NameBarbara Heloise Dunlop
Birth26 Dec 1911, Cole Camp, Benton, Missouri
Death5 Apr 1994, Kansas City, Platte, Missouri
BurialWalnut Grove Cemetery, Parkville, Mo.
OccupationHousewife & Co-Founder Of Theatre
EducationBA New Jersey College for Women- Rutgers
FatherHenry Edward Dunlop (1864-1944)
Misc. Notes
Autobiography written by Barbara Heloise Dunlop David in the year prior to her death in 1994.
Perhaps the best place to start this memory book would be my earliest remembrance when I was 4 and we were living in the little Mississippi River town of Canton, Missouri, my mother’s hometown.
I remember the night my younger sister, Margaret, was born on Feb. 15, 1916, at which time it seems I was to give her my crib & move to a different bed. Maybe that’s true and maybe not. I wish I could ask my mother; 4 years in a crib seems a long time.
I was born the end of December, the 26th, in Cole Camp, Missouri, where my father, a physician, and mother lived for just two years. I remember nothing about that town although we did go through it a couple times in later years. We went back to Canton after Cole Camp when I was two, and I remember nothing of that.
My mother’s father was, in my memory, a distinguished looking gentleman and all I really remember was his giving me a nickel one day when I met him on the street. He was a butcher and so were his four sons. He had remarried when my mother’s mother died (mother was 16) and mother never cared for “Aunt Kate”. Mother had four sisters too & all lived in Canton. Aunts Lulu (Eudie), Ida, Dora & Margaret were all part of my childhood and all of us & their husbands & children saw a great deal of each other. The sisters were all wonderful German home-makers and great cooks so we lived happily and ate well.
When I was 5 I discovered that my father had “people”, specifically a brother in NY City, a dentist, & quite well off. He persuaded my father that he was wasting his time in that little Mo. town & urged him to go to NY. We did just that & found a nice apartment near Columbia Univ. where we stayed until we moved to Brooklyn. All I remember about the Manhattan apartment was that it was confining & mother took us out to play every day, usually or frequently on the steps of the University library.
Brooklyn was more like a neighborhood than Manhattan had been. We first lived in a second floor flat of a 4 story brownstone. Three things I remember about that place; It was there I had influenza during the widespread and deadly epidemic of 1918 and where my father attended me day and night & nearly gave up, when the crisis passed and I’d made it. I’ve wondered whether subsequent respiratory problems were a result of that illness.
I remember while we lived at 887 Union St. that we had a small gas heater, by which we dressed on cold mornings and once I knocked it over or thought I had, but I blamed my little sister, Margaret, and have always felt a little guilty at the memory. The other event which stands out was “ playing hookey” which meant I skipped school for the day. An older friend at school suggested we go to the park to play and I suppose I was quite willing. When my parents learned about the absence from school I was made to understand that that was not acceptable behavior & was punished by not being allowed to play outdoors with my friends for one full week!
We moved to 840 President St., just one block away from Union St. when I was seven, I think. We had an entire brownstone then which my father bought & where I lived until I was married. My father had his office & waiting room in the rear of the first floor, just in back of the parlor. In the basement were the dining room, kitchen & laundry and W.C. & the exit to the back yard. The upper two floors were bedrooms & bath floors. Mother had a sewing room too, off the second floor bath and she took pride in making it a pleasant work space for herself. She loved to sew.
We had a monster coal furnace & gas fireplace units in the bedrooms, parlor, office , and dining room and we had a faithful furnace man named Mike who went morning and evening to stoke or bank the furnace. I remember cold winters with deep snow & the long walk to school, P.S. #9. My best friend, Bessie Ridgely, lived closer to school & I called for her every day on the way. She was a little beauty with long golden curls & was thought to resemble Mary Pickford. We always walked past the Riding & Driving Club & Bessie took horseback riding lessons there. I wanted desperately to do that too but finally when I was allowed to, didn’t care much for the experience. I remember breaking my arm on the way home from school, reading instead of watching my step, and my father called a physician friend of his to come and just pull the bone back into place. I thought it was strange that Dr. S? wanted to shake hands with my broken left arm!
We had music lessons and dancing lessons, school & neighborhood friends and had pleasant growing-up years. My father had a busy medical practice & sometimes, just to be with him, we’d go along with him to make housecalls. Sometimes for an extra ride we’d go to Ft. Hamilton to walk over the canon balls, to see the cannons and to look at the ocean.
