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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (April 18, 1913)
APKIL 18, 1913
The New Cabinet Hostesses
Washington (D. C.) Sunday Star: "The King
is dead! Long Live tho King!" is the Spirit
which has prevailed since the 4th of March. Tho
old court has disbanded and departed and tho
court of tho new president has stepped into its
place. The republican party, after sixteen years
of supremacy, has bowed its head in defeat,
furled its standards and stepped down into
oblivion, while the banners of democracy are
flying to the breezes in every quarter.
The new president has ushered in a new
order, a plainer, simpler, less complex order of
living and his cabinet follows his lead.
Mrs. Wilson, the first lady of the land, quietly
assumed her place at the helmof the social ship
of state and without any demonstration or blare
of trumpets a new social regime is launched
upon its course.
Home interests are paramount. For the
present, at least, simple, quiet entertaining is
tho order of the hour. Even precedence, the
autocrat of Washington, is gently given a side
seat and Washington rubs its eyes to behold
itself in place of the ever waxing brilliaricV 'ol
the past with its constant whirl of social events,
going to bed when the sage says it should, go
ing to church on Sunday with the ban on work
and elaborate entertaining and withal going
back to a' revival of the times when Sunday was
a day of rest, and with a general sort of under
standing that wines and liquors will not be con
sidered an essential part of hospitality.
There seems to be a general desire among
the new cabinet women to dress simply, live
simply and enjoy life, and to "keep within
their means." As one cabinet hostess ex
"None of us are millionaires, none of us are
oven rich and if we are to practice the principles
of true democracy we will live within our hus
bands' salaries. True hospitality means some
thing beyond a mere gratification of the senses.
Brilliant decorations and elaborate feasts with
out the true spirit of mutual appreciation and
enjoyment are but the hollow shams of osten
tation." The ladies of the new cabinet are a' remark
able group of women. All of them are of
unusual mental caliber, and their outlook upon
life has necessarily been serious enough to con
sider questions from several sides, but with
them all at present home life stands first and
their entertaining during tho spring at least will
follow the simple lines. After that, when the
official season begins in the fall well, there is
something in Washington official life which gets
into the blood and then the social whirl oeglns.
What the official standard of the administra
tion will be with regard to its entertaining is a
riddle and the capital has neither sphinx nor
It is a matter of congratulation, both to tho
administration and the public at large, that
Mrs. William Jennings Bryan is the third lady
of the land today and the social mentor for the
other cabinet hostesses. Out of the galaxy of
the charming women of the new regime there is
none better fitted by temperament and intellec
tual attainment to be the wife of the premier of
the nation than Mrs. Bryan, who combines the
qualities of wife, mother, talented lawyer, noted
club woman, linguist and earnest student, with
the result that when the diplomats call at the
home of the secretary of state they will be met
by a woman of cosmopolitan culture who is
thoroughly familiar with the various political
phases of their home government.
In a' recent interview Mrs. Bryan declared
that with the appointments only a few hours
old it was entirely too early to make any state
ments about her social plans in view of the fact
that she had not formed any other than that
after a time she would take a house and spend
the most of her time here with Mr. Bryan when
his duties required his presence in the capital.
At tho suggestion that her new duties would
be likely to cause her to relinquish a large pro
portion of her club and philanthropic work, Mrs.
Bryan explained that she would never allow the
exactions of any position to submerge her in
dividuality and that she could see no reason why
the social duties of the cabinet hostess should
absorb all of her time to the exclusion of other
Mrs. Bryan was Miss Mary Baird, the daugh
ter of Mr. and Mrs. John Baird of Perry, 111.,
vhere she was born in June, 1861. At twenty
she was graduated with first honors from a
Presbyterian school for young ladles in Jack
sonville, 111. After graduation she did special
work in the Illinois college and also in tho Uni
versity of Nebraska.
