MALCOLM BURRAGE LANG. SC(G).
Word Count-6,814. 10/10/2020.
Malcolm Lang carried on the family tradition of long life, dying at the age of 90, 9 months and 1 day on Mar. 15, 1972. (Social Security Death Index) Every Sunday for over 50 years he called on his sister. Margaret, who, in turn in the early 1970s, moved into the nursing home where he was living so that she could better look after him. With Rosamond dying the previous Aug. 11, 1971, it was almost so though Margaret felt it was her duty as the elder child to take care of her siblings (as she had taken care of her mother), and once Malcolm died, she followed within just two months (May 30, 1972)(F. Dubois).
Malcolm’s birth certificate lists the place of birth as Prescott Place, Lynn, MA on June 14, 1881 with the residence of the parents being Boston. His Baptism card from the South Congregational Church [where B. J. was then organist] was signed by Edward E. Hale, Minister and is dated December 11, 1881. (Ms. Lang, Box 27, Item 4) In a 1925 Passport Application he was described as: Height- 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches; Forehead-High; Eyes-Blue; Nose-Straight; Mouth-medium; Chin-Oval; Hair-Brown; Complexion-Fair and Face-Oval with no Distinguishing Marks. His witness for this application was Stuart Montgomery, lawyer and friend, of 3 Brimmer Street who had known Malcolm for twenty years. Malcolm’s address at this time was 162 Bay State Road. His travel plans included visits to Italy, Switzerland, France and the British Isles with a return within two months, and he planned to leave on the “President Wilson” on March 25, 1925. (Passport Application)
Malcolm and Friend. Possibly at one of the New Boston farms. In the upper right corner are buildings that look like barns. Johnston Collection.
There is a letter from B. J. to Malcolm dated May 2, 1887, printed, not written: “Dear Malcolm Lang, Your dear letter about a watch is now on my writing table. When I was fifteen years old I had a watch. When you are fourteen you shall have one if I am alive and have money to buy it for you. Good night dear boy. Homer slept in my room last night. Your loving papa.” (Ms. Lang, Box 24, No. 21)
“A smart company assembled at Copley Hall on Tuesday for a children’s play, a comedy translated from the Italian, in three acts, called ”The Servant of Two Masters.”…In the cast were…Malcolm Lang, the young son of Mr. B. J. Lang…The children did wonders in their respective roles.” (Herald (May 7, 1899): 30, GB) Malcolm-probably when a Harvard student. Collection of Amy DuBois.
The 1900 Census lists Malcolm, aged 18, as a lodger in the home of Michael Perrcell, aged 48, at 51 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge. There were two other lodgers, and Mr. Perrcell was the Dormitory Janitor.
Malcolm c. 30. Amy DuBois Collection.
The 1908 Harvard College-Class of 1902-List of Addresses lists Malcolm’s permanent address as 8 Brimmer Street and his business address as 6 Newbury Street. It would seem that he moved back to his parent’s home until he married. He also followed in his father’s footsteps with regard to beginning his career. Just as B. J. had acted as accompanist for many different soloists early in his career, Malcolm was the accompanist for a “Joint recital” of Miss Anna Miller Wood, Mezzo-Contralto and Miss Bessie Bell Collier, violinist” at a concert of “Modern Scandinavian and Finnish Music” held at Chickering Hall. One wonders what his fee must have been. Malcolm followed in his father’s footsteps as organist at King’s Chapel from April of 1910 (a year after his father’s death), until November 1920. The Sunday Post of November 21, 1909 announced: “Malcolm Lang First to Play Organ Father Designed.” The article announced Malcolm’s appointment to King’s Chapel and the “$20,000 organ, which itself was designed by the elder Mr. Lang previous to his death.” The article also mentioned that he was working on music for the Greek play Medea that would be given at Jordan Hall to benefit the Bryn Mawr Club “by people prominent in Boston Society. The chorus, for instance, is composed of exclusive Vincent Club society girls whom Mr. Lang is now training.” Amy DuBois tells a family story that has Malcolm entered a choral rehearsal and immediately noticed his wife-to-be singing in the back row. He made no attempt to meet her at that time, but went home and told his mother to enter in her ‘Diary’ that he had seen the woman that he would marry. As the couple married on September 10, 1910, it is probable that Ethel was part of the chorus for this Medea performance. (Amy DuBois Interview)(See Lurie quote two pages on-possibly she listed Philadelphia as the place they met, probably as this was the location of Bryn Mawr, but it is more probable that Amy’s story is accurate. An extensive story in the Herald of late 1909 entitled “Centuries-Old Greek Play Which Out Thrills the Thrillers of Today” told of Malcolm’s involvement with the project. The Bryn Mawr Club of Boston sponsored together with men from Harvard. Held at Harvard’s Sanders Hall, this was an English translation and the director was George Riddle who had directed many Greek dramas at Harvard since the 1881 performance of Oedipus Tyrannus in which he had played the title role. Malcolm had volunteered to write the music of the choruses, and then he became interested in the performance which led to “the practical coaching of the singers and accompanists.” (Herald (December 5, 1909): 56, GB) This information would seem to back Amy’s story. Various family members have mentioned that there are many inaccuracies in Lurie’s book.Ethel Ranney c. 1895. Information on the back mentions that her mother was Amy Porter, and that she had died when Ethel was only six years old. Collection of Amy DuBois.
