An ecstatic Olave described to Daisy how Foxlease came with “a lovely big house with 24 bedrooms, nine bath-rooms (!), electric light, central heating, lovely garden, camping grounds, etc. Too perfect for description,” she sighed delightedly. Daisy agreed with her. She also loved Foxlease, and spent many happy hours there especially during the first World Camp in 1924.
The beneficent donor of Foxlease was Anne Archbold, an American socialite with a very interesting life.
Anne Archbold (1873-1968) was the daughter of John D. Archbold who, for 34 years, was John D. Rockefeller’s second in command at Standard Oil. Mr. Archbold gave many generous gifts to Syracuse University, but when he died in 1916, the newspapers reported that his fortune was worth one hundred million dollars. This was distributed to his wife and three children, among them, Anne.
Anne was well-traveled and well-educated, and thought to be “the first western woman to enter Tibet.” She was friends with Gertrude Stein. In 1906, Anne married Armar Dayrolles Saunderson of Castle Saunderson, Ireland. He came from a wealthy political family. After the Saundersons honeymooned in Africa, they told Theodore Roosevelt all about it so he could prepare for his own safari there in 1910.
The Saundersons’ marriage did not last. In 1922, Anne and Armar divorced, and that was the same year she donated Foxlease to the Girl Guides.
After her divorce, Anne legally took back her given name, hired Josephine Wright Chapman–one of only a very few female architects–and built an Italianate house for herself and her children in Washington, D.C., called Hillandale. It reminded Archbold of all the time she had spent in Italy in her youth. Although it was only one of Archbold’s several homes, Hillandale was soon known for the fabulous parties she threw and the many famous people who attended them.
Yet Anne Archbold also had a social conscience and gained a reputation for philanthropy in Washington. She donated medical equipment to Gallinger Hospital, the district’s only public hospital, and she underwrote the Mother’s Health Clinic. She gave a building to Choate-Rosemary Hall. She took an interest in the training of German shepherds as seeing-eye dogs and as police dogs. Archbold herself went on botanical collecting trips to Asia. Not long after her divorce she worked with the National Woman’s Party, and joined a delegation to lobby President Warren G. Harding on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment.
And in a really interesting connection, her former husband’s family home, Castle Saunderson, just last year became a campsite for Scouting Ireland.*
One of the great things about being a biographer is learning all this fascinating information about the people and events in Daisy Low’s world. If Anne Archbold ever met Daisy, I can’t find evidence of it–but I do appreciate a good backstory!
*Castle Saunderson needed renovations, and Scouting Ireland has run into some set-backs with the project, so the site is not yet open.
First quote: Olave Baden-Powell to Juliette Gordon Low, 17 February 1922, National Historic Preservation Center, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., New York City, folder JGL 1922:
Second quote: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 22 December 1994.
Biographical information from: “J. D. Archbold Dies,” New York Times, 6 December 1916; “Miss Archbold Married,” New York Times, 16 June 1906; Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates; “Anne Archbold, Sportswoman, 94,” New York Times, 28 March 1968; U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 22 December 1994.
Photo of Castle Saunderson from Wikipedia.