Golden Dawn member Theodosia Moore Durand (1863-1949). Her life-by-dates from 1927 to March 1949, when she died.
As with my life-by-dates of Isabel de Steiger I shall be
typing what happened in Italics, and the sources and my comments in my
usual Times New Roman. Thanks for lots of the information given below, to Ted
There are several other files on Theodosia’s life, which you can find via my GD index page under these Durand sub-headings:
- In the GD; and a biography of James Madison Durand
- Theodosia: life-by-dates 1914 to spring 1926
I have to begin this last file on the life of Theodosia Durand by saying that the period February 1926 to June 1928 is a complete blank: neither Ted Harwood nor I I could find any sources online that mention her.
Theodosia attended a lunch event in
Comment by Sally Davis: cars getting to be a nuisance, and dictating how the town shall be laid out; I daresay.
Source, seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the
LATE 1928 and 1929: did Theodosia go to see these art shows?
The L’École de Paris exhibition at the East West Gallery
showed works by Picasso, Braque, Lhote, Derain , Marcel Roche and Oudot. It was
organised by Lucien Labaudt who had spent the summer in
Sources for the L’Ècole de Paris exhibition:
American Art Journal
volume 24 number 4 1984: news feature called West Coast, by Paul J Karlstrom
and using Labaudt’s own papers to examine how he kept up friendships with
artists like Matisse and Léger, while at the same time developing new
friendships with California-based artists in the 1920s and 1930s. After
Letter now in the Labaudt Papers; quote from it seen by me at yungee.com. From André Lhote to Labaudt 10 August 1928, Lhote wondering where the paintings he’s sent have got to; works by Picasso, Braque, Derain, Marcel Roche and Oudot; and Lhote himself.
Sources for the exhibitions at the
Seen at //publishing.cdlib.org, the
On the Edge of
you can see one of the works by Kandinsky that were shown in
Comment by Sally Davis: though individual artists – like Theodosia herself – had gone to train in Europe before; and some European artists (like Labaudt and Theodosia’s acquaintance Stefania Pezza for example) had come to work in California; these exhibitions brought modern European paintings to the West Coast in large numbers and different styles. If she did go to see any or all of these exhibitions, Theodosia may have come away from them feeling that her knowledge of the French art scene was getting a bit out of date.
3 JANUARY 1929
Theodosia’s mother, Anna Elizabeth (Annie) Mastin Moore
Theodosia read a paper on the history of the Moore family, at meeting of the Sonoma County Pioneers’ Society.
Comment by Sally Davis: perhaps her mother’s death had
inspired Theodosia to look into the history of her family. She was now the only
one of Annie’s children still living in
Theodosia’s sketches of local college girls having swimming lessons in the local swimming pool were shown at Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.
Source: seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital
Newspaper Collection: [
1 APRIL 1930
On the day of the
Source seen at Familysearch:
Comment by Sally Davis: the age Theodosia gave the census official suggested she’d been born in 1871: 8 years after she actually was.
EARLY APRIL 1930
Paintings belonging to Theodosia, and estimated by her to be worth $5000, disappeared.
Source: seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the
Comment by Sally Davis: I think Theodosia must have got all
her art works together as part of the preparations for her return to
SOON AFTER APRIL 1930
Theodosia went back to Paris, with some sources suggesting
she was going to live there permanently. Around the time that she left, her
mural Youthful Heroes was on display at a library in
Sources for her departure, newspaper cutting sent by Ted
Harwood attached to an email of 11 September 2020. Ted couldn’t send the date
of the report, or the title of the newspaper, but it must be the Santa Rosa
Press Democrat for reasons given below. The item is headed “Mme Durand Frieze
Exhibited at Library”; naming the work as Youthful Heroes and describing it as
“Highly decorative in character”. It had been loaned to the Library by E L
Finley as President of the Library Board. The item said that Theodosia had left
Comment by Sally Davis on Youthful Heroes’ owner. The
Frieze had been bought by Ernest Latimer Finley, and had been loaned to the
Library to encourage other local owners of art works to do the same. Finley was
the owner and editor of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat; since 1927 he’d also
owned the Santa Rosa Republican. I think he was a friend of Theodosia’s family;
more specifically, her younger brother Alva Porter Moore (born 1877) who became
a journalist but died young. Finley had been born in
Sources for E L Finley:
At //digital.sonomalibrary.org, the Sonoma County Library Digital Collection: a photograph of him from 1941 and a short profile.
