Fair Financier of Frocks Begin Business with Nation’s Most Prominent Women as Her Financial Backers

This is the fourth article in April of the School for Housewives 1903 series published on Apr 26, 1903, and is an article on Harman Brown as she ventures into millinery.

School for Housewives – Fair Financier of Frocks Begin Business with Nation’s Most Prominent Women as Her Financial Backers

A fair financier of frocks and frills has made her appearance in New York. Within the last few days social and financial circles have been much interested by the appearance of a new prospectus announcing the incorporating of the business of a woman of distinction – Miss Harman Brown.

Through her financiering “millinery preferred” may yet have its trading corner on ‘Change. Nothing is more likely, since Miss Brown has formed a profit-sharing dressmaking and millinery corporation. That bonnets and gowns should be the background of the first feminine trust seems eminently proper.

Six years ago, when Miss Harman Brown went into the millinery business, the event created a stir, as she belongs to one of New York’s best families, her grandfather having been Stewart Brown, the founder of the international banking house of Brown Brothers, and her father, William Harman-Brown, one of the originators of the “Gold Room,” the parent of the Stock Exchange. This is her story of her business career:


The first scene of my adventure into trade was in the upper floors of a former livery stable, just off Fifth Avenue and well known to a fashionable set of women.

After two years the millinery business had so grown that the floor of a building in Thirty-third Street was taken, and here the business became famous and sent out lines to most of the leading cities and prominent winter resorts.


Last October I added dressmaking to the activities already flourishing, millinery and neckwear, with so immediate a success that I realized the necessity for more commodious quarters. With the fact of the increased trade cam the idea of extending the scope of the business, and the present plan of incorporating the business was made.

Early in February of this year I moved into an entire building just off Fifth Avenue, and had the same remodeled and decorated in a most attractive manner.

Once settled in the new house the prospectus of the intended corporation was sent out, and the responses in the form of subscriptions for stock came in the form of subscriptions for stock came in from an interesting variety of sources, representing social, financial and philanthropic interests. The latter class are greatly interested in the plan for profit sharing which is to be put into effect when the corporation has been running for a year.


This subject is one great interest to me, as I was interested in questions of social economy long before going into trade, and now see the opportunity of establishing a plan which has been most carefully worked out by me from my actual experiences with labor and business methods.

The plan has met with the strongest expressions of approval from men of distinction.

The plan which will be adopted in arranging for the sharing of the profits with employees is to issue annually to such of the employees of the company as shall have been in its employ for a specified time, or as shall for other reasons seem to the directors to deserve it, certain profit-sharing contracts or debentures. These debentures shall not be transferable and at meetings of the corporation, and ill expressly run for only one calendar year. They will be so drawn as to entitle the holders to a certain specified share of the net profits after paying dividends on the preferred stock, or a certain proportion of the net profits after they shall have reached a specified sum, the employees’ portion increasing as the profits resulting for their work increase.

If they held stock they would have a vote at meetings, and the stock being negotiable security, they could sell it; and they could also retain possession of it after their connection with the company had been severed for any reason. The profit-sharing debenture plan, it seems, will wed them more closely to the interests of the company.

To open the corporation the preferred stock is being sold at par, with a guaranteed divided of seven percent. Among my subscribers are Mrs. J. Plerpont Morgan, Mrs. Robert Olyphant, Mrs. Edward King, Mrs. Casimer de Coppet, Miss Julia Marlowe, Mrs. E. Hoffman Miller, whose names indicate financial faith in the enterprise.

Miss Brown proposes to call semi-annual meetings of stockholders, at which the latest models will be shown, and the business of the company discussed by men of distinction in profit sharing, etc.

Marion Harland

Changing Corset Shapes
Corner for Parents
Housewife’s Corner
Some Marion Harland Recipes
Weaving Dogs’ Hair
“Uncle Ben” Tells About his Nephew

Individual Chafing Dish Course for a Woman’s Luncheon

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Apr 24, 1904, and is a short article on the chafing dish.

