- She kept much fuller records of her life and family than her husband. These are notes gathered from the scrapbooks and photo albums kept by Helen Degrange (Weenie) and her daughter Helen McLellan about young Helen's life.
A photo album was started by her mother, Weenie, and continued by her; she picked it up during her teenage years and continued with it until about 1929; the last pages include pictures of Beep.
The first pages are at 3426 Coliseum St. where she was born (August 19, 1906). The have dogs as pets, and two servants, Vira and Rebecca. In May 1908 they visit Bogalusa, at #602, Avenue B; this is in Washington Parish, Louisiana. This city was founded in 1906. There are pics of people removing stumps from 6th street with mules. They were visiting a Miss Noemie Duralde, of no apparent relation.
In June 1908 they visited Crichton, Alabama, (#2 Chidester Ave.) where her mother's brother Henry Snodgrass DeGrange and his wife Cecile and their children lived. Helen's nickname at this point was Ti-ti. There was a creek nearby. The family had chickens. There is also a picture here of "Josephine" with Alden; might this be Joseph Tormey Degrange's daughter? No other members of Joseph's family are in pictures here, but the age is about right. For Easter, 1908 they were at Grandpa DeGrange's. But there also seems to be a picture here of McLellan cousins: "three cousins" has Woodward, Joel, and Helen. Woodward might be Joseph Woodward McLellan, who died at age 2; Joel seems to be Joel McGinnis.
There are photos of her father Asahel in cars he owned in 1907 and 1909. He apparently loved engines, in boats and cars. The "Alden," a cruising lauch with a cabin which is about 30 feet long, first appears in a photo in 1909.
They visited New York in January 1910. There is a picture of the Rex float in February 1910. A car, the "R.S." is in pictures in Feb. 1910. This is a cute little compact thing. A second version, or at least a second picture of it, appears later in the volume. They visit Eagle River, Wisconsin in August 1910.
Then, they move in to 22 Audubon Place on April 19, 1911.
In 1916, there is a picture of Alden McLellan Sr. and Joel [McGinnis] Jr. at Mackinac Island (Michigan) in 1916.
In 1918, she begins to attend Camp Thorwald in Sewanee, Tennessee during the summers, apparently run by a couple named Mr. & Mrs. McDowell. In the first year, there are pictures of her cousins, two sisters Estelle and Anna McLellan. She seems to be taking these pictures now; there are lots of girlfriends. She attended for 5 years (until Summer 1922). There were hikes, plays, and all sorts of fun.
She begins a "stunt book" in the summer of 1918; she calls herself a "junior" at the time, in high school. "Stunts" seem to refer to events, or parties, or games, or other fun happenings of some kind. She has lists, here, with addresses, of her friends from Camp Thorvald between 1918 and 1924. I don't see relations listed here.
On Easter 1919 (and 1920) she was in Waveland, Miss, "auto show, most part," with Blanche Gelpi (=?), Alden III (her brother), and other family or friends.
Back in the photo album, In May 1919, Helen & mother visit a "Miss Noemie" in Savannah, staying at #303 Estill Ave. A new pet (looks like a Bichon) appears in Spring, 1919: Mr. Dooley. Also in 1919, pictures of Alden appear in a track uniform; he was apparently a track athlete at Georgia Tech. He is also in a soldier's uniform in 1919.
Most pictures from this point on are at Camp Thorvald or on the Alden (later the Spikes). She also takes school trips on the Spikes with her sorority.
The stunt book preserves much of her schedules before Newcomb:
In 1920 she spent Christmas in NYC with Family and "Lyda" (=?). She was here for three weeks, going to the theatre a lot. Over the new Year 1920-21 she was in New York, with mother and "Alden III"; the years before and after she was at a friend's, "Virginia Ross's."
Easter 1921 was also in Waveland; "auto show, most part." Christmas Eve 1921 was at "Joel Jr's party"; Christmas, 1921, was spent "here, a lazy day," with family; "fight between Alden and Lyda."
In 1922, there was a dinner party at Antoine's on New Year's Day. In 1922 on Valentine's day she has "Dance at Virginia Ross'"; with who is "???" In Easter 1922 she is on the Alden for a 4-day trip. In 1922, in the Stunt Book, she keeps records of her graduation from "INMTS," the Isidore Newman Manual Training School. She wrote the class prophecy; she seems to have been quite the center of social circles there. Witty and fun; she was elected "wittiest person."