The article also mentioned that Malcolm had studied abroad. (Scrapbook) This is reinforced by an entry in the list of items that Malcolm donated to the BPL: “German Print-The Hours. On the wall in his bedroom in Munich, later on the wall of his room in Lang Farm-summers.” (Scrapbook)
MALCOLM AND ETHEL MARRIED.
On September 10, 1910, Malcolm married Ethel Ranney at King’s Chapel in a “Brilliant ceremony” for which Malcolm even played the Preludial music, and then “had to sprint to the front of the church in order to be in time to watch the Processional March.” (Amy DuBois Interview) “John Adams Loud played the music for the bridal procession.”This same story is also mentioned in the Herald story about the wedding. (Herald (September 11, 1910): 21, GB) “The event of Boston society today was the wedding of Miss Ethel Ranney, daughter of Fletcher Ranney of Bay State Road, and Malcolm Burrage Lang, Harvard ”02, son of the late well-known musician, Benjamin Lang and Mrs. Lang of Brimmer Street, in King’s Chapel at noon. The pastor of the church, Dr. Howard N. Brown performed the ceremony.
Miss Ranney is a Vincent Club girl and followed present-day fashion in having but one attendant, Miss Eleanor Allen of Beacon Street. John A. Lowell Blake, Harvard ’02 was the bridegroom’s best man. Among the ushers was Francis Henry Balfour Bryne who had traveled to Europe with B. J. in 1897 and 1904. “King’s Chapel was decorated with the green of laurel and with many white asters.” (Ibid)
Mr. Ranney presented his daughter with a residence at 162 Bay State Road, where the couple will reside.” (Newspaper clipping, Sept. 10, 1910). An earlier notice had written: “Mr. Malcolm Lang bought last week for his future home the house [at] 162 Bay State Road, which is between Sherborn and Granby Streets, and near Archbishop O’Connell’s. Mr. Lang’s marriage to Miss Ranney is to take place in the early autumn.” (Herald (July 17, 1910): 115, GB) As the family grew, a move was made to 209 Bay State Road where most of the children grew up.
THE RANNEY FAMILY.
Fletcher Ranney was a Boston lawyer, as was his son Dudley, Ethel’s brother. One aspect of Dudley’s career was that he worked for the District Attorney’s Office, and as such was part of the prosecution of Sacco and Vanzetti. (Amy DuBois Interview) The 1880 Census listed Fletcher, age 19, living at home, 26 Chester Square with his sisters, Maria F., age 26, Helen M., age 24 and Alice, age 17 with their parents, Ambrose Ranney, age 59, lawyer and his wife Maria D., age 57. There were three servants. The parents, Ambrose and Maria had been born in Vermont; all the children were born in Boston. The 1885 edition of The Boston Directory listed Fletcher Ranney as a law student at his father’s firm of Ranney and Clark located at Room 20 of 23 Court Street; he still lived with his parents. (1885 Boston Directory, 910) Between 1880 and 1900 the son Fletcher had married and was already a widower. At this time he owned a home at 72 Bay State Road and had his two older sisters, Maria F. (b. September 1853) and Helen M. (b. June 1855) living with him-neither had married. He also had three servants. A 1908 listing has Mr. Fletcher Ranney and the Misses Ranney at 72 Bay State Road. However, his daughter Ethel, Malcolm’s bride-to-be was not listed as part of the household. However, the 1910 Census does list Fletcher as a General Practice Lawyer together with his two sisters, and also his daughter, Ethel, age 22. Possibly after her mother’s death, Ethel went to live with another relative. In 1920 Fletcher and Helen are listed with three servants, and in 1930 Helen is listed alone with two servants; her home at 72 Bay State Road is listed as worth $18,500. None of the census listings mention a son Dudley.Music Room at 209 Bay State Road. Photo from the collection of Jim Hooper.
