Edward Vail Ross arrived by train on a late May evening in 1903 to visit with his daughter Edith. He had heard of her progress by way of her near daily letters home but had now arrived in New York City to hear her voice in person. He wanted to have a discussion with Mr. Desci regarding her progress and hear his assessment of her future plans. In 1903 E.V. Ross would have arrived from Vermont on the train at the Grand Central Station, seen here
Construction had just begun in 1903 for the new design of Grand Central Terminal that would take another nine years to complete
Edith describes meeting her father off the train and their subsequent late dinner, “…Well! Here we are! Papa is lying on my bed taking real comfort while I am writing to you. Guess he will add a few words. He arrived about 9:15 last night and the minute I saw his beaming face I knew everything was all right. He had not been here more than 15 or 20 minutes when Mr. Decsi happened in and so we had a nice visit about my prospects…. And then he ordered us to go out and take a stroll with him as felt he would like some air. We ended up at “Burnes” 45 St. and 6th Ave where we had a fine dinner. Papa was hungry as he only had a little lunch at Poughkeepsie. We had ham sandwiches, with swiss cheese, dill pickles, bread etc. All enjoyed it very much, then took car home…”
Her genuine joy in his arrival is evident in her letter home to her mother who is with Grandmother Beals in Rutland, Vermont. Edith describes their activity, “…Papa has been over at the Studio with me a good share of the morning. Mr. Schubert and I rehearsed our duets and I sang my solo for Monday night. The Arditi Waltz and then sang the “Strauss Waltz” for Papa’s benefit. He was delighted, as were all the others present. Mr. Schubert thought it was great, particulary my big high notes. The duets are going better…”
Both her parents supported Edith’s plans strongly and their support and mutual admiration can be seen here in Edith’s recap of the day when her father encourages her and she listens aloud to her mother’s letter. Edith writes, “…This P.M. Papa wants to go to see Mr. Maure and so he said for me not to give up going to be “Romeo and Juliet” which Kit had suggested doing. This evening we will spend with Miss Schirmer and tomorrow go up to Kilmers. How we wish you were here. Your dear welcome letter came this morning and Papa read it aloud to me…”
There are no known recordings of Edith’s voice but you can hear Rita Streich sing the Arditi number here. I cannot imagine the feelings Edward had listening to his daughter sing this mature piece that flaunts vocal acrobatics in rapid succession. The small vocal studio of Mr. Desci’s might have suddenly felt like a world away from his own reality of accounting at the Howe Scale Company. Was this a moment in which he understood his daughter was going to be a musician for the rest of her life in cities far away from the family home?