|The Dunham house in 1910. A traditional brownstone still remains next door -- Architectural Record (copyright expired)|
Having already established himself as a leading figure in the medical community, the 33-year old Dunham married Mary Dows in 1893. One of four daughters of the fabulously wealthy David Dows – the head of David Dows & Company, among the largest grain dealers in the United States—she had suffered from polio in her childhood and was still partially disabled.
The intrepid Mary, however, had traveled extensively and was an avid and competent amateur photographer.
The couple was residing in Litchfield, Connecticut with their baby daughter Theodora when Kellogg obtained the position of professor of pathology at New York University’s Bellevue Medical College. In 1898 they moved to New York and started plans for a new home.
By this time the streets stretching from Central Park eastward were lined with grand residences of the well-to-do. At 35 East 68th Street stood the brownstone mansion of Mr. and Mrs. John Wesley Love; a four-story structure above a traditional English basement.
|photo by Alice Lum|
Two arched French windows at the second story sat behind stone balustrades. French doors opened to ornate bronze grills, creating pseudo-balconies, at the third floor, under an eye-catching stone balcony.
|Details that the Architectural Record termed "florid" included elaborate carvings and French grills -- photo by Alice Lum|
The Architectural Record tossed its expected jabs at the design, using terms like “florid” and “pretentiousness;” however it allowed that “the exuberance of ornament is handled with skill and discretion, and very clearly avoids defects of over-muchness inevitable in this sort of work produced by designers of less experience.”
Indeed, compared to the massive limestone or marble palaces the firm was producing on Fifth Avenue, this commission was rather modest, yet they managed to impart a richness of architecture here without appearing too grandiose.
|photo by Alice Lum|
“Yet, [the house] must not be planned on too grand a scale, because in that case it falsifies the lives of its inhabitants.” The magazine applauded the “distinction and style" of the Dunham residence, "without being pretentious or grandiose.”
Edward Dunham was not only a member of several medical associations, but belonged to the Century Club, the Harvard Club, and the University Club. Yet, whether because of Mary’s partial physical disability or because of the doctor’s extensive research, the Dunhams never immersed themselves in the whirl of New York’s inner social circles.
That changed briefly, however, in 1914, Theodora’s debutante year. Mrs. Dunham hosted teas, dinners and receptions to “introduce” her daughter. And the following year, she gave “a large dinner” for the debut of Theodora’s friend Mary E. Opdycke.
During World War I Dr. Kellogg worked in U.S. Army hospitals, treating meningitis and researching the disease. Through this research he became involved with soldiers suffering from the lung disease empyema.
Kellogg died in the house on April 15, 1922 from heart disease. After his death Mary published his empyema research, with a group of his colleagues.
Mary Dunham remained at No. 35 East 68th until her death in 1936. The house was leased a year later to banker William A. Read by her estate.
|By the time this photograph was taken in 1945, the neighboring brownstone was gone as were the delightful round windows in the mansard -- photo NYPL Collection|
|Where once charming French round windows poked through the mansard roof, a clumsy and obtrusive addition destroys the design -- photo by Alice Lum|
Today, at least from the exterior, No. 35 East 68th Street remains much as it was in 1901 – what the AIA Guide to New York City calls “extravagant ornament on a ‘modest’ Carrere & Hastings palace.”