EXCEPT FOR ONE man — can you find him? — none of the costumed members of the Seattle Historical Society posing...
EXCEPT FOR ONE man — can you find him? — none of the costumed members of the Seattle Historical Society posing here is wearing pants. (That little man in the upper-right corner seems to have sneaked into the scene.) The front porch of the Emily and Morgan Carkeek First Hill home at Boren and Madison was used more than once for such a group portrait.
The Carkeeks where English immigrants, and their children, Guendolen and Vivian, kept the family’s Anglo-Saxon flame lit. More than a student of the King Arthur legend, the lawyer Vivian Carkeek was a true believer, and for years the national president of the Knights of the Round Table. Guendolen was packed off to England as a teenager to go to school, although she wound up living in Paris and marrying a Russian count. Later, she returned to Seattle to help revive the historical society that her mother founded in 1911.
The society’s first costume party was held on Founders Day, Nov. 13, 1914; this is probably soon after.
But who are these early leaders in the celebration of local heritage? The only face familiar to me here (from other photographs) is that of Emily Carkeek herself. She looks straight into the camera at the center of the fourth row down from the top. Two rows behind her and also at the center, the woman with the large white plume in her hat resembles the artist Harriet Foster Beecher, but it is almost certainly not she.
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On March 30, 1915, Harriet Beecher, along with the historian-journalist Thomas Prosch, pioneer Margaret Lenora (Lenora Street) Denny and Virginia McCarver Prosch, drowned when the Carkeeks’ touring car crashed into the Duwamish River. Only the chauffeur and Emily Carkeek survived.
Paul Dorpat specializes in historical photography and has published several books on early Seattle.