“A Thrash to Windward: Mrs. Iselin and the Crew of COLUMBIA, 1899”
By Russ Kramer
Oil on linen, 29″ x 44″
Captain Charlie Barr helms COLUMBIA during the stormy third, and decisive, America’s Cup race against SHAMROCK, October 20, 1899. On board is designer Nat Herreshoff, syndicate head C. Oliver Iselin and his wife Hope, the first American woman to sail on a Cup defender. She is shown with her Eastman-Kodak box camera; her wonderful photo albums capturing the action on board, which inspired this painting, are preserved in the archives of the Mystic Seaport Museum.
Edith Hope Goddard Iselin (January 17, 1868 – April 1970) was an American heiress and sportswoman who was the first woman to compete as a crew member in the America’s Cup yacht race. She also owned thoroughbred racehorses.
Hope Goddard was the daughter of Colonel William Goddard of Providence, Rhode Island, a chancellor of Brown University and a scion of a family that had accumulated great wealth from mercantile and manufacturing activities. In 1894, she married Charles Oliver Iselin, a banker and sportsman whoTime magazine said was “probably the most famed yachtsman in the U.S.” during the latter part of the 19th Century. The headline of their wedding announcement in the May 5, 1896 New York Times read, “Hope Goddard Engaged to C.O. Iselin, Well-Known Yachtsman to Marry Heiress of millions.” Twenty-six-year-old Hope Goddard was in line to inherit a huge fortune. Charles Oliver Iselin was already a millionaire at the age of 40, made wealthy by his grandfather’s investments in coal mining and railroads.
The couple had many extravagant homes, including their primary residence in New Rochelle, New York, “All View”, a palatial waterfront estate on a private peninsula overlooking Long Island Sound. The home was designed by renown architect Stanford White. Fredrick Law Olmstead, who designed Central Park, was their personal landscape architect. A breakwater was constructed adjacent to Premium Point in Echo Bay so that they could dock their yachts including the Vigilant, Defender and Columbia safely next to their home. The Iselins were influential in bringing the popularity of yacht racing to the Long Island Sound shore communities of Westchester, making New Rochelle the focal point of all the pre-racing activities.
Although Mrs. Iselin walked among kings and multi-millionaires, she and her husband were noted for their philanthropies. In Aiken, South Carolina, where the Iselins maintained a winter residence named “Hopelands”, they organized the Aiken Hospital and Relief Society, which built and equipped Aiken’s first hospital in 1917. They continued to support the hospital until it was replaced by the county hospital in 1937. Mrs. Iselin also served as a director of the Martha Schofield School for many years, when it was operated under private auspices for the education of young African-Americans. On her death she bequeathed Hopelands Gardens, where the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is located, to the city of Aiken. There is a bust of Hope Goddard Iselin at Hopeland Gardens that was sculpted by Maria Kirby Smith.
The Iselin’s had a son, William, who died in childhood, and a daughter, Edith Hope. Mrs. Iselin died in her home in 1970 at the age of 102. Source: Wikipedia
This painting was sold into private collection.