At santarosahistory.com a posting from January 2015 Ernest Finley Party Animal - shows him letting his hair down in 1911.
Source for the library where Youthful Heroes went on
display. At sonomalibrary.org, the website of the Sonoma County Library and
official archive, there is a detailed timeline of the very large number of
libraries, public and private, that were founded in
Theodosia was living in Paris, in the set of artists’
studios at 65 boulevard Arago. While
she was there she wrote a newspaper column called Letter (later ‘Letters) to
the Layman, about art and culture in
Comment on the sources for this period, by Sally Davis: Theodosia wrote Letter to the Layman for the Sunday edition of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Ted Harwood sent me some of the columns she wrote – numbers 7 and 8, 10-14, 21-29, you can see that it was a regular commitment - but he wasn’t able to include the dates of publication. I tried looking for them on the web myself, without success. Due to the limitations of sending items like this by email, I also can’t read most of what the columns said. Which is a pity.
I could read some of the report “Madam Durand Back in
Something I could read on all the Letter(s) to the Layman
that Ted Harwood sent me was the description of Theodosia as former Director of
Comments on the address by Sally Davis: boulevard Arago is
in the Croulebarbe-Montparnasse district, part of
Sources for 65 boulevard Arago:
Dawn of the Belle Époque: the
Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life by Max Saunders. Volume 2 Oxford University Press 1996 reissued 2012 with a new preface: p133 which is about 1923.
Theodosia’s house in King Street, Santa Rosa, was sold to Charles Johnson.
Newspaper cutting sent to me in an email by Ted Harwood
September 2020. Ted couldn’t send me the newspaper’s name but it’s likely to be
the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The cutting showed a small ad headed Sale of Two
Local Homes Announced. It names the buyer and says that Theodosia “has been
travelling abroad for the past two years”. The real estate firm handling the
sale was Barnett and
I could see references to Barnett and
Seen at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: Santa Rosa Press Democrat volume 52 number 311 issued 12 September 1926 p15 in the small ads.
At www.newspapers.com, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat issue of 20 February 1935 p3.
Theodosia returned from
Theodosia’s name on a passenger list for those arriving in
Healdsburg Tribune issue of 29 July 1932.
MAY or JUNE 1932
Source: undated and unidentified newspaper cutting sent in
an email by Ted Harwood 11 September 2020. Item headed: “Madame Durand, writer
and artist, returns from
Comment on the source: I think the item was published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and it’s interesting that the report described her as a writer first; and artist second. The item included a quote from Barr on Theodosia’s work, saying – wrongly – that she was a niece of Asher Durand.
At www.moma.org, Alfred H Barr was MOMA’s first Director. He was appointed for its opening, in 1929 and remained in post until 1943. As far as I know, MOMA never showed any of Theodosia’s work.
PROBABLY JUNE or JULY 1932
On her way to
Source seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the
A new art school opened at Santa Rosa; with Theodosia
teaching fine art and Etta Barnes Cox of Healdsburg draughtsmanship, colour
theory, design and costume making. As part of the opening festivities there was
an exhibition of paintings taken out of store in the Claus Spreckles mansion in
Source for the opening, seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the
Ted Harwood found another report on the new art school;
sent in an email 11 September 2020 and probably from the Santa Rosa Press
Democrat but without a date. This item covered the opening of the art school,
which it called a school of design rather than art. It would be at Third and
Comments by Sally Davis: I couldn’t find any evidence of
Etta Barnes Cox as an artist or designer; though designers are difficult to
research as so much of their work went uncredited at the time. I did find a
reference to her at //ancestors.familysearch.org, family tree of Clifford
Laurence Cox (1885-1981) of Healdsburg
Another thing I couldn’t find any evidence for is the
school of design in
PROBABLY SUMMER 1932
On Sunday afternoons and holidays, Theodosia opened her
Source: newspaper snippet, though without a date; sent in
an email by Ted Harwood September 2020. Ted wasn’t able to send the newspaper’s
name but I think it must be one of the
Comment by Sally Davis: I think the group mentioned as
having won a medal is the four works Theodosia had shown at the Pacific-Panama
International Exposition(PPIE), in
1932; OCTOBER 1932
Theodosia gave two talks to the Theta Chapter of the
Delphian Society, which met at the Annamay Tearoom in
Comment by Sally Davis: the two talks had had to be
separated by several months to allow Theodosia to work on some paintings she
wanted to have ready for an exhibition in
Seen at www.newspapers.com, two issues of the Santa Rosa Republican: Tues 18 October 1932 p8 and Fri 21 October 1932 p6.
