Helen Wardman Was Giving Daddy, Harry Wardman A Run For His Money…Washington, D.C.
Do you own a row house in Washington, D.C. that is two stories, features a porch, is Colonial or Spanish Colonial revival, and is within a more semi-urban, neighborhood part of Washington, D.C.? If so, then you just may live in a house that was part of the development and construction of Harry S. Wardman, one of the most eminent developers in Washington, D.C. history.
According the National Photo Company, this image, captured by the company, features “little miss” Helen Wardman (1912-?), the daughter of Harry S. Wardman presenting her play house. It is said that this building was specifically designed by Helen Wardman herself, then roughly 12 years of age. Her father had the little dwelling suited with custom furniture. There were a total of three rooms. The house featured electricity, heat, and water. It was suggested that in 1922, litte Helen Wardman was the youngest architect in the country.
Whether this photograph ever made the paper or not, Helen Wardman was certainly, next to Evelyn Walsch McClean among the most spoiled of the Washington elite. By the 1920s, the heiress was attending the Neuilly-sur-Seine, a school near Paris. She also attended the Holton Arms School, the Priory School in England and Mlle. Boissier’s School in Paris. Her father had business at that time in London, opening his new hotel the Park Lane. His daughter Helen was quite the Debutant (circa 1930) in Washington, D.C. society–although she and her mother spent much of their time abroad and on vacation in places like the Hot Springs colony. Eventually, in 1936, Helen Wardman, then 24, married Count Giovanni Naselli, an Italian nobleman. The wedding was a small, private ceremony at the Wardman residence–2433 Massachusetts Avenue, NW–probably also the location of the play house. No doubt the two met in Washington, as the Count was a regular visitor to the Federal City and a manufacturer of silk in Mexico–not to mention, fifteen years Helen’s senior.
Apparently, Helen Wardman abandoned her membership with the Junior League of Washington, as well as her involvement with the Children’s Hospital. She and the Count or the Count and she headed to Mexico City to make their home together…
It was, most probably, a regular doll’s house!!!