tv Discussion-- Imperial CSPAN December 29, 2013 10:00pm-10:46pm EST
david or a cross hanging around the neck. they kind of play it down so nobody is in each other's face, as some people describe it. what happens when you have religious group whose mandate is that followers should be going door to door. there's some people who find it to be offense pitch they don't want people coming to their door and talking to them about religion. ..
[applause] thank you, emily. and good morning. it's a great pleasure to introduce william seale. i have known william for a very long time because he married my good friend and colleague classmate. william seale is a charming if texas gentleman whose interest in history and the building has fuelled a long career in both off. he holds a b.a. and ph.d. from duke.
he left texas and spent two years in colombia south carolina restoring the campus. he then came to washington to write a history of the state capital with henry hedgecock and their two sons settled in the native alexandria. at this point in his career, he focused on two things. historic restoration. his volume in the white house was published by the white house historical society in 1986 with the second edition in 1996. he is the editor of the association journal white house history. his other books include an architectural history of the
white house come history of the national trust houses and of democracy. cavils in the usaf and american courthouses. a commission book of the garden club of america was published earlier this year. his restoration with his patience included 11 state capitals and the various houses such as general marshall and the wisconsin retreat of the broadway actors alfred and plan fontaine. tonight he will speak about his new book about washington, the npv of cs in america's capital in the time of the first ambassador. not surprisingly, his studies
led him here to anderson house to cross paths who readily july and the imperial season. william seale. [applause] >> thank you. it's great to see you all here. it's wonderful to be here in this house and so much a part of the story and certainly one of the most popular of all in this period in history. the empirical season is about washington in a very particular period that begins with the perception of cleveland in the second term of the first
ambassador ever assigned to the united states by the foreign country. it ends with the conclusion of world war i. it is a period and a story that suggests itself and all the buildings and landscapes that survived from that are its inspiration today. they helped define washington as it has come down from the time. a small portion of the book takes place here and anderson house where they were characters in the imperial season. we can feast upon the sitting tonight and imagine what it was like in 1907 filled with diplomats and their offical uniforms and the poor trains from dhaka soldier to the end. some think federick headdresses with women that had been presented and in the dining room maidservant behind each chair with flowers, champagne and
music. to give some context, it was a 25 year period, historically, when america first felt the thrill of international importance. isolated for so long, holding europe and contempt for so long the process of the world position open the doors of monetary opportunity for some, and intoxicated others with romantic appeal. palaces, kings, the bridge across the atlantic at last and we're more obvious for that new american power to express itself first than in the capitol. washington did here and here alone in this part of. america's strong voice was first heard in 1985 when no-nonsense president grover cleat clevelan threatened against venezuela if it hadn't settled the differences. he condemned them both for the
science of the monroe doctrine. the sleeping giant had stirred and shocked the world in full notice. the second and of course most powerful event was that sword swinging the spanish-american war in 1988. the ambassador called it a splendid little war and that sent america into the position of the philippines and other parts of the pacific and into the land war with spain and cuba. when the smoke cleared the united states could call itself an international power and world power even if the latter wouldn't be tested until the great war. president william mckinley fleeting of the nation into the war had taken the power of the presidency to the high end dependent level it hadn't known since washington held the office. the chief executives now faded into the past and change
america. had he lived with a crowd of the season empirically that he didn't finish the second term. yet he was assassinated. in the two years before the assassination he had supported more or less the redesign of washington by the army corps of engineers that included major improvements, new buildings and the european sort of appearance. architecturally the remake was to be characterized more or less by the new library of congress. decorah that had wrenched the project from the designers and claimed it for its own had completed the library, dazzled everyone and was sent to move from that network to the rest of the city. if they wished to begin soon as possible, but they were abruptly unseated by the non-governmental architect members of the institute of architects. through the patronage of the senator james mcmillin of michigan whom the court had
insulted buy not including in their plans was the head of the d.c. committee while holding a set of beautiful plans made and the professional protect. at that time of the presentation of what came to be known as the macmillian plan other changes have come. they were in buffalo and theodore was then very unlikely successor so it was roosevelt who toured the presentation in 1901 at it was a revival of the original scheme to washington approved by george washington and substantially improved further with the inspiration of the chicago world eight years before. they were with a stylish
