The Boulevard on a Rainy Day, c. 1894. From

The Boulevard on a Rainy Day, c. 1894. From “Broadway north of Columbus Circle used to be known as The Boulevard”.

In the June 1903 surviving letters of Edith Vail Ross to her parents in Rutland, Vermont there are many references to rain, storms and overall gloomy weather. At first I chalked this up to standard letter opener niceties, comments about the weather, but then finally my interest was piqued – !Rain again! I thought as I read similar opening lines – and I went looking for rainfall data for 1903. Well, Edith was not exaggerating. The weather for June 1903, according to the records kept by the Central Park Observatory, provided 9.75 inches of rain in June 1903. A record that was not broken for a hundred years until June 2003 which saw just over ten inches. Reviewing the years immediately preceeding and the deade following 1903, June in New York City usually saw just a couple of inches of rain. But in 1903, storm after storm brought plenty of rain down.

Edith was not sidetracked by the rain however. She writes, “This is a funny day, fierce thunderstorms this AM but I shouldn’t wonder if it cleared up soon. Through this funny weather I have had my singing lesson, practiced my singing and my dramatic work, had lunch and now I am writing you [parents]. At 4:30 I have my lesson with Miss Collins.”

Edith Vail Ross was a determined and focused young lady intent on a career in music. She was not, as the cliche says, filling her time until she found a husband, but truly a performer wishing to sing, her instrument of choice.

About Guenevere Crum

Guenevere Crum is an artist and a great granddaughter of Edith and Paul Eisler. She has been actively sleuthing her Eisler - Vail Ross heritage since 1999.
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