Plainfield Garden Club








Member: Hibbard, Mrs. Henry D. (Sarah or "Sally" Ames Brooks) '15

1919 Address: 144 East 7th Street, Plainfield

1922 Address: 144 East 7th Street, Plainfield

1929 Treasurer Book Active $5.00 (Not listed in the 1928 Treasurer Book)
1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936 Treasurer Book Active

1932 Directory* Address: 144 East Seventh Street

1937 Treasurer Book Active: Mrs. Henry Hibbard 1/5/37 Pd.
1938 Treasurer Book, Active: Mrs. Henry Hibbard 1/4/38 Pd 2/2/39 Pd. 2/29/40 Pd 1/24/41 Pd.

1942 Directory: 144 East 7th Street
Mrs. Henry . Hibbard is listed as an "Honorary Member"

In 1965, the 50th Anniversary of the Plainfield Garden Club, Mrs. Henry D. Hibbard was listed as an "Honorary Member" and deceased.

October 26, 1908 New York Times article

SUNDAY GOLF STIRS PLAINFIELD CLERGY; Play at the Country Club by Leading Citizens Brings Demands for Law Enforcement. DR. FINN RAPS MAYOR FISK Says He and Other Clubmen Who Voted for Sunday Game Are Lawbreakers and Will Be Punished.


Special to The New York Times. ();
October 26, 1908,
, Section , Page 7, Column , words


PLAINFIELD, N.J., Oct. 25. – No arrests were made at the Plainfield Country Club to-day when the first trial at Sunday golf took place, and in fact there was no suspicion of interference of any sort. The clubhouse was open all afternoon, despite the protests of the local clergy, and about a score of the "liberals" played golf.

Click link above to find how Henry D. Hibbard and other Plainfield Garden Club husbands played golf on a Sunday.

October 26, 1915 Henry D. Hibbard departs for Australia

Henry D. Hibbard was a metallurgical engineer

1915 Iron Age book reference

Monday Afternoon Club

Plainfield Library Archives

Monday Afternoon Club, 1889-2007

Club annual report cover, 1935.

Finding aid revised and updated by Sarah Hull in July 2009; processed in 2009 by Sarah Hull.


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Descriptive Summary


Title: Records of the Monday Afternoon Club, 1889 - 2007.

Creator: Monday Afternoon Club

Call Number: PPL-MSS-2009-7

Size:
10 linear feet of records
Comprised of 8 boxes:
Three (6) 10" x 15" x 12" archival storage boxes
One (1) 6.5" x 12" x 5.5" card box
Four (4) 16" x 20" x 3" oversize storage


Repository: Plainfield Public Library, Local History Department, 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060

Abstract: The Records of the Monday Afternoon Club document the creation and history of the Club from 1889 to 2007, with bulk dates of 1940 to 1988. The Monday Afternoon Club was founded in 1888 by a prominent Plainfield resident, Eliza Elvira Kenyon. It was the oldest club in Plainfield when it disbanded in 2007. Although its primary purpose was to serve as a literary outlet for women, the club was very active with city events, education, and outside organizations. The collection includes administrative documents, financial records, legal agreements, and publications such as the Club's magazine, histories and event programs. There are seven scrapbooks that contain photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings, and seven press books that contain only newspaper clippings. Additional related library materials are referenced.


Language: The records are in English.


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Administrative Information

Access & Restrictions
The Records of the Monday Afternoon Club are available for research. Access is restricted to materials prepared by the Local History department staff. All materials must be viewed in the Plainfield Room and may not be removed to another area of the library without permission of the Library Director or designee. Materials must be handled carefully and kept in order. Materials must not be leaned upon, altered, folded, ripped, or traced upon. Marks may not be added or erased from materials. Materials must be returned directly to Local History department staff and inspected before the researcher leaves the Plainfield Room.

One photocopy may be made (by Plainfield Public Library staff) of each document for the purpose of research; official Local History departmental reproduction fees may apply. Permission to publish must be obtained by the Plainfield Public Library Board of Trustees as delegated to the Library Director. Permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. The researcher is responsible for further copyright restrictions. The Plainfield Public Library is not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material.

Preferred Citation
Identification of item; Date (if noted); "Records of the Monday Afternoon Club," Box and Folder Number; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Acquisition Information
The initial donation was made prior to 2001; the remainder of the collection was donated in 2009 by the Monday Afternoon Club.

Accruals

Library staff vertical file and additional newspaper articles regarding Club events.

Processing Information
This collection was processed by Sarah Hull in July 2009. The finding aid was written and encoded by Sarah Hull in July 2009. Finding aid content follows the guidelines suggested by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

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Historical Note
Eliza Elvira Kenyon founded the Monday Afternoon Club in 1888 after seeing a need in Plainfield for a permanent organization for women with an interest in literary study. The first meeting of 50 members was held in the library of the Plainfield Seminary for Young Ladies (founded by Kenyon in 1866). The Club incorporated in 1889. For several years, the regular meeting place was the Seminary's assembly room. In the beginning, programs were limited to Literature, History, Music and Art. Topics were broadened to include Current Events, Sanitary Plumbing, Evolution, Socialism and Women's Suffrage. Dues were five dollars per year and each member was required to write a paper when requested to do so.

The Monday Afternoon Club became the charter member of the State Federation of Women's Clubs in 1894 under the leadership of Miss Kenyon. She played an active role in the Club until her death in 1919. She was named the Freedom of the Club - an honor higher than an honorary membership. Miss Kenyon is the only member ever to have been bestowed with that honor. After 1919, the meeting place was moved to the Parish House of the Congregational Church on Central Avenue. In 1931, membership rose to 431, but the depression took its toll and by 1934 there were 337 members.

In 1949, the house of Mrs. Daniel Ginna on Watchung Avenue was purchased and served as the Clubs home for several decades. Membership numbers gradually rose. The Club was strong in the 1950s after the move to what is now commonly called "the Monday Afternoon Club House" on Watchung Avenue. In 1970, there were close to 250 members. When the building was not being used for Club activities, it was available to other organizations for meetings and events. Gradually, numbers dwindled and the large house was no longer practical. The organization continued to meet at the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church until its final meeting in May 2007.

Throughout its entire history, the organization was very active in the city. In addition to working in coordination with the Muhlenberg Women's Auxiliary (also founded by Eliza Elvira Kenyon), the Monday Afternoon Club contributed to events, such as the Sixth Avenue Drama Festival, and Flower and Garden Shows. The Club had a popular Junior Women's Club (frequently with a long waiting list), an American Home Department, Ways and Means Committee, Program Chairs and Departments, Education Department, Public Affairs Department, and Social Service Department.

In addition to events and outside activities, the Club published a regular magazine. Bound magazine volumes are available in this collection, as well as in the Plainfield Public Library Local History Department. Catalog information can be found below.

