Monday, March 30, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Howard Matthews' Story #17 - Fortuitous Happening #3

Riverside Church 2013

In the 17th installment of my grandfather's story things are changing again...

During the 3 years that I lived on the Columbia campus, I attended Fosdick's Riverside Church, just a few blocks away from my dormitory. I became an usher there, but since I did not possess striped trousers and a morning coat I was not allowed to usher on the main floor but was assigned to the balcony! I also joined the Men's Club and attended its weekly dinners. This was the prelude to fortuitous happening #3, for there I became acquainted with a man who later was responsible for my having the opportunity to go to Chicago. This began with a phone call from an attorney in New York who said that he knew of an opening in Chicago that might be of interest to me and would I care to come to his office in Rockefeller Center to discuss it. He gave his address as the top floor of Rockefeller Center. I happened to be working on an audit of American Cynamid in that same building, so at 10 the next morning I went up to the top floor and only then realized whose attorney my caller was, for over the arched doorway was the name: John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Although he attended services at the Riverside Church, I had never met Mr. Rockefeller but I had seen him there. His attorney explained that the opening was Financial Secretary of a place called the Oriental Institute, one of the graduate schools of the University of Chicago. Mr. Rockefeller personally and three of his family's foundations were supporting the work of archaeologist James Henry Breasted, the head and founder of the Institute.  If I was interested he would have me meet Mr. Breasted's son Charles, Executive Secretary of the Institute who was then at a hotel a few blocks away.  I expressed interest (although at that point it was mostly curiosity) so the attorney then handed me an envelope addressed to Charles and suggested that I walk over to where he was staying. I learned later from Charles that the message in the envelope was, "Here is your man".

Charles was a handsome 6½ feet tall, in his 30s, married (2nd time) to Martha Greenway, the daughter of Congresswoman Greenway, whose family ranch comprised most of the state of Arizona. He looked and talked like an actor, didn't give me much opportunity to talk so I listened and was attracted to his beautiful description of the far-flung operations of the institute in the Near East. I promised to think about the position and let him know whether I was interested enough to come to Chicago to learn more about it. I talked it over with Dagmar. We were then bombarded, every couple of days, with long telegrams urging me to visit the Institute. About two weeks later I went to Chicago by train.

I arrived early so had time to tour the campus on my own but with the help of my knowledgeable taxi driver who, although he didn't always know the name of a building, knew what went on in them. He described the Lying-In Hospital as "that place where they get the babies." I was impressed by the University's handsome Gothic limestone buildings, library, medical school and hospitals, nursery, grade and high schools, and the surrounding theological seminaries; and as well with the fine Oriental Institute building which housed its museum, staff, editorial and administrative offices. It all lived up to Charles' vivid descriptions as we toured the building and later at lunch in the high rise apartment where for the fist time in my life I was confronted by an artichoke!

So I returned to East Orange and conveyed my enthusiasm to Dagmar. We decided to make the change. When I informed the Personnel Manager at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell of this he asked me to see and talk with Douglas Dewar who was the top partner of the firm. He expressed concern, said an educational institution would provide me with little challenge, said that if I stayed with PMM in 10 years they would be paying me $75,000 per annum. I replied that 10 more years of the PMM pace would probably kill me. When he realized that I was determined to leave, Mr. Dewar said, "you have nothing to fear; just remember that you know twice as much as most of the fellows you will meet out there". My friend, Mike Berrien, VP of the Hanover Bank, I thought I was foolish, too. But I stuck with our decision and an audit of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, in which I was then involved, was the last I was to do for PMM. I left the firm with a check in hand for all the overtime I had endured.

Some items of interest from old records: The rent for our first apartment in East Orange was $65 per month but when the depression hut us we moved to one at $45; our food budget had to be reduced from $50 to $40 per month. Commuting to New York cost $7.86 per month. In 1933-34 we had the courage to dabble in the stock market. Three stocks that cost us $782 we later sold for $1,292! $230 of this windfall went into a second-hand 2-door Chevy. The cost of our initial furniture was $669.14. Many of the items we still have: the maple bedroom set, the desk and chair in the study; our first dining room table is now in use by the Curate of Holy Trinity (in Middletown, CT).

