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The Old Fashioned Woman

This article appeared in the Atlanta Constitution on April 11, 1897, on The Women’s Page:

Talks with Three Types of Atlanta Women

The Old Fashioned Woman

There are few women in Atlanta who know more and can tell more interesting stories of Atlanta’s earlier days than Mrs. Harriet Cone Hayden, who resides in the luxurious modern home built on the spot where her father, the late Reuben Cone, first built when he came to Atlanta. Cone street is named for that family, and Mrs. Hayden is as familiar with Atlanta’s social incidents occurring before the war as she is with all those that followed. Like all patriotic daughters of the confederacy, they seem to cling in fondness to memories of those days. Time seems to have softened the pangs that brought them there, and their warm southern natures seem to have found a touch of sentiment or romance in their trying period that has blended their former bitterness toward the “blue” in subservient harmony with their love for the “gray,” and makes it all now but a peaceful memory.

It would be unnecessary to ask Mrs. Hayden’s view of woman’s life or woman’s sphere, for her gentle face, her reposeful manner seemed to portray the woman as the center of home life and the one that finds there her all. As she talked in a sweetly modulated voice of the old “Virginia Reel” and referred to plantation pleasures of the past, we could easily picture her in the white muslin gown and blue ribbons described by Colonel Adair and hear in the distance the fiddle and banjo that accompanied the chivalrous bows of ante-bellum beaux as they paid court to the pretty Atlanta girls of the days gone by.

Near where Mrs. Hayden was seated as she talked was a portrait taken of her when she was twenty-one. Her brown hair was combed down quaintly over her ears and her brown eyes were beaming with youthful pleasure, but had no more happiness in them than on yesterday when she looked proudly at her children about her and laughed in memory of the first night Mr. and Mrs. Crisp made their theatrical debut in Atlanta in a hall on Decatur Street.

The gown worn by Mrs. Hayden in the portrait was a pretty fashion of the time. The black silk surplice waist opened a chemisette of valenciennes lace and mull embroidery, and the full flowing black sleeves showed a tight under sleeve of lace and embroidery, fastened tight at the wrist and there met by a broad gold bracelet jeweled in amber and garnets.

At her throat was a round broach of garnets, while on her beautiful shapeless hand was one particular diamond ring which she wears on the same hand today.

“It was a gift from my husband in our early married life.” she explained, “and a Georgia diamond which was sent to Europe to be cut and polished.”

Though essentially the old-fashioned type in the embodiment of all that is sweet and womanly, Mrs. Hayden seemed very conservative in her views and expressed her approval of any movements that might advance the welfare and interests of women. She thinks that when as modern progress necessarily brings on new opinions, methods and customs, that there are certain good qualities that all good women possess in common, and that no matter what improvements may be given them as a whole in the material affairs of life, that they will always preserve as their crowning glory the qualities that make women the queens and centers of home happiness.

It seems now and then, in her discussions of the aspirations and ambitions of women, that her approval of them was something in the nature of amusement, and that her impulse would be to pat them on the head as she would smart children and say, “go on, my children, are progressing wonderfully, do the best you can for yourselves.”

The other two women types profiled were The Woman Suffragist and The Club Woman.

* March 10, 2003 Harriet Cone Hayden
©1994-2006, Julia Hayden. All Rights Reserved. Mine, All Mine. Mwahahahaha. [Details]