Wikipedia on the Delphian Society.
Looking online I found several mentions of the Annamay
Theodosia showed three paintings at an exhibition in
Source: via www.newspapers.com to the Santa Rosa Republican issue of Tues 18 October 1932 p8, which described the paintings in question as “canvases”; so I think they weren’t murals.
Comment by Sally Davis: although my knowledge of
Theodosia’s working life as an artist is so sketchy, I haven’t come across any
evidence that she had exhibited in
Source for the likely exhibition: scal.org, the website of the Santa Cruz Art League.
Theodosia gave a talk in
Seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital
Newspaper Collection; [
Wikipedia on Maud Gonne (1866-1953); J M Synge (1871-1909) and John Masefield. There’s also plenty on the web about Yeats’ tortured (at least on his side) relationship with Maud Gonne, whom he met in 1889.
Comment by Sally Davis: this is the only reference I’ve
come across in all the coverage of Theodosia’s talks on her time in
Though both Maud Gonne and John Millington Synge were
friends of Yeats, Theodosia and her husband could have met them without his
intervention. They both lived mostly in
It’s Theodosia’s having known Masefield I can’t understand:
looking at his wikipedia page, I can’t see when the two could have met. He was
never in the GD and again according to his wikipedia page, was working and
bumming around in the
As well as getting Florence Farr’s surname wrong, the report printed another error – one it may have been fed by Theodosia: it said her husband was “a French sculptor”. He might have been a sculptor – my jury is out on that, for lack of information. He wasn’t French. The report also said that in her talk, Theodosia described the circumstances in which she and her husband had met W B Yeats; and I wonder how near Theodosia got to breaking the vows of secrecy she had sworn at her GD initiation: did she mention that she and her husband, Yeats and Farr were all members of a secret society that studied magic and other occult lore?
The report said that Theodosia had an art studio in
Sources: wikipedia pages on Gonne, Masefield, Synge and Yeats.
Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Colin Smythe 1975.
Theodosia’s brother Virgil Moore died in Kansas City.
Comment by Sally Davis: Theodosia was now the only
surviving child of Armstrong Porter Moore and Anna Elizabeth Mastin Moore. She
probably didn’t go to Virgil’s funeral. She may have been in
At //wc.rootsweb.com the Ancestry of Bob and Mary Beth Wheeler.
At www.findagrave.com information on Virgil Moore who’s buried at Elmwood Cemetery Kansas City.
Theodosia returned to
Theodosia visited the Chicago Century of Progress International Exposition, with a French woman she identified only as “My friend the Duchesse de X”.
Sources for both those entries:
Sent in an email by Ted Harwood September 2020, Santa
Wikipedia on the Chicago Century of Progress International Exposition; originally intended to run from 27 May to 1 November 1933 but extended into 1934. Amongst the performers at the Exposition were the fan dancer Sally Rand; Judy Garland; and the Andrews Sisters.
Theodosia’s World Fairs and Affairs column focused on the
California Pacific International Exposition, held in
Comment by Sally Davis: in her Letter(s) to the Layman
series of newspaper columns Theodosia was writing as a Paris-based
correspondent and focusing on European art and culture. The World Fairs and
Affairs columns were a tacit acknowledgement of how the centre point of the art
world was moving from Europe to the
Via Familysearch to the US Census data for 1 April 1940.
Everyone was asked where they had been living on 1 April 1935; and Theodosia
replied that she’d been living in
Sources: the colums World Fairs and Affairs, which appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on 9 January 1936 p8; 23 February 1936 p9; 28 March 1936 p3; and 7 November 1936 p5 by which time it was the Press Democrat and Santa Rosa Republican. Theodosia almost certainly wrote other columns with that name; but these were typed out for me and sent to me by Ted Harwood in September 2020.
At history.sdvag.net a history of the Arts Guild of San Diego. Theodosia is on a list of members in 1939.
FEBRUARY to OCTOBER 1939
With other members of the Arts Guild of San Diego, Theodosia showed art works at the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition.
