Rosa-Maye & Manville Kendrick (AHC Kendrick Collection, TESHS)
John B. Kendrick with grandchildren (AHC Kendrick Collection, TESHS)
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
March 2008 - December 2008
AUTHOR MARGARET FLEMING noted in 1930 that up until the late 1800s and early 1900s, little attention was paid to accommodating the needs of children in the home:
Many of the homes of our grandmothers' day seemed to have been planned solely for the comfort and happiness of elderly people; there was little in them to express the joy and exuberance of youth ... a general young-people-must-be-seen-and-not-heard atmosphere hung around them like a pall.
Almost all furniture was adult-sized, with the exception of the cradle and the high chair. As for bedrooms they were generally unheated, makeshift affairs that usually housed all the children in the home, male and female alike. By the time Trail End was built, however, much more attention was being paid to the needs of the younger set.
Better Homes & Gardens magazine once declared, “A real home is a place where children feel at home.” In that respect, Trail End – the home built by John and Eula Kendrick – was indeed a real home. It was built for a family with children – very active children (teenagers, actually). As such, it was designed to incorporate both welcoming comfort and sophisticated elegance. While Senator Kendrick could hold formal receptions in the Foyer, visitors were just as likely to find Mrs. Kendrick there, answering correspondence at her desk in the corner, or a gaggle of teenagers dancing to the latest tunes played on the Edison phonograph.
Rosa-Maye and Manville Kendrick were the first children to live in Trail End, but not the last. Manville and his wife Diana – who had moved into the house in 1929 – welcomed their first child in 1931 and their second in 1934. They were frequently joined here by Rosa-Maye’s two children, also born in 1931 and 1934. Yet another generation spent time at Trail End, when Manville's grandchildren came to call in the 1950s.
To accommodate her grandchildren, Eula Kendrick had one of Trail End's three guest bedrooms converted into a nursery in 1933. As she noted in her diary, "Spent morning supervising Mr. Edwards and Edgar in moving furniture out of ‘Blue Room,’ preparation to making nursery for new baby coming to MK and D in late January."
At the time Trail End was built, girls' rooms were supposed to be deliciously fussy, with antique-looking furniture, plenty of pastel colors, and lots of ruffles, all aiming towards a "cluttered air of old-fashioned charm." Rosa-Maye’s bedroom at Trail End is the quintessential “girlie” room. But, while Eula Kendrick decorated it with lace, roses, and plenty of pink, that may have been just a mother’s wishful thinking: Rosa-Maye was the biggest tomboy on the block! She drove cars and flew in airplanes – things girls just didn't do much of back in the 1910s and 1920s.
Nevertheless, it was her room, and Rosa-Maye cherished it as such. She could always go there whenever things got too crazy. As she told her mother once in 1912, "The boys make so much noise at night, that I have to go into my room all alone to study." Such a space was important for the young girl, as journalist Martha Cutler pointed out in 1906:
One of the high points of a girl's life is acquiring a room of her own. Such a room is for a person who has reached that longed-for period in life when her needs are worthy of consideration, when a quiet, retired spot is deemed a necessity for study and work. ... Her sense of individual possession is coupled with delightful sense in importance and newfound dignity.
Manville’s is the smallest of the family bedrooms. This was not because his parents liked his sister better, but because it was felt that boys didn’t need large rooms; they should be spending most of their time out-of-doors:
A small room isn't necessarily a hardship for a boy. It is likely that he really doesn't need so much room as a girl, since he isn't around the house a great deal, and his dressing and toilet maneuvers are, at least up to a certain age, bound to be simple.
Decorating magazines around 1910 said boys’ rooms were to be “spartan” and decorated with Native American patterns, simple red curtains and sail boats. Arts & Crafts style furnishings were popular, including large desks and bookshelves (to encourage study) and lighting fixtures. When putting together Manville's bedroom, Eula Kendrick followed that advice to perfection, from the Native American border on the walls to the simple red curtains, and the many pictures of sail boats. The chandelier and wall sconces are Arts & Crafts-inspired.
Though his room was small, Manville gained extra space during the day by sleeping in a folding Murphy Bed at night. In this respect, Eula broke from the advice of the day which stated,
Mothers could take a good tip from school dormitories ... single cot beds, which are well-made and very comfortable these days, are much more satisfactory than the ordinary style of bed. They use up less space, which is a desirable feature if the room is small.
State Historic Site