Thoughtful musings on various topics by interesting people at Blithewold

Shared History

At the end of August 2018, on a beautiful sunny day, two Pardee cousins got together at Blithewold to reminisce about ninety years of shared history. Marjorie Jeffries is the granddaughter of Bessie Pardee Van … Read more.

The First Pardee Family Reunion

Bessie Pardee Van Wickle McKee was the twelfth of Ario Pardee’s 15 children. She was raised in a large mansion in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, as a strict Presbyterian with strong family values. The Pardee children remained … Read more.

Le Bosquet by Samuel Dean

Upon a gentle upland Bordering on a sunlit bay There lies a sylvan glade; Its length o’ertopped By waving branches Of lofty trees That offer cooling haven To those who seek their shade. When beams … Read more.

The Missing Portrait

In 1912 the French portrait painter Henry Caro-Delvaille sailed from Cherbourg to New York on the S.S. France. Among his fellow passengers was Walter Kilham, an old friend of Bessie and William McKee and the … Read more.

A Trip on the Marjorie: Cuba and Jamaica, 1900

In March 1900, Bessie Van Wickle took possession of the new 174-foot yacht that her husband Augustus had commissioned two years earlier. It was built by the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works in … Read more.

12-Year-Old Marjorie Van Wickle’s Dress, c1895

This pale green child’s dress was worn by Marjorie Van Wickle when she was 12 years old. The dress was made by B. Altman Co., New York. It has a high-waisted lined bodice with a … Read more.

Halley’s Comet, 1910

On May 26, 1910, Estelle Clements saw Halley’s Comet; she wrote in her diary, “Fine sight of comet in p.m.” It was an historic occasion to which she gave short shrift, going on to write … Read more.

Accident on the Road to Ravenna

In the spring of 1910 Bessie and William McKee were in Italy with their daughters Marjorie and Augustine. The family had traveled on the R.M.S. Carmania from New York to Naples, where they were met … Read more.

Keep Your Hands Off My Trees!

A scandal in Hazleton at the Pardee Mansion on West Broad Street was reported in the Hazleton Sentinel on December 4, circa 1900.  Linesmen from the Electric Light Company were attempting to cut down some … Read more.

“What New York Women Eat When They Shop”

Among Bessie’s papers in the Archives is a full-page article that she carefully cut out from the Ladies’ Home Journal, June 1909. Reading it now, 109 years later, we might think that the article was … Read more.