Comments on the Exposition by Sally Davis: the Exposition
ran from 18 February to 29 October 1939; and from 25 April to 29 September
1940. Plans for an Exposition to celebrate the two new bridges, and showcase
industry and arts from around the
Wikipedia on the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition, and there are lots of photographs on the web of the various buildings and events – see www.gettyimages.co.uk and www.expomuseum.com for one of the whole island site, taken from the air. The Art in Action part of the Exposition has its own wikipedia page and some of the 68 artists involved in the project are named. A few who weren’t involved in Art in Action but did show work at the Exposition are also listed. Theodosia isn’t in either list.
A good account of the Arts Guild of San Diego can be read at history.sdvag.net. Chapter 3 covers what are considered its golden years - 1929-39. In 1937 it became an artist-based committee of the San Diego Fine Arts Society. In November 1939 it celebrated its silver jubilee; at that time it had 224 members. A number of members of the Guild had shown work at the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition of 1939 (but apparently not 1940); their names were listed and included Theodosia.
1 APRIL 1940
On the day of the 1940
Sources: via Familysearch to
The hotel wasn’t named on the census data page that I could
see but I did find two sources giving its address - 410 A
Via google to the San Diego City and County Directory issued 1936 p616; and at www.sandiego.gov there’s the 1942 issue of the San Diego City Directory.
Comment by Sally Davis: I suppose that once the California
Pacific International Exposition was over, there was no particular reason for
Theodosia to stay in
Theodosia showed her painting The Picnic at the Southern
California Art Show, held at the Fine Arts Gallery in
Comment on the prize by Sally Davis: it had been founded in
1929 by Martin B Leisser, in memory of his friend the artist Ammi Merchant
Farnham who had lived in
At sandiegohistory.org, the web pages of the
Arts Magazine volume 15 issues 1-6 1940, p17. The Picnic was actually joint runner-up with a work by Clarence Hinkle. The winner was Diana Seated, by Los Angeles-based artist Onestus Uzzell.
The Picnic is the last work Theodosia exhibited, as far as I can tell. If she had given her true age to the official taking details for the US Census, Theodosia would have told him or her that she was 76 in April 1940. She may already have been suffering from the chronic bronchitis which is listed as the cause of death on her death certificate. An adult lifetime of smoking, perhaps? Or was it working putting paint on sheets of asbestos? Or just living for so many years in the fog of San Francisco? - that’s probably the reason why she was not living in the city when she died. She moved once more, back to the San Francisco Bay Area, but to 242 Alma Street Modesto; where she died on 15 March 1949.
Source for death and address: via Familysearch to the California Death Index 1940-97.
Source for the cause of death: bill for funeral expenses, paid by Theodosia’s niece Virginia; copy sent by Ted Harwood in an email September 2020.
FINALLY an item from a newspaper; sent by Ted Harwood September 2020, which I haven’t been able to give even an approximate date to:
Newspaper report headed “Pastels in Cement” which reviewed some works by Theodosia that were on show at the time at the Duncan Vail Gallery. The review praised her skill in draughtmanship and her good knowledge of anatomy; and said that her portrait studies in pastel had an “unusual luminosity”. Two works were singled out. One was a portrait of “a negress” (which apparently was not the work’s title), which the reviewer found “quite modern”. The other was the portrait of a young girl, with the title Young Autumn.
Comment by Sally Davis: I just couldn’t pin the date of this exhibition down; such a shame as it was one of the biggest sets of work Theodosia ever showed in one gallery. I did see online a lot of passing references to the Duncan, Vail Co, which was in business by 1848 and is still an important artists’ materials supplier in the United States in 2020. And there were references online to the firm operating an art gallery from the 1920s to the 1980s; though I couldn’t work out where it was situated and of course there may have been more than one.
American Art Annual volume 17 1848 p429 Who’s Who Among Art Dealers section lists Duncan, Vail Co of 732 South Hill Street.
At www.worthpoint.com I found a picture for sale with a label on it from Duncan Vail Co artist materials, of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beverly Hills; though the label wasn’t dated.
On Ebay I saw several other items with the firm’s label on, with dates 1927, 1931 and 1934.
At ericmerrell.wordpress.com had the reference to the gallery operating in the 1920s.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
7 December 2020
Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: