological children one dollar in his will. The adopted girl, an Italian immigrant, had been left the bulk of the estate worth half a million dollars. The text of the will was printed in the newspapers with its scathing comments on the children. "Because of their long continued, persistent, undutiful and unfilial conduct" they had "acted less as children than as parasites and who have defied me." Benjamin's widow, died in the sanitarium one month after him, at age 56, which left Bolchi in total control of the estate. The children then sued to contest the will on several counts, dropping the suit six months later when a financial settlement was reached with Bolchi. A year after his death, Bolchi scattered Benjamin's ashes in the exact middle of the Atlantic, as per his wishes. A few months later in London, she married Benjamin's lawyer, Benjamin Fullman. The lawyer had suspiciously drawn up both Benjamin's will and the adoption of his future wife.[2]

Publications[edit source | editbeta]

Besides numerous magazine articles dealing for the most part with scientific subjects, he published:
Shakings or Etchings from the United States Naval Academy (1867)
Wrinkles and Recipes (1875)
The End of New York (1881)
The Age of Electricity (1886)
The Voltaic Cell (1892)
The History of Electricity (1895)
History of the United States Naval Academy (1900)
Modern Mechanism (1905)

Dorothy Benjamin Caruso and Enrico Caruso

The lives of great men are populated by a legion of secondary characters, persons who would never emerge from the shadows of obscurity without their association with someone of celebrity and great achievements. Even if they have accomplishments of their own, posterity remembers them for no other reason but their relationship to a person of lasting fame. Without Jesus no one would remember Pontius Pilate, without Napoleon no one would have heard of his empress, Joséphine, and without Enrico Caruso nobody would know, or care to know today, who Dorothy Park Benjamin was.

Be that as it may, those familiar with Caruso's life know not only his wife Dorothy, but a whole host of lesser or insignificant people who played a role in the tenor's life. Such a person of fleeting yet pivotal importance was Park Benjamin, Dorothy's egotistical and autocratic father. Not wanting to take anything away from him or belittle his undisputable merits, father Benjamin was by no means an insignificant person. To refresh the initiated reader's memory, and to take advantage of the fact that for once I don't have to be concerned about author's permission, I offer the following extract in summary:

Without a doubt, Park Benjamin was a brilliant man. His father of the same name was a well-known poet, lecturer, and newspaper publisher and an associate of Horace Greeley. Dorothy's father, then Park Benjamin, Jr., was educated at Trinity School in New York and at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He graduated in 1867 and made several cruises with Admiral Farragut. Following his resignation from the Navy, he studied for a year at the Albany Law School and was admitted to the bar. Intrigued by the scientific advances of his time, he then enrolled at Union College, where he majored in science and received his Ph.D. in 1871. He embarked on a career as a specialist in patent law, becoming the most prominent practitioner in this area and a close friend of many scientists and inventors, including Thomas A. Edison. Too versatile and many-faceted to limit himself to the practice of law, he served as associate editor of Scientific American from 1872 to 1878 and was editor-in-chief of Appleton's Cyclopedia of Applied Mechanics. He also published many articles on scientific subjects and authored several books, among them The Early History of the Naval Academy and The Early History of Electricity.
To a man of such formidable intellect, Caruso was no more than a singer, a well-paid operatic entertainer. That he was at the top of his profession was commendable but by no means constituted credentials sufficient for a son-in-law. When Caruso asked for Dorothy's hand in marriage, Benjamin was astounded. Such a development didn't even occur to him. It seems that he vacillated for a while, but his final answer was a definitive no. He demanded and expected total obedience, and the matter was closed as far as he was concerned; it didn't cross his mind that Dorothy would disobey him.

A contemporary clipping (7 September 1918) from an unidentified London newspaper states that when Caruso asked for his daughter's hand, Park Benjamin replied: "I object to you because of the difference in the ages of my daughter and yourself; the difference in nationality; and principally because of your artistic temperament." An additional, unspoken objection was rooted in the difference in their social standing. Pride in the family name was reflected in the names of at least three of the five children: the elder son, Park Benjamin, Jr., and the younger son, Romeyn Park Benjamin; even Dorothy was named Dorothy Park Benjamin. He could not allow his daughter to marry one of the hundreds of slum-born Carusos who happened to raise himself above all the rest, thanks to a wondrous pair of vocal cords and years of hard work.

Dorothy, in her two books about Caruso and in her autobiography, indicated that her father initially welcomed Caruso's honorable interest in her, but later on made unreasonable demands to sabotage...

Park Benjamin Sr.

