I was running errands in my neighborhood, when I came across old letters scattered on the rain soaked steps of a Church. The envelopes were yellowed with age and one had a three cent stamp affixed to it. My curiosity got the better of me – I scooped them up, brought them home, and sandwiched them between paper towels to dry.
The letters belonged to sisters Dorothy, Marion, and Ruth Haon. An internet search revealed that the Haon sisters were persons of considerable note. They were well off, and for a time, they lived together at 300 Park Avenue in New York. Other pieces of mail showed that there were trips to Paris on the Cunard White Star R.M.S. Caronia – which featured the post war luxury of an outdoor swimming pool and bathroom/shower facilities in every cabin.
As it turns out, Dorothy Haon was a graduate of The New York School of Fine and Applied Art (which eventually became Parsons The New School of Design) in 1923 – 24. She went on to become a fashion designer and had a career in merchandising, sometimes working with her sister Marion. Among the letters were delicate pencil drawings of dresses, accented with colored pencils on tracing paper.
I’m not sure why these pieces of correspondence and sketches were discarded in the rain, but I’m glad that I didn’t ignore them. There’s a lot of food for thought. Once I have time to go over the letters, I will post again with more information.
Any luck finding living relatives?
I found the great-niece on Facebook and left her a message. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been active for a couple of years. I may give it a few days and call the number I’ve found for her. There are a few notes written to these ladies from this woman’s mother thanking one for a dress she bought her daughter, and that she was going to wear it to a birthday party. Ultimately, I’d like to return these to the family.
That is a heck of a find!