Sunday, February 10, 2008

Table Gossip

The following are entries taken from the Boston Globe society column over a ten year period. Table Gossip consisted of the comings and goings of the smart set - weddings, trips to coastal vacation homes, ladies' visits, and little advertisements sneaked in. I chose these entries as having some kind of interest, and as somewhat representative. Scanning the weekly articles for occurrences of "Jamaica Plain" was tedious, and no doubt I missed some items of interest.

Table Gossip

July 1, 1883

Mr Horace P. Chandler of Jamaica Plain will sail for the Azores in July.

Mr William H. Goodwin's new cottage at Gerrish island (Kittery Me.) is all ready for occupancy, and his family will remove thither from Jamaica Plain at once.

[The Goodwins lived at the corner of Centre and May streets, opposite today's St Clare's monastery. I assume that it was the same William Goodwin who had previously owned a house on Carolina avenue where the Agassiz school now sits. Previous entries on the Carolina/Murphy playground show the location of the house, which became the Susan Weld House, later the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Association. ]

August 5, 1883

Two woman physicians in Jamaica Plain ride tricycles.

[Some entries are cryptic, no?]

October 21, 1883

Mr and Mrs John W. White were in Philadelphia last week, at the Bingham.

The Eliot Club of Jamaica Plain held a meeting on Monday evening. An essay on the political duties of young men was read by Mr Charles Follen Atkinson and a little supper followed.

The archery prize at the fall meeting of the Hittormiss Club at Jamaica Plain was won by Miss Charlotte Bowditch, with a score of seventy-two at fifty yards. Miss Goodwin, of the same club, recently won the first prize for ladies' singles at a meeting of the famous Staten Island club.

July 27, 1884

Mr Paul F.Folsom of Jamaica Plain has rented Miss Sara Jewett's picturesque cottage at Pigeon Cove, which he will occupy until late autumn. Miss Jewett's professional engagements will keep her on the road during the rest of the season.

Mr Charles F. Farrington of Jamaica Plain went last Saturday to New York to see his friends Mr Arthur and Mr Richard H. Gorham off for Europe. Mr Farrington himself will sail the early part of August.

Mrs Edwin Reed of Lakeville place, Jamaica Plain, is at Lake George.

[A commenter has informed me thatSara Orne Jewett was a popular author of the day.]

July 5, 1885

Dr. E.P. Gerry of Jamaica Plain and Mrs. Gerry have gone to Mount Desert for a couple of weeks.

August 23, 1885

Mrs Ella M. Jones of Jamaica Plain and Miss Marguerita Hones are at Cedar cottage, Bethlehem, N.H.

September 6, 1885

Robert C. Winthrop, Jr., with his family is occupying Dr. George Faulkner's house at Jamaica Plain, where he will remain until Dr. Faulkner returns from his summer home at Falmouth the last of October.

[That is the Dr Faulkner, later memorialized by the hospital.]

October 25, 1885

The wedding of Miss Ada Dickson and Mr. George Edward Brigham will take place at Mrs. Dickson's house, in Warren square, Jamaica Plain, Wednesday night at 8 o'clock. Mr. and Mrs. Brigham will be at home Wednesdays in December at 13 Warren square.

[The Dickson house still stands at Warren square on Green street. Memories of the house are detailed in the reminiscences of Ada's daughter Margherita.]

October 14, 1888

Mr. and Mrs. A. Davis Weld, Jr., and Miss Helen C. Weld of Forest Hills street, Jamaica Plain, sailed from Liverpool for New York yesterday on the Etruria, having been abroad in Europe since May. They are accompanied by Miss Helen Prescott of New Bedford.

October 28, 1888

Miss Gertrude B. Davis of Robeson street, Jamaica Plain, has returned from Brunswick, Me., where she has been visiting Miss Grace Chandler.

July 28, 1889

The family of Dr. Joseph Steadman of Jamaica Plain are at their cottage at Falmouth.

Mr. C. Tennant Lee of Jamaica Plain was at Williamstown, Mass., last week.

October 20, 1889

The renovated Eliot Hall at Jamaica Plain has been purchased by an association of gentlemen and ladies, and is to be managed by Messers. R.M. Morse, Jr., A. David Weld and T.B. Ticknor as trustees. It will be let out for private parties, and the Footlight Club will lease it for their performances.

December 8, 1889

Mr. Francis Parkman and Miss Parkman closed their country home at Jamaica Plain yesterday and are at home at 60 Chestnut street for the winter.

September 28, 1890

Mr. Quincy A. Shaw, Jr., returned last Sunday on the Umbria from his very successful tennis season in England. He is at his father's home on the borders of Jamaica Pond.

Mr. J. Alba Davis and family of Robeson st., Jamaica Plain, have left Nonquit, and are now at Princeton, Mass.

October 19, 1890

A very pretty german was given by Miss Grace Chandler of Jamaica Plain last evening at the handsome home of the family at Brunswick Me. The guests were received by Mrs. Dr. Alfred Mitchell and Mrs. Prof. S.J. Young. One of the prettiest of the german figures has the flower figure, which is greatly indebted to Galvin's Russian violets, carnations, and chrysanthemums for its really charming effect. The german was led by Miss Chandler's brother, with Mrs. James Baxter.

[So what was "a german"? I find similar references to turn of the century social events, but none define the term.]

One of the largest and handsomest receptions of the spring season was that held by Mrs. Horace P. Chandler and her daughter, Miss Grace Chandler, at their new house on Forest Hills st, Jamaica Plain, Friday afternoon, from 4 to 7. The beauty of the day made the drive into the suburbs especially pleasant, and a good proportion of the 800 guests availed themselves of the opportunity thus agreeably offered. The whole house, which has only been occupied since Christmas, was thrown open and each room came in for its share of admiration. It is one of the most artistic, completely appointed and attractive of the suburban residences. Mrs. Chandler, assisted by her daughter, received in the drawing room, while Mr. Chandler stood in the library opposite. Miss Chandler looked very charming in pale blue crepe, embroidered in colors, and held a bunch of forget-me-nots. Miss E.M. Chandler of Beacon st. and Mrs. C.W. Copeland presided at the tea table, the decorations of which were yellow.

[The Chandler home was at the northwest corner of Forest Hills street and Glen road.]

Miss Jennie Brown gave a musicale at her mother's house, on Morton st., Jamaica Plain, Friday afternoon, at which a number of her pupils played, and Mr. Wulf Fries and Master Storer of the church of the Advent choir assisted. Mrs. Bowditch, Miss Gould, Miss Davis, Miss Barker and Miss Carrie Jameson's contributions were most acceptably rendered. A large company of Miss Brown's and her pupil's friends were present.

June 7, 1891

The marriage of Miss Dolly Frothingham of Jamaica Plain and Mr. Arthur Johnson of Commonwealth av., whose engagement was announced last week, will take place early in September, the young couple sailing for Europe immediately after.


  1. A german is a type of dance. Subs "disco" and you will understand.

    The reference to "Miss Sarah Jewett" is to the author, Sarah Orne Jewett.

  2. Actually, the Sara Jewett who had a cottage in Pigeon Cove was a famous actress. She and the author were often confused with each other because of the similarity of their names.