Park Benjamin, Sr. (August 14, 1809 – September 12, 1864) was well known in his time as an American poet, journalist, editor and founder of several newspapers.

Biography[edit source | editbeta]

He was born in Demerara, British Guiana, August 14, 1809, but was early sent to New England, and graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. He practiced law in Boston, but abandoned it for editorial work there and later in New York.
On July 8, 1839, he joined with Rufus Wilmot Griswold to produce The Evening Tattler, a journal which promised "the sublimest songs of the great poets–the eloquence of the most renowned orators–the heart-entrancing legends of love and chivalry–the laughter-loving jests of all lands". In addition to fiction and poetry, it also published foreign news, local gossip, jokes, and New York police reports.[1] In 1840 Benjamin helped to found The New World and after other brief editorial ventures became a lecturer, public reader, and periodical writer. He was sued for libel by James Fenimore Cooper, and was on personal terms with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.
By the time his first son, Park Benjamin, Jr., was born, he had settled down to quiet retirement in Long Island. Benjamin died, after a brief illness, on September 12, 1864.[2] In the 20th century, Park Benjamin, Sr. was virtually forgotten. He is now known only through his shorter poems, of which "The Old Sexton" is often anthologized.
His son was also a writer, as well as a patent lawyer, physician.
Criticism[edit source | editbeta]

Edgar Allan Poe had mixed feelings about Benjamin, calling his writing "lucid, terse, and pungent" and his character "witty, often cuttingly sarcastic, but seldom humorous".[3] Walt Whitman, for a time one of Benjamin's employees and protégés, hated his poetry outright.[4]
References[edit source | editbeta]

^ Bayless, Joy. Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe's Literary Executor. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943. p. 29
^ Duyckinck, Evert Augustus; George Long Duyckinck (1866). Cyclopaedia of American Literature: Embracing Personal and Critical Notices. New York: Charles Scrbner and Company. p. 53.
^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001: 25. ISBN 0-8160-4161-X.

Dorothy Park "Doro" Benjamin Caruso (1893 - 1955)

The daughter of well to do patent lawyer
Park Benjaminin of New York, Dorothy was 25 when she married Italian tenor Enrico Caruso on August 20, 1918.

The marriage produced one child, daughter Gloria who was born on December 18, 1919. The couple had been married just shy of 3 years when Enrico died at the age of 48 on August 2, 1921.

Dorothy would marry two more times. Her second husband was Captain Ernest Augustus Ingram, and her third was Dr. Charles Adam Holder.
Dorothy wrote two biographies about her famous first husband. The first entitled Wings Of Song-The Story Of Caruso was published in 1928. The second and more successful Enrico Caruso-His Life And Death was released 17 years later in 1945 and was the source material for the 1951 film The Great Caruso starring Mario Lanza as Enrico and Ann Blyth as Dorothy. The following year Dorothy also wrote an autobiography. She died of cancer in Baltimore, Maryland 9 days before Christmas 1955.

New York Times March 19, 1910

Miss Benjamin to Wed F. W. Goddard

The engagement is announced of Miss Gladys Torrance Benjamin, to Frederick Worth Goddard of New York. Miss Benjamin is the granddaughter of the late Park Benjamin, and the sister of Park Benjamin, Jr., who married Miss Katharine Ward Doremus last June, and also of Marjorie Benjamin and of Romeyn Benjamin. Mr. Goddard is a graduate of Amherst '98 and is the sone of Mr. and Mrs. George H. Goddard. The wedding will probably take place early June.

New York Times August 30, 1922


Lawyer's Testament Gives Each of Five One Dollar


She will Get Reversionary Estate as Well as a Cash Bequest of $60,000


Heirlooms, Pictures and Furnishings Given to Miss Anna Bolchi Benjamin

"I don't know what we are going to do," said Mrs. Goddard, one of the daughters. "The will was a great shock to all of us. It made us all unhappy, not because of the money but because of the feeling expressed. My brother, Park Benjamin, is acting for us and we are all united. I have not been in touch with the situation because father's death was a great shock and came while I was ill."

Wings of Song: An Authentic Life Story of Enrico Caruso

Wings of Song. An Authentic Life Story of Enrico Caruso.
CARUSO, Dorothy, and Her Sister Mrs. Torrance Goddard

Hutchinson, London.

