Mississippi Is Author’s Theme – Mrs Ida V May Hardy, 83, 4514 Roosevelt Ave, for 29 yrs a resident of CA has completed a book about her home state of MS, begun more than 2 yrs ago. The locale is Claiborne Co.
As yet without a name, the current book marks 50 yrs of a writing career for the pert little woman. She began her journalistic work in 1893 in Dallas.
She declared: “Yes, I have seen many changes in newpapering, and believe me, my dear, all of them are not for the better. In my day journalism was a matter of pride and honor and inheritance of tradition – now it too often does not strike a note of sincerity. Journalists had more standing then, than now.
“If you ask me journalism schools have ruined more writers than they have developed . . . they make a person write according to rule and rote, and it isn’t done that way, or, if it is, everything is spoiled including the writer. It is much more gratifying to write as one feels.”
In 1936 Mrs Hardy had a little brochure, Twilight Mediations, published. Spiritual writing, it has been called a poem in prose
Owned Southern Journal
She has written serials and short articles. In 1896 she created, edited and owned The Southern Home Journal in Jackson, MS, which Mrs Hardy claimed “had a phenomenal success and was known in the North as well as the South.”
Her book indicates a thread of southern romance and takes one through 3 generations of the Athelstane family. She tells about life in the earliest days of MS. The story ends with a high note of civilization with her characters living from New Orleans to Memphis. Mrs Hardy’s grandmother, Eliza Lee May, kept records which supplied most of the historic data for the new work.
The love store of Mrs Hardy’s novel is interlaced with the happenings of a large slave planation. One of the fascinating descriptions written is when one of the Athelstane girls stelas out to select a highly bred black stallion. She had a wild ride, almost drowning herself in the swollen stream, when she could not hold the stallion back from crossing it. The girl, Elizabeth Athelstane, is described in the book as most penitent, and there is a touching scene between her and her grandfather when she goes to beg his forgiveness for her daring ride.
Determined in Writing
A young friend hearing of Mrs Hardy’s latest manuscript commented, “Aren’t you rather ambitious to include 3 generations in your writing.” Mrs Hardy’s reply was, “Young man, I had a story to tell, and I would have told it even if it had taken in 6 generations.”
Mrs Hardy has also been extremely active in civic work. She served 2 terms as chairman of the legislative committee of the MS Womens clubs, was a charter member of the first chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy organized in Jackson, MS in 1897, and was state historian for 2 yrs of the UDC. She also obtained a 40 acre park for the UDC which was presented to the City of Hattiesburg.
Women’s Suffrage Leader
She was regional president of the women’s suffrage group for the State of MS in 1915, and was a charter member by invitation of the governor or TN, of the Southern Sociological Congress.
The late war found her active in work at local USOs at least once a week where she affectionately was known as Mother Hardy.
She was renowned as a hostess in MS and her home was noted in the South and in certain circles in Philadelphia for it’s hospitality.
She has 3 sons. Her oldest, now with the state department, working in Greece, is expected home near Thanksgiving Day. Her other 2 sons live in this state.
Mrs Hardy has been a widow for 30 yrs.
With such a busy life Mrs Hardy declares: I just haven’t had time to grow old.
Photo caption: Southern Belle – Mrs Ida V May Hardy, 83, 4514 Roosevelt Ave, shows a brochure published by her in 1936. She currently completed a romantic novel covering the lives of 3 generations of a MS family. Mrs Hardy lived in the south before coming to CA. (The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA 9/1/1949, article by Verla Crawford)
Dixie Belle, 88, Schedules Honor for Jackson & Lee
Sacramento will have its 3rd annual Southern Luncheon Thursday because Mrs Ida V May Hardy, a charming little 88 yr old southern born woman is determined the birthdates of Generals Robert E Lee & Thomas J (Stonewall) Jackson shall be remembered.
Mrs Hardy, who lives iat 3930 69th St, and who traces her ancestry back to the Lee family of VA from whence the general came, has scheduled the luncheon for Thursday noon in the Hotel Sacramento.
The date is timely because it falls squarely between the birthdates of the 2 Confederate generals. Lee was born on Jan 19th and Jackson on the 21st.
“There was no public recognition for the birthdays of Lee & Jackson in Sacramento when I came to town,” Mrs Hardy commented, “So this is my own individual project and I hope it lives long after I am gone.”
And the event is not just for southerners.
“It is for anybody who wants to honor Lee & Jackson,” she declared. “It is clearly & simply a tribute to 2 of the outstanding people I know of in history.”
Mrs Hardy has a world of interests and it is obvious that every moment of her long life has been a busy one but her real ties are to the south – particularly MS.
She was born and reared in MS in the reconstruction days following the War Between the States. And make no mistake about it, that is the proper name for that war.
“It was the War Between The States,” Mrs Hardy will gently remind you, “So many erroneously call it the Civil War.”
She recalls that her father was “a highly educated, high toned slave holder,” and like so many others in the south he lost everything during the war. Both of her parents died shortly thereafter so with her sisters she was raised by relatives.
