Tried and True: Traditions of a Southeast Texas Family


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"Tried and True:Traditions of a Southeast Texas Family" is the historical interpretation of the McFaddin-Ward House Historic House Museum for Summer 2013. The museum's curatorial staff work to select historical documentation and artifacts to portray what life was like for the McFaddins during the museum's era of interpretation--from the 1900s--1950. The exhibit will be on display through November 2013.

The McFaddin-Ward House was built in 1905-1906. The Beaux-Arts Colonial style home and its furnishings reflect the lifestyle of the prominent family that lived in the house for seventy-five years.

For more information on the McFaddin-Ward House, follow the museum on Facebook or contact the museum at (409) 832-2134. Tours of the home are offered Tuesday through Friday and reservations are encouraged.

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Tried and True: Traditions of a Southeast Texas Family

  1. 1. In the days before air conditioning, Southeast Texans wereforced to adapt their summer activities to the heat. Thoughstill a busy social season, summertime assumed a more leisurelypace. The McFaddins and Wards traveled, read, entertained,listened to music, sat on their porch, and generally tried to staycool.TRIED AND TRUE:TRADITIONS OF ASOUTHEAST TEXAS FAMILY
  2. 2. FRONT PORCHPorch sitting is a long-standing tradition, especially in the South.Mamie McFaddin Ward’s diaries contain numerous references totheir spacious front porch:“After dinner Caldwell over we walked around yard & sat on porch.” —June 1, 1936“[at] night Mother & I sat on porch” — May 13, 1938“a hot day – 91 – cooler on porch & a comfortable night but hot day” —June 26, 1938
  3. 3. DINING ROOMCollections: Dresden china, ca. 1920 “Baltimore Rose” flatware by Schofield Company, Baltimore, MD, ca.1910 Placemats, napkins, table runner, ca. 1920, manufacturer unknown—cotton and linen with lace and needlepoint techniques Glassware unmarked, ca. 1930, cut glassThe dining room table is set for a formal dinner. This placesetting was actually chosen by the public! For the first time ever,the collections staff displayed two place settings on our Facebookpage and allowed viewers to vote on the one they liked. It was aclose race, but this setting won. The “Click to Curate” competi-tion was so popular we hope to repeat it in the future. Usingplacemats shows off the rich, dark wood of the table.
  4. 4. BUTLER’S PANTRYCollections: Dresden coffee service and cake plate Two silver trays, manufacturer unknown Coffee and Waffles by Alice Foote MacDougall Blenko aqua/green glass sherbert dishes, ca. 1930The butler’s pantry shows domestic employees preparing to serveguests in both the dining room and the breakfast room. The cof-fee service is part of the Dresden set in the dining room. Besidethe silver tray holding the coffee service is the book Coffee andWaffles by Alice Foote MacDougall, which contains coffee triviaand household tips. Dessert for breakfast room guests will beserved in Blenko sherbert dishes that match the set in the break-fast room.
  5. 5. BREAKFAST ROOM/CONSERVATORYA luncheon is taking place in the breakfast room. Blenko glasswaresits atop a color-appliqued tablecloth and matching napkins. Onthe small sideboard (west wall) finger bowls and doilies have beenplaced on a silver tray, ready for service between the main courseand dessert. Dessert plates sit alongside the tray, to be used first un-der the finger bowls and next, under the sherberts when they arebrought in from the butler’s pantry. Blenko cocktail glasses, on an-other tray, will hold after-dinner drinks.Collections: Blenko aqua/green glass lunch plates, salad bowls, fingerbowls, iced tea,wine, and cocktail glasses, ca. 1930 Tablecloth, napkins, 1935-1950, manufacturer unknown—cotton andlinen with appliqué, embroidery, and cutwork designs Doilies, ca. 1940, round hemstitched cotton and lace “Mary Chilton” flatware by Towle, Newbuyrport, MA, ca. 1919