beaux-arts renovation in the interior. on the towelettes while the dining room at the opposite end of the hall imitated an english country house complete with a stuffed animal heads actually bought from a decorator in the new york not bad. a little on the house because it was contemporary taste with the one that we enjoy it tonight. the white house gave the new president a sort of bright international sheikh looking stay that he wanted for the progressive administration yet to come. the plan sketched was never to be adopted by congress but prevails today by washington. studied and interpreted again
and again. it is the hook upon which all planning hangs especially in the ceremonial areas on the avenues. as curious as it may seem, none of the buildings that were in the imperial season were actually parts of the plan. in their official status, the group of architects, namely daniel, charles and when brown preceded it very carefully with brown as the watchdog. every time a new building was proposed, they somehow appeared at the committee meeting, the giving of their ideas. the only time i know the field is in the washington cathedral. thus the architecture with the agriculture building more the part of it in the news smithsonian building in the history or reshaped to suit the macmillan classical motive. they asked to consult on the new college but then the world famous institution ended up with a job and create in that beautiful campus that we see
today. more thrilling is the story of the indian station. the monument in itself to the impossible. the baltimore and the potomac railroad station straddled the mall at the foot of the capitol hill so resurrecting the mall. it was a monster. it was a place where president garfield had been shot or the cat's cradle of the tracks ran through and elsewhere where the yards and more tracks that ran on to deval and surrounded the other. she was famous for his railroad stations and the idea being that everyone entered by train mainly. he asked senator macmillan about moving it even before the plan was made in moving the railroad. he pronounced it impossible. he wasn't one that used that word but he said it never happened. but he couldn't get it out and he tried many ways to approach getting what he wanted. finally, he called upon the president of the pennsylvania
railroad whose sister he knew well from the world fair. he used his prestige with congress. the eyesores will be removed from the mall and tunnels would be built under the capitol to phill the station would be filled down health north of the capitol. he made his design a current curtain of classical architecture past with though buildings of the roman empire. the white marble a cold blue white and finally found the perfect vermont. however it was shot down, he was told, in memory of their son who died at an early age to get no amount of convincing could even convince the man that he wanted to open until last died and so
the inquiry into the project for the station. the union station surfaced in that material. most everyone that entered passed through that gate in 1908. its facade and interior screen the training yard and all looked the builders responded by the in and a real season even though the station stands at the head of the class. as of the town became a high of of building activity with wagons looking at this oil and qualities of concrete rock pile the ball on the building sites and trees were felled on the mall to open it up again. general grant had planted 6,000 trees in 1873. the forest was to be replaced by grass covered open suite that ran from the capitol to the river. meanwhile, elsewhere in town, notably on massachusetts avenue
on a nearby street, the regular parity on the avenue f. harris was riding in big houses and designed to serve the purpose of the winter residences. such residential building had been going on in the capitol through europe since the capitol of vienna in 1815 to be established the new order for peace among the kingdom, no more napoleon. and they secured this through the network of ambassadors. they were never this many ambassadors before the congress as after. this is what was to be the guy is in the years of their countries in the foreign capital. we never got that until much later as you know about the date. to these capitals as to washington, the new wealth had migrated to set itself in the houses and eventually achieve the titles. although washington would provide no titles there were plenty of diplomatic corps is and the analogy with europe and
formed the international city the world capital. this was many boulevards in paris is what they had in mind. most of the rulings were in a rich flavor. most of you are likely to know these houses. the anderson house of course is one of the mainland with its majestic facade such as this one tonight. lars anderson had interest so far as to inspire him to create for himself a diplomatic uniform even knowing the commerce forbade the diplomatic uniforms. congress for a century step it took to the idea that an american diplomat should follow this title of dr. franklin to read franklin had more than a uniform as it simply was in that context. except for the photographs on display as it isn't known for certain. anderson and isabel was a
wealthy background is he in cincinnati and washington and she in boston and in fact the newspaper announcement of their marriage in boston just couldn't say enough and finally they would go in and she was the girl that would never have taken account. they were hot and cold about washington and they were pretty tongue-in-cheek about the imperial city not considering his and snl was the place to be. of the magnificence of this house which they passed on to the society of cincinnati in the years to come did not eclipse all of their houses on the avenues that most of them. it was designed by the firm whiff of venerable boston architect arthur little an old man by that time. rather odd for him so he was most famous for the colonial beach houses.