Next time - Work at the Oriental Institute and a trip to the Near East.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sepia Saturday #272 - Agriculture - Making Maple Syrup at the Deanholm Farm

This photo of my grandmother and mother was taken on the Dean family farm (Deanholm Farm) in North Hately, Quebec.  The farm was founded on land purchased by my 2nd great-grandfather, John Dean, on May 1, 1868 and is still in the family today.  My grandmother, Marjorie Elizabeth Dean Smith was born on the farm in 1904.  During WWII my mother and grandmother spent a great deal of time on the farm as my grandfather, some of his family and my grandmother's brother were all overseas.  Then, as now, the farm was primarily a dairy farm, but also had a sugar bush.

For those of you unfamiliar with maple syrup production, a sugar bush is a stand of maple trees (usually sugar maple or black maple) which produce the sap used to make maple syrup.  Trees are tapped in early spring and buckets, like the one my grandmother is holding above, are hung to collect the sap (modern methods by some syrup farmers use a network of pipelines and gravity for collection).  At Deanholm farm the sap is collected every day or couple of days depending on how fast it is running. The buckets are emptied into the vat you see above on a sled with runners for snow and wheels when there was none.  Today the wagon is pulled by a tractor, then it was pulled by two horses who were always named Prince and King. The collected sap is then taken to the Sugar Shack, where the vat is emptied into a huge stove to be boiled down into syrup, filtered, graded and canned.  The whole process from tapping to canning is known as sugaring.

1980 would have been roughly the last time I was at the farm during sugaring season. The first photo below is me hamming it up for the camera, the second is me and a cousin on what was probably the tractor that pulled us around that day collecting sap.

Thank you for stopping by.  Don't forget to visit the other Sepia Saturday participants.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Howard Matthews' Story #16 - Post-Wesleyan

In the 16th installment of my grandfather's story he is deciding what to do after Wesleyan, working and studying in New York City and getting married.

By the time I reached my Senior year at Wesleyan, I decided that Business would be my career field. I was accepted at Harvard Business School and was assured of financial help by Mrs. Manville, but the burden of debt I had already incurred and the fear of adding to it influenced me in a decision to embark at once in business. At that time the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants was appealing to liberal arts college seniors to consider going into Public Accounting under a program whereby they would place graduates with CPA firms regardless of whether they had any knowledge of accounting. Their program was based on the expectation  that men with a liberal arts background supplemented by the CPA staff on-the-job training would up-grade the accounting profession.

I applied and was sent by the Institute to be interviewed by a New York City firm. I was received by the top partner of the firm who engaged my in an hour-long conversation of Plato! However when I learned that this firm, although highly regarded, was not national in scope, I decided to talk it over with Mike (Cornelius) Berrien, a Vice President of the Hanover Bank (now Manufacturers Hanover) in New York, who graduation from Wesleyan in 1896, was a member of my fraternity and had told me that if I ever needed a recommendation he would give it. He agreed that a connection with a large national and international firm would be preferable. He then scribbled a note to Andrew Stuart, a partner in Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., 40 Exchange Place, N. Y. City and told me to deliver it. I did and was hired effective the following September, 1928.

Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co was, still is, large, with offices all over the USA and the world. The New York City office was a staff of 400. They gave a series of training classes for their junior staff members but, in addition, I enrolled in the School of Business at Colombia University, attended evening classes there for three years, 1928-1931, and lived in John Jay Hall on its campus. the classes met from 6 to 10 pm which meant that frequently I had my evening meal at 10:30. At the end of my three years, the Dean of the school urged my to give up my job and take a year of day-time classes in order to qualify for an MBA degree. I could not afford it, wanted to get married and anyway my goal was a CPA degree, which is a State-granted degree and, at that time, required 5 years experience in accounting and auditing in addition to passing State examinations. Perhaps this was a mistake in my part, as ears later, the top partner in PMM & Co told me they no longer hired anyone without an MBA degree. However, by this time, I was beginning to think I did not wish to stay in accounting all my life, but I continued to study on my own after we were married and at the completion of 5 years in public accounting took the State exams. On January 30, 1934 I was notified that I had passed all of the exams in Auditing, in Theory and Practice, in Accounting and in Law. (Of the 1,500 who sat for these exams 4 ½% passed them). I was granted my degree (CPA) by the University of the State of New York as of March 16, 1934 and a short time later was admitted to membership in the American institute of Certified Public Accountants and have remained a member in good standing for 48 years as of 1983.

My work as a member of the NYC staff of PMM & Co was enjoyable, tedious, demanding, tiring and exciting. It was varied: Cartiers and American Cynamid on 5th Avenue; banks and brokerage houses on Wall Street and in Newark; manufacturers in Rome and Rochester, NY; the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, etc, etc. The Cartiers assignment was an interesting one. It involved determining, in the place of the management, the amount of commission to be paid each salesman, each month. This may sound simple but it was not. It involved reviewing all of the charges to customers accounts (none of their customers every paid cash) and all of the credits for payments and items returned. And if a salesman had received a commission for an item later returned, it was deducted from his future earnings. And there were other complicated rules that had to be observed; the rate of commission, was it to be shared with another salesman, etc. so that the work of an independent auditor was desired. And the amounts involved were fabulous.

The hours in public accounting were horrendous, especially in the first 3 months of the year when, for weeks on end, we worked every night until midnight. And at other times, bank audits and brokerage house audits, which always were "surprise" audits, required that we stay on the job the first day until all the cash was accounted for and all vaults secured. I arrived home many nights at 1:00 am and had to be up and off again at 7 the next morning.

These were not easy times. The great depression brought bank closings, stock market failures and many people out of work. The size of PMMs staff was reduced 50% but fortunately I was retained although at a 10% reduction in salary the first year of our marriage. But with Dagmar's good management we lived through it, budgeted entertainment at 50¢ per week, dabbled in a few investments and even bought a second-hand Chevy.

The happy couple with Dean Chanter

Dagmar and I were married on September 19, 1931 by Dean William George Chanter of Wesleyan University (an ordained Methodist Episcopal minister) at Dagmar's brother's home in Manchester, CT. The pastor of her own Lutheran Church had refused use of her church by a non-Lutheran minister. The reception was held at the home of her parents. We set up housekeeping in East Orange, New Jersey, from whence I commuted to New York via the Lackawanna railroad. My brother Charles and his wife Nellie also lived in East Orange and he commuted to his job as Assistant Treasurer of the Pittston Company in the Empire State Building in New York.

Next week, in my grandfather's words, fortuitous happening #3.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Amanuensis Monday-Howard Matthews' Story #15 - How Glee Club Changed His Life

Glee Club & Jibers (a quartet) were a huge part of my grandfather's life at Wesleyan and as promised you will see below how Glee Club changed his life.

In 1926 and again in 1927 the Glee Club won the Intercollegiate championship in the competition held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In both years our leader was Calvin Kuhl, '27. He was a violinist, had perfect pitch. He led the Jibers also, would listen to a phonograph record, write all four parts on a blackboard and then tell us we were going to sing that piece at the concert that night. In 1928 I succeeded him (not in ability) as leader of the Glee Club. We took fourth place that year. Our coach was Edward H. Laubin, Choirmaster of Hartford's Asylum Hill Church who was made available to us through the generosity of John Spenser Camp, Treasurer of the Austin Organ Company.

The Glee Club traveled almost every weekend by bus to give concerts in nearby cities, schools and Alumni affairs. During Christmas vacation we made longer trips, sometimes by private Pullman car. We sang at the old Waldorf-Astoria in New York, the Philadelphia Cricket Club, the Penn Athletic Club, the Hill School, Wellesley College, and many other places. Many of the concerts were followed by a dance with music by our own orchestra, the Serenaders. It was at one of these in Manchester, Connecticut High School on March 27, 1926 that I was introduced to a young lady by the name of Dagmar Anderson who, beginning with the Prom dance in 1927 was my guest at all subsequent campus dances and in 1931 became my bride.

