Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Frances Glessner Lee - the early years

Today, March 25, 2020, marks the 142nd anniversary of the birth of Frances Glessner Lee, known as Fanny in her younger days. It was to be a day of great celebration - reopening her fully restored childhood bedroom after a two-year, $100,000 restoration made possible by the generosity of many members and friends of Glessner House and the dedicated work of several talented craftsmen.

In the near future, we look forward to rescheduling this milestone event in the history of the House, along with welcoming author Bruce Goldfarb for a talk and book signing of his new biography of Lee, 18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics. Until we are able to do so, however, we present a selection of our favorite images of Fanny from the first decade of her life. These images were all taken between the time of her birth in 1878 and the move of the family into their new home at 1800 S. Prairie Avenue in December 1887, just a few months before her tenth birthday. Enjoy this step back into the days of childhood innocence - filled with wonder, excitement, and taking joy in the simplest of things. Hopefully you can find a few moments today to do the same.

The earliest photo of Fanny, taken June 26, 1878, age 3 months and 1 day.

Fanny, as she appeared at six months, taken September 22, 1878. What exactly was her mother feeding her??

Fanny, shown with her mother and brother George in February 1880. George was 6-1/2 years older than his sister. 

Fanny and George enjoying a moment in the garden of their home on West Washington Street at Morgan Street, circa 1881.

Fanny, age 5, taken March 1883.

This photo of Fanny was taken in June 1883. Her mother sent it to an artist in Florence, Italy, who created the crayon sketch shown below, which Frances Glessner presented to her husband as a Christmas gift that year.

This stereoview shows George and Fanny with their pet lamb, named "Fanny Lamb." The image was taken in September 1883, one month after the family moved into their new house at their New Hampshire summer estate, The Rocks. It was taken by Benjamin Kilburn, one of the country's largest producers of stereoview cards; his business was based in Littleton, NH.

Fanny's sixth birthday party, March 25, 1884. Fourteen neighborhood children attended the party and enjoyed a Punch & Judy show. Fanny's father "excused himself from the office" to attend.

Fanny in the library of her family home on Washington Street, circa 1884. She had three dolls which she named Ethel, Julia, and Isaac Scott, the last after a close family friend who was an important part of Fanny's childhood.

Fanny, enjoying a popular Victorian game known as hoop rolling, circa 1884.

Fanny with her mother, circa 1885.

Fanny in April 1886, age 8.

Fanny with her father, circa 1887.

Fanny in a reflective mood, taken the same day as the photo above.

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