Valentine’s Day Letter 1898

Valentine's Day card Below is a transcription of the letter in the photographs published here from artist Elmer MacRae to Constant Holley, dated February 14, 1898. MacRae was an artist, and boarder at the Holley House, which Constant helped run with her parents. Elmer and Constant fell in love, married in 1900, had twin girls in 1904, and ran the boarding house together.

Our curator Karen Frederick described the letters as such in a recent article in The New York Times: “Their letters are so lovey-dovey I can only stand reading them for a little while.”  🙂

Valentine's Day letter 1898 page 1

February 14, 1898 letter page 2Holley-MacRae Family Papers Box 6/96

Monday before dinner

[New York, February 14, 1898]

My darling Constant—

Monday and Tuesday have come and gone!—Saturday will soon come, my precious, then will we see each other again, and have each other for some time; until Saturday darling we must try to be patient and make the best of our time, so that by doing this each week, it will shorten the time when we can see each other and have each other for good and all time!

Sweet girl, you pass the time doing good to everybody when the opportunity offers, by making something pretty or whatever you might choose to improve your timing (Ed. ?), anything shall; keep occupied darling, and in this way the days, between our being together, won’t seem so long. There is hardly much use of me telling you this, sweetheart, I know you are always busy, always useful, always putting your time to some good account, but in this way I find the time isn’t quite so hard to bear.

In doing this both together, we are building the foundation stones of our union upon something solid. By that time we will be able, if necessity calls, to stand separation or any trial that might possibly come to us.

It will make us better men and better women.

Our beautiful and all powerful love, my darling, will carry us through everything and crown us with success and happiness to the end.

You sweet, loving girl, I worship and adore you—you’re my own true love!

Elmer sends his love to enrich her and stay by her all the time during his absence, and loves her constant companion wherever she goes or where she is.

Let me kiss you darling and put my arms around you—

[6 circles of kisses]

Greenwich Historical Society. Holley/MacRae Family Papers, Box 25, Folder 245. Elmer and Constant MacRae, Anniversary 1950
Elmer and Constant MacRae, fiftieth wedding anniversary, 1950

Construction Progress

We’re doubling parking capacity as part of our exciting campus transformation. Amazing progress so far! We’ll update this page as time goes on to share photos of the many changes happening at the Greenwich Historical Society.

Construction progress parking lot Nov-Dec 2016The below photos show the impressive progress digging, excavating, drilling, blasting, and otherwise readying the site for the parking lot expansion and new building. Lots of rock to remove!

Looking north November 10, 2016
Looking north November 10, 2016
Looking north February 28, 2017
Looking north February 28, 2017

 

 

 

Treasures Found During Excavation

Items found during excavationThe Greenwich Historical Society has begun its campus transformation ! First steps include removing rock, excavating, and preparing our parking area under the Mianus River Bridge of I-95 to double parking capacity and create a single, accessibe entrance.

Tea kettle found during excavationOur parking lot excavation has turned up quite a few interesting items, from a tea kettle to a (full and unopened!) laxative bottle with dosage directions etched in the glass. Here are some photos of what we’ve found so far. They all have been buried for  approximately 100 years.

Items found during excavationconstruction vehicles

 

 

Bush-Holley House by Candlelight 2016

Some photos from our wonderful annual event, held December 11. Kids got quality time with Santa and made holiday crafts, guests took tours of Bush-Holley House decorated for the holidays, and all enjoyed great music, tasty treats, and good cheer. And it was all free!

Bush-Holley House at Christmastime

‘Tis the season! Photos of the Greenwich Historical Society campus decorated for the holidays:

bhhxmasdusk

Christmas garland on the porch of Bush-Holley House

 

Cardinal decorationBush-Holley House Interior Decorated for the Holidays

Every December, Bush-Holley House is decorated in a historically accurate way with an ornamented tree, fir garlands, and stockings by the fireplace.

Christmas was not widely celebrated during the Bush family years as Puritans considered Christmas traditions derived from pagan rituals. By the time the Holleys occupied the house though, Christmas traditions included a tree, visiting friends and family, presents, and special meals. 

 

What is now called Bush-Holley House was built in stages starting ca.1730. Beginning in 1738 the house was owned by the Bush (Dutch, originally Bosch; no relation to the political Bushes) family.

Its life as a boardinghouse began in 1848 when the now much-expanded home passed out of the Bush family. Josephine and Edward Holley operated it as a boardinghouse for artists and writers beginning in 1882 and passed it to their daughter Constant Holley following her marriage to the artist Elmer MacRae in 1900.

Christmas was popularized starting with the publication of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” in 1822 and later with a photo of Queen Victoria and her family around a table-top Christmas tree in 1847. As the 19th century came to a close, it was becoming more common for trees to be full size with all the trimmings rather than small table-top displays.

