A 110 years ago Edith Vail Ross spent a mid-April Easter accompanied by Mrs. Schirmer in Washington DC and was joined for a few days by her friend May Seymour who was performing in nearby Baltimore. They stayed at the Raleigh Hotel and had a full schedule of sightseeing and music concerts. They saw “all that they could” and specifically named the Washington Monument, the White House and Mt. Vernon as places toured. At the White House they strolled the grounds and Edith actually ran into an acquaintance from Troy, New York accompanied by her father. Only a few rooms of President Theodore Roosevelt’s White House were open to visitors and they soon headed towards the Monument. Edith was especially overjoyed with her visit to Mt. Vernon and “could scarcely believe” she was in Washington’s home.
Here is a photograph of Edith’s friend May Seymour in 1901:
View pictures of the Raleigh Hotel here: http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2010/03/magnificent-raleigh-hotel.html
Wondering how she felt about a Cherry Blossom Spring? This was nine years before Japan’s gift of 2,000 cherry trees in 1912 so of course there wasn’t a Cherry Blossom in sight in 1903.
At the Raleigh Hotel she was “delighted” to receive a care package with Easter gifts and she thanks her mother Helen for thinking of her and coordinating the contents. She considers it “partly from Papa and thanks him accordingly” but recognizes her mother’s handiwork on the two enclosed party purses, one of which matches her opera coat exactly. Mrs. Schirmer received some shoes as a gift and Edith describes her as “tickled to pieces” over them. Edith remarks that she has sent “Easter remembrances to each of the Grandmothers” and this would be Elmira Ross in Poultney, Vt and Eveline Beals who is living in their family home in Rutland. She says that since her father “doesn’t value gifts” she has not sent “him any manifestation of her love and Easter wishes”. She closes her letter with “love,love,love”, announcing that she will visit soon and will tell them all the details of her “beautiful” trip.
While the details of what Edith’s Opera Coat might have looked like are not known, here are two examples of what Opera coats looked like in 1903. Again neither of these are directly linked to Edith but are examples of the style at the time. Housed in the Costume Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is this 1903 example of an Opera Coat, http://shar.es/dfkP9
and this 1903 advertisement illustrates another style