Eleanor Widener’s clothing hangers, Joseph Widener’s telephone, signed holiday card & other items from Lynnewood Hall selling on eBay for big bucks

Multiple artifacts from Lynnewood Hall’s glory days are up for bid on eBay.com.

Eleanor Widener’s Ronaele clothing hangers

Eleanor Widener’s Ronaele clothing hangers from her days at Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park are selling for $998.00.

From the seller’s description:

Here is the back story how I acquired these….

When I was in high school in 1974 my father and I went through Anslum Hall also known as Ronaele Manor (Eleanor backwords) and finally known as the Christian Brothers, who were the last owners before it was torn down. 

The Christian Brothers were selling the building and the 42 acres around it. Located across the street from Lynnewood Hall. They were selling off the contents of the house nothing really vintage, plates silverware, books etc.  However my father and I explored the house top to bottom. On the top floor there was a barber shop for all the priests who lived there. Beyond the barber shop there were two rooms with walk in closets. In the corner of one closet there was an old dusty box with these hangers with the name Dixon written on it. That box contained these antique victorian clothes hangers from the early 1920s. The priest collecting money at the front door gave me the box of hangers I don’t think he knew what the rats nest of old metal wires even were. 

On June 19th 1912 two months after her father George D. Widener and brother Harry Widener died on the Titanic daughter Eleanor Widener 21 married Fitz Eugene Dixion 24 at Lynnewood Hall. Construction of Ronaele Manor their new home designed by Horace Trumbauer started around 1921 and completed around 1925.

These 10 (ten) antique clothes hangers were displayed for many years in my parents home and look great as a full collection. They have been stored away for many years and are now up for sale.
Also included in this sale is a  5×7 framed color photo of Ronaele Manor as pictured above.

Signed holiday card

A holiday card with Joseph Widener’s signature, a rare book titled “Paintings at Lynnewood Hall”, a photo and a newspaper clipping are selling for $994.00.

From the seller’s description:

Sale includes (4) Four Rare Widener Items Read Carefully…

1st) (WIDENER SIGNED) Ultra Rare A CHRISTMAS / NEW YEARS CARD WITH HANDSOME, STRONG SIGNATURE BY MR. JOSEPH WIDENER FROM LYNNEWOOD HALL DATED 1924. (Digital Watermark over signature will not be on the card delivered to buyer)(ARTIST SIGNED) FRONT OF THE CARD SHOWS AN ETCHING THAT IS HAND SIGNED IN PENCIL BY THE ARTIST HORACE DEVITT WELSH, BOTTOM RIGHT BELOW THE IMAGE.  (Large approx. 8″x7″) You can view the indent of the etching plate in the paper. HORACE DEVITT WELSH LIVED FROM 1888 TO 1942. WELSH WAS A PHILADELPHIAN WHO WAS COMMISSIONED BY WIDENER TO MAKE AN ENGRAVING OF THIS FAMOUS REMBRANDT PAINTING FOR THEIR 1924 CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR CARD. IT IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION AND FOLDS AT THE TOP.  It is unknown how many were produced and signed in 1924 chances are most were thrown away over the years. This twice signed item is extremely rare!

**Provenance: The Christmas card came from the estate of  Mr. Widener’s close friend Walter S. Vosburgh, an original member of The Jockey Club, turf historian official handicapper for racing associations, including New York race tracks from 1894-1934 and for whom the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park is named. 

2nd) Rare book, Paintings at Lynnewood Hall, featuring the Collection of Joseph Widener. We are showing the Rembrant painting side-by-side with the Signed Christmas card etching. The painting is titled: “Portrait of a Gentleman with Tall Hat and Gloves in His Left Hand”  The book was privately printed in 1923. These were given to friends, colleagues, museums and art libraries, not for sale to the public. Illustrated with artwork that hung in the galleries at Lynnewood Hall (later donated to the National Gallery in Washington DC) Book is in good condition all pages intact, there are about 5 pages in the middle of the book that show slight staining on edge of the page…see last photo… shows minor wear. Introduction by W.R. Valentiner, measures 9″x6.5″ pages not numbered we believe 228 pages. (Joseph’s brother George Widener and his son Harry died on the Titanic). Joseph Widener raised his family in Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park and died in 1943 in the house.