Christmas 1910 at Bush-Holley House, with MacRae twins Clarissa and Constant, daughters of Constant Holley and artist Elmer MacRae

Living at the Holley house in 1910 were Constant (age 39) and Elmer (age 35); their twin daughters, Clarissa and Constant (age 6); Constant’s parents, Edward P. Holley (age 72) and Josephine (age 61); Sally Hudson (age 26), an African-American servant; and, according to the 1910 census, two roomers—Isabel Fowler (age 44) and Carolyn Mase (age 42).

Antique Christmas card in the collections of the Greenwich Historical Society’s William E. Finch, Jr., Archives

 

Antiquarius Raffle is Monday, 12/12
at 12 noon!

FUNDRAISING RAFFLE

Sponsored by and to benefit the Greenwich Historical Society

FIVE (5) PRIZES TO BE AWARDED

Bulgari ‘Parentesi’ collection wide band ring in polished 18kt white gold,size 6. Value $7,300 1ST PRIZE  Bulgari ‘Parentesi’ collection wide band ring in polished 18kt white gold, size 6. Value $7,300

2ND PRIZE  4 roundtrip airline tickets to St. Barth, redeemable at4 roundtrip airline tickets to St. Barth, redeemable at Tradewinds Shuttle. Tradewinds Shuttle. Value $6,000

Getaway for 2 to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Includes 4 days/3 nights accommodations at the Round Hill Hotel and Villas. Value $1,5003RD PRIZE  Getaway for 2 to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Includes 4 days/3 nights accommodations at the Round Hill Hotel and Villas. Value $1,500

4TH PRIZE  $500 gift certificate for catering services redeemable at Marcia Selden catering. Date subject to availability and event must be locate 30 miles from Selden commissary in Stamford. $50 gift certificate redeemable at DIRT floral and OOMPH tini table. Value $1,000

$500 gift certificate for catering services redeemable at Marcia Selden catering. Date subject to availability and event must be locate 30 miles from Selden commissary in Stamford. $50 gift certificate redeemable at DIRT floral and OOMPH tini table. Value $1,000

2 tickets to Town Party on 5.27.17 redeemable at Roger Sherman Baldwin Greenwich Town Party Park and 2 tickets to Opening Night Party for the Greenwich International Film Festival redeemable at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich and a 10 pack of movie tickets for the Film Festival 06.1-4, 2017. Value $9205TH PRIZE  2 tickets to Town Party on 5.27.17 redeemable at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park & 2 tickets to Opening Night Party for the Greenwich International Film Festival redeemable at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich & a 10 pack of movie tickets for the Film Festival 06.1-4, 2017. Value $920

TO PURCHASE A RAFFLE TICKET, PLEASE CONTACT
Suzanne Flinn, at 203-869-6899 ext. 14, or sflinn@greenwichhistory.org

DRAWING TO BE HELD: December 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm, Greenwich Historical Society, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807

Greenwich Historical Society:
Reimagining the Campus

An artist's rendering of the reimagined campus at the Greenwich Historical SocietyThe Greenwich Historical Society has announced a visionary plan that will dramatically transform the National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley House campus to expand and provide better access and to enrich education and preservation programs.

The plan includes new state-of-the-art galleries and archives, more than doubled parking, and an elevator. The new building will have two exhibition and orientation halls, public archives, a gift shop, and a café.

An artist's rendering of the reimagined campus at the Greenwich Historical SocietyA historic building that was once the Railroad Hotel and subsequently Toby’s Tavern will be restored to its appearance at the turn of the 20th century. It will house a museum shop and new Artists Café, exhibition space for community artists, meeting and storage space. The current exhibition space in the adjoining 1805 Storehouse will be renovated to accommodate all Historical Society staff offices.

plan-drawing

An extraordinary dollar-for-dollar matching gift from anonymous donors provides a wonderful assist in achieving the final $8.5 million of the $18.5 million “Reimagine the Greenwich Historical Society” campaign that will realize the Society’s vision for a dynamic campus and place Greenwich’s story indelibly within the broad context of American history. The public is invited to support the Capital Campaign by contacting Katrina Dorsey, Greenwich Historical Society Director of Development, at 203-869-6899, ext. 15, kdorsey@greenwichhistory.org.

For more about this exciting project see greenwichhistory.org/challenge.

Capital Campaign in the News

Greenwich Historical Society embarks on major renovation

Greenwich Time, November 14, 2016

Bush-Holley House campus is aiming for $18.5M fundraising effort

Fairfield County Business Journal, November 15, 2016

Greenwich Historical Society Launches Capital Campaign to Reimagine its Campus to Enhance the Cultural Life of the Community Plan will transform the Bush-Holley complex, expand and provide better access to facilities and enrich education and preservation programs

Greenwich Patch, November 21, 2016

 

Greyledge & Colonel Bolling

Raynal BollingGreyledge, an English-style manor in Greenwich on Doubling Road, was designed by the same firm that created the New York Public Library, Carrère & Hastings. Built for pioneer aviator Col. Raynal Cawthorne Bolling, who moved in with his family in 1915, it was demolished in 2007.