For vacations we most frequently drove back to Missouri to visit Mother’s relatives and sometimes went to Orillia, Ontario, Canada, where my father’s family had lived. Those trips were fun and we stopped at nice places on the way and always had happy reunions with cousins and uncles & aunts.
I remember a trip to Alpena, Michigan where my father had interned with his brother Jim in the hospital there. As we were going toward the city, thru a forest I thought what a dreadful thing it would be if we had a flat tire & it wasn’t two minutes until we did. That made me feel guilty. In Alpena there was a young drug-store clerk named Hutton Sepull & I quite fell for him, at a distance. I must have been 14! Those two items are about all I recall of the Alpena visit. I think we stayed with my Aunt Libby, Uncle Jim’s wife, who was a beautiful old lady with lovely white hair. Aunt Libby lived to be a hundred years old. She’d had four daughters & I remember thinking after I’d had four daughters that maybe I’d live that long. At nearly 82, I don’t know. Aunt Libby visited us often in Brooklyn and always wore the black velvet ribbon around her neck. That must have been the look for older ladies & I was impressed.
Our trips to Missouri had high points too. When we went by train we loved the sleeping compartments, Margaret & I, and lovely meals in the dining car. My father always wakened us to see the horseshoe curve at Altoona, Pennsylvania if we passed that way in the night. We could see the back of the train rounding the curve & all thought that was wonderful.
If we drove we took a long time for the trip, four days and three or four nights. If we made 200 miles a day it was good. It must have taken a week! Once we had a burnt out bearing and lost a lot of time having to stay over in Decatur, Ill. until the bearing could be replaced. Decatur, Ill. became an example of a bad experience. I remember the lovely Drake Hotel in Chicago & the Parker House where the famous dinner rolls were first served.
When we got to Missouri we were always struck by the terrible muddy roads- good old Mississippi mud, I guess. My little sister said “ These woads are wotten” and we all agreed.
There were no inside facilities in the beginning at Aunt Lula’s and we thought the privy was a treasure. And at Aunt Dora’s there were six children so we had to sleep on the floor but we liked that too.
I remember that the Chatauqua used to be in Canton for a week or two in the summertime & one year a lot of us children took part in some of the activities. I was supposed to be a tight rope walker, complete with tutu and parasal & the rope about two inches from the floor. Must have been exciting.
I remember Aunt Martha’s house where she had a beaded curtain which was pretty special. I think she had made it which made it more impressive. She could do anything with her hands and had all sorts of hand made items to prove it. She was a marvelous cook & it was a treat to have dinner at her house. She and Uncle George had no children and were very good to all the cousins.
Aunt Ida & Uncle Charlie had a nice house, well kept and efficient, especially the kitchen which had one of those old baking centers with the flour bin. I thought it was spectacular. Aunt Margaret and Uncle Paul had one son, Louis, the oldest of the cousins, I think, and rather serious, but I liked him very much. Aunt Ida & Uncle Charlie had RDessa & Tommie, also much loved cousins, & my closest cousin, I think, Dorothy, who belonged to Uncle Frank & Aunt Eudie. My mother always thought Dorothy had been a beautiful baby & I heard later that I suffered by comparison and she was a little ashamed of me and didn’t show me to her family for quite a long time,- “ until you looked like something”. Mother always cared a great deal what other people thought & couldn’t bear to be thought of as anything less than perfect.
Back in Brooklyn life went on. High School after P.S. #9. In 1925 I started at Girl’s Commercial, an all girls institution with an academic program as well as commercial. I met some good friends there, mostly Jewish girls who were brightest and from the best families. We got into a Camp Fire group and had fun outside school too. There was no mingling with boys in my set, and the only time I ran into them at all untill nearly the end of H.S. was at Young People’s meetings at church, the Dutch Reformed church on 7th Ave & Carrol St. where Margaret & I went to Sunday School. The teacher of our Young People’s Group was an elderly lady whose name I can’t recall, but she was good to us and while we met regularly at the church on Sunday evenings, once in a while we were invited to her home for a party, at which she served wonderful treats, especially strawberry mousse which was devine. I met Harry Brunner at this group’s meetings & was not flattered by his attention because he was a most unattractive pimply-faced youth and I was not tolerant of anything less than perfection. I did meet one young man before I left for college- Lamar Mitchell, and while I liked him hewas too short, and there again my distinct preferences showed. Lamar lived not far away and quite liked me, even talking about marriage before I left for college, but I couldn’t overcome my prejudices. Brat!
