Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Ladies Vanity Set, A Symbol of Women's Virtue, ca 1912

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During the Victorian and Edwardian periods ladies and men's vanity sets were commonplace.  In an age where indoor plumbing was not very common, grooming items were kept in the privacy of your bedroom.  You would most likely have a washstand in the corner or a nook specially built into the bedroom for the washstand.  Tub baths were not taken everyday and were a luxury.  You had to make do with spot washing with the washstands till it was bath day.  Ladies had dressing tables where they kept the necessities of grooming close at hand.

In addition, women's hair had then and to this day a lot of symbolism going on.  With the exception of young girls who were not yet of an age to marry, women (respectable women) kept their hair pinned up. Wearing your hair up was a sign of maturity, hence availability for marriage. A virtuous woman only let her hair down in the confines of her own bedroom.  How you wore your hair proclaimed you as a virtuous or a loose woman. Even today many people think of updo hair or short hair as a sign of professionalism and maturity.

Most vanity sets included a brush, comb and mirror.  This one belonged to Virginia Shumate Moran and includes a brush, comb, mirror, small tray, toothbrush holder and powder box.  In addition she had a handpainted porcelain tray from Japan where she would place some of her grooming items.  The small pink box is made of marble and might have been used to hold jewelry and might have been added later to the set.  The mirror, brush and powder box are engraved with her initials in black.  The comb has a smaller engraving which isn't visible in the pictures. The comb is also very heavy as is the mirror.  These are not made of plastic!

Vanity sets could be simple or ornate in design, material, or the number of pieces included in the set.  One thing is certain, the vanity set might have been used for everyday practical things but the symbolism contained therein went beyond cleaniliness of the body.  It symbolized cleaniliness of virtue and of course cleaniliness was next to godliness.

Here's the before image.  Notice the safety pins and
fingernail file impressions left on the tray, surrounded by grime.

And here's the after picture.  They cleaned up rather well.
The brush, mirror, and powder box are engraved VSM,
Virginia Shumate Moran.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gustave Toutant Beauregard

One of the many friends of James H. Moran III was Gustave Toutant Beauregard, the son of Rene Beauregard and grandson of Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, one of the most colorful and interesting general's of the Confederate States of America.  

Gustave T. Beauregard became a Captain in the United States Army in the Military Intelligence Division.  At the time of his death, January 3, 1931 in Staten Island NY, he was an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

I would imagine that Gustave Toutant Beauregard was a difficult name to live up to.  As a matter of fact his nickname among his friends at the University of Virginia was "Gen'l" and as you can see on the back of his picture he referred to himself as "Genl" and his friend James Moran was "Brandy". Do a google search for "Gustave Toutant Beauregard" and you will be hard pressed to find anything except page after page of hits regarding his famous grandfather, P.G.T. Beauregard.  And images of Gustave Beauregard, the grandson, are even rarer.

Another friend of the "Genl" and "Brandy" was Henry George McCall.  His father was a sugar planter and very active in Louisiana politics.  His family owned the Evan Hall Plantation in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, and the letter he wrote to James Moran dated July 16, 1898  is on letterhead from Evan Hall.  Henry McCall went on to become a lawyer with a busy general practice in New Orleans.

So here's to you Gustave Toutant Beauregard and your friend James Henderson Moran III who thought highly enough of you to keep your picture and an invitation to a German Club event where you were on the Invitation Committee.  "Gent" and "Brandy", BFF's forever.


October 21, 1879 - January 3, 1931


Backside of the photo. "G.T. Beauregard from "Genl" to "Brandy", 6/9/99.
James H. Moran had the nickname "Brandy" during his years in higher education. 
Letter from Henry George McCall to James H. Moran III.
Written from Evan Hall Plantation.  Note the "General's address is--
Gustave T. Beauregard Station 1 New Orleans LA"

Invitation found among James H. Moran's papers from the St. Albans German Club.
G.T. Beauregard was on the Invitation Committee.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Face of Social Media, Then and Now