Program from South Manchester High School - the night they met!

Wesleyan University Eclectic House Prom Dances 1927

Close-up of Howard Matthews & Dagmar Anderson from above photo
The Jibers were in demand.  In addition to singing at all Glee Club concerts, we sang between the halves at basketball games in Fayerweather Gym, traveled with the President to some of the Alumni Clubs, and occasionally made money by singing at banquets. In 1927 we were hired by Travellers Insurance Co. to sing for several weeks on WTIC radio in Hartford. Cal Kuhl did all of the musical arrangements for this. We were paid $20 each plus travel and dinner.

I had been a member of the Olla Podrida (Wesleyan Yearbook) Board in my junior year and in the Spring was elected Editor of the 1928 edition. Later, when I was elected to be leader of the Glee Club for 1928 I had to decide between the two as College Body rules did not permit one person to hold two major posts, so I gave up the Editor post and dropped back to Associate Editor.

The College-wide winter prom and the individual Autumn and Spring fraternity dances were elegant affairs. Prom weekend began on Friday night with a dance and midnight breakfast in Fayerweather Gym. This was a formal affair with printed programs in which each dance with your guest would have been signed up weeks in advance. On the following day, Saturday, each of the 12 fraternities held a dance in its own house (formal dress but cut-in dances) and a tea dance on Sunday afternoon. Thus, as Dagmar says, in those days you had better come equipped with something better than jeans; the girls needed two long gowns for the formal parties, another outfit for the tea dance, plus daytime wear for the athletic games viewed in daytime hours.

For the Prom weekend the men vacated their fraternity houses and turned them over to their female guests and chaperones. No men permitted above the first floor. The men moved in with the lower classmen in the college dormitories. For the Autumn and Spring dances the female guests were put up overnight in faculty and neighbor's homes. Meals were served in the fraternity houses and there was much singing.

It is sad to me that having lived a very productive, interesting and accomplished life, my grandfather was still bothered by Glee Clubs 4th place finish in 1928 almost 60 years later.  Letters from their coach, sponsor and the Alumni Association speak to their excellent performance that night and the opinion of many that they should have placed in 1st or 2nd.  He kept them, but they don't seem to have helped in healing that wound.  Wesleyan did release about a dozen Glee Club performances on cassette tape some years ago and I was also able to find them online.  They did include two performances from my father's time in the Wesleyan Glee Club, but not from my grandfather's. I wonder if the Wes library would have them?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sepia Saturday #270 - Dogs

It has been a while since I have dropped in on Sepia Saturday in time to find a theme in which I could participate.  Among this week's themes is "dogs".

Since buying my new scanner in December I have been scanning my fathers multitude of slides (18 carousels and some loose.)  At the moment I am rescanning the first carousel which I originally scanned six years ago with my first slide scanner.  This scanner is orders of magnitude better than the other one so it is definitely worth the effort.

Anyway, I just today rescanned these slides of my father's dog, Pennie which he must have gotten sometime around 1950.  I don't remember that he spoke much about her, but I know he always loved dogs.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Amanuensis Monday-Howard Matthews' Story #14-On to Wesleyan

Eclectic House - October 1924 (Second Row from Bottom-Fourth from left)
In the 14th installment of my grandfather's story he tells us about life at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

In my undergraduate days at Wesleyan, freshman and sophomores were required to take courses from a list designed to assure that they were exposed to all of the disciplines. Only in the junior and senior years were we allowed freedom in the choice of courses outside our Major.

As I said before, I continued Greek, language and literature and art, under Professor Heidle all four years. But I majored in Philosophy under Professors Andrew Campbell Armstrong and Cornelius Kruse. Armstrong and Woodrow Wilson, following their graduatation from Princeton, joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1888, and Armstrong stayed for life.