Greenwich Historical Society. Raynal C. Bolling Collection. Image of Greyledge scanned from "The American Architect", December 13, 1916, Volume CX, Number 2138. Theodore E. Blake, architectGreenwich Historical Society. Scan of loaned photograph of interior of Greyledge, home of Raynal C. Bolling and family. Entrance to Big Porch from hall between Library & Music Room.

A Harvard (1900) and Harvard Law (1902) graduate, Bolling rose to become General Solicitor at U.S. Steel. Foreseeing the role of aircraft in the predicted U.S. involvement in what was to become World War I, with a small group of friends he learned to fly then organized our country’s first National Guard flying unit and helped recruit and train some of America’s earliest fighter pilots, creating the precursor to the Air Force Reserve Command.

Greenwich Historical Society. Scan of loaned photograph of interior of Greyledge, home of Raynal C. Bolling and family. View of living room ("library") into dining room.

In the war he was responsible for, among other things, recommending and sourcing aircraft Raynal C. Bollingand overseeing training and supplies. In France on March 26, 1918, he was ambushed by Germans. While defending his unarmed driver, Bolling was killed, the first high-ranking air service officer to die in battle in World War I.

Bolling received the Distinguished Service Medal from the U.S. Army and the French Legion of Honour. Bolling Air Force Base (known today as Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling) in Washington, D.C., was named for him.

Bolling MemorialThere’s a life-size statue of him on Greenwich Avenue, across from the World War I memorial.

The archives at the Greenwich Historical Society holds the Col. Raynal C. Bolling Papers, which contain primary source material documenting some of his Air Service work during the war, related printed material and a limited number of family papers.

“An Eye to the East:
The Inspiration of Japan”

The Greenwich Historical Society’s exquisite current exhibition, An Eye to the East: The Inspiration of Japan, looks at the influence of Japanese art and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a special emphasis on the Cos Cob art colony. The contribution of Genjiro Yeto, who studied under John Henry Twachtman at the Art Students League in New York and spent part of each year from 1895 to 1901 at the Holley House, is explored; this gallery features a recent and important donation of his work to the Historical Society by his granddaughter Yukiko Tanaka. Here are photos of some items you will see including paintings, prints, photographs, carvings, ceramics and textiles.

In 1854 a treaty opened trade between the United States and Japan, a nation that had been closed until that point. Within a year, French artist Félix Bracquemond “discovered” the woodblock prints of Hokusai and circulated them among his Paris art circle. Their influence was immediate, and visiting Cos Cob artists John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir and Childe Hassam all took note. Within a few years, a fascination with Japanese art and culture began to sweep Europe and, following the Civil War, the phenomenon took America by storm as well.

To find out more about the exhibition from the curator herself, Karen Frederick, listen to her podcast, originally broadcast on WGCH.

Visitor Information

An Eye to the East: The Inspiration of Japan will run through February 26, 2017 at the Storehouse Gallery, Greenwich Historical Society, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807. Exhibition hours are from noon to 4:00 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors; admission is always free to members and children under 18 and free to all on the first Wednesday of each month.

“The Curator’s Eye” tours are offered on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:15 pm. These informal, 20- to 30-minute docent-led gallery tours focus on exhibition highlights, themes and background stories that provide a framework for better understanding the art and objects on display.

 

Antiquarius 2016: All You Need to Know

Whether you’re a lover of fine antiques, eager to catch a glimpse of Greenwich, Connecticut’s most spectacular homes, or simply ready to start celebrating, Antiquarius, the Greenwich Historical Society’s annual series of high style holiday events, is just the ticket. Here’s a rundown of all the upcoming events in chronological order.

Antiquarius Opening Night Private Patron Party with Alessandra Branca 

Friday, December 2, 5:30 to 7:00 pm, Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, 90 Harding Road, Old Greenwich http://www.greenwichhistory.org/ATQtickets.php

atq-2016-bannerTour and shop the Greenwich Winter Antiques Show before it opens to the public. Meet Honorary Design Chair Alessandra Branca and more than 40 nationally recognized exhibitors featuring fine art, marine art, estate jewelry, American and Continental furniture, prints, luxury handbags, and more from 18th century to mid-20th century. Beautifully decorated by Alessandra Branca. Private event for Patron level supporters ($1,000-$5,000).