Social media permeates our lives from Facebook to Twitter, Androids and Blackberry's, Blogger and Wordpress, Emails, txt messages, instant messages, WiFi, Bluetooth and more.  It seems there isn't a moment in the day that we aren't somehow connected to each other.  Even my television now has messages.  Thanks to U-Verse when we get a phone call a message appears on the television telling us who it is and what number is calling.  That makes it very easy to decide if I want to answer it or not.  Even easier, I can pause live tv, take the call and then return to the program all without having to miss a thing.   Our son links his DS to the WiFi and connects with other gamers.  Going on a trip? Forget about that Rand McNally Road Atlas! Download the latest maps to your GPS and go. Playing World of Warcraft and you're hungry?  Order food online and have it delivered then continue killing those Horde, or Alliance if that is your preferance.  I have a level 80 Worgen and Night Elf.  Life is good.  

I think it's ironic with all of the social media and online interaction going on that most of us have less actual face to face time with other human beings.  It seems we've become a bunch of recluse's sitting in front of computer screens or on the go with iPads and cell phones.  Facebook?  Sure, you might have 835 friends but how many have you actually met in person?  You're in a guild on Runescape that has 238 people?  Awesome!  But do you ever met them outside the game?   The face of social media today has become, well, faceless.  Unless you count your Avatar!

Social media has always been around, it just didn't have a name.  You met people at church, cotillions, school, and through family and friends.  You corresponded with ink and paper.  As a matter of fact you corresponded a LOT.  You received notes asking if it was permissable for Mr X to drop by this evening or if Miss G could visit the new baby.  Letters of introduction were used as were calling cards, sometimes accepted, sometimes not.  Dance cards were filled with names of hopeful gentlemen.  Mourning cards and letters were trimmed in black and usually used for at least a year after the death of the person you were mourning.  Invitations were sent for anniversaries, weddings, christenings, concerts, and dances.  People sent announcements on the birth of the baby which usually including the babies very own calling card!  Is it your "Wooden Anniversary"?  Then by all means announce it to your friends!  When was the last time you received a card that wasn't an e-card?

And let's not forget photographs!  Friends, family, school groups, musicals, the girl you met on that trip to New York or that cousin you haven't seen in 10 years, perhaps a picture of the new house your uncle built out in Gainesville, TX!  People made special trips to larger cities to have pictures made and photographers were proud of their art.  Photo studios placed their name and location on each photograph such as Thuss, Kollein & Giers from Nashville.  Photographers often traveled to small towns giving many people a chance to be photographed who might never have the opportunity again.  How often does anyone go to a professional photographer these days?

The internet is a wonderful thing but like anything else, it's best when used in moderation.  So get up, go out, have some fun.  Then blog about it and maybe share some digital photo's on Facebook.  :)  With that I present a few images of Moran Family 19th century social media....




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TN House of Representatives, 1925, 64th General Assembly

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James Henderson Moran III, Representative from Weakley County
Fifth Row from the top, seventh person from the left.
This is a composite picture of the Tennessee House of Representatives, 64th General Assembly, 1925.  James Henderson Moran III was the Representative from Weakley County.  For a complete list of the 64th General Assembly be sure and visit the Tennessee General Assembly website.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Gunn Family, Nashville City Cemetery

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Only three individual headstones remain in the Gunn Family section
at Nashville's City Cemetery.  However, this Gunn monument marks the
area where the Gunn family is laid to rest.
If you are hoping to find the headstones for members of the Lyman T. Gunn family you will be sadly disappointed.  The stones have been gone for more than a hundred years but you will see the monument marking it as the Gunn Section.  As for individual markers, there are only three Gunn's that have memorials: Lyman C. Gunn, Sallie Boyd Gunn and Ellis M. Gunn. 

In addition, Lyman and Caroline Gunn's son James T. Gunn and his daughter Hattie are buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery, Nashville TN.

Their daughter Sophia Riley Gunn Moran is buried in Moran Cemetery in Weakley County, TN.

Be sure to check out the Nashville City Cemetery website for more information!  Also, the Index of Individuals Buried at the Nashville City Cemetery Recorded in the Interment Books 1846-1979 by last name is available online.

Modern Methods
Nashville, Tennessee
September 7, 1917. Article XI
“The City Cemetery” by Charles A. Marlin
THE CITY CEMETERY
Interesting Account of Some of the Prominent Men
and Women Who Figured in the Early
History of City and State

By Charles A. Marlin.
The Gunn Family.
On the Gunn Lot are buried the following:
Mrs. Mary Hewit Hooe, second wife of Capt. Turner Morehead, of Kentucky, who died in Nashville, Tenn., May 20, 1838. She was a woman of culture and ability and noted for her hospitality and noted for her hospitality. Her husband Capt. Morehead was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, being with Gen. Wayne at Stony Point and was presented with a sword by Gen. Washington for his acts of bravery. She was the mother of Mrs. Lyman Taft Gunn. (I haven't been able to locate a burial location for Turner Morehead yet.  I have some suspicions but till I confirm I'm keeping it to myself.  If by chance anyone else finds his grave I'd love to know about it!)

Dr. Lyman Taft Gunn - Born at Montague, Mass., April 1, 1810, died in Dresden, Tenn., December 1, 1890, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Sophia Gunn Moran. He was a descendent o the Montague’s of England, his mother being a Montague, and was also connected with the Taft family. He spent the early years of his life with Mrs. Taft (grandmother of ex-President Taft) after the death of his mother. Dr. Gunn was educated in Boston, Mass., and attended the Dental Department of the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated in dentistry. He came to Nashville a few years before the Was, and was one of the first dentists of Nashville, being associated with Dr. Morgan and practiced his profession over forty years, in this city. His office was on what was the known as Spring street, and was one of the leading citizens of Nashville, and a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

Caroline Morehead - first wife of Dr. Lyman Taft Gunn was born in Glasgow, Ky., November 21, 1817, and died in Nashville, November 10, 1855. Was the daughter of Capt. Turner Morehead and Mary Hewitt Hooe Morehead.

Mary Francis Gunn - daughter of Dr. Lyman T. and Caroline Gunn, was born December 9, 1844 and died January 1, 1845; also the following children of Dr. L.T. Gunn and Caroline Gunn:

Wm. E. Gunn, born October 15, 1849, died 1876.

Caroline Louise Gunn, born August 30, 1853, died, July 28, 1857.

Chas. Morehead Gunn, born September 30, 1855, died June 2, 1878.

Lyman C. Gunn, born in Nashville, Tenn., November 16, 1846, died in Nashville, Tenn., August 18, 1914. He was the last surviving member of a family of six children. When a boy 14 years of age he enlisted in the Confederate Army serving with Com- A, First Tennessee Regiment, with Gen. Forrest and the last two years of the War with General Simon Bolivar Buckner as Courier. He was a first cousin of General Buckner, their mothers being sisters. He surrendered with Gen. Buckner at Shreveport, La., in 1865. In recent years he was affiliated with Forrest Calvary [sic], being first Lieutenant of Troop C, and also a member of Frank Cheatham Bivouc [sic].. He was in service of the Express Company out of Chattanooga shortly after the War, being associated with the late Major John. W. Thomas. Was also with the T. & P. Ry. in its early history in Dallas, Texas, also the M.K. & T. Ry. at St. Louis, and he severed his connection with that road in 1900 to become Gen. Freight and Passenger Agent of the Tennessee Central Ry. He was a member of the Moore Memorial Church of Nashville at the time of his death. (He was married to Sallie Boyd Gunn)

Ellis Morehead Gunn - son of Lyman C. Gunn and Sallie Boyd Gunn, who died in Nashville, Tenn., November 6, 1902. He was a soldier of the Spanish American War, being Corporal of Company G, Sixth Missouri Regiment. He served in Cuba, and while there contracted rheumatism which effected his heart and was the ultimate cause of his death.

The Gunn lot is the third lot from the Memorial Gate on City avenue. Nearly every old inhabitant remembers Dr. Lyman Gunn and his book, “Gunn’s Family Medical Adviser,” which had such a sale a few years after the War.