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List of Presidents, 1888 to 1988
Miss Eliza Elvira Kenyon, 1888-1890
Mrs. David O. Hall, 1890-1892
Miss Eliza Elvira Kenyon, 1892-1894
Mrs. Isaac L. Miller, 1894-1896
Mrs. William H. Sterling, 1896-1897
Mrs. Edward C. Perkins, 1897-1899
Mrs. John M. Whiton, 1899-1901
Mrs. Edwin W. Conklin, 1901-1903
Mrs. Robert Lowry, 1906-1907
Mrs. Henry M. Maxson, 1907-1909
Mrs. Eugene H. Hatch, 1909-1911
Mrs. Hugh Francis Fox, 1911-1913
Mrs. Orton G. Dale, 1913-1915
Mrs. Alan Cowperthwait, 1915-1917
Mrs. Harold D. Corbusier, 1917-1919
Mrs. Henry D. Hibbard, 1919-1921
Miss Alice Corey, 1921-1924
Miss Emelyn B. Hartridge, 1924-1927
Mrs. Horace N. Stevens, 1927-1930
Mrs. Harlan. A. Pratt, 1930-1933
Mrs. Wilbur H. Rogers, 1933-1937
Mrs. Harry Brokaw Smith, 1937-1939
Mrs. William F. Finney, 1939-1941
Mrs. Seth W. Candee, 1941-1945
Mrs. Stanton H. Davis, 1945-1947
Mrs. Maurice B. Cooke, 1947-1951
Mrs. J. Sewell Elrich, 1951-1953
Mrs. Albert J. Glaeser
Mrs. John W. Shuster, 1957-1961
Mrs. Horace Hatfield, 1961-1965
Mrs. Harris W. C. Browne, 1965-1969
Mrs. Harold M. Miller, 1977-1979
Mrs. Frederick J. Handschuch, 1979 – Acting President 1980
Mrs. Charles L. Hill, 1980-1983
Mrs. Arthur W. Lederer, Jr., 1983-1987-1988
[Source: The Monday Afternoon Club History, 1988]

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Scope and Content Note
The Records of the Monday Afternoon Club include a variety of historical material spanning from 1888 to 2007, with the bulk of records dating from 1940 to 1988. Record types include: annual club programs, specific event programs, constitution and by-laws, financial ledgers and records, membership lists, Club magazines, photographs, ephemera, scrapbooks, and decades of newspaper clippings.

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Organization and Arrangement
The Records of the Monday Afternoon Club are arranged into four series:

Series 1: Administrative material, 1888 to 2003
Series 2: Financial records, 1960-1987
Series 3: Scrapbooks, 1940-1960
Series 4: Press books, 1940-1965

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Index Terms

People:

Kenyon, Eliza Elvira (1836-1915)

Organizations:

Monday Afternoon Club, Plainfield, NJ
Places:

Plainfield (N.J.)
Subjects:

Plainfield (N.J.)–History
Plainfield (N.J.)–Clubs and organizations
Women - New Jersey - Plainfield - History

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Related Items
The Monday Afternoon Club Magazine [Monday Afternoon Club, 1938-1979] PR 051 M74

Memories grave and gay, by Florence Howe Hall [1918] PR B HALL F

Excerpts from Ms. Eliza Elvira Kenyon's Journal, by Mrs. Robert P. Coates [1973] PR 974.939 C63

Miss E. E. Kenyon [1908], PPL Photograph Collection ID# X-100012

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper documents, photographs and ephemera that do not require any additional technology for access.

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Series Description
Series 1: Administrative Material [1889 to 2003]
Series Arrangement
Series 1 is arranged chronologically and fills 2 boxes.

Description
Series 1 contains annual Club programs, magazines, membership lists, letters, event programs, constitution and by-laws (1889 to 1945), and other records related to the administration of the Club. It is composed solely of paper documents which are typed or handwritten.

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Series 2: Financial Records [1960 to 1987]
Series Arrangement
Series 2 is arranged chronologically and fills one box..

Description
Series 2 contains of blank checks, receipts, paid bills, magazine ad ledgers, and miscellaneous banking material. It is composed solely of paper documents and three bound ledgers. Documents are typed and handwritten.

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Series 3: Scrapbooks [1940 to 1960]
Series Arrangement
Series 3 is arranged chronologically and fills 4 boxes.

Description
Series 3 contains six scrapbooks. Taped to pages, or loose, are photographs, magazine issues, constitution and by-laws, event programs and related material, newspaper clippings, letters, cards, and assorted ephemera. Documents are typed and handwritten.

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Series 4: Press Books [1940 to 2007, with gaps, undated]
Series Arrangement
Series 4 is arranged chronologically and fills 1 box.

Description
Series 4 is composed solely of newspaper clippings about Club members and activities.

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Container Listing

Series I: Administrative Material [1889 to 2003]

Box
Folder
Title
Date

1
N/A
Constitution, By-Laws & Membership Lists (booklets)
1889-1945






2
1
Blank stationary
Undated


2
Signed guest book
Undated


3
Blank event forms
Undated


4
Member commission & postulates (booklet)
1896


5
Program – MAC in Cinamascope (sic): PR 051 M74
1956


6
PPL vertical file documents (events and magazine pieces)
1970-1971


7
Constitution & Bylaws
1974


8
Antiques exhibitor agreements (legal)
1983


9
Events
1985-1986


10
History booklet (13 copies)
1988


11
Plainfield Public Library exhibit letter
2003

24 Constitution, By-Laws & Membership Lists (booklets) 1988, 1989, 1990

3
1
MAC Magazines (bound)
Nov 1942 to May 1946


2
MAC Magazines (bound)
Oct 1946 to May 1950


3
MAC Magazines (bound)
Oct 1950 to may 1954


4
MAC Magazines (bound)
Oct 1954 to May 1958


5
MAC Magazines (bound)
Oct 1962 to May 1966


Series 2: Financial Records [1960 to 1987]

Box
Folder
Title
Dates

2
12
Blank checks
Undated


13
Ledger
1960-1964


14
Ledger
1964-1971


15
Ledger
1974-1984


16
Bills
1983


17
Banking
1984


18
Bills
1984


19
Antique Show financials
1985


20
Program and tea
1985


21
Banking
1985-1986


22
Banking
1986-1987


Series 3: Scrapbooks [1940 to 1960]

Box
Folder
Title
Dates

5
Scrapbook (tagged #1)
1944-1949

5

Scrapbook (tagged #6)
1954-1955

6

Scrapbook (tagged #7)
1955-1956

7

Scrapbook (tagged #8)
1956-1957

8

Scrapbook (untagged)
1959-1960

8

Scrapbook (untagged; plays, loose items in back)
1940-1949


Series 4: Press Books [1940 to 2007, with gaps, undated]

Box
Folder
Title
Dates

4
Press Book
1940-1942


Press Book
1943-1945


Press Book
1950-1951


Press Book
1954-1958


Press Book
1960-1961


Press Book
1961-1963


Press Book
1964-1965

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

Complete November 13, 1940
Penciled above her name is "H. M." indicating Mrs. Hibbard's status as "Honorary Member"

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

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

and our community is the poorer for her [Mrs. Henrietta Herring] passing beyond the wall.

July 12, 1916 Meeting Minutes

July 12, 1916

The meeting was held at Miss Cuartin's. It was a seasonably hot day. [further out] Mrs. Hibbard read a delightful paper on the Shakespeare Garden of Central Park. She had talked to Professor Southwicks who was the creator of the garden as well as looked carefully over the grounds for herself and the result was that she gave the club a charming description of what she had seen quite in the spirit of Dr. Southwicks himself.

The garden is near the 81st street and 5th avenue entrance of Central Park.

When Mrs. Hibbard had finished, Mrs. Herring told of her visit to the garden and her talk with Professor Southwicks. The members of the club were so interested in the two accounts of the garden that the motion was made and carried that the secretary writes to Professor Southwicks as to what the cost of the upkeep of the Shakespeare Garden was, and suggest that The Plainfield Garden club start a campaign amongst the Garden Clubs of America to get the necessary funds to run the Shakespeare Garden. The Plainfield Garden Club would contribute a sum although no definite amount was voted at the meeting.