I’ve not discussed my father’s relatives in Canada much. There was old Aunt Maggie, always dressed in black and permanently fixed in my mind on her front porch which surrounded the house. That’s really all I remember. My father’s oldest brother, Tom, had been married 3 times, and had eighteen children, which fact impressed me. We knew his last wife, Aunt Linda, who had only three children, Hazel, Alex, and T.C. (Thomas Conklin). These three were closest to us and the two boys lived with us in Brooklyn for quite a while at one point. Alex was interested in studying dentistry which my Uncle Will undertook to sponsor & at one time we thought T.C. would take over my father’s practice. It never happened, tho’ & he went back to Canada to become an insurance company doctor. Uncle Tom was very old & stooped & had been a baker most of his life. He ended up somehow as a Salvation Army officer. He is a pathetic little figure in my mind, but sweet. His wife, Aunt Linda had a horrible cough and that is what I recall about her. Some of their other sons and daughters lived in and around Orillia but are gone from my memory. I understood that some Dunlops went to Seattle and I remember the story that one of them had invented the electric light moving sign. Orillia was on two big, wonderful lakes and they were very important to my father. He always used to say in later years, “ My, I’d love to have a little place on a lake” but he never did. My cousin Alex stayed in Brooklyn a short time after he married a lovely young lady he met in Orillia during a vacation one year. I’ll never forget one event.
Alex was back in Brooklyn, this was after I was married and had Barby- and was yearning to go to see Monte so in December in terrible winter weather, Jenkin said “Let’s go”. It was a hair brained idea, but we did it. It involved getting poor Margaret who knew even less than I did about children to stay with Barby, & off we went. The trip did end with Alex and Monte’s engagement, so it was worth it, but I remember it as a harrowing junket. We had only enough time to sleep a little and turn around and head for Peekskill where we lived then. We made it and all survived.
Our home on President St. in Brooklyn was always referred to simply as 840, its number on the street. My father’s “ Dr Dunlop” sign was evident and in addition to the “patients” who called twice daily during office hours, we always had lots of other visitors. Relatives from the midwest who wanted to see NY would come to the city and stay with us. Mother had her hands full with the busy doctor’s office and the large house to keep up. She was a wonderful hostess and did everything to make guests comfortable and happy. She took prople anywhere they wanted to go, sightseeing and the theatre and enjoyed it all. She always had household help, usually live-in, some pretty poor but others very good. I remember Florence, a black woman from Barbadoes. Her accent enchanted me and she was small and quick as a wink. Mother was a marvelous cook and pie maker, but she really never taught me any cooking. Her one concession was to let me make coffee cakes for Sunday breakfast & I liked that. One aspect of the kitchen I remember was a mangle, the sheet and pillow case presser; I can see mother sitting there doing the flatware. Another quaint part of the kitchen was the dumb waiter which went up to the third floor. Mother just avoided a terrible accident once when a rope broke on the dumb waiter. No one wanted to think of what could have happened.
When I was about 13 my parents announced that I was to get something very special for Christmas.
Christmas was always very special, more gifts than any two little girls should ever have had. But we loved it all, of course. It finally came out that we were to have something we’d always wanted and it turned out to be a brother, a big brother. It was then we learned that Daddy had been married and divorced & that he had a son, and a daughter, but the son, Newell, was coming to visit us. It was, of course, a momentous occassion and Newell stayed with us off and on for several years. He was a bit of a bad penny, it transpired. I was never sure why but it seemed he was irresponsible, usually broke and not quite to be trusted. He flattered his way along & mother was always good to him. As far as I could see he played bridge, was rather an expert, and had written a book on the subject. He’d been all over the world, according to him. Perhaps he was an international gambler. Anyway, he took off one day and disappeared into the sunset.