Isabel Torran Benjamin

Name Isabel Torran [2]
Gender Female
Died Yes, date unknown
Person ID I90230 MacomberKin
Last Modified Tue, Mar 13, 2012

Family Park Benjamin, II 3x , b. Fri, May 11, 1849, New York, New York, New York, United States , d. Mon, Aug 21, 1922, Stamford, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States Age: 73 years
1. Park Benjamin, Jr. 2x , d. Yes, date unknown
2. Gladys Torrance Benjamin, d. Yes, date unknown
3. Marjorie Park Benjamin 2x , d. Yes, date unknown
4. Romeyn Park Benjamin, d. Yes, date unknown
Last Modified Tue, Mar 13, 2012
Family ID F75116 Group Sheet
- See more at:

Dorothy Park "Doro" Benjamin Caruso (1893 - 1955)

Biography for
Dorothy Caruso More at IMDbPro »

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Date of Birth
6 August 1893, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, USA

Date of Death
16 December 1955, Baltimore, Maryland, USA (cancer)

Birth Name
Dorothy Benjamin


Enrico Caruso (20 August 1918 - 2 August 1921) (his death) 2 children

Mother of Gloria Caruso. Step-mother of Enrico Caruso Jr..

She wrote 2 biographies about her husband Enrico Caruso and later an autobiography.

Her nickname of 'Doro' was given to her by her first husband, famed Italian tenor 'Enrico Caruso'.

Buried in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore County, Maryland.

New York Times June 4, 1910

The marriage of Miss Gladys Torrance Benjamin, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Park Benjamin, to Frederick Worth Goddard, son of Mr. and Mrs. George H. Goddard, will be celebrated at 4 o'clock this afternoon at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin, 270 West Seventy-third Street. Following the ceremony, to which only the immediate families have been invited, there will be a large reception.

New York Times May 15, 1910

Goddard - Benjamin Wedding Plans

Invitations have been sent out for the wedding of Miss Gladys Torrance Benjamin, and Frederick Worth Goddard, son of Mr. and Mrs. George H. Goddard, which will take place on June 4 at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin, 270 West Seventy-third Street. The ceremony will be at 4 o'clock in the presence of the families of the young couple only. There will be a large reception following.

Miss Benjamin, who is a successful writer of short stories, is a granddaughter of the late Park Benjamin, well known as an author.

Miss Benjamin's sister, Miss Dorothy Benjamin will be maid of honor, and there will be two flower girls, Miss Mary McCall, a granddaughter of the late John A. McCall, and Miss Mary Elizabeth Goddard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Newton Goddard. Stuart Johnson will be best man.

The Caruso Family: Dorothy Benjamin, Glora and Enrico

205 East Ninth Street, Plainfield, NJ The Goddard House

The Goddard House sits on E. 9th Street, between Third and Second Place. This house guards in between its walls the echo of a world-known Opera singer, Enrico Caruso. How Enrico Caruso ended visiting frequently this house? Romance had a hand on all this. The Goddard house had family ties to the person he would marry, making this house on E. 9th Street a regular stop point for this famous tenor of the 1900's. Today, you can still admire this 1890 Queen Anne House. If you stop by to admire it, be quiet, who knows you might be able to listen to the echo that was left behind by Enrico Caruso's love for life.

Circa: 1890
Style: Queen Anne
Builder: ??
Contributing: Yes
Where to find it: E. 9th Street, corner of Second Place

Crescent Area Historic District, Plainfield, NJ 07060

1919 Plainfield New Jersey Directory

1965 Year Book The Garden Club of New Jersey

Past Presidents
Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard
Tryon, North Carolina

1965 Year Book The Garden Club of New Jersey

Past Presidents
Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard
Tryon, North Carolina

The New York Sun, Saturday, March 31, 1934


The Plainfield Garden Club tied with the Garden Club of East Orange for first place in competition among the Federated Garden Clubs of New Jersey in the twenty-first international flower show, held last week in the Grand Central Palace. Each club won 2,642 points. The Garden Club of Bound Brook and that of Montclair won second and third place, respectively.

The Garden Club of Plainfield carried off six blue, thirteen red and four yellow ribbons.

Mrs. Garret Smith's original poem "Aprils's Mirror," written for this occasion and arranged for illustration by Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard and Mrs. James Devlin received the second award.

Margaret Goddard Carlson

Morning Gayety

by John Fabian Carlson

Oil on canvas; CA 1930

Winter at Roundout Valley

by John Fabian Carlson

Oil on canvas; ca. 1930


At the age of nine, Carlson emigrated with his family from Sweden to New York. In 1902 he won a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York City and six years later became assistant to the director of the league's summer school at Woodstock. Carlson was a proponent of painting directly from nature, and the countryside at Woodstock became an important source of subject matter for his landscapes. He was fond of painting winter scenes, and the compositional strength of trees in winter is evident in the library's two paintings.

