Monday, July 13, 2009

Amanuensis Monday: A Gay Nineties Affair

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

In January of 1934, after graduation from high school in 1933, my paternal grandmother spent a few months in California with her family. It is said her parents were considering moving out there, but that she was able to convince them to remain in St. Louis. (She wanted to remain near my paternal grandfather, Melvin Newmark, whom she would marry in 1936.)

Before they left, a party was thrown for her by her cousin. A write-up appeared in three newspapers. Unfortunately, while she saved the newspaper clippings, my grandmother neglected to note which newspapers, or the date.

Miss Belle Feinstein Given Farewell Party

A ‘gay nineties’ party with the hustle and bustle and leg of mutton, brown derbies, high-water pants, misplaced eyebrows and swallow tail coats reminiscent of what the well-dressed males and females wore back in the good old days, was given last Saturday night by Miss Belle Wyman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Wyman, 5467 Delmar boulevard, in the form of a farewell party for her cousin, Miss Belle Feinstein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Feinstein, 6422 San Bonita avenue. The guest of honor wore a gown belonging to her great aunt.

Miss Feinstein will leave for the west coast early in January and will visit several months with relatives and friends.

Present at the party were: Misses Belle Feinstein, Belle Wyman, Bonnie Schwartzman, Belle Hoffman, Stella Samuels, Florence Greenberg and their escorts, Morris Pearlmutter, Bennie Feinstein, Harold Newmark, Melvin Newmark, Sandy Adler, Bob Kalm, Barney Cruvant, Harry Klein, and Meyer Brownstein.

***

A farewell party in form of a “Gay Nineties Affair” was given in honor of Miss Sis Feinstein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Feinstein of Clayton, Mo., last Saturday evening at the home of her cousin, Miss Belle Wyman. Guests dressed in costumes of the 1890 period arrived in carriages. The guest of honor was attired in a gown belonging to her great-aunt. It was made of brown brocade, trimmed with heavy ruchings of Irish lace. The hostess wore a gown of coral velvet resembling those worn by Mae West. The house was decorated in cabaret style. Miss Feinstein is departing on January 3 and this is the first of a series of parties to be given in her honor. She will remain in the West for several months.

***

Miss Belle Wyman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Wyman, 5467 Delmar boulevard, gave a farewell party at the home of her parents last night for her cousin, Miss Belle Feinstein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Feinstein, 6422 San Bonita avenue. It was a “gay nineties” ball with setting for the dancing and entertainment in a cabaret. The guests appeared in the costumes of that period and arrived and departed in carriages. The guest of honor wore a gown belonging to her great aunt. Miss Feinstein will leave early in January for a trip to the west.




Belle Feinstein and Belle Wyman were both named after their grandmother, Belle Wyman Blatt, who I mentioned on Saturday. My grandmother's brother nicknamed her 'Sissie', and the nickname stuck with her her entire life, often shortened to 'Sis'. However, I am a little surprised that one of the three newspapers used the nickname.

I'd love to know for certain which great-aunt's dress she wore. My suspicion is that it belonged to Tillie Oberman, the sister of her grandfather, Selig Feinstein. Tillie lived in St. Louis, so would have been around to loan my grandmother her dress.

If you choose to join me in Amanuensis Monday and post your transcriptions, feel free to add a link to your post below, or in the comments.

2 comments:

Miriam said...

John, I accidentally linked to the wrong post the first time around. If you can delete it, that would be great. The only one that should be linked there is this one.

Thanks!
Miriam

John said...

Not a problem, thanks for continuing to participate.