Althea Randolph was born Althea Randolph Bedle in Freehold, New Jersey on 17 April 1871. Her parents were both individuals of some distinction. Her father, Joseph Dorsett Bedle (1831-1894), was a supreme court justice in New Jersey and followed that up with Governor of New Jersey from 1875-1878. After that, he was offered an ambassadorship by President Grover Cleveland, but he declined and resumed his law practice.
Her mother, Althea Fitz Randolph (1842-1926), was from a distinguished New England family with an impressive lineage. She was vice president of the Daughters of the Revolution from 1902-1908. A love of poetry was something she shared with her daughter, and she also wrote poems herself.
Not much can be found about Althea's childhood in New Jersey, but she did grow up with three older siblings and two younger. In 1891, at the age of 20, Althea married Adolph Rusch (1862-1936) who was a silk exporter (Abbeg & Rusch Co.). Adolph had been born in Switzerland and emigrated to the United States at the age of 22. They lived in New York City for most of their marriage. The Rusches had one daughter, named Althea Cecile Rusch but, sadly, she died at the age of 7 years. Their son Adolph Jr., born in 1892 lived until 1975, but the loss of their little girl must have been heartbreaking for the family.
Althea's poems were published in "Women's Magazine" and "Ladies' Home Journal". She was apparently a very good artist, and enjoyed drawing in addition to her literary pursuits. Her book of poetry for children, A Shower of Verses, was published by H.W. Gray company, (which, oddly, was a publisher of religious music, such as hymnals) in 1914 when Althea was 43 years of age. She died 1 December 1957, back in her home state of New Jersey, at the age of 86.
A Shower of Verses
by Althea Randolph
Oh, Wind, I'm sure you are a tease,
You whisper secrets to the trees,
And gaily send a playful breeze
To toss the ships upon the seas.
You love to kiss the children fair,
And tangle up their flowing hair;
Ah, Wind! how much you do and dare,
As you go flying through the air!
*photo courtesy of Amanda from her blog, littlelabyrinth.com
Miss Mist is quite a merry little maid,
She trips across the lawn,
And dances down the mountain side
With golden gleams of dawn.
She lightly glides through grassy glens,
And floats upon the sea;
But everything she fondly holds
She veils in mystery!
Miss Mist is quite a fickle maid,
'Tis really sad to say,
For never does she linger long,
But quickly melts away!
The Unreal Elf!
I play the bath-tub is a boat,
And I a sailor boy,
I lift the anchor, blow a horn,
And then I shout "Ahoy!"
I sail away across the bay,
Until I near the land,
I steer my boat upon the shore,
And leave it on the sand,
While Nursie comes and washes me,
Until I'm nice and clean;
And then I turn the water on,--
That's how I get up steam!
I start to sail away again
And turn my boat about,
But just when I am having fun,
My Nursie takes me out!
I thought I'd try the other night,
To catch a little Elf called Fear;
And so I walked right in the dark,
To see if he were real and near!
For just one second, I was scared,
And cried, "Go 'way, you naughty Elf!"
And then I saw there is no Fear,
'Cause no one answered but myself!
Crystal Dew Drop
Pictures in the Sky
Little crystal Dew-drop,
Sparkling like a star,
Tell me where you come from,
And what you really are.
You 'light upon my flowers,
And kiss their petals bright;
You flit about my garden,
And play all through the night.
But when I try to catch you,
Or pick you from a rose,
You fly away to nothing!--
You're a Fairy, I suppose!
I like to look way up so high
To see the Pictures in the sky;
There're valleys, mountains, hills and dales,
And pretty boats with cloudy sails.
There're flowers and animals and things
Which look like birds with fleecy wings;
But while I look, I wonder why
My Picture-clouds may all blow by!
I did not like to have red hair,
I wanted golden curls,
Like Sister Sue and Cousin Mai,
And other little girls.
And so I took my brush and paints
And mixed a yellow bright;
But when I'd painted all my hear,
I looked a dreadful fright!
My Mamma came and scolded me,
And put me into bed.
So after this I guess I'll be
Content with my hair red!
I fill with light the earth and sky,
I climb upon the mountains high,
I drive the darkness all away,
For where I live 'tis always day.
I sparkle on the waters blue,
I make the world a golden hue,
I whisper to the hills and dales,
The prettiest little fairy-tales!
Oh, dry your eyes and do not cry,
Dear Baby Rain from out the sky,
For don't you know you've helped along
The babbling brook to sing their song?
There is no reason to be sad,
You've really made the flowers glad;
So Baby Rain just stop your fears,
And cease, on us, to drop your tears!