I attended Convention Days in Seneca Falls, NY, from July 14-16, 2017, with members of the Northern NJ Chapter of NOW. Convention Days is an annual festival at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park (WRNHP), where the first ever women’s rights convention was held in 1848. Activities include lectures, building tours, re-enactments, movies, concerts, and book talks. One of the leaders of the Convention Days events was Coline Jenkins, great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
My mother, Allison Lazo Hallingby and Coline Jenkins' mother, Rhoda Barney Jenkins, granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were architecture students together at the University of Pennsylvania in the class of 1941. Pioneering women for sure!
I have been working on the family tree this summer and found this photo below of the 2 of them, sent to me by Rhoda in 1999. That's Rhoda on the left and my mother Allison on the lower right. This is the text from the letter Rhoda wrote when she sent the photo:
"Came across this photo of your mother, Helen, and me transferring our drafting boards etc. to the second floor boys drafting room. The girls had been stuck in a very small room on the first floor along with the landscape architects and interior decorators when we were in the last days of a problem due. There was 19 inches between drafting boards and the air was foul. The boys upstairs had two boards [each] and there was even more place to spread out.
I look at this photo and it brings back many memories of times long gone. Some good some bad."
My mother and Rhoda ended up both living and raising their families in Rye, NY, in Westchester County. Not close friends but they saw one another occasionally. My mother did not practice architecture after marriage and children. Rhoda did practice architecture while raising her children.
A final crossing of Allison's and Rhoda's paths, albeit bittersweet, is that Rhoda got the commission to design the columbarium (public place for storage of cremated remains) at the Rye Presbyterian Church which my family belonged to. It was completed in the early 60's. My father was treasurer on the Board of Trustees of the church. He bought 2 niches in the columbarium right away to set an example for other members of the congregation and "get the ball rolling." My mother died a couple of years thereafter at age 46 in 1965, way before my father ever expected to use a niche. So Mother's ashes have been interred ever since then in a lovely outdoor columbarium designed by her former University of Pennsylvania architecture classmate Rhoda Jenkins.
By Leigh Hallingby