3rd) A Photo of Joseph E. Widener taken in 1940. What makes this photo so rare is that Joseph is close to the camera, and looking directly into the lens. All of my years collecting images of the Wideners rarely do they address the camera at such a close range. Please Note this photo is a handsome reproduction, we digitally scanned and restored the original old faded torn snap shot to a new handsome print.  Still super rare you won’t find this elsewhere. Measures 4×6 framed.

4th) A copy – reproduction newspaper clipping (shown in photo #4) dated July 13th 1942 which appears to be Mr. Welsh’s Obit.?  The clipping is small but enlarged here for better reading, it confirms Mr. Welsh made etchings for Mr. Widener. Another rare piece of documentation included with this lot.

Joseph Widener’s telephone

Joseph Widener’s telephone from his days at Lynnewood Hall is selling on eBay for $688.00.

According to the listing, the head of the Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation believes this was either a butler or staff phone.

From the seller’s description:

Through an odd set of circumstances, I met someone whose father (who died a few years ago at age 98) worked for Freemans Auction House and worked the Widener auction in 1944 and acquired several things. This man also had an odd collection, he collected telephones of famous people including Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, John D. Rockefeller AND Joseph Widener and others. He restored them and kept them on display in a glass cabinet.

Most of the famous phone collection had been sold off, but I was able to buy the Joseph E. Widener phone. At the center of the dial is a phone number “Melrose-4640” I was concerned that it might be fake, so I found out this model Western Electric phone was first produced in 1937 and I found someone who had a phonebook from Phila 1940. The listed phone number on the dial matched the phone number in the phone book for Joseph Widener. The head of the Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation believes this was either a butler’s or staff phone.

I was told the phone had been restored including a new wire for a current phone jack, however I have not tested it. I do not believe this phone was on the auction block, I suppose the phone was given or taken at the time of the auction This is being sold as a historical display item not a fulling working phone….even though it said to be restored…again I cannot test it.

Joseph E. Widener died Oct. 1943 and the large fine art and furnishings auction at Lynnewood Hall took place June 20th – 24th 1944.

Includes a large 10×13 framed magazine page showing someone leaving Lynnewood Hall with a millionaires lamp as well as other magazine pages from the same article about the famous Widener auction at Lynnewood Hall in 1944.

Decorative fence crown

A decorative crown from Lynnewood Hall’s iron fence and a digitally restored photo of the front of the property is selling for $199.00.

From the seller’s description:

2 items included in this listing…please read carefully…

1) Offered is an original piece of the decorative crown from a top the iron fence that surrounds the handsome Lynnewood Hall.  The fence was designed and built by WM F. Remppis Co. Architectural and Ornamental Cast Iron work, located in Reading PA. Two winters ago a large 100 year old tree fell onto the fence and crushed part of it. When the repair men arrived they were only interested in replacing the large length of fence to keep out trespassers, the care taker allowed me to take the small broken parts of the crown left behind. This piece has not been cleaned, sanded or painted sold as original. See all photos. Extremely Rare. Fence / Gate installed in 1905.  Very Heavy – Authentic + Original. Lynnewood Hall, HOME of George Widener + Son Harry both of whom died on the Titanic (George’s wife Eleanor Survived). 

2) One 8×10 photo of the front of Lynnewood Hall, digitally restored new print ships framed as pictured, taken approx. 1906? 

Elevation Drawing from 1893

An elevation drawing from 1893 and a photo of the south front of the building is selling for $62.00.

From the seller’s description:

3 items included in this auction

1) Lynnewood Hall home of George Widener + Harry who both died on the Titanic. Joseph + PAB Widener II also occupied a different wing of the residence. Offered is a handsome  Elevation Drawing of the North Front + South Front of the building, dated January 1st 1893. It was painstakingly digitally restored. Measures 10″x13″  Written in faint writing it says…Horace Trumbauer architect 510 Chestnut Street, Phila.  

2) Beautiful photo, of the South Front of the building in all its glory with the fountain spraying and formal gardens in bloom. Printed later – size is 8″x10″3) Three page article The Widener Auction, Philadelphia Family sells off remains of big collection. Mid-1940s. Everything was sold from Louis XV ceramic pieces to items in the kitchen and servants quarters.  The sale took five days, Lynnewood Hall was packed with bidders. 

You can find more Lynnewood Hall artifacts on eBay.com here.

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Photos: ebay.com