Courier News articles for "Hibbard"

Hibbard Henry D. 4/19/1939 News
Hibbard Henry D. 12/30/1940 News
Hibbard Henry D. wife Sarah Ames Brooks 10/19/1942 Obituary
Hibbard Henry D. 11/2/1942 News
Courier News Index: H 50 of 80
Last Name First Name Relationship Date Source Data Item Type
Hibbard Henry D. 10/19/1943 News
Hibbard May Glenn 8/24/1968 Obituary
Hibbard Sarah Ames Brooks husband Henry D. 3/29/1946 Obituary

May 9, 1974 Spring Potpourri Guestbook

1915 - 1923 Book: Meetings of The Plainfield Garden Club

1915 - 1923 List of Meetings

1925 Meeting Minutes

Signed minutes as "Sallie A. Hibbard"

April 8, 1925 Meeting Minutes

April 8, 1925 Meeting Minutes

Princeton Alumni Weekly 1931: CHARLES AMES BROOKS '05

On behalf of the Class of 1905 we record a most deep sorrow at the sudden death of our beloved classmate and secretary, Charles Ames Brooks, age forty-seven years, at Plainfield, N.J.

He was born in Plainfield, which has always been his home. After graduation he studied law at Harvard and New York Law schools, and was admitted to the New York Bar in October 1907. He took his A. M. degree in 1908. He practiced law in New York for a time in association with the firm of Wherry & Morgan, and later with Austin, McLanahan A. Marnet. In 1914 he opened his own law office, containing in independent practice until his death.

He served as a private in Squadron A. N. Y. N. G. He was ambulance driver, American Field Service, in France from May to September 1917, and later applied for army service but was rejected for failure to pass the physical tests.

In 1934 he reorganized and for a number of years was executive secretary in charge of the Kowaliga School of Kowaliga, Ala., as industrial school for the colored people of that district. He was secretary of the Florentine Corp., vice-president and a director of the L. S. E. CO., secretary and director of Hamill's Restaurants, Inc., and secretary and director of Ayes Medical Supply Co.

He was active in many civic undertakings in Plainfield. He was a vestryman at Grace Episcopal Church, chairman of the case conference committee of the Charity Organization Society, a trustee of the C. O. S. and formerly a member of the board of governors of the Muhlenberg Hospital.

Ames was interested in the worthwhile things in life. He was assiduous in his profession, but found time to devote to letters and in 1921, published a collection of poems entitled Means Rea and Other Poems. He travelled extensively and intelligently. Above all he was absorbed in the Class of 1905 and as secretary gave it the most devoted service. Indeed, his unfailing energy and unselfishness has been in a large measure responsible for the close unity of the Class.

Ames Brooks was one of those rare persons who was always happy in his relations with his fellow men. He had an unfailing good salute, a fine sense of humor, an unselfish devotion to the interests of those with whom he came into contact, a keen sympathy, and the highest sense of honor and integrity. He brought all these attributes to bear in the exercise of his office as secretary and treasurer, and won the love, admiration and gratitude of all his classmates. His loss will be deeply felt by every man in 1905.

He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Harry D. Hibbard, of 144 East 7th St, Plainfield, N. J., and his brother, Van Wyck Brooks, of Westport, Conn. To them we extend the deepest sympathy of the Class.

Portrait of Van Wyck Brooks by John Butler Yeats, 1909

Van Wyck Brooks (b. Plainfield, New Jersey, February 16, 1886; d. Bridgewater, Connecticut, May 2, 1963) was an American literary critic, biographer, and historian.

Biography

Brooks was educated at Harvard University and graduated in 1908. As a student there, he published his first book: a collection of poetry called Verses by Two Undergraduates, co-written with his friend John Hall Wheelock.[1]
The masterpiece of his literary career was a series of studies entitled Makers and Finders, which chronicled the development of American literature during the long 19th century. Brooks' reputation rested on the dexterity with which he embroidered elaborate biographical detail into brilliant anecdotal prose. For The Flowering of New England (1936), he won the second National Book Award for Non-Fiction from the American Book Sellers Association[2][3] and the 1937 Pulitzer Prize in history.
He was a long-time resident of Bridgewater, Connecticut, which built a town library wing in his name. Although a decade-long fund-raising effort seemed to fail and was abandoned in 1972, a miserly hermit in Los Angeles with no connection to Bridgewater surprised the town by leaving money for the library in his will. With $210,000 raised, the library addition went up in 1980.[4]
Among his works, the book The Ordeal of Mark Twain, published in 1920, analyzes the literary progression of Samuel L. Clemens and attributes shortcomings to Clemens' mother and wife. In 1953 he published a translation from French of the 1920 biography of Henry Thoreau by Leon Bazalgette, titled "Henry Thoreau, Bachelor of Nature".
In 1944, Brooks was on the cover of Time Magazine.[5]
[edit]Bibliography

1905: Verses by Two Undergraduates (with John Hall Wheelock)
1908: The Wine of the Puritans: A Study of Present-Day America
1913: The Malady of the Ideal: Senancour, Maurice de Guérin, and Amiel
1914: John Addington Symonds: A Biographical Study
1915: The World of H.G. Wells
1915: America's Coming of Age
1920: The Ordeal of Mark Twain
1925: The Pilgrimage of Henry James
1932: The Life of Emerson
1934: Three Essays on America
1936: The Flowering of New England, 1815-1865 (Makers and Finders)
1940: New England: Indian Summer, 1865-1914 (Makers and Finders)
1941: Opinions of Oliver Allston
1941: On Literature Today
1944: The World of Washington Irving (Makers and Finders)
1947: The Times of Melville and Whitman (Makers and Finders)
1948: A Chilmark Miscellany
1952: The Confident Years: 1885-1915 (Makers and Finders)
1952: Makers and Finders: A History of the Writer in America, 1800-1915
1953: The Writer in America
1953: Henry Thoreau, Bachelor of Nature (by Leon Bazalgette, translated by Van Wyck Brooks)
1954: Scenes and Portraits: Memoirs of Childhood and Youth (An Autobiography)
1955: John Sloan: A Painter's Life
1956: Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait
1957: Days of the Phoenix: The Nineteen-Twenties I Remember (An Autobiography)
1958: The Dream of Arcadia: American Writers and Artists in Italy, 1760-1915
1958: From a Writer's Notebook
1959: Howells: His Life and World
1961: From the Shadow of the Mountain: My Post-Meridian Years (An Autobiography)
1962: Fenollosa and His Circle: With Other Essays in Biography
1965: An Autobiography
[edit]Awards and honors

[edit]Prizes
1937: Pulitzer Prize in history and National Book Award for 1936 nonfiction[3]
1938: Goldmedaille des Limited Editions Club
1944: Carey Thomas Award for The World of Washington Irving
1946: Goldmedal of National Institute of Arts and Letters (American Academy of Arts and Letters)
1953: Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal
1954: Huntington Hartford Foundation Award
1957: Secondary Education Board Award for Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait
[edit]Honorary degrees
Doctor of Letters:
Boston University
Bowdoin College
Columbia University
Dartmouth College
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Harvard University
Northeastern Illinois University
Tufts University
Union College
University of Pennsylvania
Doctor of Humane Letters:
Northwestern University
[edit]References

^ Sullivan, Roderick B. (Feb 2001). "Biography of John Hall Wheelock, Poet." Biographies of Notable Wheelocks. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
^ "Books and Authors", The New York Times, 1936-04-12, page BR12. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851-2007).
^ a b "5 Honors Awarded on the Year's Books: ...", The New York Times, 1937-02-26, page 23. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851-2007).
^ Burnham Public Library Web site, Library History Web page, accessed May 4, 2009
^ Time.com

Van Wyck Brooks Historical District

BROOKS, VAN WYCK [1886-1963]

Van Wyck Brooks became well known through his work as a literary critic, although he generally is not considered an author of literary works himself. Brooks is also well known through his work as a historian of American literature during the 19th century, and he produced a series of studies, which were known and published as the "Makers and Finders" series. One of his books in this series, "The Flowering of New England", won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1937. Brooks was also known as a biographer, focusing mainly on autobiographical works. Because of his work as a literary critic of 19th century literature, Van Wyck Brooks was considered to be the chronicler of America's Literary Heritage.

