Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on theis date in the 20th century.
The seven young ladies graduating from Miss Madeira's School got an earful from the Rev. Charles Wood at their commencement exercises in 1911. As if to prove his point about the profligate ways of the wealthy, an adjacent story reports that a rainstorm ruined $100,000 worth of finery being worn by Americans at Derby Day in London. An excerpt from The Post of June 1, 1911:
Declaring that the larger part of the wealthy people of Washington, New York, Philadelphia, and other large cities spend most of their time "primping" and dressing themselves, and in playing bridge, the Rev. Charles Wood, D.D., pastor of the Church of the Covenant, Connecticut Avenue and Eighteenth Street northwest, one of the most fashionable churches in this city, yesterday admonished the graduates of Miss Madeira's School to return to the simple life. He spoke at the fifth annual commencement exercises of that institution, which were held at Rauscher's.
That the majority of society women in the social centers in this country are extravagant not only in dress and in the use of money, but in wasting their talents and time, was another of Dr. Wood's charges. He declared that what the world needed today was a protestant woman who could profit by the benefits of higher education.
"You will find your greatest happimess and accomplish more in this life, by leading a simple and unpretentious life," he told the graduates. "The other day a woman came to me and said, `I do not care particularly for dress, but I find it takes a third of my time planning my clothes and dressing myself.` That, I believe, is only one instance where a woman devotes the most of her time to small things.
"By a protestant woman I do not mean a woman of that faith, but one who will protest against the extravagances of which the majority of her sex is guilty today. Cardinal Gibbons is a protestant, in the fact that he protests against these extravagances, and if more women put a ban on the extravagances which Cardinal Gibbons object to the world would be better off.
"The education you have received teaches you that you must make the best of any position in which circumstance places you. Fill your mission in life, amd if your mission is in the kitchen go to the kitchen and do your full duty. Do not waste your time in fussing with your clothes or in devoting your talents and time entirely to the small things in life, such as bridge."
Miss Madeira, the principal of the school followed Dr. Wood and she spoke briefly on the work accomplished by the school in the five years of its existence. After concluding her remarks, Miss Madeira presented the diplomas to the seven members of the graduating class. ...