June Wheeler Bainbridge
June 1, 1879 - July 13, 1967

Her Life and Legacy:

Childhood Portrait
Wedding Portrait
Wedding Announcement
Portrait of a Mother
Portrait of a Grandmother

June Ellen Wheeler
Age 4 in 1883


June Ellen Wheeler was born on June 1, 1879, at Faulker, Massachusetts, the daughter of Thomas Heber Wheeler and Ellen Elizabeth (Hyde) Wheeler. Her father was born at Norridgewock, Maine, on July 4, 1838, and died at Santa Barbara, California, on October 31, 1908. Her mother was born at Boston, Massachusetts, on December 25, 1843, and died at Yonkers, New York, on June 8, 1933. June's parents were married at Jay, Maine, on November 27, 1858. She had two brothers, Walter Heber Wheeler and Ernest Edward Wheeler.

Wedding Portrait
September 9, 1911


From The Yonkers Statesman, Monday, September 11, 1911

Miss June Ellen Wheeler, the daughter of Mrs. Ellen E. and the late Thomas Heber Wheeler, was married Saturday afternoon at Glenheim, the Wheeler home in North Broadway, to Dr. William Seaman Bainbridge, of 34 Gramercy Park, New York City. Rev. Dr. Robert Stuart MacArthur, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, New York, was the officiant.

A unique feature of the wedding was that the ceremony was performed in the pergola instead of in the house. The pergola, which commands a magnificent view of the Hudson River, was decorated with oak leaves, Southern laurel, asters and hydrangeas.

The bride was given in marriage by her elder brother, Walter Heber Wheeler, of New York, and was attended only by her niece, Miss Muriel A. Wheeler, of New York. The bride's gown was of white chameuse with a flounce and bodice of duchesse lace. Her tulle veil was edged with duchesse lace, and she wore a wreath of orange blossoms. The bridal bouquet consisted of lilies-of-the-valley. The maid of honor wore pink marquisette over pink messaline and carried pink roses.

Dr. William Van Halzah Hayes, of New York City, was the best man. The ushers were Ernest E. Wheeler, a brother of the bride, of Yonkers; Dr. E. M. Foote, Dr. J. Douglas Malcolm, Dr. Arthur Stedman Hills, and Dr. H. D. Meeker, of New York; Dr. George D. Kellogg, of Princeton, N. J.

The guests at the wedding numbered about 75, and 150 additional came for the reception, which took the form of a garden party. Refreshments were served by Maresi. The music was by a stringed quartet.

The couple received the congratulations of the company in the river room, which was decorated with palms and American beauty roses. Asters, laurel and hydrangeas were used in the various rooms.

The bridegroom gave the bride a circular pendant of diamonds and pearls. The bride gave her maid a gold pin set with pearls. The best man and ushers received cuff links.

Among the out-of-town guests were: Mrs. S. E. Hyde, of Boston, Mass.; Mrs. W. H. Monroe, of Norwood, Mass.; Mr. and Mrs. George R. Whitten, of West Newton, Mass.; Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Spencer, of Cambridge, Mass.; Mrs. Arthur Staples, of Lewiston, Me.; Mrs. Hartley Lord and Miss Anna Dingley, of Auburn, Mr.; Miss Sarah E. Neiman, of New York City; United States Senator William P. Dillingham, of Montpelier, Vt.

The bride is a graduate of the Veltin School in New York, and she has studied in Europe. She has lived in Yonkers six years, coming here from New York.

The bridegroom is a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and also studied abroad. He is a practicing physician in New York, a professor in the Polyclinic Hospital, Head Surgeon in the Skin and Cancer Hospital in New York, and a leading physician in Chautauqua in the summer. He is the author of "Life's Day," and a contributor to medical journals.

After a tour of Europe, the couple will reside at 34 Gramercy Park, New York.


Elizabeth Bainbridge, born December 5, 1912

William Wheeler Bainbridge, born January 11, 1914

John Seaman Bainbridge, born November 1, 1915

Barbara Bainbridge, born April 1, 1917

June Wheeler Bainbridge
Mother of Four Children

Memories of My Mother

by Barbara Bainbridge McIntosh

My mother valued sweetness, light, modesty, and good reputation. One of her favorite Bible verses said, "Let not then your good be evil spoken of" (Romans 14:16). In other words, don't do anything that you may think right in a way that could be misinterpreted. Another was: "Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report... think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). And: "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalms 19:14). "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help" (Psalms 121:1). She wanted her children to "rejoice" and to feel safe in the goodness that has been transmitted to us: "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust" (Psalms 91:4). But too, she wanted us strong and steadfast in affliction like Job.