Van Wyck Brooks got his Dutch name, Van Wyck, through his mothers' side. His mother's maiden name was Sarah Ames, but following her marriage to Charles Brooks, Sarah was known as Sally Brooks. Sally's Dutch roots went back some seven generations to her forefather, Cornelis Barente Van Wyck, who settled in New Amsterdam in 1659. His descendants became part of a prosperous Long Island farming family, and Sally was one of the members of that group.

Van Wyck Brooks was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, on February 16, 1886. His parents, Sally and Charles Brooks were well off, and as a result Van Wyck was able to get a good primary education. Van Wyck eventually ended up in Harvard University, from where he graduated in 1908.

There is little doubt that Van Wyck Brooks's major contribution consisted of his literary history of the 19th century. He brought to the fore, the importance of the literary contributions by such major 19th century authors as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Stephen Crane, Bret Harte, Theodore Dreiser, and Samuel Clements, better known as Mark Twain. It is generally accepted that the reason we are still reading about these 19th century authors today, is because of the work Brooks has done, on publicizing their contributions to American literature, during that time period.

As was mentioned above, Brooks is best known for his "Finders and Makers" series. The five books that make up the series consist of the Pulitzer Prize winner, "The Flowering of New England–1815-1865", published in 1936, "New England: Indian Summer–1865-1915", published in 1940, "The World of Washington Irving", published in 1944, "The Times of Melville and Whitman", published in 1947, and "The Confident Years–1885-1915", published in 1952.

Other Van Wyck Brooks studies in the literary critic genre consist of, "The world of H. G. Wells", published in 1915, "The Ordeal of Mark Twain", published in 1920, "The Pilgrimage of Henry James", published in 1925, "The Life of Emerson", published in 1932, "Opinions of Oliver Allston", published in 1941,"On Literature Today", published in 1941, "The Writer in America", published in 1953, and "The Dream of Arcadia: American Writers and Artists in Italy, 1760-1915", published in 1958.

Brooks also liked working on biographies, including several autobiographical studies. The biographies include, "John Addington Symonds: A Biographical Study", published in 1914, "John Sloan: A Painter's Life", published in 1955, "Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait", published in 1956, and "Howells: His Life and World", published in 1959.

Brooks autobiographical works include, "Days of the Phoenix: The Nineteen Twenties I Remember", published in 1957, "From A Writer's Notebook", published in 1958, "From the Shadow of the Mountain: My Post Meridian Years", published in 1961, and "An Autobiography", published in 1965. The above listing of Brooks' works is fairly comprehensive but not totally complete.

Van Wyck Brooks was a long time resident of Bridgewater, Connecticut. Following his death, the town decided to build an addition to a library building and name it after Brooks. Funding delayed the completion of the building addition, but finally in 1980 the library wing officially opened.

Van Wyck Brooks passed away in Bridgewater, Connecticut, on May 2, 1963.


REFERENCES

Van Wyck Brooks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Wyck_Brooks

Van Wyck Brooks, http://www.nndb.com/people/965/000117614/

Van Wyck Brooks, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Brooks-V.html

Van Wyck Brooks, http://literaryculture.suite101.com/article.cfm/van_wyck_brooks_literarian

October 2, 1944 Time Magazine

Van Wyck Brooks, 1886 - 1963

Time cover, 2 October 1944

Born: 16 February 1886, Plainfield, New Jersey
Died: 2 May 1963, Bridgewater, Connecticut

Van Wyck was the second son of Charles Brooks, a brokerage clerk who had failed in business, and Sara Ames Brooks, whose family had arrived in New Amsterdam in 1659 and done very well for themselves. When Charles' mentor died, his own efforts were flops, he returned home after selling a copper mine in Arizona that would later be hugely productive in order to buy a nickel mine in Utah that was too far from any railroad to be worth anything at all. Thus a home in tension between a socialite wife who drew on her family's money and a father that didn't fit. Many of Brooks' books addressed problems he saw in the society from which his mother came. His real contribution was literary criticism, he was largely responsible for making the American authors of the 19th century prominent, including such names as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Stephen Crane, Bret Harte, and Mark Twain. His "Finders and Makers" series included five volumes, the first of which earned him the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1937. He graduated from Harvard in 1908, sold his first book the same year. He was granted Doctor of Letters degrees by ten Universities.

Biography from Wikipedia and the New Netherlands Institute


A man who has the courage of his platitudes is always a successful man. The instructed man is ashamed to pronounce in an orphic manner what everybody knows, and because he is silent people think he is making fun of them. They like a man who expresses their own superficial thoughts in a manner that appears to be profound. This enables them to feel that they are themselves profound.
Van Wyck Brooks

As against having beautiful workshops, studios, etc., one writes best in a cellar on a rainy day.
Van Wyck Brooks

Better the fragrant herb of wit and a little cream of affability than all the pretty cups in the world.
Van Wyck Brooks

Earnest people are often people who habitually look at the serious side of things that have no serious side.
Van Wyck Brooks

Genius and virtue are to be more often found clothed in gray than in peacock bright.
Van Wyck Brooks

If men were basically evil, who would bother to improve the world instead of giving it up as a bad job at the outset?
Van Wyck Brooks

It is not that the French are not profound, but they all express themselves so well that we are led to take their geese for swans.
Van Wyck Brooks

Magnanimous people have no vanity, they have no jealousy, and they feed on the true and the solid wherever they find it. And, what is more, they find it everywhere.
Van Wyck Brooks

No man should ever publish a book until he has first read it to a woman.
Van Wyck Brooks

No one is fit to judge a book until he has rounded Cape Horn in a sailing vessel, until he has bumped into two or three icebergs, until he has been lost in the sands of the desert, until he has spent a few years in the House of the Dead.
Van Wyck Brooks

Nothing is sadder than having worldly standards without worldly means.
Van Wyck Brooks

Nothing is so soothing to our self esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.
Van Wyck Brooks

People of small caliber are always carping. They are bent on showing their own superiority, their knowledge or prowess or good breeding.
Van Wyck Brooks

The American mind, unlike the English, is not formed by books, but, as Carl Sandburg once said to me, by newspapers and the Bible.
Van Wyck Brooks

The creative impulses of man are always at war with the possessive impulses.
Van Wyck Brooks

Van Wyck Brooks, 1886 - 1963

Parents: Charles Edward Brooks and Sarah Bailey (Ames)
Spouse: Eleanor Keagan Stimson (m. 1911; died 1946); Gladys Rice Billings (m. 1947) Children: Charles, Oliver Keagan

Sarah Bailey Ames Brooks Hibbard

From: MJMCKEE1@aol.com
Subject: [BNE] BROOKS, Charles Edward and Sarah Bailey Ames
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 22:29:06 EST


I somehow recall the Van Wyck Brooks name and just keep wondering if my
family knew them, or just why the name has rung such a bell with me. So I did a
little side adventure while researching on another family.

