Thursday, August 27, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - Shades of Blue

Postcard copied here with the kind permission of

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! It is happy indeed, because we are looking forward to the return of our PFF host, Marie of Voila, Vintage Postcards! You have been missed, Marie!!!

Today's card is the official postcard printed to commemorate the wedding of Alice Roosevelt ( the eldest of President Theodore Roosevelt's 6 children ) to Nicholas Longworth on February 17, 1906. This is one wedding where I am sure the Father of the Bride was happy to hand his daughter over to another's responsibility.
President Theodore Roosevelt once said: “I can either run the country or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.”

Alice became an immediate celebrity when her family moved into the White House. She christened one of Kaiser Wilhelm's ships and was known thereafter as Princess Alice.

Alice, Circa her 1903 Debute

Alice, once described as the "ambulatory Washington Monument", lived a long and very colorful life. She was known as a rulebreaker in an era when women were under great pressure to conform. Her exploits were legendary. She smoked in public, rode in cars with men, stayed out late partying and was seen placing bets with a bookie.

Martha Graham: "After one party they both attended early in 1920, my mother described Alice as having been in a very carnal sort of mood, She ate three chops, told shady stories and finally sang in a deep bass voice: Nobody cultivates me, I'm wild, I'm wild."
And what does this all have to do with shades of blue?

The public adored their beautiful Princess Alice, and once it was made known that Alice's favorite color was a particular shade of blue grey, the color was dubbed Alice blue.

Alice blue is a light steel blueish-cyanish color that sparked a fashion sensation in the United States.
The hit song "Alice Blue Gown", inspired by Longworth's signature gown, premiered in the 1919 Broadway musical Irene. The musical was made into a film in 1940 starring Anna Neagle and Ray Milland.

Joni James' version from her album Little Girl Blue

The color is specified by the United States Navy for use in insignia and trim on vessels named for Theodore Roosevelt."

Alice Blue" is also one of the original mid-1990s X11 color names which became the basis for color description in web authoring.


It appears the card may have been mailed to Miss Mona A Reed on the wedding date in order to obtain a souvenir postmark. However, as you can see - or not see, as the case may be, the Post office did a smashing job, and the postmark is nearly unreadable. The address still exists. Dix Street was named after a prominent Worcester physician by that name.

A view of Worcester, 1902

It was mailed to Worcester (pronounced wooster) in central Massachusetts. This was once a thriving paper mill and loom town. The Victorian mill architecture is a reminder of the days that saw the inventions of barbed wire, the monkey wrench, the first American Valentine's Day cards. No, Worcestershire sauce was not invented here.

Worcester Factory Worker

A Shot of Worcester's Sister City, Worcester England


Alice Blue Gown (Lyrics)

In her sweet little Alice blue gown
When she first wandered down into town
she was both proud and shy as she felt every eye

and every shop window she'd primp, passing by

Then in manner of fashion, she'd frown

and the world seemed to smile all around
Till it wilted she wore it, she'll always adore it

her sweet little Alice blue gown
Song Name: Alice Blue Gown
Songwriters: Harry Tierney, Joseph Mccarthy

A few parting shots...I mean words...from our American Princess:

Of her quotable quotations, Alice's most famous found its way to a pillow on her settee: “If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.”
Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had casually asked her "How are you, Alice?" she stated that the garbage men, taxi drivers and street sweepers in her neighborhood could call her by her first name, but that he could call her "Mrs. Longworth."
She informed President Lyndon B. Johnson that she wore wide-brimmed hats so he couldn't kiss her.
On another occasion, asked by a Ku Klux Klansman in full regalia to take his word for something, she refused, saying "I never trust a man under sheets."
And when a well-known Washington senator was discovered to have been having an affair with a young woman less than half his age, Mrs. Longworth quipped, "You can't make a soufflé rise twice."


viridian said...

Oh my! So much to learn from your posts! First about Alice Blue the color, and then some of her quotes, that I had not heard before. Great job!

Snap said...

This was a great post. Love the card and all the information you gave about *Princess Alice*. What fun!

MoxieMamaKC said...

I love these posts! Alice was one of my favorite presidential family figures. What great, interesting research you have done! Nice job!!

Sheila said...

I very much like the sound of Alice's spirit!

Julie said...

I was a women of that era in my other life :) Finally made it here - love it!

Postcardy said...

Interesting stuff about Alice and colors. I didn't know about X11 colors so I looked at that link and it reminded me of how I chose my "postcardy" colors. I use "websafe" blue 006699. The others were chosen from the HTML color names: Antique White and Floral White.

Margo said...

What a riot! I want to go learn more about her now - and how to quip like that. Thanks for the great history on Alice! Happy PFF :)

carma said...

wow! She sounds like a lot of fun. Interesting history lesson!

Candy said...

Love the history of this. We did this song in the ukulele band last year and I never knew the story behind it. Great gal she was, probably never a dull moment around her. Thanks for all the great info ;-)

Beth Niquette said...

I adore Alice. She sounds like she was ahead of her time. What a wonderful lady. Fabulous post!

Nora Johnson said...

What an interesting post - Alice sounds like a fantastic lady!

Thanks for stopping by - I'm so glad you did since I've now found yr great blog!

PS love yr occupation description as "ne'er-do-well hermit! Happy PFF!

Terry said...

Happy PFF to you .
this was a fabulous post thank you so much for sharing today.
Alice Roosevelt is one of my favorite persons in history she was so full of life .
Thank you again for this fantastic post.
Blessings of joy to you for the weekend.
Happy Trails

fortuitous faery said...

she doesn't look like a very happy bride on that commemorative postcard! hehe...

my first encounter with worcestershire sauce was a real tongue-twister. haha!

Shelley said...

I think Alice is my new hero! Great info you posted about her!

Chris Overstreet said...

Oh, those YouTube links; just wasted an hour listening to covers of Alice Blue Gown. You missed the Judy Garland!

steviewren said...

Love those quotes. She was indeed an original.

I've missed your posts. Please post more often!

Marie Runkel said...

Museyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I didn't know about Alice at all! What a spitfire and inspiration. I'm going to read the post again so that I can soak al of that lovely history up. I ditto Margo's comment. Now I what to read a nice biography or wild historical novel about her:)