only one of the houses had a direct connection with here at. the daughter at the rose and paris finished in 1899 to lead you can't believe anyone looked it was turned down in 1968 for the ugly apartment building. being a while and conagra's they asked their friends architect. in europe and that period to do the work. they do design the house for new hampshire ave although they went to an american who they remembered as the architect at purdue university and other places leader on. but they were not to enjoy the arches in all of this to this
was a very small compared to what he usually did the they didn't use the house very much for all of its glory. they were with all rights to their children have been front-page news not to mention the marriage three hours later after the divorce. washington was still prudish to uxor this so the society mostly in paris. they seemed to be very clear on what was alloted and the house for entertaining. the motive was almost always stretched as it is pieces of anderson house. the anderson house and that -- and all of the others in fact or
not so circumspect. it was the that give the society their glamour to it was the worst crime i think the best behavior of a dinner party than to sleep with someone's wife. mrs. roosevelt knew who this. weekly cabinet wives met with her to discuss various matters of concern in the administration names cannot. if a man and woman were misspeaking, the first lady send an age to call first on the man advising him if the affair didn't stop that he and the woman wouldn't be allowed at the white house. the rejection from the entertainment ceremonies for the head of state. except with one man.
he was the direct senate of lafayette the diplomatic community here. he was born from here and he was the lead advisor to the french embassy and in fact because i'm of anderson kill myriad in cincinnati. he was a womanizer to say the least. he pursued women for no shame. even though alice roosevelt but she confessed in her diary at last said she no longer has lost for me. at last she ran away with the life of another diplomat. you might be surprised that he didn't meet as mrs. roosevelt would have thought.
he was sent to russia and he was -- she went up in france and he became one of the most disrespected and fasteners and year out but he didn't have anything to do with that. among the lafayette and ancestors many of whom had died in a stone's throw in the guillotine during the french revolution. it was occurring to diplomatic always been. there were public perceptions and private houses. very few among the embassies. more for the lack of space than anything else they were crammed in the houses.
people come in the public perception that and they would run them out the back because they were so crowded. some hostesses' announced weekly most public perception, some advertisers dhaka reception would be every tuesday for the season. secretaries, school girls and boys, all assembled on the sidewalks to be admitted promptly at 2 p.m.. they were addressed and all of the guests had to wear hats. anyone that stayed too long or longer than that was likely to be presented with a code by the butler. crites that receptions or by invitation card. these could be larger as well.
some had an invitation reception each week. when you are invited once you could attend all of them and that both public and private there was good food, plenty of mine, scotch for most men and music. dinners were always private of course and sometimes followed separate invitations with a card inside of the invitation and they were always seated. one had to be in perfect order by rank and anyone has a tender call to the state department to see to it and he was a very important figure in the state department and was one of the main characters in the book. he was a famous shakespeare scholar that wrote horror stories. and he had lived so much in europe and traveled to europe that to the and as he is the state in that company and he knew all about how things should
be done he was the last word on all of that. it was who would work in the proceeding and what was the suitable food. the ambassador was allergic. he knew that. and perhaps dinner's involving diplomats were always registered in the calendar lets there be a conflict. the detail of what was right and wrong were endless that they were the same practice generally in all of the capitals in europe. such a rich flow of activity in washington characterized the season even the panic of 1907 didn't really slow things aloft. still they are hoping the ambassadors would accept the invitation and be fair and to make the party just perfect that way. while the pressure at the state department increased, the entertaining continued right up to the beginning of world war i
in europe of 1914. after that, it began to slow and was against diplomatic code for one minister or ambassador to entertain or be entertained by an enemy diplomat. thus the list was shattered. by that time we entered world war i, only marry mrs. townsend still welcomed the diplomats to the house as she would until 1931. but long after the demise of the season. these were the last years of what was to be called the old diplomacy. the appearance at the head of state instead of being represented by professional diplomats was a part of the beginning. the ease of communication even before that had relaxed the diplomatic networks and was to be a different place after world war i although the formalities of the diplomatic light east
very slowly. i think it is custom to read some of the text and i am game if you are to have a vignette about a large and isabel anderson i would like to read to you. this is the end of a long description of that. their lives were otherwise very private. if she may have had some trouble early on for the ad privileges, his journals make it very clear that they were melded together by the deepest compatibility. being without children seemed to draw them closer to each other the way that in the house is a two-story room where they liked to stay eating their dinner before the fire in the loft that
extended the room. it was always available to them even among the rest of the house was closed and was the only room in the anderson house they claimed entirely for themselves. they were not stuffy after the parties were over. having attended a formal event elsewhere, is a bill like to cut all cook and midnight breakfast for the people that they brought home from parties. the invitation was issued with carriages and automobiles parked along the driveway. if the guests followed the host to the kitchen michael pleaded as a first-class hotel. isabel started by a clipping the company with pots and pans and they began banging them together as loud as they could and follow her past suits of armor and things that lined the house.