In summer of 1922 she traveled west, going to El Paso and Juarez; the grand Canyon; up the coast to Yosemite and San Francisco; to Portland, Seattle, Victoria; then east to Glacier, and back via Banff and Chicago. "Mother, Aunt Bess, Mr. Robinson, Peter, and I." In 1922, July 4th, she is in Chicago, Ill, with "Mother, Aunt Bess, and Peter," at the end of this trip. She records her visit:
Uncle Alden, celebrated by arriving in his checkered suit, to see us! "Business is all for my pleasure-I don't allow it to interfere." Breakfast in the automat for the fisr time since N.Y. I adore them! We went for a park drive with Peter and Aunt Bess-and there they left us (or, rather, we left them) and brother and I went to the theatre to see "Lilies of the field." It was a scream, only-well, rather racy-but I tough I'd die laughing especially what with the chocolates and the newspapers and the weather and the arrangement of the chairs.
After this, in college, she began a larger scrapbook (maroon binding, brown cover), which described her social life there. She graduated from Newcomb College in 1926 with a B.A. in French. She wrote there for Jambalaya, a student literary magazine. She played the harp; this harp was later owned by friends from Gibson Island. She was a member of Chi Omega, the debating team, the French club, the Mandolin and Guitar club (she also played the harp), and Alpha Sigma Sigma, a junior-senior honorary fraternity.
In the "Author Index" to the Newcomb Arcade, the following articles are listed by her, under a couple of different version of her name. A couple were sent to me by the Newcomb alumni office:
McLellan, Helen de Grange
"Loan Fund Committee" [OAI] 7 (4) June 1915 pp. 57-58.
"Report of the Loan Fund Committee" [OAI] 8 (2) January 1916 p. 34.
"The Tulane-Newcomb Advisory Committee" [OAI] 12 (2) January 1920 pp. 114- 117.
"Advise to Young Authors" [Essay] 18 (1) December 1925 pp. 5-8.
"The Birthday of the Infanta [OCI] 18 (4) June 1926 p. 217.
"Loan Fund Committee" [OAI] 23 (1) December 1930 p. 42.
McLellan, Helen '26
"Some Women Who Write Our Best Sellers" [Essay] 17 (2) February 1925 pp. 76-80.
"Loan Fund Report From Mrs. McLellan" [OAI] 23 (4) June 1931 p. 238.
McLellan, Helen de Lange
"Loan Fund Report" [Alumnae] 26 (4) June 1934 p. 36.
After college, her debut season was from 1926-27. She traveled and danced with the Orpheum in the fall (Sept-Nov of 1927). She was marred March 12, 1931. Much of this is recorded in her mother book of newspaper clippings of the social life of the town. She was quite the debutante. There are few to no pictures in her album of these years-only some in 1929 of Gus.
Her mother, Helen DeGrange (Weenie), kept a book full of clippings for the 1926 and 1927 debutante year, and after, which was her daughter Helen's debut year. In this book, Gustave Pitard appears once that I can find among all of the clippings (before the wedding announcement at the end), on a guest list on the first page, as attending a party by "Mr. and Mrs. Crawford Ellis" at the New Orleans Country Club in honor of Miss Helen McLellan. Presumably this is in the fall of 1926; no dates are on the clippings. Sara Fayssoux was also there. Other debutantes of her year were Sedley Hayward, "Dimple" Fayssoux (=?), Adele Cleveland, Libby Westerfield, Leda de la Vergne, Stella Walshe (daughter I guess of Frank Walsh, who went on trips on the Spikes), Alice and Elizabeth Pool, Elizabeth Broussard, Evelyn Jahncke, France Kittredge, Mary Louise Syme. Others are there also. Blanche Gelpi's name also appears in the winter 1926-1927 social season. Mr. and Mrs. W.H. McFadden, who were cousins, also threw parties this year.
Helen was Queen of Proteus in Feb. 1927. In her court were Etolia Simmons, Leda de la Vergne, Isabelle Capdevielle, Alice Pool, and Mildred Brown,
She was in the Orpheum as a dancer, billed as a "Queen of Proteus," from Sept-Nov 1927; she toured around the South. She attended the Kentucky Derby in Spring of 1928 and of 1930 with her mother. She had her portrait painted by Helen Turner in 1929; it was displayed for a while at the High Museum in Atlanta. It is now at the Historic New Orleans Collection, visible here: http://hnoc.minisisinc.com/thnoc/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/M3/WEB_DETAIL_M3/SISN%2047390?SESSIONSEARCH
She was married in the Spring of 1931.
Times-Picayune, 14 Mar 1931:
Mr. and Mrs. Asahel Walker McLellan have sent out cards announcing the marriage of their daughter, Miss Helen DeGrange McLellan, to Mr. Gustave Jean Pitard Thursday. Mr. and Mrs. Pitard iwll be at home after March 31, at 331 Pine St.
Times-Picayune, 16 July 1933:
Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Pitard, Jr., with their little son, took possession their new home, 241 Audubon Boulevard, corner of Clairborn Ave.
In evenings she enjoyed a martini, in a delicately thin glass. She was very smart and witty, and did not suffer fools. She was a wonderful cook, which she learning growing up from her house cook in New Orleans.