“The attached is an exciting picture for me. It’s an early rendering of the room where we all visited my grandfather, Malcolm Lang. Or should I say, that’s where he ”held court.” My mother, Helen, visited Garka there during the late 50’s and 60’s and brought me along. I saw him there once in the 70’s to introduce my wife. All of the furniture is where I remember it. But I’m surprised to see that the bookcase is small. Garka often spoke of writers and books including Edgar Allen Poe, Endurance by Shackleton, and others. He kept a magazine photo in his collection of papers. It featured one of the well-known turn-of-the-century gatherings of Edison, Eastman, Ford, etc. Till now, I’ve imagined that the room was full of bookcases. Garka collected quotes, recited lines and was a great storyteller. He loved superlatives, cardinal moments, and stories of U. S. Presidents. He was the kind of person who would have reveled in JFK’s line delivered to the room full of all the living Noble Laureates in Washington, when Kennedy said, ‘There has never been a greater concentration of intellectual power here at the White House since Thomas Jefferson dined alone’…Once he stood in front of the mantle and delivered the following lines with drama and long ”rests.”
Fear knocked at the door…
No one was there!”
Email from Jim Hooper dated October 25, 2011.
Lurie wrote “Before his marriage he (Malcolm) had composed choral and other works, including an oratorio, Medea, [see above] which was sung by the Cecilia Society. It was during the performance of this work in Philadelphia that he met his wife, who was singing in it. They married in 1910. After this date, Mr. Lang continued teaching and conducting, but he did not compose anymore.” (Lurie, 10) [But his Burlesque was performed in 1922]
The Herald used the headline: “King’s Chapel Gets Lang,” but the story was found in “The Household, Fashion Hints and Boston Social Affairs” section. It was announced that he would begin the following April 1, 1910. Charles S. Johnson was the organist from the time of B. J.’s death in April 1909. (Herald (November 16, 1909): 4, GB)
Owen records that:
A 1902 graduate of Harvard, he (Malcolm) was the director of the Harvard Alumni Chorus for several years. In 1911, he initiated the practice of playing short organ recitals before the midweek services at King’s Chapel, recitals that also included solos by members of the church’s quartet. Later, choirs from other Unitarian churches also took part, along with a volunteer women’s choir recruited from the King’s Chapel Club by Miss Mary Vaughan” (Owen, 60)
Since 1916 many members of the church had been expressed a wish to return to a volunteer chorus choir, and Miss Vaughan’s choir may have been the impetus. In 1920, the choir was completely reorganized by Dr. Richard C. Cabot, who had accepted the assignment on the condition that Malcolm Lang and the paid quartet be asked to resign. Dr. Cabot’s new choir was made up entirely of men, many of them students from Harvard and M.I.T. After its establishment, leadership was given to the church’s regularly appointed organist. The new choir, which sang at the morning services, often numbered 24 or more men and continued on well into the 1950s. “He [Malcolm] played regularly at King’s Chapel for many years, until he became involved in an obscure quarrel, and after that at a fashionable church in Brookline.” (Lurie, 10) Actually he moved to Dorchester before he served in Brookline. “Mr. Malcolm Lang, for many years organist and director of music at King’s Chapel, has given up his work there to become organist and director of music at the First Parish Church in Dorchester, the old-time Unitarian place of worship at Meeting House Hill. He will begin his new responsibilities next Sunday at the church, of which the Rev. Harry Foster Burns is the minister.” (Herald (November 5, 1920): 12, GB)
Ethel, Frances and Malcolm in 1912, or as the back of the photo says: “Nannia [Ethel] & Garka [Malcolm] & Gammy [Frances] on steps of Farm New Boston circa 1912-my own copy.” Amy DuBois Collection.
Among the items in the Lang Manuscripts is a set of brass band parts for a march that Malcolm wrote entitled Liberty Fight. The parts included are: Piccolo, 1st. Clarinet, 2nd. Clarinet, E flat Clarinet, Solo Cornet, 1st. Cornet, 2nd. and 3rd. Cornet, 1st. and 2nd. E flat Horn, 3rd. E flat horn, Baritone, Bass Trombone, Basses, Bassoons, Snare Drum, and Bass Drum and Cymbal. From the title, one assumes that Malcolm wrote the piece during the First World War.
The Herald printed Malcolm’s photo with its story “Negro Glee Club Will Sing Today.” While he was still organist of King’s Chapel Malcolm took on the directorship of an all-black choir, the Columbia Glee Club which rehearsed on Sundays-the group had been in existence for about twenty years. “It is made up entirely of colored men who range in their every-day interests up and down the scale from the ablest Negro surgeon in Boston to stenographers holding unimportant and not-too-well paid jobs..” Malcolm was quoted as saying that the choir “represented the best blend of voices he has ever heard.” (Herald (November 9, 1919): 26, GB)
Malcolm was part of the “Committee on Music” which advised the Overseers of Harvard in 1921.
At some point, Malcolm wrote U.S. Senator H. C. Lodge volunteering for the Secret Service. In an undated note in reply, the senator asked for more information about his training and qualifications. (Ms. Lang, Box 25, Item 5)Malcolm at his piano teaching studio. Collection of Amy DuBois.