  6. 6. LIBRARYMamie spent many evenings in the library relaxing, listening tothe radio, and reading. After her marriage, she enjoyed lookingback through her wedding mementos. She also often consultedetiquette books to keep up with the latest trends in hospitality.Collections: “Bridal Flowers,” a record of Mamie’s wedding, 1919 Emily Post’s Etiquette
  7. 7. SUN PORCHThe McFaddins enjoyed entertaining, and often the menwould gather to plan a hunting trip. Wedgwood tumblers andmatching pitcher featuring embossed hunting scenes sit on a silvertray with cutwork napkins. Nearby sits a Currier and Ives bookopen to a print of a hunting scene.Collections: Wedgwood tumblers and pitcher, ca. 1910, molded and glazed ceramicembossed with hunting scenes Silver tray, manufacturer unknown Cutwork napkins
  8. 8. MUSIC ROOMCollections: The Gloria clock has been moved here from the breakfast room to makeroom for the finger bowl trayProp: “June Brought the Roses,” sheet music from the Teaching CollectionBefore the days of radio, the music room would have been apopular summer spot. Someone in the house could usually play pi-ano while others sang along. Families bought the latest sheet musicin the way later generations bought records, now CDs or down-loads. There are hundreds of pieces of sheet music in the archivesthat belonged to the McFaddins, though this piece is part of theteaching collection.
  9. 9. SECOND FLOORAs the master and green bedrooms will be repainted sometime thissummer, there have been no changes on the second floor except in thenorth bedroom. When the project begins, furniture will be stored in theblue and pink bedrooms, and all four rooms will be closed. To makesome interpretation possible, we will mount large photographs of theclosed rooms on easels outside the doors. The tour can focus on thefront and back halls, the sleeping porch, and the north bedroom.
  10. 10. SLEEPING PORCHFRONT HALLThe sleeping porch was added in 1912, in order to give sleep-ers the health benefit of fresh outdoor air. The McFaddins start-ed using it early every summer, when temperatures rose into the90s. Younger family members were sometimes less enthusiasticabout the “togetherness” that the porch provided.Started sleeping on porch (Carroll & I) — June 5, 1936 diary entry“There was lots of snoring out there, and often I woke very early andslipped inside.” — Rosine McFaddin Wilson, “Recollections andRetrospectives”The sleeping porch will open June 1.The second-floor hall was occasionally used as more than justa connecting area between rooms; on one occasion, it actuallyheld a piano and a men’s and women’s chorus! Mamie located themusical entertainment in the hall when she hosted a tea for 200-300 guests in 1938.“Piano came & we put upstairs in hall for music….Men & women sangin a chorus; lovely voices.” — April 29, 1938 diary entry
  11. 11. NORTH BEDROOMCollections: 12 ga. shotgun, J.C. Higgins, Sears and Roebuck, ca. 1915 20 ga. shotgun, pump action, Remington Arms, ca. 1927 J.C. Higgins gun cleaning kit with both metal and wooden barrelcleaning rods Hoppe’s 9 Solvent Canvas gun caseA conscientious hunter like Carroll Ward always kept hisguns cleaned, both during and between hunting seasons. A guncleaning kit contained everything needed for proper mainte-nance: rods of different sizes (for different gauge barrels), clothpatches, and Hoppe’s 9 solvent. This product was first producedin 1903 by Frank Hoppe, who, according to company history,mixed nine different chemicals to get just the right formula.
  12. 12. BILLIARD ROOMCollections: Game table top has been “flipped” over to the flat side Billiard table is set for a game of “Eight Ball” Dominoes, ca. 1900 Beer steins, Germany, ca. 1920 Metal clip-on ashtrays, ca. 1900 Phonograph records, albums, ca. 1900Prop: Vintage recordings, played on a boomboxThe McFaddin “guys” are enjoying an evening of dominoes,kicking back with a beer and a smoke, and listening to the latestsongs on the ca. 1905 Victor Talking Machine Company phono-graph. The print of the group of men playing cards in the left back-ground of this photograph captures the spirit of the moment.
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  16. 16. Tours AvailableTuesday—Friday10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.Saturdays10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.Sundays1—3 p.m.(409)