Miss Dod Plays Golf… Epilogue

Borough Historian Roger Prichard reacts below to Patricia Solin’s article, “Miss Dod Plays Golf Against Stars on Riverton Links

Loved this and – as usual – there are so many connections here.

The golfer Frances C. Griscom who invited Dod here was the granddaughter of Riverton founder William Canby Biddle, and her father was the shipping magnate Clement Griscom, whose company owned the Titanic among many other ships. Clement was mentioned briefly in Gerald Weaber’s May 2008 Gaslight News article about Frances’ brother, Lloyd Carpenter Griscom.

106 Lippincott, Riverton, NJ, PHOTO CREDIT: Roger Prichard

Frances grew up and lived nearly all of her life in her father’s amazing Frank Furness estate “Dolobran” in Haverford, which Furness designed at almost exactly the same time as our Earnshaw House at 106 Lippincott (corner of 2nd).

Cecilia Beaux, “Mother and Daughter,” 1898

There’s a fabulous Cecelia Beaux portrait of Frances and her mother in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (writeup here).

Her mother was the former Frances Canby Biddle, William’s daughter, who would have spent many summers in the house at 307 Bank Avenue, the one the Baptist Home tore down in the 1980s to everyone’s regret.

They don’t look very happy, do they? Frances never married and the 1930 Census shows her still living at Dolobran … alone but for four Irish female servants.

Cecilia Beaux, “Sita and Sarita,” Musee d’Orsay

Total digression: Cecilia Beaux was an amazing and very successful portraitist. Cecilia only lived here briefly in the home of an uncle, Charles W. Leavitt, who built the Italianate house down the street from me at 402 Fulton.

She was so successful a portraitist that my favorite work of hers is in the Musée D’Orsay, and a later copy she made is in the National Gallery of Art, the “Sita and Sarita,” of her cousin Susan Leavitt, who also grew up in that house.

See what wonderful things your fine article kicked off, Patricia?

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John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

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