After a career in journalism which started in Dallas, TX but soon took her back to Jackson, MS, where she started and operated a magazine for 3 yrs. She was married. Her husband was a prominent judge and she still refers to him as “Judge Hardy.”
After his death she took her 3 sons and moved to Los Angeles where she lived for 20 yrs. In 1941 she came to Sacramento to live with one of her sons, William Harris Hardy.
But time has not dulled her memory of her love for the south. She recalls her ancestors went to VA in 1607, about the time of the Jamestown colony.
“So you can see I am unquestionably an American, and a southerner,” she comments.
Judge Will Speak
C L Roy Rudine will be the master of ceremonies for Thursday’s luncheon. Superior Judge James H Oakley will deliver the address on Jackson and F Melvyn Lawson, deputy superintendent of city schools will speak on Lee. The Rev Robert R Ferguson of the Fremont Presbyterian Church will give the invocation and entertainment will include songs by Mrs Elda Dieu.
Mrs Hardy said last year’s luncheon drew 50 persons and she hopes the attendance may reach 100 this year.
“I am particularly anxious that any elderly southeran ladies who wish to attend should contact me,” she stated, “I can be reached by telephoning Hillcrest 7-4816.”
Photo Caption: Mrs Ida V May Hardy looks over the names of some of those who attended the southern luncheon last year. (The Sacrament (cut off), Mon, 1/17/1953, article by Ed Dolan)
Southern Bell Alert, Cheerful at Age of 92
Talking with Mrs Ida V May Hardy is like stepping into another world. A world far removed from millions of automobiles and sprawling expressways, from a globe made small by space rockets and atom bombs. Mrs Hardy is 92 yrs old but her world is increasingly expanding to memories of youth and childhood . . . Memories of gaslights and horses and buggies and burned-out plantations in the post-bellum south.
Mrs Hardy was born Ida Viola May on a plantation in MS in 1866, the year after the Civil War ended (or, as she put it, the War Between the States).
An entry in the “First Families of America” sets her birth date as November 2.
Her paternal ancestors came to Jamestown, VA in 1608 from England and their family coat of arms still is proudly displayed on the wall of Mrs Hardy’s home at 3930 69th St.
Her grandmother, Eliza Lee, was a first cousin of Gen Robert E Lee
Mrs Hardy’s earliest memories are of the Reconstruction Period just following the Civil War “when those blankety-blank Yankees ran everything.”
“Do you know, only the finest and noblest people in the world would have done what the Southerners did. They accepted defeat by they didn’t grovel.”
She was reared by an old Negro mammy called “Auntie”.
“I don’t know why,” she says, “but we always called the older Negro women “Auntie” and the older men “Uncle”.
Her parents died in one of the recurring yellow fever epidemics, when she was a child.
“During the epidemic we used to burn barrels of tar to drive away the ‘foul air’.”
“We didn’t know the fever was caused by a mosquito. We thought it came with the air from the swamps. There was a strong, musty odor from the swamps. Because of the decaying vegetation, you know.”
She paused as though the pictures in her mind were too various to sort out.
“I supposed this all sounds like a long time ago but, you know, it really isn’t. I remember people who call recall the Revolutionary War. So you see, only 2 life spans can reach back to the beginning of our nation.
“I’ve seen a lot and I’ve done a lot. Some of it is a little hazy, but I will say this, I’ve had a most wonderful life.
“I remember our first electric light. We sat up all night waiting to see it come on.”
Does she remember her first automobile?
“Oh, automobiles! I’m not interested in automobiles. Now if you asked me if I remember my first horse and buggy, that would be different . . . “ Here again her thoughts seemed to shut themselves away in a private world.
As a young woman Mrs Hardy went to Dallas and asked for a job on the Texas Farmer. She got it and during the years of 1894 & ’95 she was assistant editor.
Shortly after this she returned home and started the Southern Journal, a literary monthly which enjoyed considerable success under her tireless hand.
It was a magazine of articles, short stories, verse and such sentiments as “Self development is greater then self sacrifice.”
It was described as a magazine of the south for southerners and sold for 10 cents a copy or a subscription price of $1 a yr “invariably in advance.”
Advertising was sparse and what there was came mostly from railroads and wagon and buggy manufacturers.
Mrs Hardy edited the magazine and wrote many of the articles and stories under her own name or an assumed one. Besides this she sold subscriptions.
In recalling this period she says: “I went to the governor of the sate – John Marshall Stone it was and one of the fines men who ever lived – and asked him for letters of introduction to other governors and prominent people in the South.
“I had a perfectly wonderful time, but I was working myself to death. So shortly after I got married I sold the magazine to a mere man and he let it die.”
Mrs Hardy married William Harris Hardy in 1900. He was older than she and a former captain in the Confederate army.
They moved to a plantation near Pass Christian, MS in 1904. The “Big House” on the plantation had 24 rooms and 2 “cottages” of 7 rooms each. The kitchen was built soime 300 ft away from the “big house” so cooking odors wouldn’t permeate the living quarters.
The house was built in 1812 and the place was known as the Old Silk Plantation. It was first owned by a Frenchman who made an attempt to cultivate silk. The attempt failed when a cold snap killed all the silk worms.
