The McLaughlin Family would often travel to Aiken, South Carolina in early winter, taking refuge from the winds and chills of Oshawa in January, but also to participate in equestrian events, as the McLaughlin daughters were fine horsewomen.
Recent research has led us to discover that the 1926 visit to Aiken was important to Parkwood National Historic Site in terms of artefact and archival holdings. Attached is a family film from the 1926 visit. The beginning montage makes one think that the camera may have been a new acquisition of a family member, perhaps a gift of the previous Christmas? As the McLaughlins skip, play, pose and Charleston for the person behind the camera, we see the fun and mischievous side of the family. City of Aiken archives has helped with the identification of the home in the video as being “Dogwood”, rented by the McLaughlin’s for several years from Mr. and Mrs. Harry S Tainter of New York City, still there today, in private ownership, now called Wisteria Manor.
We have also learned that Frank O’ Salisbury, portrait painter to the British Royal Family, spent the January and early February in Aiken, S.C., painting the portraits of North American society. Using the playground of the nouveau riche, Aiken, as a means to support his art, something he was having trouble doing in Great Britain after the First World War due to the demise of the pocket books of the landed gentry. (parallels of an Edith Wharton novel). In terms of Curatorial research, scholars studying O’ Salisbury have been able to date the sitting of the McLaughlin Family portraits in the Parkwood Dining Room, using O’Salisbury journals, to the first week of February 1926, sans Eleanor (aka Billie) McLaughlin, as she was away at finishing school and not on holiday with the family.