While searching on the Godfrey Library, found American National Biography
piece on Van Wyck Brooks that states his father, Charles Edward, was a
stockbroker. Through the Cheshire Library connection to iConn, I looked for articles in
the NY Times and other likely papers. There one on Van Wyck's death the
states they lived in an area What turned up was an article on Dec. 23,
1931covering the death of Van Wyck's brother, C. Ames Brooks, at 47 years of age, hit by
a train in Plainfield, NJ. The mother is referred to as Mrs. Henry D.
Hibbard, so something happened to the first marriage by that time. Funeral services
for C. Ames were at the Protestant Episcopal Church, and burial in Hillside
Cemetery, Plainfield.

I tried for obituaries on Charles Edward to no avail, likewise for Mrs. Henry
Hibbard under any permutation I could think up. She was still alive when
Henry Hibbard's obituary appeared on Oct. 18, 1942.

There were a few articles on Van Wyck Brooks of relevance. One on March 7,
1954 covering his autobiography Scenes & Portraits: Memories of Childhood and
Youth includes information that the father spent time in France and French
was spoken at the dinner table. There is now an area in Plainfield called the
Van Wyck Historic District and the NY Times of describes the area they lived in
as "amid a cluster of no fewer than 100 millionaires."

There is a colorful article on Mrs. Van Wyck Brooks in the NY Times of July
17, 1968, and her life through three husbands, the first a Saltonstall. At Van
Wyck's death, The Town of Bridgewater, CT, where Van Wyck and his wife lived,
planned an extension on the Library to house his books, his collections, etc.
according to the NY Times of 25 March 1964. Some information might be
uncovered there.

Last, Sarah Bailey Ames, when Charles Edward's wife, is also called Sallie
Ames in one of the articles.

It was fun, if not everything I looked for. Cheshire Jean

Van Wyck Brooks and Perkins Connection

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.




Bibliography
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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Citation:
Robert L. Gale. " Brooks, Van Wyck ";
http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-00193.html;
American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.
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November 1, 1981 NY TImes: NOT TO WRITE WAS NOT TO BE ALIVE

VAN WYCK BROOKS: A WRITER'S LIFE By Raymond Nelson. Illustrated. 332 pp. New York: E.P. Dutton. $21.75.

MY first encounter with Van Wyck Brooks, as with a number of other modern literary critics, was not firsthand but through the pages of Stanley Edgar Hyman's ''The Armed Vision,'' a polemical study that began with more or less pernicious practitioners and worked past them to four exemplary ones: R.P. Blackmur, William Empson, I.A. Richards and Kenneth Burke. Van Wyck Brooks, alas for him, was nearer the front of Hyman's book and received condescending treatment as a biographical critic who was already outmoded in 1948: ''It has been at least a decade since anyone concerned with literature took him very seriously,'' Hyman declared. Accepting that as the right dope, I proceeded not to take Brooks seriously. A pity my youthful simplicity wasn't complicated by knowing that one of Hyman's exemplary critics, R.P. Blackmur, had reviewed ''The Flowering of New England'' - the first book inBrooks's ''Makers and Finders,'' a five-volume history of American writers - and marveled that he had produced, ''in his full powers, a narrative of appreciation so keen, so full of relish and admirations and intimations of vitality.''

Still, Hyman had a point about Brooks's out-of-dateness. Raymond Nelson's word for it, in the preface to his excellent biography, is ''old-fashionedness,'' a sense of Brooks as belonging to the 19th century he wrote so vividly about. But also, Mr. Nelson correctly adds, old-fashioned because ''his work had gone out of fashion,'' since, to younger writers like Hyman, Brooks's dealings with words on the page, with the metaphorical shape and organization of particular literary works, were minimal. What his biographer refers to as the ''intense, specialized literary scholarship of recent years'' is just as unlikely to have any use for Brooks's impressionistic renderings of literary New York or Concord, of Irving or Emerson, as were critics like Hyman, who thought such writing bloated and selfindulgent. Mr. Nelson's book is written out of the conviction that to so ignore Brooks is a mistake, since literary study is impoverished when it can find no place for the ''synthesizing'' work of such a writer.

The biography is advertised as a full-length, authorized one, and its author says that most previous studies of Brooks have been specialized or partisan. One notable exception to that generalization should be pointed out: ''Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture,'' by James Hoopes, published in 1977 by the University of Massachusetts Press. Mr. Nelson makes no reference to this full-length biographical study, and obviously each man wrote his book independently of the other (though Mr. Hoopes mentions Mr. Nelson in his preface). Although their judgments of individual works sometimes differ sharply, they agree on the major outlines of Brooks's life and writings. Mr. Nelson is sometimes a more graceful writer about Brooks's life; Mr. Hoopes sometimes develops his criticism of books more searchingly. But in each case the estimate of Brooks is a high one.

Van Wyck Brooks grew up in Plainfield, N.J., second son of a well to-do Episcopalian and Republican family. His father, a businessman, was a lover of Europe and of rituals like grooming, smoking and dining. In a journal Van Wyck wonders whether his father had ever entered the kitchen: ''I cannot conceive of anything that could have taken him there. Dinner was just something that appeared on dishes.'' Brooks's mother was beautiful, a go-getter, organizer of that bastion of feminine culture, the Monday Afternoon Club. The son, taken for long trips to Europe, was fascinated by Ruskin and had already become, in Mr. Nelson's judgment, a superbly educated man before he entered Harvard in 1904. There he studied literature and philosophy and clubbed around with John Hall Wheelock, Maxwell Perkins and other undergraduates who would become distinguished. Brooks was to decide that he learned more from Irving Babbitt than from any other teacher at Harvard (although he found Babbitt's narrowness and severities disturbing), but his most influential teacher was one he met outside of the classroom - John Butler Yeats. Having settled in New York after graduation and a year in England, Brooks found Yeats to be the essential romantic artist, committed to the truth of personality and of passionate, dedicated speech as the full engagement of the soul (the word Brooks used to title one of his first books).

For ''not to be writing a book was not to be alive at all,'' Brooks said in his autobiography. Beginning with ''The Wine of the Puritans'' in 1908, he lived through his pen; and except for a brief foray into teaching at Stanford in 1941 (he moved to California in order to marry Eleanor Stimson) and in England later, he stayed at his desk, usually beginning to write at 5:30 A.M. Mr. Nelson is skillful in taking us through the ins and outs of Brooks's political and editorial relations with journals like The Seven Arts and The Freeman, and in blocking out the arguments of the three major books he wrote before his breakdown in 1925: ''America's Coming-of-Age'' (1915), ''The Ordeal of Mark Twain'' (1920) and ''The Pilgrimage of Henry James'' (1925). Intensely personal arguings, which project upon their subjects the conflicts Brooks felt in his own life, they are excellent provocations to critical understanding; though for my money Mr. Nelson is not provoked enough by the book on James, failing to suggest, even as he refers to it, the force of Edmund Wilson's wholly cogent attack on Brooks as a romantic and a preacher who could not cope with the disinterested artist. There is also much stylistic overkill in the James book (''Ah, that Europe of the complex order and the colored air! There had been the first night in London ... the thick, heavy smell of the atmosphere that had given him such a sense of possession. There had been the soft summer evening when they had arrived in Paris. ...'') which seems to bother the biographer a good deal less than it does me.

