Monday, April 16, 2012

Doheny connections

IT'S AN INTERESTING COINCIDENCE that in the past couple of weeks I've heard from not one but three different people who have a direct connection to the Doheny legacy at the Mount. We want to protect their privacy, of course, but we thought we could share a couple of pictures and dispense a little history in the process.
  • Olive Kullgren, the well-dressed woman standing at the wheel, was the private secretary of Edward L. Doheny Sr. at one of his oil companies in Los Angeles. The picture was taken in the late 1920s aboard the Casiana, named for Doheny's first successful well. Olive's granddaughter sent this, along with photos of the Dohenys' "ranch" in the countryside -- way out in Beverly Hills.
  • Another descendant of a Doheny employee contacted us about anything we might have regarding her great-grandfather, Pietro Capriuolo, an Italian immigrant who worked as a gardener at one of Doheny's estates in the 1920s. Alas, we don't have employee information. We suggested she try the excellent digitized city directories at the Los Angeles Public Library. Family history has it that Doheny offered to sell Mr. Capriuolo some real estate in Beverly Hills.
  • Sara Posey, the force of nature behind the Doheny Mansion in the 1890s -- architect,interior designer, artist -- was also quite accomplished with needle and floss. We heard from the owner in Portland, OR, of a spectacular crazy quilt made by Mrs. Posey. The owner acquired it at auction when the two Posey granddaughters couldn't agree on who would have it. We received a few pictures that show its incredible detail and beautiful condition.
Information about the Doheny family in the last century is hard to come by; it's well known that Edward's widow, the papal countess Estelle Doheny, burned her husbands papers and records when he died in 1935. At the college, though, we're gradually accumulating quite a collection of secondary materials, thanks in large part to our friend Don Sloper, who turned over his research materials for his book Los Angeles' Chester Place.

Our Doheny connections called the right place. And when we hear from people like Olive's and Pietro's descendants, we always learn something, too.

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