Carlson met his future wife, Margaret Goddard, in the idyllic setting of Woodstock, New York, where he taught landscape painting in the summer school of the Art Students League. As teacher and mentor, Carlson inspired her artistically, and by 1910 they became romantically involved. Margaret, who was born in Plainfield in 1882, was also an artist of the first rank, but she sublimated her promising career in favor of managing her husband's career and raising three sons. With her support, John Fabian Carlson went on to win national acclaim. He won numerous awards at the prestigious painting salons at the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Although they ultimately lived in Woodstock, the Carlsons always remained close to her family and returned to frequently to Plainfield.

From 2001 through 2004, during the residence of Ambassador Charles A. Heimbold, Jr., the Library's painting Morning Gayety hung in the American Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. It was one of 13 paintings borrowed through the Art in Embassies Program of the U.S. Department of State to augment the ambassador's own fine collection, and it was the only painting not on loan from a gallery or museum. It was beautifully reproduced in the exhibit catalog marking that occasion.

John Carlson and Margaret Goddard Carlson

Margaret Goddard Carlson (1882-1964)

Summer Pasture c. 1915
Oil on canvas 16 x 18
The James Cox Gallery at Woodstock

Margaret Goddard Carlson

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey to parents of means, young Margaret Goddard left the comfort of home's hearth to pursue study in art. Attending the Art Students League in New York (1898-99), she provided the illustrations for a children's book, The Making of Meenie (1904).

At some point, she established a connection with Byrdcliffe, a Utopian arts and crafts community in Woodstock, New York. This art colony was established in 1903 by the son of a millionaire Yorkshire textile baron . . .

Crescent Area Historic District

Margaret Goddard Carlson

In 1882, Margaret Goddard Carlson was born to George and Elizabeth Goddard of Plainfield, New Jersey. The fourth of five children, she grew up in a household where her father, who owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, ran a tight ship demanding his children be very well behaved. Margaret’s brother graduated from an Ivy League College and her sisters both graduated from Wellsey. Though Margaret certainly had the chance for the same quality of education, she listened to her artistic callings instead of following the traditional academic path.

Margaret enrolled in classes at the Art Students League in New York City where many of her artist friends would travel up the Hudson River in to the Catskill Mountains for the summer. It was there that Margaret would discover an arts and crafts community called Byrdcliffe. A workshop environment which focused on nature’s motifs whereby designs were married to a furniture making, wood carving, textile weaving, printing, book binding, pottery, metal work and painting. By 1904, the Byrdcliffe community was becoming increasingly exclusive, and although Margaret had many friends within the colony, she remained an independent artist who never formally joined.

It was likely several years later, around 1907, that Margaret first met John Fabian Carlson at Woodstock. Carlson had just taken over as the landscape teacher at the Art Students League’s summer school. He cultivated himself as a gentleman in every way. By dress, manner and self-education. Margaret fell in love with John F. Carlson, his classes in landscape painting, and the entire Woodstock experience, although no one knows which came first. We do know that Carlson, as her teacher and mentor, first inspired her artistically, and by 1910 they became romantically involved, and the couple married in 1913.

Once married, the Carlsons settled in Woodstock on twenty-six acres where they eventually built a house big enough for a painting studio. Margaret always remained close to her family and frequently visited them in Plainfield.

In her growing commitment to landscape painting she produced most of her works between 1910-1920. Margaret’s choice of landscape scenes and palette are similar to those of her husband, yet they differ in style. John Carlson Expressed himself with bold dashing brush strokes on a variety of larger canvas sizes. Margaret often used smaller brushes to create short broken strokes, and was usually satisfied painting on small canvas boards.

Although Margaret had her first son just a year after she was married and her second son two years later, she appeared to continue painting until about 1920 before her third son was born. As the house filled with a growing family, a second studio was built for Margaret, allowing her a place to paint in peace. Their life was simple and wholesome with much time spent outdoors throughout the year. Even on family trips to Colorado and Gloucester when her children were very young, Margaret managed to fit in some painting. In 1919, John Carlson co-founded the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs. As the landscape painting instructor of this institution, his spare time was extremely limited. On occasion he and Margaret found time to paint in the beautiful mountainous surroundings so different from familiar Woodstock and New England terrains

During the early 1930’s when her boys were old enough to board, they were enrolled in Phillips Exeter Academy, leaving a large but quiet home to John and Margaret. She attempted to paint again, however her heart was not in her once passionate forte. Instead of painting, Margaret acted as the business manager for the career of her husband. After John‘s passing in 1945, Margaret remained among her friends and family in Woodstock throughout her life.