Brooks became seriously ill while writing the book on James, and his own phrase ''Horrors of the Middle Passage'' suggests the increasing dreadfulness of his collapse in the years 1925-31, as each treatment tried seemed only to make things worse. ''What he had in fact done was to identify literature and life so closely, and make both so strongly moral, that he became, according to his neurotic solipsisms, nothing more than a character in the fictions of writers he had criticized'': Mr. Nelson alludes here to Brooks's reports of nightmares in which he was visited by the ghosts of James and Poe. His attempts to finish a book on Emerson produced the most morbid self-doubts and loathings. ''Not to be writing a book was not to be alive at all'' takes on a sinister meaning in these years when, in words from his autobiography, ''I was possessed now with a fantasy of suicide that filled my mind as the full moon fills the sky. ... and I saw every knife as something with which to cut one's throat and every high building as something to jump from. ... and every bottle meant for me something to be swallowed in splinters or to slash one's wrist with, while even the winter snow fell in order to give one pneumonia if one spent a night lying on the ground.'' Suicidal fantasies, attempts to starve himself or to throw himself in front of moving vehicles, a stay at Bloomingdale's Hospital on Long Island; eventually, under the care of a doctor in a Katonah, N.Y., sanitarium, he ''somehow'' (it is the biographer's word) pulled through, went home to Westport, resumed his massive correspondence and began to write the major work of his career.

The remaining 32 years of Brooks's life are thankfully not as ''interesting'' as that middle passage. All he set himself to do now was read every book written by an American between 1800 and 1915 (''The Flowering of New England'' alone was the result of reading 825 of them) and write a five-volume history (or epic, or novel, or romance) of the writer in America, creating - as he once wrote in a notebook - ''an American memory.'' Writing was still a matter of life and death (''every morning, at my desk, I feel that I am on trial for my life''), but he managed grandly to survive into old age, remarrying after his first wife's death, growing in public literary eminence as he came to matter less and less to younger critics of literature.

Near the conclusion of his book, Mr. Nelson devotes a chapter to ''Makers and Finders,'' which he finds principally important as a work of visionary art. Another way to put it -and speaking as one who has not yet completed the whole five volumes - I should judge that Van Wyck Brooks can now matter to us once again, but as a writer, as ''literature,'' rather than as a critic to whom one refers for help on particular books, or by whose judgments one is moved to argument. ''Makers and Finders'' is not uncritical, but it is primarily celebratory, seeking to carry us along through its evocations of people and places and books into a communal sense of the unity of literature and life. That is just the sort of thing that T.S. Eliot - an enemy of Brooks's -thought was corrupting. But we are more likely to be exhilarated than corrupted by Brooks - all we have to do is take the time to read him.

Mr. Nelson tells us that during Brooks's last illness John Hall Wheelock, aged and frail himself, came to visit and asked Brooks to let him know when he became tired and wanted him to leave. ''Oh Jack, I never want you to leave,'' was the reply. This biography helps bring him back to us by its committed belief that he is still a necessary writer to have around.

January 12, 1894 New York Times

AMES – At Plainfield, N. J., on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Charles I. Ames in the 66th year of his age.

Funeral services will be held at his late residence, 131 Crescent Av., on Friday, the 12th inst., at 2:45 P. M. Carriages will meet their leaving foot of Liberty St. at 1:30 P.M.

Van Wyck Brooks Historic District

History and Significance
The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District is a cohesive neighborhood of early suburban architecture significant in the historical development of Plainfield as wealthy commuter railroad suburb during the late 19th century. The structures within the district represent fine individual examples of residential building from the 1875 - 1925 period. A number of the residences were designed by New York architects and some, like A.L.C. Marsh, who specialized in "country homes," lived in Plainfield. At least seven houses in the district were featured in the Scientific American between 1893 and 1905. Other homes were singled out in the area were singled out in various publications promoting Plainfield.

A wide range of of late 19th and early 20th century styles is represented in the district, including Italianate, Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Stick Style, Queen Anne, Shingle Style, Colonial Revival and Tutor Revival. These are large upper-middle class dwellings, conspicuous symbols of wealth, which are notable for their quality of construction and for their ornamental detailing. The highest overall design quality is exhibited in the Queen Anne and Shingle Style/Colonial Revival houses in the district.

The district is named after the Pulitzer Prize winning author Van Wyck Brooks who spent his formative years at 564 West Eight Street, a home built by his grandfather Ames. In Scenes and Portraits Memories of Childhood and Youth, published in 1954, Brooks refers to Plainfield as the Wall Street Suburb and observed there were over one hundred millionaires living in Plainfield.

In 1982 the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District was designated by the City of Plainfield as a certified local Historic District subject to the city's History Review Ordinance. This designation was part of a continuous trend in recognizing the quality of Plainfield's special housing stock.

Architecturally, the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District represents a cross section of the residential building history of Plainfield. The oldest structure in the district, the Stelle Farmhouse, is a survivor of Plainfield's earliest days as a rural farming village. The majority of buildings date from the 1875 to 1925 period and are representative of Plainfield's heyday as a wealthy commuter railroad suburb. Substantial single family residences designed in the Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Shingle Style and Colonial Revival predominate.

There are five key structures in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District:

The Orville T. Waring House
The Craig Marsh House
The W.B. Wadsworth House
The Van Wyck Brooks House
The Manning Stelle Farmhous

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture by T. J. Jackson Lears - 1994

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Sallie Ames Brooks

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Plainfield Garden Club Members:

Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Day, Mrs. Thomas Mills (Anne Perkins Smith) '16
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49
Tracy, Mrs. Evarts '22
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Plainfield Garden Club Members:

Fisk, Mrs. Chapman (Mary L.) '15
Fisk, Mrs. Harvey (Elizabeth Richmond) '17

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Plainfield Garden Club Member:

Mead, Mrs. Frederick Goodhue (Marie Louise Myers) '15

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

http://books.google.com/books?
id=QQQkISYgz5kC&pg=PA230&source=gbs
_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

It was Ames rather than Van Wyck who imitated their father and pleased their mother by trying to make money, but this decision did not come easily; in youth Ames was perhaps as deeply interested in art as Van Wyck.

1905 Ames graduates from Princeton. Though the family could not have known Charles had only a year to live, it must have seemed imperative to them to have another breadwinner. So Ames went to law school at Harvard for a year, and then, after Charles Brook's death, stayed in Plainfield and finished his legal education at New York University.

If Ames chose a wordly career out of solicitude for his mother, it was probably necessary. Sallie, who remained an attractive woman, married again, this time to an engineer as successful as Van Wyck's father had been the opposite. She settled once again into an upper-class life style in Plainfield, and Ames moved in with her and his stepfather.

Ames wished to marry, but his several engagements were all broken. Van Wyck later thought Ames's failures in love might be attributed to Sallie, who perhaps did not want him to marry.

Travelling restlessly and perhaps engaging in homosexual love affairs, Ames disappeared from Plainfield for months at a time. One of his chief pleasures was visiting friends with ranches in the West, living in the open air and working with cattle. A Republican in the old tradition, he was, for a time, executive secretary of the Kowaliga School for Negroes in Alabama. When American entered the First World War, Ames, age thirty-four, tried to enlist but failed the physical examination. He served instead as ambulance drive in France.

Ames had been unable to resist the lure of Wall Street, and his stock holdings were lost in the depression. Just a few days before Christmas of 1931, when he was waiting at the Plainfield station for the commuter train to New York, instead of boarding the train, Ames jumped in front of it and ended forty-eight years of frustration.

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture By James Hoopes

Harvard

Charles Eliot Norton read the Paradiso aloud and on one occasion, Norton remarked that the bejewelled image of heave in Revelation was worthy of a "New York woman." Van Wyck no doubt shared a superior feeling implied in the remark, but he must have also been disconcerted. For what were his mother Sallie and his Grandmother Ames but New York women?

