Elaborate Christmas Celebration at the Skinner Home

by Laurel | December 31st, 2013

31 Dec 1922

Scene from "Eager Heart"

Scene from the play “Eager Heart”
by Mary Alice Buckton
Drawing by Gilbert Holiday,
The Graphic 1909

Holyoke, Dec. 20 — Social events galore always are the rule Christmas week, but this year will bear the palm as outdoing all previous years in entering to the social atmosphere. Club meetings, however, were almost entirely relegated to a future date.

Among the many Christmas celebrations, the one at Wisteriahurst, the William Skinner homestead, easily takes the lead, both in point of number and te character of the entertainment. Miss Skinner, who had been at her winter home in New York since the middle of November, returned to Holyoke the patter part of the week, bringing also the domestic staff of the New York home to aid in carrying out her plans for the celebration. Although there has always been a generous amount of entertaining at Wisteriahurst, it is a number of years since all the members of the original family of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Skinner had all come home for a family reunion, and this celebration not only brought them, but all their children, and in some cases their grandchildren. The first event of the celebration came Christmas, when all the relatives and a few outside friends fathered in the music hall to enjoy a Christmas play, presented on a stage at one end of the room by some of the younger people. The members of the cast who gave the play, “Eager Heart,” displayed much dramatic talent. Carols were sung and at midnight, just before the company dispersed, the Christmas tree, which had been placed at one end of the room was lighted, supper having been served after the play. The members of the family present, besides those living in Holyoke, had come from Boston, New York, New Haven,  Philadelphia and Las Vegas. Outside friends present included Prof. and Mrs. William Churchill Hammond, Miss Emma bates, Miss Lulu B. Hyde and her daughter Miss Hazel Hyde of New York, George S. lewis, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Bagg, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. E. A. Reed, now of Springfield, and Mr. and Mrs. George Savoy. now of Canada. Monday noon came another strictly family gathering, when dinner was served and the Christmas tree relieved of its bountiful load of presents.

Monday night Miss Skinner was hostess for an 18th century ball, when all the guests came in costume. Miss Skinner, dressed in red brocade with powder and patches, personated a lady of the French court. William Skinner, in scarlet uniform, was a general of the British army. Joseph Skinner, in black satin, a nobleman of the 18th century. Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard of Elm Street made an ideal Martha Washington. Mrs. Hammond was petite in peasant costume and Raymond Clark, one of the grandsons from Philadelphia, was a veritable John Bull. A few young men friends of the grandson, William H. Hubbard had been invited for the dancing and included Prescott, Benjamin and Thomas Childs, who made an inimitable “Spirit of ’76”; Richard and Herbert Towne, William Fairfield and Edward Whiting, Joseph Prescott and a few others. The music was supplied by Conrad’s orchestra of New York. A fine dinner completed the program. Tuesday the company dispersed, the Warners, with their children and grandchildren, returning to Boston, and the sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Clark going back to Philadelphia. Mr. and Mrs. David Harris (she was Ruth Skinner, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Skinner are still at “The Orchards” at South Hadley Center, but will leave for New Mexico the later part of next week.

From The Springfield Republican.

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