Yellow Bud Vases

Bud vases brought from England c. 1885
Bud vases brought from England c. 1885

Right after they were married – before the Statue of Liberty was built – so around 1885, my maternal great grandparents emigrated from England.  Harry Peto was born in 1864 in Guilford, Surrey, and Isabella Damms in 1866 in Shouldham, Norfolk.  The young couple had very few possessions, but among them was a pair of yellow bud vases that sit in my dining room today near other treasured items that connect me to my past.  Harry and Bell settled in Manhattan, where he had a tailoring and shoe repair business and where my grandmother Olive was born in 1890.  She lived there with her parents and younger brother until she was married at the unusually old age (for the time) of 32.  After graduating from the Wadleigh High School for Girls (located in a 1902 landmark building on West 114th Street), Olive built a successful business serving as a social secretary and bookkeeper for society families with names such as Field, Meyer, Barnes and Martin.  Her school training, interactions with clients and visits to their homes taught her an appreciation for family objects that she passed down to my mother and to me.  My grandmother was traditional in many ways, but she believed in women’s rights and in the importance of their financial independence.  She managed her financial affairs nearly until her death at age 100.  It is clear that her influence helped lead me to my career in financial management in the field of historic preservation.

Place(s): England
Year: 1885

– Lyn Howell Moriarity

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more