-Marietta M. Andrews
1869 - 1931
Marietta M Andrews was born 11 December 1869 in Richmond, Virginia and christened Marietta Fauntleroy Minnigerode. Her father was Charles Minnigerode, her mother Virginia Cuthbert Powell. Marietta was the eldest of a large family which included brothers Charles,Cuthbert, Fitzhue, George and Karl and sisters Lucy, Virginia, Roberta, Rebecca and Anne. Her brother Fitzhue would also write poetry. Both parents came from distinguished Virginia families, and her father, known as "Charlie", was a lieutenant/captain for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Her grandfather, Rev. Charles Minnigerode, was pastor to Jefferson Davis himself during the Civil War.
Sadly, Marietta's father Charlie would suffer from what we now know to be symptoms of PTSD in the years following the defeat of the Confederacy. Finally, depressed, in financial ruin, and utterly despondent, he committed suicide in 1888 rather than face the prospect of providing for an eleventh child that his wife had announced she was carrying.
Marietta's passion was art, with favored mediums of portrait painting, still life and illustrations. She attended Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. as well as studying under several impressive artists in New York City (William Merritt Chase), Munich (Ernest Lieberman) and Paris (Luigi Chialiva). At Corcoran she was taught by famed artist Eliphalet Frazer Andrews (1835-1915). Andrews was primarily known for his portraits, including those of Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson and several other presidents. These portraits hang in the White House to this day.
Marietta M Andrews at her work
The two fell in love, though Andrews was 34 years her senior and ten years older than her father! But, the couple married on 24 September 1895 in New York City. They soon had two children, Mary in 1896 and Eliphalet Jr in 1898. The couple lived and raised their children in Washington D.C. where both practiced their art. Eliphalet Andrews died in 1915 at the age of 80 years.
Marietta authored a number of books on various themes, including one called Scraps of Paper in which she compiled letters, journals and documents belonging to her relations who had served in the Civil War. At least two of her many volumes published were collections of poetry. The first was Songs of a Mother in 1917, followed by Out of the Dust in 1920. These are lavishly illustrated by Marietta. Her wide-ranging interests are evident in the variety of her publications, which included one book entitled The Darker Drink (1922) in which she chronicles her successes in contacting deceased loved ones through supernatural means.
Marietta spent her final years living with her son and his family. She died on 7 August 1931 of a stroke at age 61 in Falls Church, Fairfax cty, Virginia.
Art Class of William Merritt Chase circa 1890
Illustration by M.M. Andrews,
Songs of a Mother
by Marietta M Andrews
Out of the Dust
by Marietta M Andrews
In the early, early morning
When the summer day is dawning
And the birds begin to cheep,
Then my restless little lovers
Kick away their sheets and covers
As the waken from their sleep.
In their sturdy arms they hold me,
To their baby bosoms fold me,
Lay their cheeks against my cheek;
With their fists my features pounding--
Sounds of merriment resounding--
While for joy I scarce can speak.
I-- an ordinary woman--
Just a stupid, blundering human--
Can such happiness be mine?
Oh! those bruises are entrancing!
And these little feet, just dancing
On my heart seem all divine!
As motes of common dust,
Seen in the sunshine,
Seem dancing grains of gold,
The days dull doings,
Touched with perfect patience,
Rare values may unfold.
Nor is the grain of gold
More truly lovely
Than the same merry mote,
Riding upon the radiance
Of a sun-beam---
But watch it sail and float!
Quotation by Marietta M Andrews: "Sooner or later, everyone comes to Washington." 1928
In the Attic
A rich golden glow lingers still in the west,
And every wee bird seeks its own cozy nest:
And Mother's wee birdie on Mother's own breast
But the rich west must fade to a sad, quiet gray,
And the young moon, now rising, must soon fade away,
And the birdie must rise, at the dawning o' day
And be gone!
And the Mother's warm arms must one day grow cold,
And the rosy sweet baby, grow thoughtful and old,
And all of life's fulness, a tale that was told
By thy voice, oh Mother! Thine own tender eyes
And the thought of thine infinite self-sacrifice,
All wealth of example-- all dear memories--
Things useful long ago, broken and rusty;
Portraits, forgotten, as the years have sped.
Poor faces, veiled in cobwebs, dim and dusty,
And letters to the dead, writ by the dead.
My children love these darkened, queer recesses,
And laughter shakes the rafters when they play,
As, masquerading in their grandma's dresses,
The storm the attic every rainy day!
Across the Sea
Across the mystery of the sea
The souls I love commune with me;
Meeting in un-mapped tracts of space,
I seem to find them face to face:
Since Love knows naught of near or far,
Hid in my heart my loved once are.
Across the mystery of the skies
Our faltering spirits heavenward rise
And reach beyond the remotes star,
Since where God is, His children are.
Oh Father! naught inland or sea
Can touch the spirit hid in Thee!
Dim distances of purple hills,
Seen through a veil of summer air,
Disturbing details lost in mist,
And what is clear, most wondrous fair--
So are the years, kind, lovely years,
Of which the poet seldom sings,
The years that bring the bird's-eye view,
Dispassionate of earthly things.
Sweet years in which we cease to war
'Gainst primal instincts, selfish sin--
Great years, that in perspective place
Trifles that were or might have been.
Still in the world, still of the world,
Still full of joy in youth and spring,
With keener faculties of mind,
And love becomes a sexless thing--
Sexless and selfless-- so, a tool
For little miracles each day--
Time, when the soul, with clearer sense,
Its long-loved idols, each may weigh.
Are glimpses of the great Beyond
Now open to us-- tenderly?
And can it be, sometimes we hear
Far ripples of th' eternal sea?