Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Hat Made Me Do It

Charlotte Ann Vaughan
photo from private collection of LuAnne Holladay

That hat.  I admit it.  The hat is what made me want to write a post about Charlotte Ann Vaughan.  

Charlotte Vaughan was my Great Great Aunt.  She was the youngest of the seven daughters of Rev. Albert Bell Vaughan, and she was the daughter who took a somewhat different path with her life from that followed by her other six sisters.  Although she was the youngest Vaughan sibling, she was also the first to die.  Some time in the past I remember hearing it mentioned that she had lived in New York.  For years that was about the extent of my knowledge of Charlotte and her life.

When I transcribed her sister Miriam's Variety Book several years ago, I found that Miriam wrote a short note about Charlotte's birth, the entry below.  Miriam did not often mention her other siblings in her diary, yet she had this one note about Charlotte.
"Nacogdoches, Texas.  October 2nd, 1899.  Monday at 10:10 am  Charlotte Vaughan was born.  House of the Seven Sisters".

In my collection of old family photos and scrapbooks, there are a number of pictures of Charlotte as she was growing up in LaGrange, Georgia and in Canton, Georgia.  An earlier post about the Vaughan Sisters included a picture of young Charlotte.  Charlotte was the youngest child in the Vaughan family, and my father was the first child born to one of the Vaughan siblings; they were relatively close in age.  There is even a picture of Charlotte, my father, and other young cousins.

Several of Charlotte's sisters attended Southern Female College in LaGrange, Georgia (after all, their father had been the President of the College).  Charlotte, however, traveled away from the area to attend college.  Her college record from Columbia University indicates that she attended and received degrees from Georgia State College, Florida State College for Women, and from Columbia.(1)

It looks as if Charlotte had a promising career as an educator.  During the summer of 1926, while still a student at Columbia, Charlotte was on the faculty of the University of North Carolina, teaching essentially elementary school curriculum and methods courses during the summer session.(2)  Her Columbia record book also shows summers she spent teaching in Pennsylvania, Washington, and Michigan.  According to her obituary in The LaGrange Daily News, Charlotte later taught at several prestigious schools in New York including the Birch-Wathen School and the Brearley School. (3)

In November of 1930, Charlotte wrote the following letter to the editor of The New Republic, a weekly magazine focusing on American culture and politics.  Reading it, I felt as if I were back in a college lit class.  Charlotte's  comments and the nature of the magazine provided a glimpse into her intellect.

Letter to the Editor
The New Republic 12 Nov 1930

In the midst of her teaching career, Charlotte resigned from her teaching positing at The Brearley School due to health problems in the spring of 1937.(3)  On her way back to her family in Georgia, Charlotte stopped in Rock Hill, South Carolina, to visit with her sister Eleanor.  There she apparently suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 37.(4)

There is a sadness to think of her dying so much younger than any of her siblings.  But there is also a smile when I look at that photo of Charlotte, fashionable, confident, poised, wearing that hat.  After all, this photo shared with me by a cousin was what prompted me to pull together the tidbits of information I had accumulated concerning Charlotte.

(1)  "Record Book of Charlotte Ann Vaughan", Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, 1928; private college of LuAnne Holladay.
(2)  "The Catalogue 1925-26." digital images. University of North Carolina. Internet Archive. : 2014.
(3)  "Miss Charlotte Vaughan of New York and LaGrange Died Sunday in Rock Hill at Home of Sister," LaGrange [Georgia] Daily News, 7 June 1937, p. 1.
(4)  "South Carolina, Death Records, 121-1960." Database and images. : 2013.


  1. That is a wonderful photo of Charlotte. I think I see a family resemblance with the tiny photo of you. I like her letter to the editor too and agree. Critics!

    1. I'm so glad a cousin shared this picture with me. All I had seen before were photos of Charlotte as a child or with her sisters.