upstairs, downstairs, then back to the kitchen. preliminaries' being overcome he mixed drinks while isabel cooked. she was a good cook and he praised her after hours. eggs and bacon were passed from the stove, bottles of wine were open and the talking and on all night while some 20 resident servants salt sleep. thank you. [applause] >> i understand we have q&a after these things and there is a microphone i can hand over to anyone that has a question about anything from this period of the books or houses or whatever might interest you. it might make it to you.
>> i'm wondering if there are any letters where the ambassadors' talks about the segregated city and how they dealt with people of color and what interactions they had with them. >> very little. there were employees at some of the indices one who wrote a memoir but i found very little of that. the reporting backed wasn't for this period as it had been after the congress. they wrote in the last letters of the famous line from the austrian ambassador about how they never cleaned up after them and that kind of thing would be in there but i didn't find that koppel, nothing the what the gossip. they already knew that. there's not a lot of personal
papers but there are memoirs and of course now and then they are wonderful peepers like henry adams papers, adams papers and he seems so real in the diaries they talked about their trips and the strange things that they did but people like many found in pennsylvania where they were from a box about this big full of glass plates in their houses and the catalogs. he would ride the streetcar and out in public and from this a much different from other countries where he was carry the
load was mostly by the african-american here but the butler's universally and archie in his memoir was roosevelt's aid killed on the titanic letters which he left the endowment to the public and most of the dinner parties were prepared by the butler. they did the list, they did everything and they came to the event.
the ambassador spoke of the segregated community here. it's a very good question because, and i mentioned the subject in the book because there was a great movement to clean up the alleys and it had a humanitarian spark. that came of lead in the wilson administration and already there had and walls about building anything from the new and was a whole alpe culture of people that supplied those that live in the streets.
have pictures except as a much older woman and these pictures are around the time that house was finished and they were the ones i was mentioning on the glass plates that are in pennsylvania and catalog but they are safe. you say you found them and so that's where that came from and there are more some of the local historical societies and who you are interested may have lived there for some time and ought to make closet room, but this is there and they had the one child and she became and they tried to marry her off particularly to a
spanish titled man and then she divorced him. they were both divorced in a month and a half and married and devoted to each other and as a matter of fact, james turned out a catalog of the jewelry that was sold. so you actually turned up and they are beautiful pieces. the rose has been sold lately. there are really lots of chokers and everything else.
the other one -- anyway. yes, sir. >> in this time to [inaudible] did any of those deals where was that all new york? >> the investors often brought people together. that was one of their jobs entertain them and bring people together and there were some noted businessmen that passed through and in fact the investment by 1910 is interesting and apartment houses. everyone was putting money in
apartment houses. he was asking if it was business investment in europe. the diplomats traveled for that a lot. other questions? >> [inaudible] >> he was george marshall field and they had three beautiful daughters and they moved here. he was a scholarly man and i learned about him through the famous red cross lament. i asked him george who became the head of the red cross if she
ever met her and he said you didn't meet her, you were presented to her. [laughter] she is the one who unseated clara barton and she was a great friend. he was a civil war in tuzee guest -- in tuzee system with and he collected. she was the best looking in town. she was gorgeous and she wanted to marry off her daughters and so the younger one married in england and so she did well with that and she was in england and one time and she was saying to a group well, i love to come here
and see my daughter and the daughters had i'm not spending the time since my marriage i haven't seen you. she made her famous remarks. one is when she got off the ship and then news reporters and the famous names they asked her brought the trip and they said it's so great to be here and then mary theresa's hand and liked to refer to it. but i think the classic is when she asked the female if she was having a good time. they were there and and their house was of course torn down on the circle and had quite a