“The place was loaded down with mulberry trees,” Mrs recalls.
Her husband died in 1917, and shortly afterward she brought her 3 sons to CA.
The passing years didn’t seem to curtail her activities, however.
While living in Sacramento she has been president of a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and in 1951 she started the Southern Luncheon here.
The club met for lunch every year on Robert E Lee’s birthday and attracted many outstanding members of the community. But when Mrs Hardy was no longer able to take an active part, the club died out.
On the 16th of last month Mrs Hardy fell in her home and broke her hip. She is now in Sacramento Hospital.
“I may never leave here,” she says, “but I don’t mind. I’ve lived a long life and a good life.
“I think it’s so unfortunate so many people go through life without really living it, don’t you?”
Mrs Hardy cleared her throat and asked for a drink of water.
“Do you travel, young man? Oh, you must. What is life for? Have you ever been to the Mardi Gras? You should go. You should make a trip through the South. That Mississippi Gulf coast is one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
“Take your children and show them your country, teach them to love it.
“I love this country. I am an American first, last and always . . . “ a spark seemd to shine from the aging eyes . . . “but I am also a Southerner.”
Photo Caption: Although bedfast with a broken hip, Mrs Ida V May Hardy is still, at 92, alert & cheerful. Called "Mother Hardy" by her fellow patients in North Three at Sacramento Hospital, the elderly belle of the postwar South is still determined to enjoy life. (The Sacramento Union, Sun, Mar 8, 1959, article by John Cook)
Woman, 93, Feels Young – Not a Day Over Age 89
There was a festive air in Ward 12 of Sacramento Co Hospital Mon because Mrs Ida V May Hardy, bedfast since last Feb with a broken hip, was celebrating her 93rd birthday. Surrounded by well wishers, fellow patients and employees – not to mention an arrow of roses and even a cake with candles – the alert little lady traded quips with the best of them and enjoyed herself hugely.
“Mother” Hardy first saw the light of day on a burned out plantation in MS the year after the Civil War ended and she has packed a lot of living in the yrs since.
Her parents died in a Yellow fever epidemic when she was a child and it wasn’t long until she was on her own.
As a young woman she became assistant editor for the Texas Farmer in Dallas and later started The Southern Journal, a literary monthly that enjoyed quite a success under her tireless hand.
Her husband, William Harris Hardy, was a former captain in the Confederate Army. When he died in 1917, she brought her 3 sons to CA.
While here she helped form the Stephen D Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and served as president of the chapter. She also started the Southern Luncheon in Sacramento.
It has been an active life for Mrs Hardy, and Mon she made it clear that she still has quite a bit of living to do. Looking around at the assembled guests her eyes began to twinkle.
“I feel young again – not a day over 89,” she said.
Photo Caption: Nurse Thersa Kister presents birthday cake containing 10 candles – 83 short – to Mrs Ida V May Hardy, who celebrated her 93rd birthday at Sacramento Hospital Monday. (The Sacramento Union, Tue, 11/3/1959)
Confederacy Unit Will Honor Sacramento Union Reporter
John Cook, Sacramento Union reporter, will be honored by United Daughters of the Confederacy at a luncheon for his March 8 feature story about Mrs Ida V May Hardy, 3930 69th st, who founded the Sacramento UDC. The luncheon will be held tomorrow in the home of Bessie R Casperson, 2223 L St. Mrs Sarah Stockton Farr is president of the local UDC’s Stephen D Lee Chapter.
Mrs Robert Morris, chapter chaplain and historian, said Cook has been recommended for national commendation in line with UDC’s policy of recognizing writers of outstanding features about the Confederacy.
Cook’s article also has been recommended for printing by the National UDC Magazine and the Congressional Record, she added.
Mrs Hardy was born in MS 11/2/1866 the year after the Civil War ended. Her grandmother was Eliza Lee, a first cousin of Gen Robert E Lee.
She worked as an assistant editor of The Texas Farmer in Dallas in 1894-95, and later founded The Southern Journal, a monthly literary magazine.
In 1900 she married William Harris Hardy, a former captain in the Confederate Army. They operated a plantation near Pass Christian, MS. He died in 1917 and Mrs Hardy brought her 3 sons to CA.
Mrs Hardy suffered a broken hip in a fall at home Feb 16, and has been confied to bed since. (The Sacramento Union, Mon, 3/23/1959)
Mrs Hardy, 90, Will Retire From Public Life
Mrs Ida V May Hardy, a southern born woman of 90, will bid farewell to public life tomorrow at the 4th annual Southern Luncheon she founded in 1953 to honor the memory of southland’s Robert E Lee.
The luncheon is scheduled at noon in the Hotel Sacramento. The Right Rev Noel Porter, bishop of the Sacramento diocese of the Episcopal Church, and John A Mongtomery, Jr, a Sacramento attorney with a southern heritage, will speak.
The luncheon will honor both Lee and Gen Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, antoher of the south’s most revered heroes. His birthday is Jan 21st.
Mrs Hardy said this will be the last luncheon she will sponsor.
“Anyone who reaches 90,” she said, “deserves a little rest.”
Articles supplied by: Nanci C Price
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