Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Harlow, Mrs. Edward Dexter (Elise Cochran Martin) '15

1915 Charter Member List:

Miss Elsie Martin (Mrs. Edward Harlow)

1919 Plainfield Garden Club Directory: Not listed by either name.

June 19, 1918 New York Times wedding announcement

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sprague Martin of Plainfield have announced the engagement of their daughter, Miss Elsie Cochran Martin, to Edward Dexter Harlow, son of Mrs. Edward Harlow of Boston. The wedding will take place in September.

November 10, 1895 New York Times society article

PLAINFIELD TO HAVE A KIRMESS.; To Aid Muhlenberg Hospital – Many Society Chronicles.

PLAINFIELD, N.J., Nov. 9. – The event most talked of now in society circles is the Kirmess to be held in the Columbia Cycle Academy from the 11th to the 16th inst.

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

Frank Sprague worked for Edison

See this link:!/Frank_J._Sprague

Frank J. Sprague, Father of Electric Traction

Resource: Williams College

Frank J. Sprague
Frank Julian Sprague (18571934) was educated at Drury High School in North Adams, Massachusetts, and at the United States Naval Academy. In his free time he applied his mechanical and mathematical talents to problems of electrical engineering. In 1883 he resigned his naval commission to join the Edison Laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, but left Edison in 1884 to found the Sprague Electric Railway and Motor Company, one of several firms he would establish to develop and market inventions. An important early achievement was a motor which maintained constant speed under varying load. In 18878 his firm installed an electric streetcar railway in Richmond, Virginia, a success which led to further contracts in the United States and abroad. Together with Charles R. Pratt, Sprague produced an electric elevator with improved capacity, speed, and safety, which in turn made taller buildings commercially feasible. Later Sprague devised a control system for railways in which each car of a train carried an electric traction motor and all of the motors could be controlled by a motorman through relays. These and other engineering milestones underlie today's urban high-rise environment and rapid transit systems.

On July 25, 1932, to mark his 75th birthday, friends and colleagues of Frank J. Sprague gathered in New York and paid tribute to the "Father of Electric Traction". At that meeting he was presented with six volumes containing congratulatory letters and accompanying photographic portraits. Among the more than 400 writers were Charles Francis Adams, Secretary of the Navy; author and artist Oliver Herford; President of the United States Herbert Hoover; radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi; book collector A. Edward Newton; General John J. Pershing, U.S. Army; Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Governor of the State of New York; Carl F. von Siemens of the German Government Railways; Gerard Swope, President of the General Electric Company; author Booth Tarkington; inventor Nikola Tesla; and J.H. Van Alstyne, President of the Otis Elevator Company. A list of contributors to the letters may be read on this page of our web site. A facsimile [PDF] of the printed book that accompanied the 1932 gathering is available on the web site of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Two books about Frank J. Sprague are available in Schow Science Library at Williams College: Frank J. Sprague and the Edison Myth (1947) by Harriet C. Sprague, and Engineering Invention: Frank J. Sprague and the U.S. Electrical Industry (2010) by Frederick Dalzell. Another important source is Frank Julian Sprague: Electrical Inventor and Engineer by William D. Middleton and William D. Middleton III (2009).

Thanks to Mr. John L. Sprague of Williamstown, Massachusetts, a grandson of Frank J. Sprague, the 1932 albums of letters and portraits are now held in the Chapin Library, together with three guest books from the home of Frank J. Sprague and his wife, Harriet, containing autographs, inscriptions, and sketches by their many distinguished visitors. Members of the Sprague Family have been donors to the Chapin Library since the mid-20th century: through their generosity, we have acquired collections of books and manuscripts by important American authors, including George Ade, Gelett Burgess, Oliver Herford, Edwin Markham, Carolyn Wells, and Walt Whitman.


The Sprague albums are available for use in the Chapin Library/College Archives reading room in our temporary quarters at the Southworth Schoolhouse.

