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A Dickey Christmas: 1919

"Dickey Christmas tree, 1919." The family of Washington, D.C.,  lawyer Raymond Dickey. 8x6 inch glass negative, National Photo Co. View full size.

"Dickey Christmas tree, 1919." The family of Washington, D.C., lawyer Raymond Dickey. 8x6 inch glass negative, National Photo Co. View full size.


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Our family went thru the agony of Christmas pictures every year. Since we lived overseas, my folks would have the pictures taken in September. That gave my mom enough time to get the prints, write the annual missive, and get them in the mail in October. She mailed them via surface mail (would take just about two months to get to the US) since in those days air mail was too expensive for the number of folks the missive went to.

I was so thankful one year that I was going to be leaving home in July. I thought I would not have to go thru the agony. Nope, the folks just took the pictures a week before I left. And the following year, when I was not home, my folks had my grandparents take a photo in July and mail the negatives home.

I tried to find out when the Dickey photos were taken. Curious as to whether these photos were taken early to share with friends or taken in December just for the family. Unfortunately, at LOC, all I could find is the year taken, no month.

Poor Mrs. Dickey

Hammered or not, she has to put up with Mr. Dickey. And there’s less speculation about his consumption habits, because we’ve seen the outline of his flask in other years.

Trite but true

I've said it before and I'll say it again, with no judgment or unkindness intended, but merely as an observation: Mrs. Dickey is hammered.

More Dickey family information

Some years are a little off, but I think I have the correct family members. Raymond Dickey wed Rose Maxwell in 1901 when Raymond was 23 and Rose was 21. Her father, the Reverend John A. Maxwell performed the ceremony in Washington. Raymond died in 1940 at the age of 62 and is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Prince George's County, Maryland. Rose died in 1967 at the age of 87 and is also buried in Cedar Hill. It appears she did not remarry.

Granville was born in 1902. In 1924 he graduated from the College of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he was a member of the varsity swim team, and in his senior year was named a member of the all-American swim team. In 1928 he married La Verne Carnes and the couple settled in Chicago where Granville was an advertising manager for a large wholesale house. By 1942 he was living in Maryland and employed at the U.S. Conservation Corps in DC. The move may have been due to a divorce and remarriage. He divorced in 1941 and an Evening Star death notice said Granville’s second wife passed away April 5, 1945. Granville died in 1948 at the age of 45 and is buried in the same cemetery as his parents. His obituary references his surviving sister as Mrs. Alice Beaton.

I could not find Alice. Raymond Jr.'s 1981 obituary referenced survivors included his sister, Mrs. John Beaton of St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

I did not find a grave or obituary for John. But in the 1940 Census I found a 28yr old J. M. Dickey, attorney, born in DC. Divorced, he was living at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Clarksburg, West Virginia. I did not find anyone who might be John in the 1950 Census. He was referenced as a survivor in Granville's 1948 obituary, but not of Raymond Jr. in 1981.

Raymond Jr. became a very influential Washington D.C. lawyer. His first law firm was Dickey and Dickey in which he was a partner from 1940 (when he was 22) to 1942. This would seem to be with his father or brother, except his father died in 1940 and his brother was in West Virginia. Married three times, twice divorced, Raymond died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 63. A place of internment was not given.

The weight of the world

-- or something -- seems to be pressing down on this family. Is it the tree? The ceiling?

Six years too early for the Office Party

I thought, by digitally adding some color, that it might would improve their holiday outlook ... but then I realized their real problem. No doubt, they are despondent over the fact that they are six years too early for the Office Christmas Party-1925!

Bah, humbug

The Dickey family's collective ponder of father's comment regarding the cost of photography has been captured for the archives. A good son will pray that he doesn't blur the investment.

Remnants of the Kaiser's army may have returned to the toy factory, but shell shock has impacted quality control. Regardless, Marklin models must have been a difficult get in 1919, even for wealthy Americans. The toy museum is worth a visit if you go to Goppingen.

I have a treasured photo of my father's Christmas tree circa 1919-1921. The cast iron carbide cannon under the tree now sits on my living room end table. The tree is decorated with dozens of unlit candles in clip-on candle holders. Scary!

Dickey family information

I found the Raymond Dickey family in the 1910 and the 1920 US Census. In 1910 Raymond and Rose lived at 1358 Otis Place NW with two children, Granville and Alice, and two servants, a 33-year-old woman and her 16-year-old son. The son also worked as a laborer in a store. When the house last sold in 2003, it was 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1,776 square feet. In Street View below, 1358 is the house to the right, trimmed in blue and white.

In the 1920 Census Raymond and Rose lived at 1702 Kilbourne Place NW with four children (welcome John and Raymond Jr.) and four women lodgers, all in their early 20s, two were sisters. One was a stenographer and three were clerks. When the house last sold in 1996 it was 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2,631 sf. In Street View it is the house painted white.

Raymond was born in Maryland and Rose in Indiana. Why they chose such an unusual Christmas tree each year is still a mystery.

Xmas Lesson #1

When the tree is too tall, cut at the bottom, not at the top.

What do you mean?

Smile? I *am* smiling.

Marklin Ship

Actually the ship is a Marklin USS New York. Count the rear portholes at rear; in the picture there are about 6, the other ship proposed has nine visible.

Meet the Dickeys

Doing a quick Google on Raymond Dickey, I found that there was a Raymond R. Dickey who was a political intimate of William Casey, late head of the CIA and a "Republican Party Stalwart". He died somewhere in the second half of the Twentieth Century (one of the sons?) Also there is a J. Raymond Dickey (grandson?) still practicing law in the Washington area.

The doll fits in with the family well.

The eyes have it.

Good and Evil

The younger brother's Christmas prayer is that his evil sister and her voodoo doll will leave home and never return. While their older brother, Emilio Estevez, keeps his distance from this entire clan huddled beneath the Griswold family Christmas tree.

Unanswered prayers

Kid at center: "Please don't let the mold eat me like it has the rest of the -- oops, too late!"

Obviously a lawyer ahead of his time.

He and his family are already thinking "This will eventually be Public Domain".

Happier than they look.

I would bet they aren't nearly as gloomy as their pictures suggest.

Clearly this is a family that loved Christmas enough to get a tree that all out of proportion to the room, decorate it haphazardly and have the most unflattering portraits made of themselves.

This is not the picture of a rigid, organized, disciplinarian father with an iron fist.

Dickeyensian Christmas

They may well have been the most pleasant of families, but their consistently disturbing Christmas portraits always seem to hint at some dark, Stephen Kingesque, ongoing abuse; something along the lines of "Sybil."

Well of course they're upset

Thats a Marklin "La Dague" Steam powered Torpedo Boat worth between $18,000 and $20,000. And someone has already broken off one of the smokestacks. I would be upset too!

Children of the Damned

I think the younger Dickey boy is attempting to will them out of yet another Dickey Christmas with yet one more rotund tree. Judging from the molecular disturbance around Dad and Sis, I think his efforts at quantum phase-shifting just might be working. We'll know for sure when the gunboat disappears.

It's Not Christmas Without The Dickeys

Always look forward to the latest Dickey Christmas picture. If someone made a book of all the pictures I would buy it. They intrigue me, despite their gloominess! I would love to see what they looked like smiling. I read they lived at 1702 Kilbourne NW in Washington DC, it can be found on Google Street View. I wonder what it looks like inside there now.

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