For many years she made her friends a special Christmas card with her own verse and an original drawing or painting.

"Sometimes it took me three hours to cheer my brother up after he had come home from a day's work in town," she said. "But before the evening was over he would be singing again while I accompanied him at the piano."

"Even some great concert pianists can't play hymns properly. You have to have a feel for it, keeping the tune uppermost with the right hand, slightly emphasizing the top note." She played the hymns for her Sunday School and sometimes for her Church and for the family she grew up in and the family she made. The chords were all there in both hands, but there were no pyrotechnics. The melody notes rode the rich chords beneath.

"There is no reason why there should not be a variety of churches," she said, "just as there are varieties of houses and clothes. Some people like an elaborate service with much ceremony, ecclesiastical dress and prayers intoned from prescribed texts. Others like a simple service, the minister in an ordinary suit making up his own prayers. Why shouldn't people have the sort of church they want? There is room for all kinds."

Mother was a genuinely sweet person, and she wanted everybody else to be genuine and honest, too. But she loved the theater and enjoyed comparing it with real life. "You can usually tell an actor at a wedding. He looks more like a wedding guest than anyone else," she said.

"You can tell a ham actor by his hands. He doesn't know what to do with them," she said. "Keep your own hands quiet. Don't pull at your hair or stroke your cheek or fiddle with your clothes. And do not touch the person with whom you are speaking. That is a cheap way of getting attention."

In my mother's view, nothing was more annoying than when the wrong person says the right thing. When, for instance, the utterly tactless person recommends tact, when the intolerant advises tolerance or the stingy person gives a homily on generosity. Just grind your teeth in silence.

"Married people," she said, "should learn how not to aggravate each other."

"Tidy up the living-room before you go to bed. It will reward you in the morning," she said. And so it does! A room has a mysterious way of giving you back the love you put into it.

She said that when you are shopping you should remember, "nothing is a bargain if you don't want it."

"Just make up your mind to be on time," she said. "It is the simplest way."

"Do not attach yourself to new people too quickly. It is easier to go forward than to go backward." She said, "It is hurtful and embarrassing to have to withdraw."

"Never count your own cards out loud," she said. "That is just naive and self-centered and mixes everybody up. Hold your cards so that other players don't have to strain not to see them."

Her comments on clothing: "Dress first to please your family at home. Shopping for clothes is a job. Do it thoughtfully, get it over with and forget about it. Keep a balanced wardrobe and replace the gaps as they occur. Always have something hanging in your cupboard that you can wear at a moment's notice for an occasion. Never turn best clothes into every-day ones. Give away what you can and don't live in a clutter. Do not be eccentric in your dress and call attention to yourself or wear everything new at once and go about looking like a band-box. Dress so that after you have left your room there is nothing to fuss about and you can forget what you have on."

"A tall girl shouldn't wear up and down stripes, and of course a short girl shouldn't wear round ones. Big people usually look better in plain materials. Never wear a skirt that cups at the back. It should hang straight from the waist. A hostess should always be more simply dressed than her guests. She has to give them a hint what to wear then underplay it. In any case one never wants to be over-dressed. One of my most embarrassing moments was in St. Petersburg in the time of the Czars when I went to a dinner-party after the opera in full evening-dress to discover that it was out-of-doors and everyone else was in afternoon clothes. I had not realized the Russian summer evenings stayed light so long."

She said, "Children should, for the most part, be dressed for play. Some parents over-dress their children and then keep scolding them for getting dirty."

"Gloves are useful to keep your hands clean between your home and where you are going. Men wear white ones at balls to protect the girls' dresses when they are dancing," she explained. "I knew a man once," she said, "whose wife came home from riding, took her gloves off, laid them on the hall table, went upstairs and died. He gave orders that his wife's gloves were never to be removed from the hall table. It was very strange going into that house, seeing the gloves lying there."

Mother believed that it was a fine art to be a good guest. "It is not polite to be too much at your ease in someone else's house, to loll back in the chair and stretch your legs and look about unless you are a very old friend and are sure you can do as you please. And don't try to 'help' your hosts too much. They want to entertain and wait on you. You spoil the occasion if you try to be useful and bustle about."

"Never telephone when you can write a note instead," she said. "It is rude to give an invitation by phone because the other person has no time to think about it. Also you do not thank for a party by phone because you are making the other person do the work of getting up and going to the phone at perhaps an inconvenient time."

"One good talker at a dinner party is enough," she said. "If you have two neither may have a good time. Never invite two lions for the same evening."

About meals, she said: "Don't always eat in the same place. It gets to be an awful bore. Have a tray in the living-room, or somewhere else in the house or eat in the car or picnic on a hill or by a running brook."

