A Gift From the Past Old Photographic Journals on View at Weymouth
BY MARY ELLE HUNTER
Special to The Pilot
A collection of photographic journals were recently unearthed from the golden days when members of the Boyd family inhabited Southern Pines and have been presented to the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities.
This unusual gift covering the period of the 1920s through the 1950s was the work of Harriet McCook Boyd, the wife of Jackson Boyd.
Jackson Boyd, the brother of James Boyd, the noted author, and his wife, Harriet, built a home (now known as the Campbell House) across the road from Weymouth, the -residence of Katharine and James Boyd.
In their youth, the brothers had spent time at their grandparents' residence in Southern Pines, and later had become the founders of the Moore County Hounds in 1914.
How the journals of Harriet Boyd turned up in a basement of a Southern Pines home, long forgotten, has a direct connection to the Moore County Hounds.
In 1942, the Boyds turned over the Moore County Hounds to Ginny and Pappy Moss, the -legendary couple who created an equestrian community in Southern Pines.
---The journals were found in a home left to Ginny Moss' great-niece, who in turn donated them to the Weymouth Center.
Originally, it is believed that Alex Boyd, the younger son of Harriet Boyd, had given the journals to Ginny Moss.
Hope Price, administrator at the Weymouth Center, is now the caretaker of the 32 journals. Pointing out that they are a treasure trove of life in Southern Pines in the early and mid-20th century, she says, "It is a history of Jackson and Harriet Boyd's life, together with a photographic account of the other family members and the well-known guests that they and the James Boyds entertained."
Harriet Boyd, who was a prolific photographer, made careful notes on the inside cover of each of the 32 journals in the series, of the number of the journal and the dates each one covered.
It appears that, unfortunately, the first one is among the missing, since the series starts with No. 2, which begins on Dec. 29. 1923.
Harriet also provided detailed comments for many of the photos so Hope Price says that the journals are like an illustrated diary. In addition she mentions that at times Harriet carefully noted settings on her camera as an accompaniment to some of the photos she took.
The Boyd women left an indelible mark on the life in the town of Southern Pines and on its surrounding areas - everything from the generous philanthropies of Katharine Boyd to the vision of Helen Boyd Dull, the founder of the Civic Club.
The aunt of James and Jackson Boyd, Mrs. Dull resided at "Loblolly" on Valley Road. With its impressive gardens, the home was a subject of photos in Harriet's journals.
A number of photos of Inchalene, the designer show house that was a recent successful fundraiser for Weymouth, are included.
Built adjacent to Weymouth for James and Jackson Boyd's mother, Eleanor, in the 1920s, in one journal the exterior of the home was photographed by Harriet, showing the aftermath of a devastating fire at Inchalene that occurred as a result of a lightning strike.
Harriet Boyd had a close relationship to Katharine, and the albums contain photos of them together.
The children of James and Katharine Boyd and Jackson and Harriet Boyd repeatedly occur in the pages of the journals - some showing them swimming in the Weymouth pool, and at various other family gatherings.
Harriet's younger son, Alex, was about the same age as Nancy, Jim and Katharine's daughter, and Harriet's camera captured pictures of the two youngsters together.
Naturally, the journals have lots of pictures of fox hunts, of Jim and Jackson in hunt regalia, and of the two brothers at horse shows in Pinehurst and elsewhere.
Harriet took photos when they went to Virginia to buy horses, and many pages of the journals are devoted to photos of her prized dachshunds. Beside one photo, Harriet wrote, "The dachsies were greatly annoyed by the little iron figures in the garden."
On another occasion, this time on Feb. 25, 1942, she photographically described a winter storm. Accompanying the view of a snow-covered landscape, she commented, "Snow started about 4 p.m., fell all night, about 8 to 10 inches."
Always With Her
Harriet was never without her camera when during the summers, she and Jackson and their two sons went to Sea Bright, N.J., and Long Island to visit family and friends, even going across the country to California.
According to Hope Price, "Harriet's family was very well-placed in New York society. She had two sisters, one of whom married Pater Jay, the descendent of one of America's first families."
The daughter of that marriage, Susan Mary Jay, became a prominent socialite, first marrying British diplomat William Patten and then Joseph Alsop, the noted Washington columnist.
Susan Mary spent a lot of her youthful years in Southern Pines at her Aunt Harriet's residence, and is mentioned and depicted frequently in the journals, particularly in professional photos which appeared in Harper's Bazaar and Vogue.
World War II
When World War II broke out, Harriet and Jackson's older son, John, called "J.B.," was a sophomore at Princeton University. He dropped out of college and joined the Navy.
Harriet wrote in her journal, "J.B. enlisted in the Navy at Raleigh March 3, 1942, came home to wait until called." He ultimately was assigned to a ship in the Pacific.
James' sons, Jim and Dan, also saw service. There is a wonderful photo of Jim and Dan in their uniforms - Jim with the U.S. Coast Guard and Dan with the U.S. Army.
Jackson Boyd also served in the Marine Corps during World War II, and Harriet entered many photos in her journal of the War Dog Training Command at Camp LeJeune, of which Jackson was the commanding officer.
Included with the shots taken by the military are two photos of Jackson with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on the occasion of the president's visit to the installation.
News was received by Harriet on Dec. 21, 1942, that John "J.B." Boyd had been wounded in combat. Then on Jan. 6, 1943, in a terse entry in her journal, Harriet wrote that the Navy department had wired her that her son had "died of his wounds, and had been buried at place of death." The gravestone placed in his memory in the Harrisburg, Pa., family plot indicates that he died of wounds at Tulagi in the Solomon Islands and was buried at sea.
In February 1946, Harriet and Jackson Boyd sold their home in Southern Pines and the surrounding land to Bill Campbell. Their furniture was put in storage in Virginia, and they spent the first few months in a cottage on the property owned by Harriet's uncle in Palm Beach.
The journals for the next few years are marked Hot Springs, Va., and contain photos and text about their extensive travels. Six years later Harriet and Jackson settled in Clearwater, Fla., and the last few journals describe their life in the Sunshine State. Always though there are frequent photographed get-togethers with members of the family and friends, serving as reminders of life in Southern Pines.
Harriet died May 19, 1957, and one of the final entries in the last journal is a personal note from the well-known illustrator Norman Rockwell.
In response to an apparent letter she had sent him about a Saturday Evening Post cover showing the Boston Red Sox baseball team, Rockwell's note to her states, "Nothing is quite so heartwarming as a letter such as yours. I can't tell you how much pleasure it gives me to know that you and others have liked this picture, which I so much enjoyed painting."
The journals combining photos and text are available for the general public to see and browse through under Price's supervision at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities during regular business hours.
"Obviously, they may not be removed from the premises," Price says.
To make arrangements to view the journals, call (910) 692-6261.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at email@example.com.
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