My Uncle Will, father’s brother, was a big part of my growing up years. In addition to his always taking care of my teeth, which must have been in need of constant care, he and “Miss Jean” were frequent visitors. It was an event when they came. Uncle Will was quite psychic; he could go up to a perfect stranger & tell them astonishing things about themselves. He was a real world traveler and full of stories. Miss Jean ( whose name had been Jennie Jeremiah) was his companion and they had a wonderful farm on Long Island where we loved going for visits. It was on Dunlop road and that always impressed me. Steve, the hired man was a marvel at gardening and we had wonderful vegetables, corn most memorable. They tell me I once ate 13 ears! Miss Jean had a beautiful bedroom, chinese in style and all red. Uncle Will had brought it back from Kualalumpur where he practiced dentistry for a few years. His bedroom furniture I acquired when he died, a beautiful mahogony set that we used all the time after that. A beautiful 4 poster bed and three other pieces always seemed to stand out and I still have it and enjoy it although it could do with refinishing. We were told that it was a very fine set of furniture, worth some $1500. seventy five years ago.
A few other isolated memories occur to me- the deep winter snows, the organ grinder with the monkey who always stopped in front of our house because my father never failed to toss the monkey a coin. The merchants down on 7th Ave. were all friends. I’d often be sent to Zimmerman’s the grocer’s after school. Newman’s, the ice-cream parlor where we got wonderful Brayer’s ice cream- expensive but delicious, was a favorite haunt in summer. The stationery store at the corner and Braswell’s drug store on the next corner were places we patronized frequently. The Ansbro family stand out in my memory. They lived across the street and were a fine looking Irish Catholic family of 6 children, I think. They went to St. Xavier’s church & I went with them sometimes and thought St. Xavier’s was a splendid church. Mrs. Ansbro always had delicious devil’s food cake with white icing and she generously fed the neighborhood children. It was always fun to be in their house.
When it was time for me to go to college I had expected to be accepted at Vassar, where two or three of my friends from Girl’s Commercial H.S. had also applied. They were all accepted & I was not,- one reason I later found out was that I had not asked for any recommendations because I had not known they were necessary. I think it was a disappointment to my parents especially.
But Mr. and Mrs. Pacquin, who rented our third floor for quite a long time and who were very good friends, had heard about The New Jersey College For Women in New Brunswick, N.J. and suggested I apply there. I did and was readily accepted and after H.S. graduation went off to N.J.C. and joined the class of ‘33 in 1929.
Before I go off to college there are a few memories I haven’t included and some of them should not be left out. One of the activities my mother wanted us to have was dancing school lessons and we went faithfully, I think I started at 5. At first it was for tiny boys and girls and it included deportment as well as ballroom dancing. We went to the Chalif School, just across the street from Carnegie Hall and Miss George Harris was my teacher. I took lessons there until High School days and there were wonderful recitals at the Waldorf Astoria, THE best hotel at that time. I remember trips to the costumers, the unheard of cost of costumes and how elegant I felt. There was toe dancing later on, and honestly I think I was not very good, but mother had not had dancing lessons, nor music, and wanted us to have both. I took piano lessons for 13 years and really wasted a great deal of time and money. I can see my poor father shaking his head and saying “She can’t even play a simple hymn”. We had wonderful records always and Daddy’s favorite “O Solo Meo” of Caruso’
s is a vivid memory. When I was 16 my father said he would buy me a grand piano if I learned to play “ Lieberstraum” by memory- which I did, and which I got!
There are too many memories and as they pop into my mind, may be woven in, in the ongoing story.
Two other vivid pictures occur to me, one of my mother and one of my father. Mother took great pride in all of the brass fixings about the house especially the fender around the fireplaces in each room. I can see her polishing them endlessly and there were at least 6 of them that she had to keep in perfect condition. One of my most vivid memories of my father was of his counting his money at the end of the day with neat stacks of bills piled up on his desk. He would always say “ That’s pretty good !” and at $2.00 a call it really was. A little later he would start to read for relaxation and for his edification & frequently when my sister and I were in bed I can hear mother calling over the bannister “ Dr., Are you coming up soon?” He was a great reader and had two little time for it. Mother never called him anything but Dr. One other funny story I recall was when Jenkin first came to visit me, my father was very solicitious of the parking space in front of our house. President street was a a busy one and he got very upset if his space was taken. After Jenkin’s first visit when of course he parked right in front of the house he went out to his car to find a little note attached to the steering wheel “Please don’t take this space, I need it myself. H.E. Dunlop “
It might be interesting to indicate the relationship between my parents. At 21 years her senior my Father undertook when they were married to educate my Mother to the position of a Dr.’s wife. She was bright and eager to learn but had had only German School formal education through the elementary level. She was studying pharmacy when they met & I can remember her rattling off these complicated definitions whenever we would ask her to. She learned to speak very well which was extremely important to my father. He was terribly critical of the way most Missourians spoke & at one school board meeting embarrassed my mother by criticizing the person leading the meeting by saying that if the officials didn’t learn to speak properly there was little hope for the children!