School for Housewives – Individual Chafing Dish Course for a Woman’s Luncheon

Serve one course of your informal luncheon in chafing dishes if you would have a flavour of extreme novelty and up-to-dateness permeate the little function. Wee individual chafing dishes, just large enough to contain an individual portion, are now sold in the shops, and hostesses who appreciate the value of novelty are taking advantage of the innovation. The materials for a delicious dish – creamed sweetbreads o chicken or mushrooms, we will say – are found in the little silver cooker set before each guest. The alcohol lamp under the dish is filled ready for lighting, and seasoning as well as any additional ingredients are passed by the maid. New stories, witticisms and good humored gossip circulate around the board, while spoons stir and silver or nickel dishes emit tempting odors. Every hostess of experience appreciates the value of some little innovation in entertainment-giving. A single touch of novelty is often sufficient to insure the success of the whole affair and it stamp it with the seal of originality.

Marion Harland

Furnishing a Room to Conceal Its Architectural Defects
Household Topics Discussed Briefly
Many Recipes Which are Recommended
Talks With Parents and Children

An Aquatic Conversation

This is the third article in April of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Apr 23, 1905, and an article about what sort of plants can be grown with the coming of spring.

School for Housewives – An Aquatic Conversation

Flowers and Easter go as naturally together in the mind and upon the tongue as April and soft showers, June and roses. It is human and natural that plant and flower vendors of all ranks should take advantage of the season’s demand to impose preposterous prices upon those to whom the association of the Christian festa with the resurrection of blade, bud, and blossom is sweet and sacred.

Every housemother must have a living plant upon her table on Easter day. The extravagance of the rich and time requisition of the churches set a price upon the humblest spring flowers which puts them beyond the poor man’s reach.

Our forefather’s kept house plants, not in leaf alone, but in flower, all winter. The traveler in England, in Scotland, and on the Continent sees cottage windows lined with thrifty shrubs and blossoming blubs, from November to May. We of this country and this generation have long since given over the attempt to decorate our sitting rooms in like manner. Azaleas, geraniums, cinerarias, and primroses, brought hopefully at the conservatory, begin to droop within a few days after they are brought into the arid atmosphere of furnace-heated, gas-lighted houses. We may inhale impalpable dust by the proverbial peck, and lengthen out our days in seeming health. Plant pores are choked and the sap refuses to circulate.

The flat-dweller who reads these lines may have abundant testimony to their truth if she will look out upon the balconies and fire-escape lining the court separating her back windows from her neighbors’. That window is exceptional which does not display one – often a dozen-forlorn, discarded earthen flower pot, with brown stalks of varying height protruding from useless soil.

Because to most of us the love of green and growing things is a passion I am writing this article. There is keen delight in watching the successive processes of the ever-new, always marvelous miracle of creation. The exquisite story of “Picciola” is in no particular exaggerated. Every leaf is a revelation; every bud has a history.

Because the sincere lover of the beautiful cannot content herself with the stiff monotony of glazed rubber plants – bearing at their best estate a humiliating likeness to patent leather – or the mournful droop of palms that live, but do not grow; because pots with earth in them are cumbrous, homely, and, as we have shown, always more or less monuments of blasted hopes – I would direct the ambition of my fellow-worshiper to some methods by which the Easter spirit may be invoked by one who is no gardener, and winter barrenness be beaten back from our windows.


The wise woman who buried bulbs of hyacinths, tulips, narcissus and crocus in the earth, sex weeks ago; who kept the tiny pots in the dark, wetting the soil once a week – may now bring them into the light by degrees, and have the pure delight of seeing the tender shoots leap up to meet the sunlight, gaining strength and color hour by hour. The next best thing to this – and sometimes a surer joy – is to buy hyacinth, crocus, and jonquil bulbs which are already “Started,” to the extent of showing a couple of inches of sturdy leafage above the top of the bulb. Hyacinth glasses are cheap. Fill each to the ridge that supports the swell of the blub, so that the lower part will touch the water. If it is submerged, the tissues will rot before the roots can strike downward. Set in the shade for a week, approaching nearer and nearer to your sunniest window daily. Then let them bask, rejoicing in the source of light and all life. As the water slowly evaporates, replenish with more that is just the temperature of the room. I have had most satisfactory results from bulbs treated thus. You should have the same.