While Malcolm taught at 6 Newbury Street, he used a pre-printed receipt which had the following printed information with the rest to be filled in as appropriate.
6 Newbury Street, Boston 19 To Dr. Malcolm Lang,
For musical instruction from to lessons (form-Johnston Collection). This is the only mention of Malcolm being a Doctor [of Music, Fine Arts?]
A Burlesque by Arthur Johnson with words and music by Malcolm entitled Who’s Who’ch was presented at Plymouth, MA in 1922-a note says that the original title was They Stoop to Conquer. Malcolm’s interest in composing this piece might reflect an aspect of his personality not revealed by the published photos and newspaper reports of his activities. Amy DuBois tells that he “was a great storyteller. Once, when he was in his 80’s, in order to make a perfect ending to a story, he left the room and reentered so that he could grandly throw up his arms in order to land, full length, on the thin rug to perfectly illustrate how the story finished.” (Amy, Interview) Another Lang Family story relates that Malcolm proposed Walt Disney for his honorary degree at Harvard. “Garka himself proudly told my mother that he had proposed Walt Disney for this honor. Garka much-admired Disney’s work, and always made a point of going to see Snow White when it was re-released every seven years or so.” (Amy DuBois, Interview) Malcolm in a lighter mood. Collection of Amy DuBois.
CECILIA SOCIETY CONDUCTOR.
In 1924 Malcolm became the conductor of the Cecilia Society (he had earlier served as an assistant to Max Fiedler beginning c. 1911) after a period of decline that he was able to reverse by creating a connection with the Boston Symphony that lasted until 1944. His first concert with the group was on February 5, 1925 at Jordan Hall. “Mr. Lang was warmly greeted…Mr. Lang had arranged an interesting program…This chorus has achieved many praiseworthy qualities. It commands a tone of beauty, warmth and power, notable precision of attack and release, and excellent diction. A large audience was enthusiastic throughout the evening.” (Musical Courier, February 19, 1925) Malcolm’s years as conductor were 1924 until 1929 when he passed the baton to Arthur Fiedler [whom he had recommended as his successor-Ms. Lang, Box 27, No. 15] who served from 1929 until 1945. A note dated may 2, 1926 from Koussevitzky thanked Malcolm for his work preparing Prokofieff’s Sept for the April 23-24 concerts (Ms. Lang, Box 25, Vol. 8). The 1927-28 Season included another performance with the BSO as was the 1928-29 Season, but Koussevitzky wrote Malcolm on November 26, 1928 postponing the performance of Roussel’s Evocation until February 1929-the note ended with “Wishing you a speedy recovery.” (Ms. Lang, Box 25, Vol. 8) The first rehearsal of the 1927-28 Season on Oct. 3, 1927 at 7:30 PM was held at The Twentieth Century Club, 3 Joy Street (as was the first rehearsal of each month so that “a social gathering to follow each monthly rehearsal” would be possible). The other rehearsals were held at Pilgrim Hall, 14 Beacon Street. 3 Joy Street had been the address of rooms once used by the Apollo Club.
During his senior year at Harvard, Malcolm wrote both the words and the music for the 1902 Hasty Pudding show, Hi-ka-ya, an operetta in three acts with music, book, and lyrics by Malcolm ’02 and scenery and costumes by A. S. Dixey ’02. A preview performance for “grad’s” produced the verdict that this was “far and away the best thing the Hasty Pudding Club men have ever done. Much of its success is due to the music and lines by Malcolm B. Lang, 1902, who is the talented son of Mr. B. J. Lang, and inherits to an unusual degree his father’s musical ability and taste…The choruses are splendidly sung, and there is a lot of catchy music.” (Herald (April 27, 1902): 31, GB) “The plot, as is usually the case with the college musical comedies, is more or less complicated. It deals with the trip of party of geologists to the north pole, their return with Hi-Ka-Ya, the chief of an Eskimo tribe, and his daughter Aurora.” [See detailed plot and some lyrics, Herald (March 30, 1902): 30, GB] A week later, after the three public performances, the Herald wrote again, it was the “Best work the club has ever presented. The applause was frequent and prolonged, every number receiving at least one encore.” (Herald (May 2, 1902)-Ms. Lang, Vol 45, No. 2) Malcolm had also composed a piece for the 1901 show, The Dynamiters. “The music is all very good, but the particular hit is a march by Malcolm Lang, son of B. J. Lang of Boston. It is very catchy, and is expected to make a great hit.” (Herald (April 24, 1901): 6, GB)
In 1908 Malcolm published Harvard Every Day for which he created both the words and the music. The Tremont Music Pub. Co. of 164A Tremont Street in Boston was the publisher. In 1917 this same company also published The Liberty Fight, “Dedicated to the first Six Hundred Thousand”-again he created both the words and music.
