Monday, July 7, 2014


'Pembroke', the Joseph R. De Lamar estate designed by C.P.H. Gilbert c. 1916 in Glen Cove.  Click HERE and HERE for more on 'Pembroke'.


Magnuspetrie said...

I love the ladder leaning up against the right hand porch. Clearly photo styling, now a profession,was not top most at the time.

Does anyone know the history of these postcards? Were they made with the owners' consent? Where were they sold? Hard to imagine a random photographer snapping a picture of your house today and offering it for sale at the local drugstore.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Haha, could the photographer have captured a day that Alice deLamar was to have eloped or at least was going to run away from her gilded prison?

Seriously, Magnus, I too have wondered the postcard ethics, and so I just called the Director of our State Historic Preservation Commission, who is a considerable expert on these postcards, and even he did not know---but believes the owners must have been complicit, attitudes about privacy being different then, and the houses being showplaces and sources of local pride, as the publishing of private houses was a widespread practice across the land. I do remember that such postcards were still available in the local variety shop in my childhood (the early 60s)and rifling through a few I have on hand, find that I have one color photograph of the formal garden on a local estate published in 1961 (although the golden era for these cards was 1890s to 1930s.)

Magnuspetrie said...

And dare we conjecture? Who would be waiting at the bottom of the ladder for Alice?

The info provided by your State Historic Preservation Commission Director rings true. As does the comment about notions of privacy. In an earlier era, newspapers covered the doings of WASP society with the same fervor they direct at the Kardashians today. It makes for fascinating- and illuminating reading today to peruse society columns of yore. The minute details provided, including full guest lists, make it fairly clear that Mrs. Belmont, Mrs. Fish, Mrs. Vanderbilt and their ilk, were fully complicit in their own press coverage. So much for the idea that "A lady appears in the newspapers three times..." as the modus operendi of an earlier, gentler age.

The Down East Dilettante said...

But of course Magnus even then there were those who thought all of those ladies a bit arriviste, as they began their ascent to leaders of Society.

And your observation raises a further question: 100 years from now, will there be those looking back with nostalgia to those great social leaders of a lost age, the Kardashians?

Although I firmly belong to this camp:

An old Newporter said...

Re: Postcard views - Richmond Barrett, son of the manager of the Newport Casino, in his reminiscences, states . . . "The Newport Casino Bulletin, an elaborate booklet that used to be issued every week during the season, always contained photographs by Alman of the great estates on Bellevue Avenue, the Cliff Walk and the Ocean Drive. When the day of the postcard arrived these were the 'views' the excursionists picked to send to their relatives all over the country."
Most were taken from the roads, along the shore, etc. Some were taken on private grounds with permission of the owners or estate superintendents - in other words, with permission, knowing full well that the images would enter the public domain as were the photos taken of estate interiors used for architectural publications. A number of Society ladies and gents actually had postcards printed up for use as private stationery in their guest rooms. The majority of such estate views were photographed from public roads and righ-of-ways though. I've been told, by people who worked on such estates, that the owners were somewhat amused that postcards were sold of their houses, gardens and such.

Doug Floor Plan said...

The postcard of 'Waldene' sticks in my mind because in addition to the photo of the beautiful garden & house there is a man (who DED speculated was the head gardener) & a woman (presumably Mrs. Oakman)looking at the camera. The idea that photo was taken so guests could write on a postcard, "It's even more lovely in person" makes sense to me.

My guess is the ladder is for either a window washer or a gardener tending the potted plants on the balcony. I doubt either would be given free access to go through the house.