The Chinese sacred lily deserves a distinguished place in our aquatic conservatory. Choose bulbs of uniform size; settle them in and among clean pebbles in the bottom of a bowl. A pressed glass bowl will allow you to see the lively work of the roots among the stones. The better vessel is a stout, broad-bottomed china bowl with a Chinese pattern upon it – the willowware, if you can get it in any color except blue. The opaque blue contracts unfavorably with the green stem and leaves. When bulbs, pebbles and water are in, set the whole construction in a dark room or closet, and leave it there for a fortnight. As with the other bulbs, let its approach to the perfect light be gradual. Otherwise, the delicate shoots will be scalded.

Another most pleasing decoration for mantel, window or dinner table is made by setting among clean pebbles in the bottom of a glass bowl a dozen or more healthy sprays of variegated Tradescantia, familiarly known as “Creeping Charley,” “Wandering Jew,” and “Wandering Willy.” Select woody stems, fill the bowl half-way to the top with water; set in the window – and see it grow! In a few weeks the stems will curl over the brim of the bowl and hang downward, branching to the right and left until you have a cataract of green streaked with purple and pink. A goldfish globe suspended in the window and stocked with Tradescantia is a pretty ornament.


Another hanging plant is port, or Madeira, vine. China cornucopias, with holes at the side by which to suspend them against the wall, may be bought at Japanese stores. Set a port vine root in each, pour in water and hang evenly at the side of the window.

The common sweet potato is a faster grower than the Madeira vine. Pick out one that will fit loosely in the mouth of a hyacinth jar. You will soon cease to think it homely in watching the tiny, swift filaments shoot into the water, the rapid growth above of a delicate green leaves and the graceful sway of the sprays.

A pleasant dash of green to window sill or table is gained by lining a large round platter with canton flannel and setting in the middle of it a globular sponge. Soak the flannel with water, and scatter millet seeds thickly all over it. The sponge should be filled in every pore with the seed while dry, and before it is put in place upon the flannel. Fill it with water and set in the window, wetting it every morning. In an incredibly short space of time you will have a hillock of dapple green, surrounded by a band of verdant turf.

Ah! the blessed Easter-tide! Ah! the visible promise of resurrection and of life to which death is unknown! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Marion Harland

The Housemother’s Exchange
Three Little Kitchen Conveniences
Unique Dishes – Syrian Recipes Contributed by a Syrian Constituent

Creamed Sweetbreads a Chafing Dish Dainty

This is the third article in April of the School for Housewives 1903 series published on Apr 19, 1903, and is a short article on cooking with the chafing dish.

School for Housewives – Creamed Sweetbreads a Chafing Dish Dainty

A good chafing dish dainty for a late supper is creamed sweetbreads, served on toast; with coffee and little bread and butter sandwiches it is vey satisfying. Its strong point is that it is quickly done, requiring only heating at the time, as the creamed sauce and sweetbreads are prepared in advance, without in any way taking from the delicacy of the dish.

A pair of sweetbreads, one pint of cream sauce and a dash of sherry are the ingredients.

The sweetbreads should be cut in small discs. The cream sauce is first put in the dish and heated, stirring all the while. When the sweetbreads are added the stirring continues until the boiling point is reached. The lamp is then lowered and a wineglass of sherry added. This may be served on toast or in “patty” cups.