I tried to broadened my interests by taking a variety of courses. I had European and USA History under Dutcher and Wriston (Wriston later became President of Brown); Biology under Greenleaf, and a magnificent Physiology course for seniors under Schneider; Geology Religion and Ethics under Dean Chanter; Astronomy under Sitterly and Slocum; Psychology under Landis, Economics under Tuttle, German under Baerg; Philosophy of Education under President McConaughy and Logic under Kruse. In addition Physical Education was compulsory.

Annual Invitation Banquet of Phi Nu Theta - 1924
Eclectic House ca 1924

I was fortunate in my choice of Phi Nu Theta (Eclectic) as my fraternity. It was the oldest of the 12 fraternities then at Wesleyan, housed in a fine new house built in 1916, designed by Henry Bacon who designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. In addition to all of the fraternities, Eclectic was essentially a literary society, which, through its Wednesday evening meetings provided each of its members with four years of experience in the writing of essays and critiques. In addition to the critique of a brother's essay, the chair called on each member present to express his reaction to the paper. The meetings were formal, coats and stiff collars were required attire. No one had the floor unless he addressed the chair and was recognized by the chair by name. The latter was quite a task for the senior who occupied the chair at the initiation meeting in the autumn and at the annual meeting in June for these were attended by large numbers of alumni each of whom had to be addressed by name. I had the assignment for the annual meeting in my senior year. I spent the entire day at the front door of the house obtaining and memorizing the names of returning alumni. At the meeting I missed one name; that of an alumnus who arrived late!

Eclectic was usually the first, never lower than second or third, in the academic standing lists issued by the Dean's office. The upperclass brothers really worked on the freshmen and went out of their way to help them. We soon learned that it mattered not that you had been high man in your prep or high school; here practically all of the competition had that background.

My extracurricular activities at Wesleyan included singing in the college choir Sundays both for the pleasure of singing second bass in a male group as wel as for the 50 cents per week that we were paid. In those days daily and Sunday chapel attendance were required. Two proctors who sat in the balconies made note of the empty seats, which, if they were not accounted for by excuses from the Dean, merited demerits.

Jibers - Bohn, Sid, Cal & Howard
 I sang second bass in the Glee Club all four years and in the Jibers (quartette) for two years. In the latter I took the place of Wendell Phillips '26 for whom I substituted occasionally in my sophomore year, after having learned all of the songs by ear.

Next week, more about the Glee Club and how it changed his life.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Amanuensis Monday - Howard Matthews' Story #13 - More from Wyoming Seminary

1928 Franklin

In the 13th installment of my grandfather's story he recounts more of his time at Wyoming Seminary, and his preparations for Wesleyan University.

Towards the end of my senior year at Wyoming Dr. Sprague asked me if I possessed evening clothes and if not, would I care to come to his home that evening to try on a tuxedo and full-dress outfit that had belonged to a wealthy resident of Wilkes-Barre, now deceased. The idea of wearing a dead man's clothing did not exactly enthuse me, but upon Dr. Sprague's insisting that a man shouldn't go to college without proper clothing, I agreed to appear and in due course I stripped to my underwear in the Sprague parlor and tried them on.  They did fit fairly well and only slight alteration would be needed, so I became the proud owner of the two outfits and I wore them at Wesleyan Glee Club concerts and dances my first two years of college.  Eventually they wore out and I never again possessed more than a tuxedo for formal wear.

My roommates in the Belfry suite were Ben Cowan, who was a member of the Varsity football squad and Business Manager of the yearbook; and Ted Hughes with whom I roomed at Wesleyan also. Ted was the school electrician at Seminary and one of his duties was to pull the switch at 10 pm, the official lights out time in the dormitory rooms. Out of sympathy for us older fellows who couldn’t go to sleep that early the wiring for the Belfry suite became mixed up with the hall lights circuit, adding an extra hour of light to our work days.