Useful Links

Papers of Frank Julian Sprague assembled by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
Frank J. Sprague materials at the Shore Line Trolley Museum
Frank J. Sprague Papers, New York Public Library

August 20, 2012 Neltje Doubleday

Email from Mary Kent to Susan Fraser:

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

Best, Mary

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

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

Dear Mary,

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

Hope you are enjoying these last wonderful summer days,

Susan Fraser's Response to Mary Kent:

Hi Mary,

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

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

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

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

You can read about Maxwell here at this direct link:

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

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

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

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

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

1919 Harvard Alumni Directory

Harlow, Edward Dexter 31 State Street, Boston, MA
c. 95 - 99, A. B.; 99 -00 F.

September 29, 1945 The New York Sun

John Achelis Weds Miss Mary C. Harlow

Trinity Church in Concord, Mass., is the setting for the wedding today of Miss Mary Cheever Harlow, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Dexter Harlow of Concord, to John Achelis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnfritz Achelis of this city and Rumson, N.J.

The bride is being given in marriage by her father and is attended by her sister, Mrs. George E. Vialle, and the Misses Louise Achelis, sister of the bridegroom; Elizabth Cotton, Caroline S. Hallock, Julie Anne Foote and Patience Hosmer

July 18, 2-13

July 18, 2013

The daughter of our former President, Mrs. Arthur G. (Christine Warner) Nelson, President of the PGC from 1936 - 1937 and then again 1940 - 1942, passed away June 13, 2013. It is her obituary that finally supplied Mrs. Nelson's first and maiden names.

Jean Nelson Cochran, an active garden club member herself, was in no doubt related to the Cochran family which boasts several members of the PGC:

Cochran, Mrs. Homer P. (Elisabeth Nash) '52
Harlow, Mrs. Edward Dexter (Elsie Cochran Martin) '15
Stewart, Mrs. Percy Hamilton (Elinor DeWitt Cochran) '15

950 Hillside Avenue

February 28, 2008 Greg Palermo's Blog

'San Jose' holly is the most commonly available among the crosses between English and Perny hollies (Ilex x aquipernyi). The leaves are dark blue-green, glossy, thick, and stiff. It's hard to imagine a deer wanting to eat any of them. 'San Jose' hollies are resistant to winter as well as to deer. I have never seen winter injury on a 'San Jose' holly in the Plainfield area. The berries are large and pure red. 'San Jose' hollies grow slowly. Their branches tend to get droopy if the plants are shaded. There is a 'San Jose' holly (or other closely related Ilex x aquipernyi hybrid) at 950 Hillside Avenue.

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Hillside Historic District

August 29, 2015

Hillside Historic District has announced a new website:

They have neatly listed the homes in the district in a similar fashion to our Homes & Gardens page.

It is no exaggeration to say that the PGC helped build Hillside. In fact our first club meeting took place at Mrs. Connor's home at 999 Hillside. Take a look at our PGC Hillside Historic District resident members:

807 Hillside Avenue
Browne, Miss Elizabeth B. '37

810 Hillside Avenue
Barnhart, Mrs. Noah Chisholm (Susan Stevens) '15

816 Hillside Avenue
Zerega, Miss Bertha Virginia '23

817 Hillside Avenue
Lawton, Mrs. Richard M. (Edith Clarke) '21

832 Hillside Avenue
Yates, Mrs. Frederick Washburn (Bertha Kedzie Cornwell) '15

921 Hillside Avenue
Detwiller, Miss Laura Cecelia '29
Detwiller, Mrs. Charles H. (Catherine or "Cath" Campbell), Jr. '57

922 Hillside Avenue
Atterbury, Mrs. Albert Hoffman (Emma H. Baker) '15

930 Hillside Avenue
Corey, Mrs. Ella J. '15

937 Hillside Avenue
Hunn, Mrs. John T. Sharpless (Hope Ivins) '37
Ivins, Mrs. DeWitt Clinton (Louise Morton Fox) '15
Ivins, Mrs. Clinton Fox (Marguerite Carpenter) '33