To make a pint of cream sauce take two tablespoons of butter, two of flour, one pint of cream or milk, half teaspoon of salt mixed with the flour. Blend the butter and flour until a smooth paste, then put on the fire and add gradually the cream. Stir constantly until the proper creamy consistency is reached, which should take twenty minutes. This quantity serves four.

The sweetbreads are simply parboiled.

To make the bread and butter into dainty little sandwiches is much nicer than to have the “spreading” of it at supper time, while the plate of prettily shaped sandwiches adds to the feast.

Marion Harland

Good Advise to Parents
Grass Houses of Wichitas Vanishing
Interesting Notes for the Housewife
This Summer’s Dresses Will Sweep the Ground Again

The New Windy Day Skirt

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1903 series published on Apr 12, 1903, and is a short article on the innovative new skirt that will not blow up in the wind.

School for Housewives – The New Windy Day Skirt

Only a day or two ‘fore Christmas,
A Bower-looking chap
Came rushin’ in the store
And bawled out: “Say, pap,
Gimme a suit that’ll stand a hug,
A squeeze, a yank an’ a twist,
An’ gee! If y’ don’t git a wiggle on
I’ll hand y’ out a fist.”
Lay on the Bowery Dance.

When Miss Elizabeth White, the clever business-woman-dressmaker, who has undertaken to drive the Parisian dressmakers from the American field, devised her “Windy day skirt,” an article of dress that will withstand all the winter winters that ever blew, she must have been thinking of the lay of the last Bowery dancer.

At the meeting of the Dressmakers’ Association recently she gave to the public a creation built to stand windy weather and one that will look just like the ordinary skirt and present no more inconveniences than the everyday garment.

She brought out into view a pearl gray skirt and hung it on a wire figure. It was a modish enough skirt of silk made for a wearer with a good figure. She styled it the “drop skirt” – a sort of latter-day term for an underskirt. It looked pretty enough, the women audience thought, to be worn outside, if necessary.

The skirt is best described in Miss White’s own words:

“The ‘drop skirt,’” she sad, “looks just like any other skirt. I had often thought that if I could invent some sort of a rock that would stand the wind and still keep its shape and keep close to the ground, one of the greatest blessings would be handed down to womankind. One day I thought of haircloth lining, and on this principle the ‘drop skirt’ is built.”

“There is no difference, practically, between my new skirt and what women have been wearing for thousands of years. This skirt has the usual soft and clinging effect at the bottom. You’d never suspect that it has a haircloth flounce? Well, it has, and that’s its beauty for a windy day.”

“I have named it the ‘Lily skirt,’ for it has the lily effect – a lily held upside down, you know. Just see how prettily it sweeps away.”

“There’s another name for the skirt, and that’s the ‘wind skirt.’ You see we are going to wear such thin stuffs this spring and summer that we’ll need a foundation skirt.”

“You’ll see that it has style and effect, and I can lend its good qualities to the other skirt. Now I’ll tell you how to build the ‘windy skirt.’”

“If made of taffeta silk it will require from 10 to 12 inches yards, 20 inches wide. If only the flounce is taffeta and the upper part of percaline, farmer satin or any lightweight material, it will require 5 1/2 yards of taffeta silk for flounce and about 4 ½ yards for the upper part, and from 2 ½ to 2 ¼ yards of haircloth 24 inches wide. The wind skirt can be built as economically as you desire in any material. The flounce is cut about eight inches wide, having a facing of haircloth equally as wide, with the hair in the haircloth running around the skirt, not up and down. Be sure to shrink the haircloth before using. When the flounce is finished, two small ruffles are added to it, one 5 ½ inches wide and the other about 2 ½ inches wide. These two small flounces are ornamented with narrow plaited ruches or ribbon. To protect the lower flounce we found it necessary to blind it with velvet braid, which can be quickly attached by one sewing only, and affords an elegant finish and perfect protection.”

“The wind skirt can be made as a solid lined skirt of wool or silk, or as a petticoat or slip skirt. As you walk, you see that you kick against the ruffles, which give away with pretty effect.”