HARVARD ALUMNI CHORUS.
His directorship of the Harvard Alumni Chorus continued at least through the mid-1930s and Spaulding’s Music at Harvard describes the group as having members who “meet several times each month to indulge in the tonic pleasure of singing music for its own sake and they give a number of concerts during the winter for various clubs and organizations in the neighborhood. For many years they have sung at the Commencement Exercises in June. Their music furnishes a welcome contrast to the somewhat ponderous political and academic speeches which are a necessary part of these proceedings. On a hot afternoon in June circa two o’clock people are not in an ideal state of mental receptivity, were Chrysostom himself to address them. But they can be roused from their post-prandial stupor, and are, by the charming and rhythmically vital singing of the Chorus.” (Spaulding, p. 251-2). Possibly Harvard Every Day was part of this choir’s repertoire. [See photo below]
From the IN Harmony Sheet Music from Indiana: Lilly Library. Downloaded 1/14/12.
In 1917 Malcolm published a second song dedicated to the “First Six Hundred Thousand” who had lost their lives in the First World War.
The 1920 census listed the address as 162 Bay State Road with Malcolm aged 38, and his wife Ethel aged 32.
Margaret aged 8 [married name Spencer}
Amy P aged 5 [married name Calfee]
Mary H aged 3 and 7/12 [married name Hooper]
Angela aged 1 and 6/12 [married name DuBois]
Ethel aged 6/12 [married name Whitney] together with four female servants, aged 21, 23, 51 and 40.
One final child, Violet, was born in 1924. She was known as the poet/playwright V. R. Lang and by her married name of Violet Phillips.
On a U. S. Passport Application dated March 1925 and with the 162 Bay State Road address, Malcolm is listed as 43 years old, 5 feet and 8 and 1/2 inches tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. The witness for this application was a Mr. Montgomery, a “Lawyer and Friend” of 3 Brimmer Street who stated that he had known Malcolm for 20 years. This passport was to be used for a “pleasure” trip of two months to Italy, Switzerland, France, and the British Isles leaving Boston on March 25, 1925 on the “President Wilson.” They returned on the “S. S. Baltic” which sailed from Liverpool on May 23, 1925 and arrived at Boston on May 31, 1925. Their ages at this time were: Malcolm-43 and Ethel-37. (Baltic Manifest)
In the November 24, 1929, Herald “In the World of Music” column by Philip Hale, he noted that Malcolm was to retire as conductor of the Cecilia Society after serving “for five years of faithful and appreciated service…His preparation of choral works for concerts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was noteworthy for thoroughness and musical intelligence.” This was in the first paragraph of the article. Then followed a history of the choir in four paragraphs which included the changing musical scene in Boston from when the choir began through 1929, a period of almost sixty years. The article then ended with: “During Mr. Malcolm Lang’s directorship, the Cecilia assisted in Dr. Koussevitzky’s production of choral works. The assistance was not merely a perfunctory one; it was a real contribution to artistic performances.” (Herald (November 24, 1929): 49, GB)
The Boston Social Register of 1929 listed Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Lang (Ethel Ranney) at 209 Bay State Road, Phone No. 4452 Ken. together with Juniors, Misses Margaret, Amy P. and Helen M. It also gave Malcolm’s graduation date from Harvard, 1902, and a list of the clubs to which he belonged: Sb., Sm., and Tv. (St. Botolph, Somerset, Tavern). (Boston Social Register, 1929, 113)
Four Lang children-from Rosamund Lang Hooper-Hamersley.
All five Lang girls-from Rosamund Lang Hooper-Hamersley
Garka and Amy (Porter Calfie)-from Rosamund Lang Hooper-Hamersley.
Garka and Amy (Porter Calfie)-from Rosamund Lang Hooper-Hamersley.
The 1930 Census listed Malcolm aged 46 as Head, Ethel R. aged 41 as Wife at 209 Bay State Road,
Margaret aged 18 as Daughter, who became Margaret Spencer,
Amy aged 15 as Daughter, became Amy Porter Calfie
Helen aged 14 as Daughter, became Helen L. Hooper
Angela aged 11 as Daughter, became Angela DuBois
Ethel aged 10 as Daughter, became Ethel Whitney
Violet aged 10 as Daughter. Born May 11, 1924, became Violet Phillips and one male butler from Jamaica and two females from Jamaica as servants, and one Governess from Berlin, Germany.
In 1930 it was still important news for the “Social Activities” column to note your summer activities. “Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Lang of 209 Bay State Road and their family are leaving the 17th. of June for their property at New Boston, N. H. Miss Margaret Lang was among the debutantes of the season just past.” (Herald (May 29, 1930): 17, GB)
Ethel Ranney Lang. Amy DuBois Collection.
