The Trip on the Lusitania

  In April 1910 Bessie and William McKee, with Marjorie and 11-year old Augustine, took a 2-month long trip to Europe taking in the major cities and traveling first-class all the way.  They sailed on Cunard’s R.M.S. Carmania from New York to Liverpool, England, where they were met by their own chauffeur, Krohe, in their […]

February at Blithewold “I Remember”

The Christmas decorations are put away for another year, and Blithewold enters a hibernation of sorts — taking a well-earned rest before the activity and commotion of preparing for another season.  An icy wind is howling around the Mansion, rattling the windows on the third floor.  My mind turns to springtime and my favorite time […]

Fox Dressmaking Company

The Fox Company, Bessie Van Wickle-McKee’s favorite dressmaker, was one of the oldest and most elite dressmaking establishments in the United States.  Founded by the four Fox sisters in 1885, it occupied an elegant house at 53 East 34th Street in New York City.  Under the Fox sisters, the business flourished, ultimately employing 225 people.  […]

Italian Tiles & The Brokaw Clock

Italian Tiles  A box of left-over tiles from the Breakfast Porch was recently discovered in the basement. They revealed that these much-admired pink poppy tiles were made in Italy sometime around the turn of the twentieth century and installed here in the Breakfast Porch in 1907. They were manufactured in Vietro Sul Mare, a small town south of Naples known […]