Childhood, Edith Vail Ross
Edith’s childhood in Rutland Vermont was spent on Church Street with her parents, her sister Inez and her maternal Grandmother Eveline C Parker Beals. Music played a central role in family life. Her father Edward Vail Ross had played the church organ in his youth, her mother Helen sang and played the piano, as did her Grandmother Beals and (although Edith never met her) her great grandmother Amanda Parker did as well. It is not known when Edith started formally on the piano, but it was sometime in her youth, as she was known to accompany other musicians just a few decades later.
These excerpts of the childhood serial magazine “Babyland” arrived in her house when Edith was seven and Inez was three years old. Did Edith read aloud to her red haired baby sister the stories in “Babyland“? It is very possible, but not much is known about Inez other than her red hair and early death at eight years old.
Popular music that Edith would have heard in her youth of the 1880’s included the classic “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah“, in lyrics set by Julia Ward Howe and published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1862. Enthusiasm for the song had only grown over the decades and it was commonly sung by many. Here is an especially fine performance by Judy Garland,