An ad listing the Trustees for “The Boston Home For Incurables” appeared in 1931 with Mrs. Malcolm Lang listed as a Trustee. This charity had been a major interest of Frances Lang who probably introduced her daughter-in-law to its work. (Herald (March 7, 1931): 8, GB)
A “Registration Card” issued sometime in 1941 lists the family address as 209 Bay State Road and that Malcolm was the Organist of the First Parish Church of Brookline, MA.
Mrs. Lang was active in various volunteer groups. One newspaper article’s (see photo above) title was: “Mrs. Malcolm Lang, chairman of Boston Women’s Liberty Loan Committee, which has begun work on putting the ‘Fighting fourth’ loan ‘over the top.’” The article, accompanied with a formal photo by Bachrach began: “With Mrs. Malcolm Lang as the competent chairman, the Boston Women’s Liberty Loan Committee has plunged into the work of preparing to put the ‘Fighting Fourth’ loan ‘over the top,’ with an enthusiasm and a resourcefulness in devising ways and means that has earned for the various women the title of ‘Women of Vision.’…Mrs. Lang is an active worker in women’s organizations and for many years was interested in the South End House. Since the beginning of the war, she has been an enthusiastic worker in war activities. She was one of the captains in the Red Cross membership drive and was also interested in the Y.M.C.A. drive last Fall. It was largely through her efficient generalship that Boston women went so far ‘over the top’ in the last Liberty Loan campaign.” A few years later another article with a photo dated May 2, 1923 appeared detailing her work for Denison House. With a heading of: “Mrs. Malcolm Lang is throwing her interest for the May Day Rummage Sale at Horticultural Hall by which a Smart Group seeks funds for Denison House. MANY NOVELTIES FOR RUMMAGE SALE. Distinctly novel attractions for the rummage that Mrs. Malcolm Lang is so enthusiastically sponsoring for the 1st. of May give promise of a wide interest in this philanthropy for Denison House, the most treasured offerings, perhaps, the rare colonial and Napoleonic contributions from the Samuel Warren collection which Mrs. Cornelia Warren left to this home.” (Scrapbook)
Ethel Ranney Lang with Margaret (older child) and Rosamond who died at six months. Collection of Amy DuBois.
Also part of the household were three servants originally from Jamaica and a governess from Germany. Malcolm Lang lived from June 14, 1881 until March 7, 1972 while his wife, Ethel Ranney Lang lived from December 15, 1887 until December 30, 1949. Their daughters Margaret Lang Spencer lived from July 2, 1911 until April 25, 1983; Violet Lang Phillips lived from May 11, 1924 until July 29, 1956 (dates from tombstones). Violet’s wedding was noted in the New York Times of April 16, 1955. The ceremony was at Christ Church, Cambridge and she married Bradley Sawyer Phillips who was the son of Dr. Philip Phillips, curator of North American Archaeology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum. The article mentioned that Violet was the vice president of the Poets Theatre in Cambridge. V. R. LANG POEMS AND PLAYS WITH A MEMOIR by Alison Lurie has a number of interesting stories about various members of the family.
Violet Lang. Collection of Amy DuBois.
The Lang family had long been Unitarians, and it was quite a surprise when Margaret embraced the Episcopal faith. One of Malcolm’s daughters was named after his sister: Margaret Lang Spencer. Malcolm said of his sister that she “had enthusiasms.” His family described him as a very private person who walked everywhere. He was one person in letters (warm), but another in person, sometimes very sharp. Malcolm continued the tradition of the Sunday afternoon salon begun by B.J.
MALCOLM’S DEATH AND FUNERAL.