Her marriago to Mr. Bryan occurred at Perry,
111., In 1884, after which, under her husband's
supervision, she pursued tho course of law laid
down by the Union college of Chicago and was
admitted to the bar in district and supremo
courts of Nebraska in 1887. This was done
without any intention of practicing, but simply
to enable her to enter more thoroughly into her
husband's work and ambition.
His entrance into politics forced her to fol
low him into that field also and she has on
davored for the last twenty years to keep her
self thoroughly Informed upon political condi
tions both locally and internationally.
Mrs. Bryan feels a sympathetic interest In tho
Intellectual growth of tho women of tho coun
try, and rojoices in their progress along the
industrial lines which is broadening their
spheres of usefulness. Twenty-five years ago
she holped to organize the Sorosis of Lincoln,
which has been a most successful organization.
She is connected with tho Fortnightly club and
has maintained her membership In the Women's
club of Lincoln from the beginning. This club
now has an enrollment of about 1,200 members,
and has been responsible for many reforms and
innovations along civic lines In the city and Its
environs. She also Is ono of the sustaining
members of tho Y. W. C. A. of that city.
While Mrs. Bryan Is doubly qualified to fall
in line in the D. A. R. ranks, she has never
joined that organization. Her family Is wholly
Amorican, both branches having sent members
into the revolutionary war. Her maternal an
cestors were descended from Sir Gregory Doxtor,
who was sent back to England to securo tho
charter for tho state of Rhode Island. Her
father comes of old Pennsylvania stock, tho first
of whom came to this country in tho early part
of the seventeenth century.
Mr. and Mrs. Bryan have three children, all
of whom are married, and there Is now an In
teresting group of grandchildren.
Mrs. Bryan has the balance and poise that
nothing disturbs. She is absolutely certain of
herself, knows her privileges and her limita
tions perfectly, and one know,s without doubt
that her decisions will be made In perfect fair
ness and honesty of purpose.
She knows Washington official and social life
down to the tiniest red-tape-bound detail. To
her will fall the duty of preserving harmonfous
relations between the wives of the diplomatic
contingent and the women of the cabinet and
the rest of the social world. She will also pre
side and participate In the most brilliant func
tions outside of those of the White House.
She Is a firm believer in college education for
girls, provided the girls themselves have the
mental endowments and tho ambition to make
it worth while rather than merely to satisfy
the ambition of their paTents.
As to fads she has none. Her life has been
so fully occupied with serious matters that she
has not kept up the accomplishments with which
she, like every other 'young ladles' seminary
graduate, started out in life. In her girlhood
Mrs. Bryan devoted much time to music and
painting, bub after her marriage she gave her
attention to so many other matters, as well as
to the study of law, that she kept up only her
music and that in a desultory fashion simply
as a means of relaxation for herself and a
pleasure to her family.
Mrs. Bryan is deeply interested in all philan
thropic work along civic lines, but has not as
yet given any thought to affiliating herself with
either club or philanthropic work in the capital,
though she may do both in time.
In Mrs. Franklin K. Lane, wife of the secre
tary of the Interior, Washington society has
one of Its most progressive hostesses. Mrs.
Lane Is an avowed suffragist, and Is enthusiasti
cally in favor of the success of the "votes for
"I was In California," she said, "during the
suffrage campaign in that state. Up to that
time I had taken very little interest in the sub
ject beyond having a strong sympathy with the
women of' England. Then the realization came
to me that woman suffrage was needed in this
country also, and, after giving the matter
further study, I became an advocate of the
cause, though I have not taken an active part."
Mrs. Lane, though In possession of all the
necessary qualifications in the way of patriotic
ancestry, has not as yet Identified horsolf with
tho Daughters of the American Revolution. Her
Dutch ancestors settled in Now York early in tho
seventeenth century and fought in tho Indian
waTs long before tho rovolution. Sho lo a daugh
ter of Mr. and Mrs. Potor WIntormuto of Elmlra,
N. Y. Her marriago to Mr. Lane occurred In
Tacoma, Wash., In 1893, and their family con
sists of a son, Franklin Lano, jr., In his fifteenth
year, and Nancy, aged tun, both of whom wcro
born In California.