New England had attracted Van Wyck almost as strongly as Europe while he was in high school and only partly because Eleanor Stimpson was at Wellesley. To him the Perkins family, with its strong New England roots, had seemed an oasis of culture in Plainvield, and the impression was only reinforced by the Plainfield view of New Englanders as dry and bookish.

Plainfield Garden Club Members:

Cox, Mrs. Archibald (Frances Perkins) '25
Day, Mrs. Thomas Mills (Anne Perkins Smith) '16
Perkins, Mrs. Seymour, Jr. (Esther Moody Barlow) '49

As Van Wyck turned away from his mother and her New York roots, he turned toward the New England heritage both of his grandfathers had abandoned.

Max Perkins, a [Harvard] sophomore (from Plainfield), was also in this circle of library of friends.

Of Van Wyck's friends, Max Perkins probably had fewest of the qualities of the esthete. Van Wyck and Max roomed together at the Stylus CLub during their last year at Harvard, by which time Van Wyck also had come to doubt the virtue of the esthetic stance. The roommates vehemently discussed religion, politics, and literature, and they quarreled occasionally and stopped speaking. But usually they were on good terms, and Max, who admired the Spartans, would rise at six and drag Van Wyck from bed to read aloud Herbert Spencer or some other difficult writer. During the day, if they felt like it, they attended classes and then returned to the Stylus for tea with their friends.

Only one-third of Harvard students had, like Van Wyck, attended public high schools, and such a background was usually an insurmountable social handicap. But Max had met the "right" people at St. Paul's, and thanks to him Van Wyck med the "right" people at Harvard and made the Fox Club.

Engaged to Eleanor Stimpson 1906. Eleanor at Wellesley. They kept their engagement a secret from their mothers. Mrs. Stimson disapproved of Van Wyck because he hoped to be an artist, and she feared that Eleanor would be as unhappy with him as she had been in her marriage to John Ward Stimson.

Eleanor wrote that she loved his mother but was "dreadfully afraid of her and quite sure she doesn't approve of me." Eleanor with her feminist beliefs and her hopes for a career of her own, would not have been a good wife for the businessman or banker that Sallie may still have hoped Van Wyck would become. Eleanor must have known, however, that his mother's disapproval would only make her more attractive to Van Wyck. She probably meant to contrast herself favorably with Sallie Brooks when she told him not to become preoccupied with earning a living because of their engagement. "I cannot have you slighted, dear, or hurried or forced into a position that might ruin your whole life."

By December of his freshman year he had decided that Boston was "narrow, conceited and provincial," and only by virtue of education less despicable than Plainfield.

Between Norton's Harvard and Eliot's there was no more community of culture and wordly life than there had been in Plainfield, where Van Wyck's mother had trained him in a genteel culture irrelevant to the business world she had hoped he would enter.

Charles Edward Brooks, Salie Ames Brooks and Van Wyck Brooks

Van Wyck Brooks

Van Wyck at the Plainfield Mardi gras in 1899. The costume was probably acquired during the family's tour of Europe in 1898

1936 - 1937 Meeting Minutes

1918 Meeting Minutes

1919 Meeting Minutes

1920 Meeting Minutes

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Area Historic District

Post Office: Plainfiled
Zip: 07060

WHAT'S NEAR
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 Plainfield...is 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.

Summary
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.

References
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

131 Crescent Avenue
c. 1880
Three car garage and gardener's cottage
In 1895, the home of E. B. Clark, "Insurance, N. Y."

One of the few surviving porte cocheres in the District. Abounds with Eastlake ornamentation in the gables and on the incised window heads and in the porch treatment with champered columns.

Seven apartments.

A most interesting house and of of the few and completely Eastlake influenced designs in the District, only slightly altered and posessing much style and interesting decorations.

Nov. 12, 1980

Monday Afternoon Club

Eliza Elvira Kenyon, grandmother of Van Wyck Brooks, founded the Monday Afternoon Club in 1888 after seeing a need in Plainfield for a permanent organization for women with an interest in literary study. The first meeting of 50 members was held in the library of the Plainfield Seminary for Young Ladies (founded by Kenyon in 1866). The Club incorporated in 1889. For several years, the regular meeting place was the Seminary's assembly room. In the beginning, programs were limited to Literature, History, Music and Art. Topics were broadened to include Current Events, Sanitary Plumbing, Evolution, Socialism and Women's Suffrage. Dues were five dollars per year and each member was required to write a paper when requested to do so.

Holdings: The collection includes annual club programs, specific event programs, constitution and by-laws, financial ledgers and records, membership lists, Club magazines, photographs, ephemera, scrapbooks, and decades of newspaper clippings. See Finding Aid for more information.

Joel Kenyon and Lovina Maxson

ID: I9015
Name: Joel KENYON
Given Name: Joel
Surname: Kenyon 1 2
Sex: M
Change Date: 26 APR 2013
Religion: Seventh-day Baptist
Birth: 29 JUL 1801 in Westerly, Washington Co., Rhode Island
Residence: ABT 1804 Plainfield, Otsego Co., New York
Baptism: 1817 Leonardsville, Madison Co., New York
Note: First Brookfield SDB Church 3
Residence: ABT 1825 Friendship, Allegany Co., New York
Event: Member 1826 Nile, Allegany Co., New York
Note: Friendship SDB Church 4
Death: 20 JAN 1878 in Town of Wirt, Allegany Co., New York
Burial: 1878 Wirt, Allegany Co., New York
Note: Utopia Cemetery 5 6
Event: Obituary 07 FEB 1878
Note:
"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 34, No 6, p 3, Feb. 7, 1878.
In the town of Wirt, Allegany Co., N. Y., on the morning of Jan. 20th, 1878, Mr. Joel Kenyon in the 77th year of his age. Mr. Kenyon was born in Westerly, R. I. When a small boy, his parents removed to Plainfield, Otsego Co., N. Y., where he grew up to manhood. In early life, he professed faith in the religion of Jesus Christ, and united with the First Seventh-day Baptist Church in Brookfield, Madison county, now Leonardsville.
After becoming a married man he emigrated with a young family to the Holland Purchase, in the south part of the town of Friendship, now Wirt, he being one of the first settlers in that part of the town. He manfully endured the hardships, and by prudence and industry, succeeded in securing a comfortable home and raising a family of nine children, who have grown to years of maturity, and all are living but one. He spared neither pains nor expense in giving his children an education, to qualify them for the duties of life. Two of his daughters are now the proprietors and teachers of the Female College in the city of Plainfield, N. J.
Mr. Kenyon was a successful farmer, a good and useful citizen, and a faithful and devoted Christian. He was the oldest member of the Seventh-day Baptist Church of Friendship, in the village of Nile. He was a good counselor and a faithful burden-bearer. W. B. G.


ID: I9014
Name: Lovina MAXSON
Given Name: Lovina
Surname: Maxson 1
Name: Lavina
Given Name: Lavina
Sex: F
Change Date: 28 MAY 2010
Religion: Seventh-day Baptist
Birth: 25 SEP 1803 in Brookfield, Madison Co., New York
Baptism: 1821 Leonardsville, Madison Co., New York
Note: First Brookfield SDB Church 2
Event: Member 1826 Nile, Allegany Co., New York
Note: Friendship SDB Church 3
Death: 06 APR 1877 in Town of Wirt, Allegany Co., New York
Burial: 1877 Wirt, Allegany Co., New York
Note: Utopia Cemetery 4
Event: Obituary 19 APR 1877
Note:
"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 33, No 16, p 3, Apr. 19, 1877.
In the town of Wirt, Allegany county, N. Y., April 6th, 1877, after an illness of a number of weeks, which she bore with Christian patience and resignation, Mrs. Lavina Kenyon, wife of Joel Kenyon, Esq., in her 74th year. She was a daughter of George Maxson; born in Brookfield, Madison county. At the time of her marriage, her father was living in Lebanon.
In 1824, she and her husband emigrated to Friendship, when the country was new. In 1827, she was baptized by Eld. John Green, and united with the Friendship church. She has left eight living children, and an aged, infirm husband to mourn the loss of a respected and beloved mother and wife. Ever since settling in Allegany, they have lived in the same neighborhood, and for more than forty years, on the same farm. They lived together as husband and wife, fifty-three years. She was borne to the grave by two sons, three sons-in-law, and one grandson. Though she is dead, yet shall she live again. W. B. G.