My parents were very respectful of each other and any differences I sensed were always shrouded by “shsh- not in front of the children” We would be sent from the table if we misbehaved but I don’t remember being spanked.
After the disappointment of not getting to Vassar, I was really awfully glad to have ended up at the New Jersey College for Women, now called Douglas College. It is the women’s college of Rutger’s University & located across town in New Brunswick, N.J.
Only three years old at that point, the college attracted many daughters of the prominent families of New Jersey. Among them my roommate whose mother was Mrs. Clayton D. Lee related to General Lee & the president of the state Federation of Women’s Clubs. Betty’s father was a prominent newspaperman & she & her sister Virginia were also newspaper people. Clark, their brother was a WWII Correspondent & wrote a biography of McArthur titled “ They call it Pacific”. I’ll never forget one night when Betty’s big brother visited her & took us both out to dinner & afterward to a speak easy which seemed very wicked to me. I’ll also never forget the wonderful cream of spinach soup we had at Betty’s house the first time I visited her. It was a wonderful house just full of books.
Betty and I had 2 happy years at NJC & then because of family reversals she wasn’t able to complete her college education. I did fairly well at college & had a minor in play production. It was there at the theatre that I met Mrs. Jane Inge an excellent but harsh director who put me through the paces. She also introduced me to Jenkin R. David, with whom I had 2 good parts in “The Royal Family” & “Death Takes A Holiday” He was her pet & we became engaged the last year of college. It had been rather an odd acquaintanceship because we had one date & then not another for quite a long time. When we started dating again in my last year we decided to be married a year after graduation. He had been at Rutgers & was imported for parts at the theatre & theatre became a continuing interest in our lives.
He had taken me to visit his family & he had visited mine & I think my family felt he was a little on the wild side. I will never forget the Sunday dinner at his house when we told his family that we planned to be married & they all burst into tears. I really think it was only the idea of his leaving the family because they seemed to like me well enough. And so in September 1, 1934 we were married at the Little Church Around the Corner in a very simple ceremony with only the families present. After the ceremony my Father and Mother hosted a luncheon at the Hotel Albert in Greenwich Village. We had just labor Day weekend off from our jobs so we drove to Snow Shoe, Pa., Jenkin’s hometown, for our honeymoon. Cousin Anne and her family invited us for a wonderful sauerkraut dinner & we stayed in the David’s house returning to work on Monday in our little tin lizzie after “resting “a lot! My first job after college was at Schrafts Tearoom, a place I liked very much & where my friend Jo Bacharach & I had lunch frequently during our high school years on Saturdays before going to the theatre. I found that it was much more fun to be a guest at Schrafts than to work there as a hostess where I was not too adept. I remember breaking a lot of crockery that I had to pay for. Also, I developed trouble with my heels & had to terminate my employment then because of the need for surgery.
I think it was at the same time I had my tonsils removed.
My next job was at the New York Life Insurance Company. I was in the actuarial Dept. & this was before the days of adding machines which presented problems for me, who wasn’t too good at adding. Eddie Firehock took it upon himself to teach me to add after work, but I didn’t like that & lasted only a few months. My real desire was to do social work! So I applied for and got a position with the NYC relief society as an in-take interviewer in one of their offices.
Birth19 Dec 1908, Snow Shoe, Centre, Pa.
Death14 Mar 1984, Parkville, Platte Co., MO
BurialWalnut Grove Cemetery, Parkville, Mo.
OccupationAssistant Professor& Theatrical Director-Mayor
EducationBA Columbia Univ. MA Univ of The Americas
FatherJenkin David (1865-1910)
MotherSophia Morgan (1866-1949)
Marriage1 Sep 1934, Little Church Around The Corner, N.Y., N.Y.
ChildrenBarbara Vivian (1938-)
 Jane Ann (1941-)
 Susan Morgan (1946-)
Last Modified 20 Oct 2007Created 19 Jun 2016 using Reunion for Macintosh