"Are you a clubwoman?"
"Though I have no club Intorosta In Washing
ton, I belong to a numbor in San Franclico. Of
all of these, my membership in tho Round Tablo
was the most Interesting. Wo organized this
dinner club as an experiment, but it soon bo
cniiio ono of the moat Interesting and famous
women's clubs of California. Tho Round Tablo
membership consisted of twenty-five women.
Besides such writers ns Mrs. Fremont Oldor,
Alico Prescott Smith and others equally famous,
there were lawyers, artists, doctors, business
and society women, who Ilka Miss Lucy Spraguc
and Miss Grace Lewelleyn Jones, wcro local
"Tho club met once a month at a dlnnor,
when a topic was chosen and every woman was
expected to speak. Once a year the club gayo
a special dinner to which each woman brought
a man, and following this reversal of tho usual
order of things the topics chosen wcro treated
from the woman's side.
"Tho dinner club with Its unlquo programs
became eo popular that wo decided to print Its
history. Then camo the earthquake, which
scattered records and members alike."
In addition to tho Round Tablo Dinner club,
Mrs. Lane also belonged to tho California Civic
club, tho Sorosis and several literary clubs.
Mrs. Lane's Washington life has been devoted
so entirely to her family and friends that fada
and athlotics have alike been excluded, but she
is a dovoteo of both art and music.
The Lanes are tho only members of the now
cabinet as yet established in their own homo,
where they have entertained frequently.
"We are going to transplant our homo from
Raleigh to Washington, and wo hope to see our
friends just as often and onjoy them as much
as ever. We have always had a real homo,
entirely as much for our boys as for ourselves,
and we aro not going to part with our homo llfo
or change it in any material respect," said Mrs.
Joscphus Daniels, wife of the secretary of tho
Tho appointment of Josephus Daniels of
Raleigh, N. C, to the portfolio of secretary of
the navy gives to tho cabinet coterie another
most delightful and charming addition in tho
sister of Ensign Worth Bagley, who was tho
first United States officer killed In the war
Mrs. Daniels comes of an old and dis
tinguished family of North Carolina; as sho
expressed it, "In North Carolina we know every
body and everybody knows us."
She Is a daughter of the late Judge William
11. Bagley, who was clerk of tho supremo court
of North Carolina and a major In the confederate
Her grandfather, Jonathan Worth, was the
first democratic governor of the state after the
civil War. Her younger brother, David Worth
Bagley, is also in tho navy. She Is thus fully
Identified with the circle in which her husband's
position gives her a high rank.
Mrs. Daniels has a variety of club member
ships. She Is a Colonial Dame on both sides,
through her father's family from North Caro
lina' and her mother's Massachusetts relation
ship to John Howland from whom sho 13
descended In direct line.
Mrs. Daniels Is also a member of tho
Daughters of the Confederacy, of the Women's
club of Raleigh, and is president'of tho Alumnao
association of Peace institute of that city. Sho
also belongs to the Society of Sponsors of Battle
ships, and christened tho torpedo boat Bagley.
Mrs. Daniels is well known to Washington, as
her mother and two sisters, Miss Adelaide Worth
Bagley and Miss Ethel Worth Bagley, reside in
Washington. Secretary and Mrs. Daniels havo
four boys, of whom they are intensely proud.
"If I have a hobby In the world," said their
mother, "it is my boys."
Josephus, jr., the oldest boy in college, Is in
line for an editorship on his father's paper.
Worth Bagley, the thirteen-yeaT-old, aspires to
be a surgeon, while Jonathan Worth, about
twelve, Is the playwright and literary man of
the family. The other and youngest of this
lively quartet Is too busy, just being an all
(Continued on Pago 9.)
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