Preview of the Greenwich Winter Antiques Show 

Friday, December 2, 7:00 to 9:00 pm  Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, 90 Harding Road, Old Greenwich, $150 http://www.greenwichhistory.org/ATQtickets.php

Antiquarius Winter Antiques Show Preview Party 2015Attend the Preview Party of the Greenwich Winter Antiques Show, produced by Frank Gaglio, Inc., for early access to more than 40 vendors displaying exquisite 18th- to mid-20th-century art, decorative objects, estate jewelry, furniture, prints and vintage accessories. Curated for the Greenwich market with a broad range of styles and price points, it’s perfect for seasoned collectors, professional designers and home decorators alike.

This year’s preview theme is “A Tyrolean Black Forest Holiday” with décor styled by Honorary Design Chairman Alessandra Branca. Along with champagne, cocktails, delightful bites and entertainment, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to consult with some of the most knowledgeable dealers in the business and get first dibs on a delightful array of antiques–all in a festive, Tyrolean-inspired setting. Catering provided by Marcia Selden. Generously sponsored by Betteridge.

The Greenwich Winter Antiques Show  Produced by Frank Gaglio, Inc.

Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Sunday, December 4, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm  Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, 90 Harding Road, Old Greenwich 06870, $15

Beautiful pottery on display at the Greenwich Winter Antiques Show 2015 The Greenwich Winter Antiques Show, produced by Frank Gaglio, Inc., will feature more than 40 vendors displaying exquisite 18th- to mid-20th-century art, decorative objects, estate jewelry, furniture, prints and vintage accessories. Curated for the Greenwich market with a broad range of styles and price points, it’s perfect for seasoned collectors, professional designers and home decorators alike. General admission is $15 payable at the door.

DOYLE Appraisal Day at the Greenwich Winter Antiques Show

Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, 90 Harding Road, Old Greenwich

DOYLE’s team of specialists will provide complimentary auction evaluations for jewelry, art, silver, decorations, furniture, books, autographs, coins, stamps, and other categories (photographs acceptable). By appointment only: Contact Kathy Brackenridge at DoyleCT@doyle.com or 203-637-6209.

Antiquarius Reception and Designer Lecture with Alessandra Branca 

Tuesday, December 6, 6:00 to 7:00 pm Greenwich Country Club, 19 Doubling Road, Greenwich http://www.greenwichhistory.org/ATQtickets.php

Upper level donors ($1,000-$5,000) to Antiquarius will receive a special invitation to attend an exclusive, private cocktail reception and book signing featuring Honorary Design Chair Alessandra Branca. Branca has been recognized as a member of Elle Décor’s A List every year since 2011 and is a perennial member of House Beautiful’s Master Class. With a European sensibility and a knack for “tossing the classics a twist,” her work has graced the pages of Architectural Digest, Town and Country, The New York Times, Veranda and Elle Décor. If you are interested in becoming an Antiquarius patron or sponsor, please call Katrina Dorsey at 203-869-6899, Ext. 15. The event will take place on Tuesday, December 6 at 6:00 pm and is a wonderful opportunity to meet this renowned designer.

 Antiquarius Holiday Boutique 

Tuesday, December 6, 6:00 to 8:30 pm & Wednesday, December 7, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm  Greenwich Country Club, 19 Doubling Road, Greenwich

Festive items for sale at the Antiquarius Holiday BoutiqueThe Holiday Boutique at Greenwich Country Club offers very merry holiday shopping and gifts for everyone on your list. The boutique will feature more than 35 vendors offerings everything from monogrammed children’s items to cuddle-worthy knitwear, semi-precious sparkles, dramatic decor and sweet treats. Passed hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served on Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 8:30 pm, and the boutique will be open all day on December 7 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Free admission.

Antiquarius Holiday House Tour 

Wednesday, December 7, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm,  $110 http://www.greenwichhistory.org/ATQtickets.php

Lovely décor seen on an Antiquarius House TourAntiquarius culminates with the incomparable Holiday House Tour, a once-a-year opportunity to visit five elegant Greenwich homes. This year’s tour is a medley of architectural and decor styles from a classic, historic Federal to a newly constructed colonial, a polished contemporary and an artfully curated custom design. Each home impresses distinctly, while presenting an intimate glimpse into the varying ways Greenwich residents live and gather. Bring your friends and prepare to be wowed as you visit some of Greenwich’s most outstanding properties.

Reservations are required. The tours will take place rain or shine. Maps will be mailed to ticket purchasers. There are designated parking locations for each house. A shuttle will run from each designated parking location to each house. A Premium Parking Pass ($450) is available that grants access to parking close to each house. Photography and children under age 12 are strictly prohibited on the House Tour. Homes are not wheelchair accessible. This event is generously sponsored by David Ogilvy & Associates.  Take a break from touring to enjoy an optional sumptuous buffet luncheon ($45) in a festive setting at the Greenwich Country Club (19 Doubling Road) available 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. You do not need to be a Greenwich Country Club member to enjoy this luncheon; reserve through the Greenwich Historical Society (not Greenwich Country Club).