“When you’ve had haircloth in your skirts before, you remember, you broke the haircloth by walking against it. In the new wind skirt the haircloth is too high to be kicked, and just high enough to hold the skirt in its place.”

“When the wind blows against the skirt the haircloth holds the cloth firm and the wind sheers off as it would off any taut surface. Your skirts cannot cling to your legs.”

Marion Harland

Good Advise to Parents
Grass Houses of Wichitas Vanishing
Interesting Notes for the Housewife
This Summer’s Dresses Will Sweep the Ground Again

The New Dutch Designs for Embroidery

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Apr 10, 1904, and is a short article on embroidery.

School for Housewives – The New Dutch Designs for Embroidery

While scattered examples of the picturesque “Dutch” designs have been displayed on fancy-work counters for the last year or more, it is only of late that we have come to realize the full possibilities of these quaint patterns.

A great liking for them is manifesting itself in the advance sales of summer fancy work. Even the Japanese motif, with its topical interest, will prove no more than a powerful rival.

The sturdy Hollanders, with vrouws and children, are to be found upon every class of handwork. Whether for needle, carving tool or scorch pencil, what more effective treatment could be desired for the border of a table cover than a circle of tots in sabots playing some Dutch equivalent for “ring-around-a-rosy?”

Some good subjects for the decorator are shown in today’s illustrations. The laundry or toy bag in heavy yellow linen is trimmed with a stamped band all ready to embroider, there’s an effective little box, also decorated by needlework, and a desk outfit which then could be copied either in stitchery or burnt wood.

Pillow covers are especially attractive carried out in this way. and half a dozen or more of smart patterns have appeared.

For bureau boxes, wooden mirror backs, and the thousand and one little furnishings of boudoir or living room, it would be difficult to name a more satisfactory decorative scheme.

Marion Harland

Council Table Talks, Mainly About Babies and Mothers
Good Recipes by the Contributors

A Suggested Substitute for the Tyrant Potato

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Apr 9, 1905, and is an article on the benefits of rice over the potato.

Personally I would eat a well cooked potato over rice any day.

School for Housewives – A Suggested Substitute for the Tyrant Potato

Among the many new avocations undertaken by the clever modern woman, when suddenly thrown upon her on resources, is that of professional glove cleaner.
In a magazine article written almost twenty years ago I thus characterized a vegetable which by methods mysterious to the student of dietetics has established itself as a “necessary of life” in all English-speaking countries. Potatoes are no cheaper than turnips, and less easily raised than cabbages; less nutritious than carrots, and more insipid than any one of the half-dozen esculents I could name.

When “new” they are almost as indigestible as bullets, when “old” they have a rank, weedy taste. Yet the arrogant tuber holds royal rank in palace and in cottage. Children are allowed to eat it before they cut their eye teeth, and the family bill of fare gives precedence to it tri-daily in many a home. Prices of potatoes are quoted along with wheat and corn; poor and rich must have them, no matter how dear.

As I write there lies before me a well-written paper covering two columns of the Culinary Corner in a prominent family weekly. The article is headed “A Potato Luncheon.” I quote from the introductory paragraph:


“Concerning the potato as an article of food, arguments have waxed warm, pro and con. Without taking either side, it may be said that no vegetable which may form soup to dessert, not omitting bread, is to be scorned for its food properties, and of none is this true except the potato.”
“The menu follows:
Potato Soup,
Potatoes with Cheese,
Potatoes with Onions,
Curried Potatoes,
Potato Salad with Potato Gems,
Potato Souffle, Potato Cake,
Potato Pie.”

Not staying to discuss what may be called a culinary freak – since no sane housekeeper would risk setting family and guests for all time against the stupid tuber tortured into seven different forms – we relegate the ingenious menu to the niche occupied in gastronomic literature by the Frenchman’s pebble soup. Dr. Franklin is said to have astonished a party of friends with a sawdust dinner.