Malcolm died on Tuesday, March 7, 1972 at the age of 90 years, 9 months and one day. The funeral was held at Story Chapel, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. The Herald Obituary mentioned that he had been a conductor of the Cecilia Society Chorus and had been organist at King’s Chapel, First Parish Church of Dorchester, and First Parish Church in Brookline “before retiring in 1951. He was born in Lynn and attended Noble and Greenough School and Harvard. He has the distinction of being the first person to prepare both the book and the music for a Hasty Pudding Club production. In addition to conducting the Cecilia Chorus, he led the Harvard Alumni Chorus and the Apollo Club and prepared the chorus for the American premiere of a Sergei Prokofiev series under Sergei Koussevitsky in 1926. He was president and founder of the Boston Flute Players Club, a member of the Thursday Evening, Boston Tavern, St. Botolph, Harvard and Somerset Clubs.” The notice ended with the names of his four [living] daughters: “Mrs. Margaret Spencer of Cambridge; Mrs. Helen Hooper of Cleveland; Mrs. Angela DuBois of Arlington, Va and Mrs. Ethel Whitney of Andover and a sister, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang of Boston.” (Herald (March 9, 1972): 30, GB) The Herald Death Notice the day before had mentioned that he was “survived by 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.” (Herald (March 8, 1972), 26, GB)
Fletcher DuBois provided the following “names of the Malcolm and Ethel Ranney Lang children and progeny.” (e-mail dated August 19, 2008)
(1) Margaret Lang Spencer b. July 2, 1911 (Amy, Interview) married to Donald. He died in 1972-he had been a pioneer in cable television. She died on April 25, 1983 with a memorial service at Christ Church, Zero Garden St., Cambridge on Friday April 29. (Herald (April 28, 1983): 28, GB) She was “formally introduced to society yesterday afternoon by her aunt, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, of 8 Brimmer Street, at a tea with dancing at the Women’s Republican Club. Miss Lang was gowned in blue velvet, and the debutante wore bright blue tulle embroidered with silver…Miss Lang will be the guest of honor at a small informal dance to be given for her on Dec. 19 at the Republican Women’s Club by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Lang.” (Herald (December 12, 1929): 21, GB) On December 12, 1928 a 5 by 7 inch photo (see below) of the debutante appeared announcing her election to the Vincent Club. (Herald (December 12, 1929): 21, GB).
(A.) Malcolm L.
(B.) Ambrose R.
(C.) Charles H.
(2) Amy Porter Lang b. December 29, 1914 married Arthur Calfee on May 8, 1948. “Aunt Amy was the party girl of the sisters. She was a very funny woman.” (Amy DuBois, Interview) She was a member of the “Junior League and Vincent Club, [and] served overseas for three years with the Red Cross in England, France and Germany. Mr. Calfee graduated from Princeton, and in 1935, from the Harvard Business School. He served as a major in the Army Air Forces.” (Herald (May 14, 1948): 38, GB) Mr. Arthur Davidson Calfee had been married before in a major society wedding. In 1935 he married Lilla Joy Draper who had also been a member of the Junior League and the Vincent Club. They had one daughter, Joy. (Herald (July 23, 1935): 9, GB) They divorced and she later married Mr. Oliver H. Scharnberg. Their daughter, Joy, was honored at a Tea Dance given by her grand-aunt, Madame Draper Boncompagni in June 1957. (Herald (June 27, 1957): 30, GB). Amy died in Nashua, N. H. On November 10, 1963 with her services being held at the Chruch of the Good Shepherd on Wednesday, November 13 at 2:30 PM. (Herald (November 11, 1963): 65, GB)
(3) Helen Lang Hooper: b. March 24, 1916-d. February 9, 2012.
(A.) Ethel (Ranney) Hooper Farny studied flute with Maurice Sharp in Cleveland and with Samuel Baron at the Yale School of Music, where she received a Masters of Music. She has played and taught in the Boston area since 1967. Ethel is Chair of the Wind Department at Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, MA. At Rivers, she also serves as Co-Chair of the Annual Seminar on Contemporary Music for the Young, a festival where students play recently written music and often work with composers. Ethel has taught and played in the Boston area since 1966 and in recent years has concentrated on chamber music performance. She plays in a duo with guitarist, James Meadors. They have recorded three Cds of twentieth-century repertoire and are working on a fourth recording. She and her husband, Mike, sing in their church choir for many years and have sung with the Berkshire Choral Festival in Sheffield, MA for five summers. This year they sang with the chorus in Salzburg, Austria. Ethel and Mike have five children who spent their childhood years studying music in the Boston area. The oldest, Suzannah Farny Chalick, is a violist with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in Naples, Florida and she also plays the piano for student recitals and church services. Natasha Farny is a cellist who teaches at SUNY at Fredonia, NY. She presents recitals and masterclasses in the United States and Europe throughout the year. Nathaniel Farny, a violinist and violist, is in the second year of a Doctor of Musical Arts program at Boston University. He teaches and plays in the Boston area. Caleb, who studied piano and string bass, plays for enjoyment. He earned his Masters and Ph.D. at Boston University and is working on a postdoctoral appointment in acoustic medical research at Harvard University. Evelyn, the youngest, received her Masters in Music at SUNY at Purchase, NY. She teaches cello and performs in the NYC area. She is a member of two chamber groups devoted to the performance of contemporary music. (Rozzy-2008)
