Two other people who lived on Long Island were Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Riis. Mrs. Riis (Mary Phillips) had been my friend and neighbor - the girl with whom I shared a stateroom on my first trip to Europe. Jacob Riis was born in Ribe, Denmark. He was a sociologist. He went to New York to study people. He took jobs at hard labor, cabinet making, travel agencies, reporting for the New York Times and Evening Sun. He wrote many books. He married and had several children. He became a close friend of Theodore Roosevelt. His older children carried and his wife died, leaving him with a daughter about sixteen and Willie, a boy of twelve. Mary Phillips met Mr. Riis when she was working on one of his charity projects and married him. Mary was vivacious and attractive. She spoke French fluently, and having visited wealthy aunts in London and Paris she had social graces. Mr. Riis died in 1914, a much-loved and highly regarded American citizen, writer, and lecturer. Willie lived with his stepmother for many years after he was grown up. Although I visited in the Riis home several times, I think he was there only two or three times. He was probably on lecture tours. He was rather frail-looking, but had a charming way of listening to my chatter about studio experiences and the people I was meeting. Mary came to lunch and shopping with me sometimes. She was indeed fortunate to have such an interesting husband. Mary had had superfluous hair on her forearms and cheeks as a young woman and tried many ways to get rid of it. She tried X-Ray and this helped some. Then the operator of the X-Ray turned it on too strong one time on her cheek. This burned so deeply into her flesh that an ugly dark shiny skin formed where hair had been. For some time she was self-conscious about this. It did not bother her attentive and gentle husband. Mary carried on much of the social service her husband started, and the Riis Foundation was her big project after his death. When I last saw her after we were both widows she was working for Bonbright and Company, stock and bond brokers.
The three homes in which I was welcomed on week-ends were utterly different. The McKessons entertained me now and then also.
As the winter came I enjoyed the crisp cold air when walking to the Art Students' League. My still life class was the one I really enjoyed. The antique class teacher saw some of my still life studies and said that I drew well with paint and could quit the antique class. This was good news because I wanted to paint larger studies. After visiting some of the other classes such as William Merritt Chase's advanced still life and portrait class and Mr. Dumond’s composition class, and a life class, I decided to continue in Mr. Tack's still life class for the next semester and enter Mr. Chase's class for still life and portrait; also Mr. Dumond's composition class. (Mother did not want me to go into a life class.)
December holidays came and I was glad to go home. My Uncle Orville was still there. Many things had happened. Jane and Claude came to show me their son, Rives Skinker Matthews - a nervous squalling black-haired baby. There were other babies in the family but I do not know just how they fit in. Many new people who were friends of mine had joined the Artists’ Guilt. It may be that Mr. and Mrs. E. V. Pattison and Mrs. Hudson E. Bridge who were prominent socially got more younger couples to join.
The Christmas party at the Guild was very gay. New Year 1908 ushered in Leap Year. Tom Galt and Clarice Eaton were married on New Year's Day. I attended their wedding. I think that and a Guild party may have been two places where in I saw Lionel Chambers. People who knew that he and I had been friends tried to throw us together again, Tom and Clarice Gait particularly. However the ban was still on. My dear father warned me again that I should see more of other men. I saw a little of the O'Fallon group.