Alice (Maury) Parmelee 1863-1940
Wife of James C. Parmelee
William Samuel, Samuel, Samuel, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John

Alice (Maury) Parmelee (1866-1940) and her driver could be seen on the streets of Washington, D.C., long after autos outnumbered horses. She and a few other women in the nation's capital owned their own hansom cabs for personal transportation because they found them easier to board.

The Eugene (Ore.) Guard of April, 13, 1926, was one of many newspapers nationwide that published a photo of her getting into her cab, the last in Washington. Though not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection, her cab has been on display from time to time at the museum. (I don't know if it currently is.) These two photos are from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Alice's husband, James (1855-1931), worked with W.H. Lawrence and Webb Hayes, son of distant-Parmelee cousin President Rutherford B. Hayes, at Cleveland's National Carbon Co. in the 1880s. James and Myron T. Herrick, the U.S. ambassador to France, built a Superior Avenue granite-and-brick office building near the courts and public buildings in 1893. James became one of the founders of the Cleveland Stock Exchange in 1899 and was its first president. James and Alice made The Causeway, near the National Cathedral, their home in Washington. The couple, who had no children, made one of the four principal donations to the cathedral, giving $50,000; one of the building's four central pillars is inscribed with "Parmelee" at its base.



And never let it be said that Alice didn't know how to make an entrance.

At left is a clipping from the June 1, 1930, edition of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald society section*. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson and his wife play host, Vice President Charles Curtis and the new chief justice of the Supreme Court are in attendance -- but leave it to Alice to get most of the ink.




* Old newsroom joke: It's not a society section if somewhere on the page it doesn't say: "Refreshments were served."

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