"Your vase must never overpower your flowers," she told me. "Don't have them all the same length, and it is very effective to cut one very short and have the head looking out just over the edge of the vase. Don't put too many in a vase. There should be air around each flower so you can see it properly.

"Arranging flowers does take time. You can't just take a fist-full and plunk it in vase and let it go at that. Each flower should be put in separately and the lower leaves taken off so as not to crowd the vase at the bottom and encourage decay. Certain flowers can be put in flat bowls, but big stunning flowers like gladioli need plain big vases. Poppies need to have the end of each stem burnt or else the juice runs out and they wilt quickly."

As much as she loved flowers, arranging them and, towards the end of her life, painting them, Mother said she became very tired of dealing with them as a young lady. There were times, she felt, that her only function in life was arranging flowers and wondered if she could get some translating work instead.

"If you want to learn to speak a foreign language," she said, "you must have the courage to make a fool of yourself, to talk and make mistakes."

"Fortunate is the person who has two selves inside. One who can laugh at the other when it gets too pompous or serious. One who can warn the other when it is riding for a fall and had better be quiet for a while. The two selves can discuss matters together," she said.

Do not witness against yourself," she said. "Don't say, 'Oh I'm always late,' for instance. Then, even if you learn to be on time you will still be thought of as 'the late person.' Or don't say, 'I'm so tall' (even if you are), because you'll be thought even taller."

"I like to draw quiet around me sometimes, like a cloak," she said.

She said, "Don't take life too seriously. Cultivate your sense of humor." She spoke of the "art of living." For her, I think, it was in a search for beauty, not only in the material world but in people and behavior and an exercise in loving. "Don't be too heavy about life," she said. "Keep the light touch going."


By June Wheeler Bainbridge
Venice (1938)

They say that it is built on piles
All driven in the sea
And that the people living here
Have ills like you and me.

But I know, when the moon comes up
And lights the palace fair,
They really aren't just human folk
A-walking in the square.

When boats are like a raven's wing
And the boatman sings at his oar
I know it's not an earthly thing
But a bit of fairy lore.

I know that little narrow streets
Where the pavement is the sea
Are only in the picture books
And really cannot be.

And, as against this ancient wall
Toward the painted sails I lean,
I know it isn't real at all
But just a fairy dream!

Poem in Memory of Commissioner John McMillan of the Salvation Army (1939)

A gallant ship in triumph reaches port
And lays her regal cargo at our feet:
The dust of one we loved -
Of one whose journey was complete.

But never more alive than now, he seems to me.
How vivid are the words that he has said!
His teaching gains in influential power.
He rides triumphant, now that he is dead.

We know that death is never for the spirit,
Nor is it for the deeds of radiant worth.
The trace is as eternal as the heavens,
Nor ever can be blotted from the earth.

On rides his dream to its fulfillment.
Others rise to strength by him inspired,
An endless train, from glory unto glory,
Immortal is the light that he has fired.

Out of the Depths (1945)

This is the time of bitterness
When the mighty fall,
When each man thinks he knows the right
And blames another for it all.

Surging waves of hate and greed
Roll up and crash upon the shore
And eddy round the swirling sand
And steal up to your door.

No man is safe within his wall
And dread stalks through the night.
"Where will the next blow fall," he cries,
"When goes my loved one from my sight?"

Yet soft and sweet steals back the day
And meadows gleam with dew,
And still the sun rides high at noon
And gardens bloom anew.

Through all the chaos runs a stream
And keeps its steady course.
We cannot reckon whence it came
Nor understand its force.

But there it flows, and though the wrecks
Float on its shiny wave,
It shall restore a stricken world
For the steadfast and the brave.

June Wheeler Bainbridge
Grandmother of Six Children


New York Times, July 15, 1967

"Mrs. William S. Bainbridge, Surgeon's Widow, 88, Dies"

Mrs. June Wheeler Bainbridge, widow of Dr. William Seaman Bainbridge, a surgeon and cancer specialist here, died Thursday in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she had lived for the last 14 years with a daughter, Mrs. Angus McIntosh. Her age was 88.

Mrs. Bainbridge had been active here in charitable, religious and patriotic organizations. She was president of Sorosis, a women's club, from 1935 to 1939, served on the executive board of the Woman's Branch of the New York City Mission Society and was a director of the Woman's Memorial Roosevelt Association. During World War II, she was active in naval and other relief work, including Bundles for Britain.

Surviving, besides her daughter, are a son, John Seaman Bainbridge of New York, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The earthly remains of June Wheeler Bainbridge are interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City. This Memorial was established by her loving grandson, William Sims Bainbridge.

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