Eliza Elvira Kenyon

Miss Eliza Elvira Kenyon

New Netherland Institute: Exploring America's Dutch Heritage

Van Wyck Brooks [1886-1963]
Arts and Letters
Van Wyck Brooks became well known through his work as a literary critic, although he generally is not considered an author of literary works himself. Brooks is also well known through his work as a historian of American literature during the 19th century, and he produced a series of studies, which were known and published as the "Makers and Finders" series. One of his books in this series, "The Flowering of New England", won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1937. Brooks was also known as a biographer, focusing mainly on autobiographical works. Because of his work as a literary critic of 19th century literature, Van Wyck Brooks was considered to be the chronicler of America's Literary Heritage.
Van Wyck Brooks got his Dutch name, Van Wyck, through his mothers' side. His mother's maiden name was Sarah Ames, but following her marriage to Charles Brooks, Sarah was known as Sally Brooks. Sally's Dutch roots went back some seven generations to her forefather, Cornelis Barente Van Wyck, who settled in New Amsterdam in 1659. His descendants became part of a prosperous Long Island farming family, and Sally was one of the members of that group.
Van Wyck Brooks was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, on February 16, 1886. His parents, Sally and Charles Brooks were well off, and as a result Van Wyck was able to get a good primary education. Van Wyck eventually ended up in Harvard University, from where he graduated in 1908.
There is little doubt that Van Wyck Brooks's major contribution consisted of his literary history of the 19th century. He brought to the fore, the importance of the literary contributions by such major 19th century authors as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Stephen Crane, Bret Harte, Theodore Dreiser, and Samuel Clements, better known as Mark Twain. It is generally accepted that the reason we are still reading about these 19th century authors today, is because of the work Brooks has done, on publicizing their contributions to American literature, during that time period.
As was mentioned above, Brooks is best known for his "Finders and Makers" series. The five books that make up the series consist of the Pulitzer Prize winner, "The Flowering of New England–1815-1865", published in 1936, "New England: Indian Summer–1865-1915", published in 1940, "The World of Washington Irving", published in 1944, "The Times of Melville and Whitman", published in 1947, and "The Confident Years–1885-1915", published in 1952.
Other Van Wyck Brooks studies in the literary critic genre consist of, "The world of H. G. Wells", published in 1915, "The Ordeal of Mark Twain", published in 1920, "The Pilgrimage of Henry James", published in 1925, "The Life of Emerson", published in 1932, "Opinions of Oliver Allston", published in 1941,"On Literature Today", published in 1941, "The Writer in America", published in 1953, and "The Dream of Arcadia: American Writers and Artists in Italy, 1760-1915", published in 1958.
Brooks also liked working on biographies, including several autobiographical studies. The biographies include, "John Addington Symonds: A Biographical Study", published in 1914, "John Sloan: A Painter's Life", published in 1955, "Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait", published in 1956, and "Howells: His Life and World", published in 1959.
Brooks autobiographical works include, "Days of the Phoenix: The Nineteen Twenties I Remember", published in 1957, "From A Writer's Notebook", published in 1958, "From the Shadow of the Mountain: My Post Meridian Years", published in 1961, and "An Autobiography", published in 1965. The above listing of Brooks' works is fairly comprehensive but not totally complete.
Van Wyck Brooks was a long time resident of Bridgewater, Connecticut. Following his death, the town decided to build an addition to a library building and name it after Brooks. Funding delayed the completion of the building addition, but finally in 1980 the library wing officially opened.
Van Wyck Brooks passed away in Bridgewater, Connecticut, on May 2, 1963.
REFERENCES
Van Wyck Brooks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Wyck_Brooks
Van Wyck Brooks, http://www.nndb.com/people/965/000117614/
Van Wyck Brooks, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Brooks-V.html
Van Wyck Brooks, http://literaryculture.suite101.com/article.cfm/van_wyck_brooks_literarian

Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture

May 18, 2008 Greg Palermo's Tree Blog

Horse chestnuts

Don't eat them. They're poisonous. Horses should abstain as well. But horse chestnuts do have their uses. The British government paid schoolchildren to collect them during World War I. Horse chestnuts even had a role to play in the creation of the state of Israel. See below.

Horse chestnuts, Aesculus hippocastanum, make a spectacular display of huge, white flowers at this time of year. The large horse chestnut pictured in flower above is on the front lawn at 1127 Watchung Avenue.

The attractive leaves are palmately compound, their leaflets arranged like a seven-fingered hand.

Beautiful as these trees are, they have an Achilles' heel: drought and fungal leaf blotch reliably disfigure the foliage by midsummer. I daily pass by a row of horse chestnuts used as street trees at the corner of Hillside and Evergreen Avenues. In July I look for early signs of damage. By August I avert my eyes; the sight is painful.

The hybrid red horse chestnut, Aesculus x carnea, is less troubled by leaf problems. Red horse chestnuts are uncommon in Plainfield. Two were planted in front of City Hall two or three years ago. There is a wonderful red horse chestnut that can be glimpsed from the street in the rear garden at 429 Stelle Avenue. This beautiful tree was recognized by the City of Plainfield as a specimen tree of special note at the Arbor Day observance in 2006. Its age is estimated at 120 years.

Uses of horse chestnuts:

Nutritional: Although horses shouldn't eat horse chestnuts, the nuts do provide nourishment to public enemies number 1 and number 2: deer and squirrels.

Medicinal: Horse chestnut extracts are used as herbal medicines.

Recreational: Horse chestnuts are the "conkers" used in the game of conkers played in the British Isles.

Military?: Indeed. Back to the creation of Israel: Chaim Weizmann, Zionist and first president of Israel, began his career as a chemist. Professor Weizmann of Manchester University refined a method of producing acetone by bacterial fermentation of starches in various foodstuffs just before World War I. Acetone was crucial to production of cordite, smokeless gunpowder. The Weizmann process was used to make acetone for the war effort. When war made corn and other starches scarce in Britain, Weizmann adapted his fermentation process to use horse chestnuts in place of corn. Schoolchildren were enlisted in the war effort to gather horse chestnuts to produce munitions. Minister of Munitions David Lloyd George, who had worked with Weizmann, became prime minister. Lloyd George's gratitude for Professor Weizmann's war contributions was such that it led to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which stated Britain's support for "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.(1)

(1) For more detail on the role horse chestnuts played in the creation of Israel, see
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A6958812
and
http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1530046&displaytype=printable&lastnode_id=0

Plainfield Historical Society Memorabilia From the Archives of Barbara Tracy Sandford

This is a sampling of materials saved by Barbara Sandford in her "Plainfield Historical Society" file.

Plainfield Historical Society Memorabilia

Index (73 pages)

*Notation on a memory of Job Male by Van Wyck Brooks

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Detwiller bluepritns 131 Crescent Avenue; 144 East Seventh

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.

EDITOR'S NOTE:
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