Husband Henry James III
129 E 36th St, New York, NY 10016
455 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022
133 E 64th St, New York, NY 10065
Colony Club, 120 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 & 564 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065
Greeenleaves, Woodbury Rd, Woodbury, NY 11797
Dorothea Draper Blagden James (1881 – August 1, 1960) was the daughter of William H. Draper and Ruth Dana, and granddaughter of Charles Anderson Dana, the Assistant Secretary of War under President Lincoln and the sister of Ruth Draper.
Dorothea Draper was born in Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont. In 1938 Dorothea Draper married Henry James III. James's first wife was Olivia Cutting, who became the female companion of Dorothea and Ruth Draper's lesbian half sister Martha Lincoln Draper, who was "quite mannish in dress and manner." James himself has been suggested by Michael Anesko was queer. Dorothea first husband was Linzee Blagden, a New York financier and close friend of James from college days at Harvard. Dorothea Draper lived at 129 East Thirty-sixth Street, New York, during her marriage to Blagden and at 455 East Fifty-first, Street, New York, and 133 East 64th Street in New York City, during her marriage to James. She had a summer home at Woodbury, Long Island, NY.
Dorothea Draper was all character. Not tall, but compact and strong with concentrated force, she devoted herself to getting things done for the benefit of others; she exerted real influence. Inspired by the example of her sister Martha Lincoln Draper, and by nature a mover and shaker, Dorothea was one of the founding group of the Junior League. She had a good singing voice and was a leader in establishing the Schola Cantorum—a choral group of considerable prestige. She spent a large part of her great energies to further the Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing, the oldest such school in the United Stares. She had a fine, quirky sense of humor, but it was not always equal to the pressure of her concern that things be done in accordance with her own high standards.
Linzee Blagden, her husband, a conservative, nice man, was a vice president of The New York Trust Company. He worked for the education of the blind and for the New York Nursery and Children's Hospital. He and Dorothea had no children.
Ruth and Dorothea always addressed each other as "Davil," for they had some Irish thing going between them since childhood; Ruth's letters to Dorothea often went on in an exaggeratedly spelled-out brogue. As a child, Ruth turned to Dorothea for understanding, for comfort, and for advice. Even as she started on her first cross-country tour in 1915, she wrote back: "Davil mine—I depend on your wisdom and insight and strength. I will be very careful of myself " It took Ruth a long time to outgrow this dependence. Always she would admire Dorothea and look to her for stability.
Widowed by the death of Linzee Blagden in 1936, Dorothea in 1938 married Henry James III, nephew of Henry James the novelist and son of William James the psychologist and philosopher. Everyone was delighted. The family had known him for years and Ruth wrote, "I think Harry has been in love with Doro for a long time." At the end of her life, Dorothea said, "Those were happy years." As a friend remarked, "Difficult as Dorothea could be, she married two of the nicest men in New York!"
Harry James was a delightful, rather pedantic, crisp, and humorous man. He graduated from Harvard and took his law degree there in 1904. He had a long career in executive positions at the highest level with the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and from 1934 until his too-early death in 1947, as chairman of the board of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association. He served twelve years as an overseer of Harvard University and was a fellow from 1936 to 1947. He was meticulous, precise, and methodical, and his broad experience made him an effective trustee for four large and prestigious educational institutions. He edited the letters of his father, William James, in 1920 and in 1930 received a Pullitzer prize for his biography of Charles W. Eliot, the great president of Harvard.
Dorothea, too, was concerned about people, about excellence, about making a difference. She was a leader in the drive to establish the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, president of the board of managers of the Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing, and president of the Colony Club (a long-established women's club in New York). Appropriately, this was Dorotha's club; Ruth belonged to the Cosmopolitan Club, which was newer and less formal.
Because of her long service to medical education, New York University honored Dorothea in 1945 with a degree of doctor of humane letters. Already Ruth had received two honorary degrees and Dorothea, with her many years of constructive work, found this disconcerting. Dorothea's degree somewhat relieved the tension that had grown up between them, for Dorothea was jealous; she was jealous of Ruth's fame and, particularly, of Ruth's dazzling host of friends in England and in Europe. Basically kind and warmhearted, she held many devoted friends of her own, but those were snobbish times, and Dorothea was very much of her time.
There were passages of real asperity between them, often sparked by Dorothea's jealousy: Bridling at Ruth's reference to a trip to Vienna in 1956 to "work," Dorothea snorted, "What kind of 'work' do you do?"
"I do monologues, in case you don't remember." Ruth might well have said, "I earn my living by monologues."
Later, Dorothea remarked, "Ruth was very rude to me, today." Dorothea had worked, and worked very hard indeed, but she perhaps defined it differently: she led, she presided, she saw to it that things were accomplished.
Even so, Dorothea remained truly devoted to Ruth, and together they formed a unit of help for anyone in the family in need of moral support or of financial and practical assistance. They were solidly united, too, in their efforts to do the right thing, as they saw the right thing, for their nephews and nieces. They looked with a sharp eye on any family newcomers, and it must have been a daunting experience to marry into the Draper clan, aside from the sheer force of personalities. When Bill Carter presented his recently wed wife, "G. G.," to Aunt Doro in the summer of 1956, she was greeted with, "Well, thank God Ruth likes you!"
After Ruth's death, Dorothea would say: "My life is both dimmed and lighted by constant thought of her. But, oh, the hurt of going on without her!" In her last years, Dorothea still minced no words, but she could be almost mellow, warmer, rather lonely, and very, very funny.
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