Email received on February 2, 2014


Gladys Torrance Benjamin...I have a book with her name in it as presented to her in 1906 by someone with initials E.R.A. I think the book was presented to her in college. I just researched the name inscribed and it brought me to here. Very interesting. Thanks for the site

The following photos were sent in of the book.

February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014

February 4, 2014 Gladys Torrance Benjamin Goddard

A reader sent us photos of an old book, Odes From the Divan of Hafiz, he recently acquired with the inscription "Gladys Torrance Benjamin – 1906 – From E.H.R."

So what does this have to do with the PGC? Gladys Torrance Benjamin was none other than our 8th President Mrs. Frederick Worth Goddard.

Gladys was a very well known woman of her age. For starters, she was the granddaughter of Park Benjamin, who was extremely famous at the time as he was a poet, editor and founder of several newspapers. He counted among is his friends Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe.

The literary gene was passed to Gladys, who wrote several books. She married Frederick in 1916 and in 1922, she was in The New York Times headlines as her father on his deathbed changed his will and left millions to a woman he barely knew. It was quite the scandal.

But perhaps Gladys' largest claim to fame was that she was sister-in-law to the great tenor Enrico Caruso. Enrico and Gladys' sister, "Doro," visited Plainfield often and stayed with the Goddards in their large house at 920 Woodland Avenue, right behind Peter! This house later became the home of the PGC Member Mary Vic Stevens Griswold.

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Detwiller blueprints 205 East Ninth Street

August 8, 2015

Library offers trove of vintage Plainfield home blueprints for sale

Plainfield homeowners and history buffs are getting a one-of-a-kind opportunity as the Plainfield Public Library prepares to offer upwards of 3,000 blueprint originals from its Detwiller Collection for sale to the public.

The blueprints offered for sale are part of a trove of many thousands recovered from a dumpster at City Hall by the late Plainfield architect and artist Charles Detwiller.

While many of Plainfield's grand homes and mansion are among the blueprints (though fewer than originally, owing to some 'fingering' before strict controls were put in place), the appeal of the collection will be stronger for those who live in or admire the more modest vintage homes from the turn of the 20th century to the World War II era.

These homes include many classic Tudors and other 'cottage' and 'revival' styles, as well as 'foursquares', ranches and Cape Cods and more contemporary stules.

These represent the bulk of Plainfield's building stock from its most expansive period and they were often enough improved or expanded – giving rise to the need for plans showing the original building and the proposed alterations to be filed with the City's inspections department.

It is those blueprints, which have now been cataloged and digitized, that are being offered for sale. In library parlance, they have been de-accessioned, meaning that they no longer need be kept permanently by the Library and are available for dispostion to private parties.

The Library has a portal to the Charles Detwiller Blueprint Collection on its website (see here) and has made a complete list of the blueprints for sale also available online (see here).

The list is alphabetized by street name, and then number. However, I would advise reading the Library's instructions closely so you make the proper notations for your request (see here) – easing the staff's task in finding the item(s) in which you are interested. Paying attention to the suggested time frames needed and numbers of items per request will help you avoid headaches. So, please read and follow the instructions carefully – as carpenters like to say, 'measure twice, cut once'.

The sale will run from September 1 to November 13, 2015 in a two-step process –

You check the offerings to find items that interest you, making careful notations; and

You and the Library work out a pick-up appointment, at which you will be able to view the actual items and make a final decision on your purchase.

Single-page blueprints are priced at $50 each and multiple-page sets at $100. Cash or credit cards are fine, but the Library will not accept personal checks.

Proceeds of the sale will be used to finance the further digitization of the blueprint collection – meaning that we can look forward to another offering of materials at some future point.

The Detwiller Collection is absolutely unique in its size and scope, covering decades of Plainfield history and thousands of buildings throughout the city. Plainfield residents owe Charlie Detwiller a debt of gratitude for his perspicacity that cannot be repaid.

And we owe a debt of gratitude to Library Director Joe Da Rold for the vision that saw in these rescued documents an invaluable resource for the community, and devised means and methods of ensuring these fragile records would be available to Plainfield residents permanently through having them digitized.

Mr. Detwiller is the late husband of PGC Honorary member Cath Detwiller. Mr. Detwiller's Aunt Laura was a long-time member of the PGC and a very talented botanical artist. Read about the Detwiller family here:

Detwiller, Mrs. Charles H. (Catherine or "Cath" Campbell), Jr. '57

Detwiller, Miss Laura Cecelia '29

And Mr. Detwiller's in-laws:

Campbell, Mrs. William Hall (Mabel C. Raper) '28

Davis, Mrs. F. Edgar (Dorothy or "Dottie" Campbell) '60