The three of us were a little older than most of the students but this did not deprive us of either the normal horseplay that went on or the assessed penalties that were meted out. Water fights were a favorite late evening sport. One evening as we were throwing water bombs at the boys who roomed in the back wing of our dorm, one of our bombs hit a faculty member who was just arriving for the 10 pm bed-check. We were summoned to the President’s office the next day. The President asked which one of us hurled the bomb that hit the Professor and when there was no answer he said he would have to throw all three of us out of school. We then explained that since all three were throwing we didn’t know which one hit him. Thereupon Doc gave us 10 demerits apiece and told us to walk them off by doing “guard duty” on the back campus. This kept us too busy to get off campus during the hours between end of classes and dinner time.

Eight men from the class of 1924 chose to go to Wesleyan: Bennett, Bittenbender, Bronson, Hughes, Matthews, Olmstead, Price and Stone.

I prepared financially for Wesleyan by selling Fuller Brushes. In ten weeks I was able to clear $750. Fortunately, my brother Charles and his good wife Nellie provided me free room and board that summer and each following summer of my college career. At that time Wesleyan’s tuition fee was $400 and I was given a half scholarship, but with the added costs of  a room in Clark Hall, books, clothing, travel, etc. my $750 was soon over-committed. Fortunately I was pledged to a wonderful fraternity, Phi Nu Theta (Eclectic), the oldest of the 12 then at Wesleyan, and earned my meals by waiting on table in its dining club, 3 meals a day, 7 days per week. I continued that job in my sophomore year and then was elected Steward of the Eating Club for the next two years. This involved billing and collecting the weekly board fee from our members, paying the staff and the bills of the food suppliers.  Thus my food was earned the entire four years. The rest of my cash needs were my by summer jobs and loans.

One of my Fuller Brush customers in Carbondale was Mrs. W.A. Manville, a well-to-do widow. When I delivered her order she asked whether I could drive a car as she had just lost her chauffeur. So for the remaining few weeks of the summer of 1924 I did part-time driving for her. In the spring of the next year (my first at Wesleyan) she wrote and asked if I would drive her full-time the following summer. I demurred, saying that my summer earnings had to be at least $750. She replied that she would pay me that much, so I accepted and drove for her each summer for 4 years. This helped me not only financially but also educationally and socially.  She was a wonderful person, a Virginian, well-educated and widely travelled, and she was an excellent conversationalist. Her car was a Franklin; she purchased a new one every year and in them I drove her and her friends over a good part of northeastern USA and Canada. She did not believe in a partly filled car. Consequently, on those trips she sat in the front seat next to me and the back seat would be occupied by her sister, Mrs. Robert Jadwin, wife of the president of the First National Back, by Harriet Pascoe, a wealthy maiden lady, and by Jane Butler another maiden lady, a real Yankee. All were interesting people and their conversations, which I could not avoid hearing, were, to me, an education in the niceties of life enjoyed by high-minded, wealthy, Christian people. I was not treated as a chauffeur. On these long trips I arranged for the hotel reservations, looked after their luggage, stayed at the same hotels and had my meals with them. Between longer trips I took care of Mrs. Manville's yard, drove her on shopping tips to Scranton and New York City, drover her and her friends to their country club for lunch, and kept the Franklin shined.

Miss Harriet Pascoe knew of my limited resources and she volunteered to help with loans whenever I needed help. By the time I was graduated in 1928 I owed her several hundred dollars and, in addition, I owed the Methodist Church Student Loan Fund $600. When I repaid her, Miss Pascoe remarked that she had given similar loans to several young people but that I was the only one who had repaid the loans. Years later I learned that in her will was a statement, "If Howard Matthews owes anything on the loans I have made him, it is forgiven."

A couple of years later, before we were married, when Dagmar came to Carbondale to meet my family, she met these two delightful ladies also. And in the 50's after we came to live in Middletown, May Manville and her niece Mary Jadwin visited us at 33 Lawn Avenue. Mrs. Manville stayed overnight and the next day we took her back to Mary's home in Woodbridge.

Next time, he's off to Wesleyan.