To prove that I do not stand alone in unfavorable criticism of our ugly tyrant, I give a story told to me today of Mrs. Borer’s views upon the same subject:

“Why,” she asked, in the course of a demonstrated lecture, “will people persist in ranking potatoes as the principal vegetable admitted to their tables?”

“Because they are nourishing,” said a listener.

The lecturer shook her head; “but they are not!”

“Because they are readily digested?” ventured another.

“Not at all!” replied the lecturer.

“Very harmless?” was the third venture.

“Quite the reverse!”

After a silence, some one spoke more confidently.

“But what tastes better than a mealy roasted potato?”

Mrs. Rorer smiled; “Al, now you have advanced one fairly sound arguments in their favor!”

I hope the anecdote is authentic! It is good enough to be true and worthy of my distinguished contemporary.

A baked or roasted potato – while it has no flavor to boast of – is the least objectionable member of its class.

Now for my suggested substitute for the plebeian who ought never to have been raised from his native level.

A careful writer upon the comparative value of food says: “Plain, boiled rice, rightfully cooked, is actually digested and begins to be assimilated in one hour, while other cereals, legumes, and meats, and most vegetables require from three and a half to five hours. Rice thus enables a man to economize fully expended in the digestion of ordinary food, setting it free to be used in his daily vocation, in the pursuit of study, or social duties, and in the case of invalids and enfeebled vitality, adding it to the reserved force of the system.”

“It has been carefully estimated that rice contains more than four times the energy in Irish potatoes, and when the waste in preparing potatoes is considered, the difference is increased to six-fold. It is scientifically ascertained that of the food taken into the human body, one-sixth goes to the replenishing and upbuilding, and five-sixths go to produce energy. The value of food is based upon the amount of energy it can furnish rather than its capacity as a mere flesh-producer. It is evident that, on this basis, rice stands first among human foods.”


The idea that rice is wishy-washy stuff, fit only for the consumption of invalids and children, amounts to prejudice among the ignorant and the laboring classes. Those whose charitable work qualifies them to pronounce upon this point will sustain this statement. Other cereals come under the same condemnation. One invalid to whom I offered cracked wheat thoroughly cooked, and mantled with real cream, returned the reply; “Thank you, ma’am, but I would not eat such messes when I was well, let alone when I am sick.”

Another to whom I sent a bowl of delicious chicken broth, refused it because “there was rice boiled with it, and she couldn’t bear nothing that had rice cooked in it.”

A third would not so much as taste rice jelly, so sure was she that “there was no substance to it!”

A well-to-do parishioner in a country church once came to me in perplexity concerning the stocking of the pastor’s pantry, which was to be a surprise gift upon his return from a trip abroad. Shelves creaked under pies, cakes, jars of pickles, preserves, mincemeat, butter, lard, coffee, etc. There were two barrels of flour, one of potatoes, one of sugar, a chest of tea, a box of soap, and – hence the distress – one woman had sent in a tin case containing ten pounds of rice!

“I dare not keep it back,” lamented the mistress of ceremonies. “But I am downright ashamed of it. It looks so common, somehow!”

Being Southern-born, I retorted in surprise; “Not as common as potatoes, too my way of thinking.”

How shall we fight a prejudice so reasonless and so deep-rooted?

In the first place, by teaching those who hold it how to cook our substitute properly.


To borrow from our military dietetist:
“There is one practical difficultly to be surmounted, especially among the families of our working people. Rice is not generally well cooked in the North. The boiled rice is apt to be soggy, or mashed, in a way to be unattractive in looks and to the taste, and undoubtedly less healthful than when properly cooked. It should be boiled or steamed so that each kernel stands up distinct and whole. A certain amount of mastication is conductive to better digestion. One reason that rice is more popular in the South is that it is usually better cooked.”

Marion Harland


Housewives, in Council Assembled, Help Each Other
Some Excellent Recipes for Cooking Rice