A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
​April 2010 - December 2011

A Lively Social Life

Theater Program, 1921 (Kendrick Collection, TESHS)

 State Historic Site

Trail End

Detail, Judge Magazine, 1912 (Private Collection)

No Time For Boredom

Making the Most of Leisure Time in a Screenless Society

MANVILLE KENDRICK BEGAN life in a second floor room of the Sheridan Inn in 1900 and forever after maintained a fondness for the finer things in life. Rarely indulged while at the ranch (where he and his sister were home-schooled by their mother), he made up for it later.



FUN TIMES AT THE OW RANCH

As isolated as it was, there was always something to do at the OW – and not all of it was work. The house had its piano and books; the yard had its hammock and other attractions. Regular baseball games were held between ranch teams (Rosa-Maye writes in her 1914 diary that the rivalries were quite fierce). Cowboys could train their ponies or ride in ranch rodeos; one bunch even played croquet.

As teenagers, Manville and Rosa-Maye took their friends to the ranch for weekends of fun and games. Later, Manville put in a landing strip so he could fly his small airplane in and out of the OW.


THE MAN IN THE RACCOON COAT


After his father was elected Governor of Wyoming, Manville attended Cheyenne High School for a brief time before transferring to Phillips-Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. From there he went to Harvard, from which he graduated in 1922 with a degree in Political Science.

During his time in Massachusetts, Manville took advantage of what Society had to offer: plays, concerts, movies, dances, yachting weekends and football games. With his raccoon coat, silk scarves and tailored suits, the slim young man turned many a young lady’s head.

Manville’s bachelor days came to an end in 1929 when he married Diana Cumming, the daughter of U. S. Surgeon General Hugh Smith Cumming. Their Washington wedding was one of the social highlights of the year. Afterwards, they moved to Trail End and joined the ranks of Sheridan’s “young moderns” – wealthy couples who played tennis and bridge, had social obligations nearly every night of the week, yet still managed to raise a family.


LIFE IN THE SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT


Like her son, Eula Wulfjen Kendrick enjoyed the social life. Growing up in Greeley, Colorado, Eula was recognized as one of the “brightest lights” of local society. With her finishing school manners and artistic accomplishments (particularly painting and singing), she seemed destined for a life in the spotlight. After marrying John Kendrick, however, Eula’s light didn’t have much of a chance to shine; her new home at the OW Ranch was two days away from the nearest town!

The family’s 1908 move to Sheridan finally gave Eula what she had long desired: a social life full of parties, dances and concerts. After it was finished in 1913, Trail End became the scene of many teas, dances, parties, receptions and dinners attended by businessmen, socialites, politicians, ranchers and cowboys.

Eula especially enjoyed her involvement with the Cecilian Club (devoted to music and the arts), the Methodist Ladies, and the Sheridan Women’s Club. As for John, he convened regularly with Masonic organizations, including Sheridan’s Kalif Shrine. He was also a member of the Elks Club.

Following her move to Washington, D.C. in 1917, Eula continued her social adventures. Because of her husband’s political position, she was a frequent guest at the White House, attending dinners, dances, receptions and casual teas hosted by First Ladies Grace Coolidge and Lou Hoover. After Senator Kendrick died in 1933, however, Eula's role in Washington society was considerably diminished.


ENTERTAINMENT SUITABLE FOR "OLDER LADIES"


In the early 20th Century, entertainment opportunities were limited for older women - particularly widows. They were expected to stay home and knit, sew, cook and/or raise their grandchildren. For those still physically active and mentally alert, solitary boredom was a distinct possibility!

Fortunately, these ladies had a few outlets. Church groups were particularly popular with older women, who saw them as not only spiritual outlets, but social ones as well. Most of these groups were involved in “good works and deeds.” The Methodist Ladies, for example, helped raise money for Sheridan’s Carnegie Library by selling $1 subscriptions.

When motion picture theaters first opened, they were somewhat scandalous; society frowned on the woman who entered one alone. As they entered the mainstream, however, movies became another entertainment option for women who would otherwise have to stay home alone every night.