(B.) Katherine Amory Hooper (Katie) is a Suzuki trained piano teacher in the Capital District, living in Saratoga Springs, New York. Her home studio activities include coaching fifteen student chamber groups for a performance every spring and organizing a contemporary music festival under the auspices of the Suzuki Association of The Capital District. She is also the choral music director of the Waldorf High School of Saratoga Springs, directing a sixty-voice choir and a twenty-voice a cappella group. These two groups perform often at various venues in the Saratoga area. She is also a faculty member of the Green Mountain Suzuki Institute in Rochester, Vermont where she teaches every summer. Katherine holds a BM from Ohio Wesleyan University. She has studied choral music directing at The Westminster Choir School in Princeton, New Jersey. She sings in a select chamber choir and with the Skidmore College Choir. She is a member of a chamber group, The Cottage Street Players who perform several times a year in the Saratoga area. (Rozzy-2008)
(D.) James Ripley Hooper III married Alice Fortuno and has two children. Jim teaches and manages the development of workers serving people with disabilities in Rochester, NY. He develops government managers, supervisors, clinicians, and caregivers. He produces programs in team building, managing performance, and human service skills. He designs online training and conducts programs in supervision, safety, and technical skills. He holds a BA from the University of Rochester. Jim is a local community leader and an amateur in piano, genealogy, world history, and mythology. (E-mail from him dated March 11, 2011)
(E.) Rosamund (Rozzy) Lang Hooper-Hamersley (married to the Rev. Andrew Hamersley) is now an Assistant Professor at New Jersey City University where she has taught since 2003. Her courses include Ancient Civilizations, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and French and American history. Her current research on Mercy Otis Warren is part of a larger work that considers Warren’s literary and dramatic role in shaping the drive for liberty in the American colonies. Rosamond has recently submitted her manuscript, The Patronage of Mme de Pompadour at the Court of Versailles, 1745-1764: Politics, Art, and Enlightenment for potential publication. She has had a number of papers published on Mme de Pompadour in the proceedings of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era as well as the propagandist effect of Beaumarchais’s plays on the French Revolution and Mercy Otis Warren’s impact on the American Revolution, which are forthcoming. She has also published entries in Europe 1450-1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. Rosamund has received a number of grants including the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies as well as awards including the PEO Scholars Award and the Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award from SUNY Albany. (Rozzy-2008)
(3) Angela Lang DuBois b. July 2, 1918; d. Dec. 24, 1982 (Amy, Interview)
(A.) Amy Porter DuBois b. July 12, 1947 (Amy, Interview)
(B.) Fletcher DuBois b. July 20, 1949. While a number of Lang relatives took the road of classical music, Fletcher’s interest at 13 turned from piano to guitar and folk music, especially Joan Baez. He wrote his first song at 14 and began performing them at the Cellar Door and on WAVA radio’s Music Americana in Washington, D. C. His 1985 doctoral dissertation was about Baez’s ability to motivate young people to learn about nonviolence, and it is now an on-line open access book through Heidelberg’s University Library. Presently he is a guest professor in several departments at that university, and mentors doctoral students at its Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies. He is Professor Emeritus from National Louis University, Chicago. He joined the Heidelberg Free Clinic in ’74 after a Watson Fellowship spent mostly in London. As a singer-songwriter, he has composed about 150 songs, most all both words and music. He is known particularly for song improvising: as a question at a lecture, or a response to the work of an exhibition. His song The Open Door is dedicated to his great Aunt Blossy, i.e. Margaret Ruthven Lang. The song Ame was written as a thank-you to his sister, Amy Porter DuBois. Nothing Gets Lost was written for the memorial services held for their mother, Angela Lang DuBois.
(4) Ethel Lang Whitney b. July 18, 1919 (Amy, Interview). On August 30, 1941 she married Stephen Whitney who became a French teacher of note at Phillips Andover, MA. from 1936 until his retirement in 1977. She “wore her grandmother Lang’s wedding gown of ivory silk” for the ceremony at the Church of Our Saviour in Brookline. The reception was at the home of her parents.” She was active as a member of the Vincent Club and the Junior League. She died in 1988, and a year later her husband Stephen married Anne Carr of Barrington, N. H. He died aged 95 in July 2007. (Globe, Obit on-line)
(B.) Dudley. In his father’s obituary, Dudley recalled that his father and mother “loved to dance. Once they put us kids to bed, they would go to a roadhouse in North Reading and dance to jukebox music.”” (Ibid)
(5) Violet Ranney Lang (V. R. Lang also known as Bunny) the poet and founder of the Poet’s Theater in Cambridge, Mass.” (E-mail from Fletcher dated August 19, 2008)
Within the family, Malcolm was known as “Garka” and his wife as “Nannie” while his mother was known as “Gammy” and his sister, Margaret, was called “Maidie.” (Amy, Interview)
Malcolm age c. 88. Collection of Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley.
Bridal Photo of Margaret Lang Spencer-Collection of Amy DuBois.
L. to R. – Helen Hooper, Eleanor O’Brien (next-door neighbor), Margaret Spencer (the bride), Violet Lang (to be Philips), Ethel Whitney, Amy Calfee, and Angela DuBois.
Another Bridal Photo-from a newspaper. Collection of Amy DuBois.