Figure 1.--Harold and Phyllis were photographed in June 1904. Harold wears an emaculate white sailor tunic with knickers and dark long stockings. Notice the chin strap on his dailor cap. Phyllis wears what looks like a pinafore and white dress with a wide-brimmed sun hat. They looked dressed to go to a party, but are out in the country. Image courtesy of the MD collection.
Harold and Phyllis Fitzroy-Carrington were extensively photographed outside what is probably their home in New York in about 1904-15. A HBC contributor has a collection of nine albums of photographs that were taken by the childrens father, an enthusiastic amateur photographer. As a result, there are many charming images beside stiff, formal portraits. Their father was obviously a wealthy man. They had a New York City brick row house and they also had a country home called 'Mallowfield' at Mamaroneck. N.Y. There are approximately 100 photos in each album, many of them of Harold and his
siblings playing with toys, pets, bikes etc some in swimming costumes, some playing musical instruments. The collection is a wonderful view of childhood in a wealthy NewYork family in the years before World War I. I believe that Harold was born about 1897 and Phyllis about 1900.
A HBC contributor has a collection of nine albums of photographs that were taken by the childrens father, an enthusiastic amateur photographer. As a result, there are many charming images beside stiff, formal portraits. There are approximately 100 photos in each album showing the children, sometimes stiffly posed and other times engaged in a wide variety of activities. The collection is a wonderful view of childhood in a wealthy NewYork family in the years before World War I. It sxhows not only how they dressed, but also the many diversions of children in the early 20th century. It is a wonderful historical document. Family photograph albumns like these were the prized possessions of many Victorian and Edwardian family. They were kept in the parlor and brought out for visiting friend and families. The nature of these albumbs changed significantly in 1900 with the invention of the Kodak Brownie camera. Previously they were mostly a collection of stiff studuo portraits. After 1900 the albums took on a whole different character and included animated snapshots of the family memembers rengaged in wide range of activities. Our HBC contributor tells us, "I'm pleased that other people than myself can view some of the images from these marvellous albums, I find something new and interesting almost everytime I look at them - a truly wonderful social document. There are so many pictures in the albums thatyou could spend months analysing them and not all of the pictures are dated or annotated. What intrigues me most of all though, is how the albums arrived here in the United Kingdom. I bought them from a UK dealer who had had them for some years."
Their father was obviously a wealthy man. Only a man of some means could afford to have a substantial New York City brownhouse as well as a house in the country for the summer. Father appears to have taken a real interest in the children and their games, on occassion posing them in funny situations. A good example here is Phyllis playing. We know little more about their father. Neither do we know much about their mother, except that she appears to have been a cultured lady who insisted that the children take musical lessons. As far as we can tell, father was responsible firall of the photography. Mother was claraly in charge for the music lessons. Aunt Dolly appears to have been a frequent visitor.
They had a New York City brownstone row house and they also had a country home called 'Mallowfield' at Mamaroneck, N.Y. We are not sure just ewhere in New York City their brownstone was located. Their house looks like a brick house, but in New York City is called a "Brownstone". This is a row house built in the late 19th or early
20th century. Brownstone is a redish-brown sandstone whichb is used like bricks in house construction. The material was so commonly used in New York and other northeastern cities to build city himes for the affluent class that "brownstone" has entered the English language as an adjetive used to describe the well-to-do. Normally brown-stone row houses are three to four stories in height, but a few have five or even six stories. The owners were normally substantial people of some affluence. Features normally included polished wood floors, attractive winding staircases, and
leaded glass and bay windows. These lovely today command high prices. Many in the mid-20th century and in New York and many other cities are considered among the most desirable rental properties. One problem is that there are normally no elevators. At the turn of the century it was not all that expensive to hire someone to move heavy items upstairs. Today this makes moving in and out a bit of a challenge. Most brownstone hime now command very high prices and rents. Mamaroneck Village is located about 35 kilometers northeast of New York City. It is located along the beautiful New York coastline and had a small, but thriving harbor. It has today become essentially a New York suburb, but at the time pictured here was well out in the country. The Village of Mamaroneck was incorporated in 1895. The population at the time was about 1,500. The railroad first came through the Village in 1848 and by the early 1900s there were regular connections to New York City. The country house at Mamaroneck looks to be a substantial white frame house. In the days before air conditioning, these summer homes allowed the people with means to escape the heat of the city. This was not just a country home, but there were spacious grounds. A sign at the gate indicating no trespassing. From the look of the background there was quite an extensive estate surronding the house as you can not even see the home from the entrance. Although not pictured in the photographs, there was almmost ceratinly a beach front as the children are often photographed in their swim suits.
The Fitzroy-Carringtons had four children. The three oldest children were There were four childen: Harold, Phyllis, Elizabeth and a younger brother who unfortunately is unidentified in any of the nine albums. I believe that Harold was born about 1897 or 1898 and Phyllis about 1900. The younger brother was probably born about 1901. Elizabeth may have been born about 1905. The image here shows the two oldest children when they were quite young, ome of the oldest photographs in the collection (figure 1). Several photographs show the children altogether. They were normally dressed similarly, but not identically. One interesting aspect of these photographs is the degree to which they show a warm caring relationship among the children. Note how Harold and Phyllis are holdng on to each other here (figure 1) and compare this to other families on HBC where there the children are phitographed with out even touching each other. A example here is a German family photographed almost the same time. There are many other examples on HBC. In some cases this may be hapinstance, but we believe that if often suggests actual relationships among the children and parents.
Harold and Phyllis Fitzroy-Carrington were extensively photographed outside what is probably their home in New York in the early 20th century before World War I (at least brefore America entered the War), about 1904-15. Harold and Phyllis were photographed in June 1904 (figure 1). This is the earliest photograph. Subsequent photographs show the children growing up and new members being added to the famuly. Harold's clothes also change over time as mother begins to choose more mature looking knicker suits. As many of the photographs are dated, we have a good idea as to when the children were wrearing the various garments shown in the pghotographs.
As a younger boy, Harold wore bangs at times with the hair rather long at the sides in 1904 when he was about 6 years old. These would have been called Dutch boy bangs. He continues wearing bangs in 1906 us cut much shorter at the sides. He begins to wear his hair with a part in late 1907 or 1908 when he was 10--11 years old. Phyllis as a younger girl has relatively short hair, but she begins to wear ringlets at school age. When dressing up, Phillis and Elizabeth when she grew up a bit would wear large whire hair bows.
The different activities depicted in the photographs provide a wonderful insight into the life style of affluent American children in the early 20th century. While there are many stiffly posed photographs of the children, there are also many images of Harold and his siblings playing with toys, pets, bikes etc some in swimming costumes. Several show the children playing their musical instruments. The children were often photogtraphed in their bathing suits, presumably swiming in the pond at Mallowfield. We do not note any ocean beach scenes, although Mamaroneck was on the coast. We also notice the children dressing up in costumes of all sorts. Most of the activity photographs are at Mallowfield where the extensive grounds provided more opportunities for play. Undoubtedly there were all kinds of activities inside the New York City brownstone, but indoor photography apparently was beyoond father's photographic skills.
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