On this lovely Sunday afternoon I would like to present my first post on this blog as one of the Key Room Curators for this summer. My name is Jake and I am from Illinois. I just graduated from college with two bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science. This summer I and my fellow curators will be bringing you a look into some of the unique keys that we have here in our collection.
My first key I would like to present as my portion of this blog is the Edith Rockefeller-McCormick Key. This family of course has a long history and I would like to take a moment to give a brief background of them. As many may know the Rockefeller family was very wealthy, due to the founding of Standard Oil by Edith’s father, John Davidson Rockefeller. She was born the fifth child and the fourth daughter of John Davidson Rockefeller and a schoolteacher named Laura Spelman. There is rumor for there to have been some tension between Edith and her father due to her extravagance and her father’s desire to be frugal with the money he earned. She then married the heir to the mechanical reaper fortune, Harold Fowler McCormick at the age of 23. After this marriage, she then began to spend money even more freely in her new home of Chicago without the watchful eye of her father. While this marriage was not to last (ending in 1921), it threw Edith even more so into the public spotlight as a philanthropist and also an activist.
This particular key was given to us after her death in 1932 by Gertrude M. Moore, the manager of a women’s club that Edith Rockefeller-McCormick was a member of during her time in Chicago. Gertrude M. Moore had originally intended to send us this key directly after the death of Edith Rockefeller- McCormick but unfortunately it was misplaced for nearly fourteen years until it was sent with a letter explaining the situation on October 19th, 1946.
This key is one of many here at the Baldpate Inn that has a very rich history and I and my fellow curators will be expanding upon many others this summer. Until next time my fellow historians, may you continue to grow in your knowledge of history as I hope to do.
Key Room Museum Curator