The McFaddin-Ward House Museum’s intern, Rainey Knox, researched the Arts and Crafts movement this summer and has created a virtual exhibition to showcase her findings. Click here to view the virtual exhibit: Contemplations on Crafts.
Now on display at our Visitor Center is a selection of brilliant glass pieces from the McFaddin-Ward House collection.
The collection contains hundreds of glass objects that belonged to Ida Caldwell McFaddin and Mamie McFaddin Ward. Over 200 of these pieces hail from the Blenko Glass Company in West Virginia and Steuben Glass Works in New York.
Englishman William J. Blenko, highly skilled in the craft of making mold-blown, stained glass windows, came to the United States in 1893. He founded the Eureka Art Glass Company in 1921, which later morphed into the Blenko Glass Company. Blenko began producing tableware and gained a reputation for good design and brilliant color.
The Steuben Glass Works company was founded in Corning, New York in 1903 and soon rivaled the Tiffany Company in the design quality and color of its art glass. During World War I, the company suffered financially and in 1918 was sold to Corning Glass Works. Blenko glass is still produced today at its West Virginia location, while Corning Incorporated oversees the production of Steuben art glass.
Now on display in the Visitor Center is the exhibit “Shining Examples: Silver from the McFaddin-Ward House Collection.” In the tall case are featured coffee pots, pitchers, and tumblers. Specialized pieces for gracefully serving fish, toast, cheese, bone marrow and even the South American drink, yerba mate. Silver is both beautiful and practical once combined with just enough of another metal alloy to increase its durability. It made possible the creation of items like: a table crumber of intricate design, a ruler bedecked with flowers, and even a frame with Art Nouveau styled poppies. Also included, is a well-worn silver-plated spoon that is no longer symmetrical. We can only wonder if it was used by a cook to scrape the bottom of a cooking pan, or was used as everyday favorite, sparing the sterling pieces from ware. Also on display are two examples of 20th century place settings. Viewers can appreciate the ornate style of the repoussé “Baltimore Rose” pattern by the Heer-Schofield Co. and contrast it against the elegant colonial-revival simplicity of the “Mary Chilton” pattern by Towle Manufacturing Co.
Did you know society has not always associated the color pink with femininity? In 1918, the clothing company Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department rules that pink favors boys, because it descends from the strong and aggressive symbolism of red. As time progresses, however, color assignment lacks unanimity, with different regions advertising pink for both girls and boys.
Thus, pink would have been a suitable choice for the fashion-conscious McFaddin women, and perhaps we can view their extensive collection of pink as a reminder to their strong will and leadership. As refined hostesses, avid civil servants, and socially active women of the 20th century, Mamie and her mother, Ida, acquired an array of mementos that proved functional and pretty in pink.
The new display in the Visitor Center features pink objects from the McFaddin-Ward House Collection, hailing from countries like Italy, England, France, and China. Catch a glimpse of the charm and regality of the McFaddin women through Summer 2019.
The McFaddin-Ward China Collection
The McFaddin women adored china. Mamie McFaddin Ward and her mother Ida owned some thirty-six sets! Not all were dinnerware, however. They included breakfast, tea, and dessert sets too, and they happily used them all.
New exhibits featuring ceramics from the McFaddin-Ward House Collection are now on display at the Visitor Center.
The exhibits are of select Dresden and fine china and dinnerware. The pieces originate from factories in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the USA. This is a rare chance to see a large sample of plates all at once. The exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018.
Current Visitor Center Exhibit
Ida Caldwell McFaddin and her daughter Mamie McFaddin-Ward inherited certain fashion accessories, but they also followed the trends of their respective times. Clothing and accessories from 1880 to 1919 are shown in the exhibit as well as those from 1920 to 1959. Though made of various precious materials, all are shining examples of jewelry from the turn of the 20th Century.
The McFaddin-Ward House has recently installed two new display cases that will allow visitors to get closer to objects than they’ve ever been before. Brilliant, cool lighting in the cases highlight details of beads, gemstones, and craftsmanship. They sit below large portraits of Ida Caldwell McFaddin, the first lady of the house, and her sister, Ouida Caldwell Watts, who frequently visited. Future exhibits will often showcase items that belonged to the two. On exhibit now are “Purses and Accessories” that range in date from around 1900 to 1960, some engraved with the sisters’ monograms. We invite you to come and experience these objects like you never have before!
Beaded gold and turquoise purse, tassel trim, c. 1920
Metal necklace with blue speckled glass beads, c. 1920
Beige and white beaded clutch purse, by Jolles, c. 1940
Embroidered and beaded purse with brass closure and chain, made in France, c. 1930
Petit point purse, brass closure and chain, c. 1930
The McFaddin-Ward House was built in 1905-1906 in a Beaux-Arts Colonial style. Its furnishings and décor reflected the lifestyle of the family that lived there for seventy-five years. The family collected objects and chose to live with things they liked. This reflected their tastes and the changing trends of the times. Some objects they chose were more classical and others more humorous or trendy. In this exhibition case we feature some of each of these types.
Since ancient times, coffee was said to have healing properties. After-dinner coffee was thought to assist digestion, enhance endurance, and act as an antidote for inebriation.
The Middle Eastern custom of drinking very hot, black coffee in small cups traveled to Europe along with the beverage, in the 17th century. It was the French, in the 1800s, who originated the demitasse and turned after-dinner coffee drinking into an art. Demitasse means “half-cup.” The cups are, typically, half the size of a regular coffee cup, holding two to three ounces of beverage. The smaller size facilitates the drinking of strong, after-dinner, specialty coffees, such as espresso, cappuccino and Turkish coffee. Tea may be served in demitasse cups, but they are really meant for coffee.
Certain rules of etiquette are followed for after-dinner demitasse serving and drinking. The coffee is strong and always served black. Cream is not offered and should not be requested. Sugar, however, is permissible. Demitasse cups are always used. These are placed on a matching saucer and accompanied by a demitasse spoon. Only one cup of coffee is served, and it is not polite to ask for a second.
The coffee can be served to guests several ways. Cups can be brought in, unfilled, by a butler. A second butler brings the coffeepot. Each guest is offered a cup, which is then filled. The coffee can also be poured in the kitchen or butler’s pantry and served to guests on a tray by a butler. A less formal way of serving is to have the butler place the coffee and cups on a tray. This is then placed on a coffee table in front of the hostess. She pours the coffee, and the butler takes each cup to a guest. On occasion, a liqueur can be offered with the coffee or after the coffee has been taken.
By the 20th century, any woman who entertained, formally or informally, would have owned demitasse sets and served after-dinner coffee. Ida Caldwell McFaddin and Mamie McFaddin Ward owned numerous demitasse sets and spoons. The sets in our collection contain from four to twenty-four cups and saucers each. There are a few individual cups, suggesting a special find on a shopping trip or perhaps a souvenir purchased on a vacation, or a gift given by a friend. Although the sets are in very good condition, they do show the wear expected from frequent use.
The exhibit, currently on view at the McFaddin-Ward visitor center, features twenty demitasse cups, sixteen matching saucers and eleven spoons. The variety of patterns and styles would certainly have assured Ida and Mamie of having just the right demitasse for any occasion.
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The McFaddins collected a lot over their years spent in the house, including many pieces destined for the two dining areas of the home.If you’ve visited the museum, you’ve seen examples of these lavish tablescapes, often set with exquisite pieces of china, silver, cut glass, and others.
A new exhibit at the McFaddin-Ward House Museum’s Visitor Center is showcasing a few items that brought color and playfulness to these elegant table settings.
“Lively Tableware” features food-themed serving pieces from a variety of countries, including Japan, Czechoslovakia, Italy, and the United States.
These colored glass marmalade jars were made around 1918, by the Steuben Glass Company in Corning, New York. They were given to Mamie and Carroll Ward in 1919, as wedding gifts.
They were produced about the same time the Steuben Glass Company was purchased by the Corning Glass Works. At that time, Corning halted all production of the Steuben’s colored glass. It wasn’t until 1921 that production began again, but was stopped completely in 1933.
This ceramic fruit was probably produced in the Italian town of Bassano del Grappa, located in the northeast Veneto region. These pieces are marked only “Italy,” but are almost certainly products of Bassano del Grappa potters, probably dating from the 1920s or 1930s.
The town is very old, dating back to at least the 2nd century. In the 15th century, it developed a community of artisans noted for their work in wool, silk, and especially ceramics. These fruit pieces are indicative of that thriving industry.
There are many other pieces on display. The exhibit is located at the Visitor Center, located at 1906 Calder. It can be viewed anytime the museum is open, and will be on display through May. Come by and check out the “lively” pieces!
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Do you enjoy shows like Downton Abbey and wonder how many families enjoyed such opulence? The McFaddins lived the glamour of the Edwardian period and we have the family stories and artifacts to learn about their lifestyle of luxury. From fine dining to festive clothing, the McFaddins lived what we see on popular shows of today.
Ida McFaddin’s velvet coat and skirt trimmed in chinchilla was suitable for traveling in colder areas, like her hometown of Huntington, West Virginia. The suit dates to sometime between 1912-14, and was a typical type of fashion for women of society.
The velvet suit’s details were created by hand.
The McFaddins enjoyed “a la Russe” dining, just as the family did on the popular television show, Downton Abbey. “A la Russe” involves a butler or maid serving each dinner guest from a platter around the table. The porcelain dinnerware has Ida Caldwell McFaddin’s monogram and was made by the F. Shultze Company in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Baltimore Rose pattern was created by the Stieff Company in Baltimore, Maryland. The McFaddins entertained formally and often and would have used a proper setting such as this for meals served to guests.
This Edwardian frock had elaborate and colorful hand stitching and beading. Many society women of the time would have had their dresses and gowns custom made for them. Ida McFaddin preferred dresses by Madame Dunlevy, a noted seamstress in Cincinnati, Ohio. On trips home to Huntington, Ida would often stop in to choose fabric and style, and the seamstress would design the new dress in time for Ida’s return trip home. Ida would go in for the final fitting, and the shop would ship the completed garment to her by train.
We are all familiar with the stories of World War I and their global impact, but have you ever wondered what contributions were made in our hometown? World War I: Home and Away, an exhibit by summer intern Arthur Garrison focuses on Southeast Texas’ contribution to the war and specifically those of the McFaddin family.
Ida McFaddin was certified to instruct volunteers on preparing surgical dressings for the Red Cross. Many local women contributed to the war effort by volunteering for the cause.
Ida McFaddin’s surgical dressings war manual was used both while in training and when instructing her volunteer groups.
Red Cross packages would have included an assortment of surgical dressings and bandages, as well as cigarettes, candies, and other morale boosters.
Both of Mamie McFaddin’s brothers, as well as her future husband, Carroll Ward, enrolled in the military during the war. Carroll enlisted in the United States Army Air Service.