945 Hillside Avenue
Stevens, Mrs. Horace N. (Helen Coburn) '15

950 Hillside Avenue
Harlow, Mrs. Edward Dexter (Elise Cochran Martin) '15
Martin, Mrs. Francis A. (Mary Keech Turner) '22

955 Hillside Avenue
Wallace, Mrs. Frederick W. (Grace Seccomb) '15
deForest, Mrs. Henry Lockwood (Amy Brighthurst Brown) '33

966 Hillside Avenue
Warren, Mrs. Frank D. '15

970 Hillside Avenue
Barnhart, Mrs. Noah Chisholm (Susan Stevens) '15
Kroll, Mrs. Alexander (Nancy Dwinnell or Mrs. Prince H. Gordon) '60

975 Hillside Avenue
Runkle, Mrs. Harry Godley (Jennie Fitz Randolph) '15
Albin, Mrs. Leland D. (Jennie Hoag) '36
King, Mrs. Victor E. D. (Yasmina S.) '78
Whitehead, Mrs. James Harold (Jean Fitz-Randolph Heiberg) '43

980 Hillside Avenue
Hall, Mrs. Frederic L. (Anne Garrigues Wigton) '68
Stuart, Mrs. Linden (Jeanette W.), Jr. '52
Wigton, Mrs. Charles Benson (Garrigues) '45

982 Hillside Avenue
Baker, Mrs. Clifford Myron (Margaret Drayton) '32
Valiant, Mrs. John (Katharine Drayton) '40

985 Hillside Avenue
Stevens, Mrs. John Peters ("J.P.") '15
Stevens, Mrs. Horace Nathaniel (Helen Coburn) '15
Stevens, Mrs. John Peters ("J.P."), Jr. (Edith S.) '37
Stevens, Mrs. Robert Ten Broeck (Dorothy Goodwin Whitney) '37

996 Hillside Avenue
Wallace, Mrs. Frederick W. (Grace Seccomb) '15
Murray Townsend
Mooney, Mrs. Wandell McMaster (Alice Joy McGee) '47

999 Hillside Avenue
Conner, Mrs. William A. (Florence Tupper) '15
Wigton, Mrs. William Garrigues (Ann Hayes) '55

1000 Hillside Avenue
Lawrence, Mrs. Chester B. (Florence B.), Jr. '22

1005 Hillside Avenue
McWilliams, Mrs. Howard (Anna Louise Waldbridge/Mrs. Paul Taylor Brown) '22

1007 Hillside Avenue
Lockwood, Mrs. Frederick M. (Hazel Marshall) '52
Marshall, Mrs. Henry P. (Dorothy Burke) '30

1009 Hillside Avenue
Tracy, Mrs. Evarts '22
Tracy, Mrs. Howard Crosby (Minerva Bingham Lamson) '15
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

1019 Hillside Avenue
Baker, Mrs. Clifford Myron (Margaret Drayton) '28

1030 Hillside Avenue
Stillman, Mrs. William Maxson (Ethel Lucile Titsworth) '42

1035 Hillside Avenue
Streuli, Mrs. Alfred F. H. (Frederica Michelle Dwyer Hooper) '15

1045 Hillside Avenue
Timpson, Mrs. Lewis Gouverneur (Helen Frances Waring) '15
Waring, Mrs. Orville G. (Dorothy Fleming) '35

1046 Hillside Avenue
Genung, Mrs. Alfred Gawthrop (Dorothy or "Dot" Madsen) '69
Madsen, Mrs. John (Evelyn or "Evie" Wilson) '70

1300 Prospect Avenue
Streuli, Mrs. Alfred F. H. (Frederica Michelle Dwyer Hooper) '15
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

1234 Watchung Avenue
Stevenson, Mrs. E. Vickers '41

1239 Watchung Avenue
Brown, Miss Edna M. '34