Good news it is that clever Miss Isadora Duncan is planning to return to San Francisco, the scene of her childhood, in a few days, and a right royal welcome awaits her here.
The charming Isadora, it will be recalled, was the daughter of Joseph Duncan of this city. He was president of a bank here, known as Duncan’s bank, and had grown daughters when he married beautiful Dora Gray, who was many years his junior. They had two children, Isadora and Raymond. These children were quite young when Duncan was accused of embezzlement and suddenly disappeared. There was the greatest to-do stirred up over the affair, for he had been extremely prominent and of course no one questioned his honesty. After some time he was apprehended by the authorities but made his escape later, garbed as a woman. When quite young Isadora took up dancing and went over to Europe to study aesthetic dancing in every form, causing a veritable furore later on when she appeared in the various European capitals. She does interpretive dancing, drawing inspiration from such composers as Schubert, Brahms, Chopin, Tschaikowsky, Cesar Frank and Gluck. Miss Duncan has spent most of her time abroad for the past ten years or more, living at her magnificent villa half way between Paris and Versailles, where she has established her famous academy of dancing.
Miss Duncan was just at the height of her dancing success when the terrible tragedy occurred which nearly wrecked her life. Her two children, a girl and a boy, whom she idolized, were drowned in the Seine river when a balky automobile in which they were riding backed off a bridge. For some time after this Miss Duncan did not dance at all but went into war-torn Rumania where she did Red Cross nursing. It is only recently, in fact, that she has once more taken up her terpsichorean art.
Just a year ago Miss Duncan was to come out here to fill an engagement when just at the last minute she canceled her contract and remained in New York. Paris Singer, inventor of the Singer sewing machine and owner of the gigantic Singer building which looms up so prominently on New York’s skyline, purchased the famous Madison Square Gardens in New York which he planned to convert into an enormous pavilion of art and which the fascinating Isadora was to preside over. Art in every form was to flourish there with the idea of having the public in general become better acquainted with it. Mr. Singer was a very ardent admirer of the fair dancer and ‘tis said that it was he who presented her with her beautiful French villa. Miss Duncan’s brother, Raymond Duncan, caused no mild sensation four or five years ago when he and his wife and young son came to this country from Greece clad in flowing Grecian robes. They landed in New York in the dead of winter most scantily clad and with no covering on their feet save sandals. The authorities in New York said that Mr. and Mrs. Duncan might dress as they pleased, but the small Duncan would fall into the hands of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children if he weren’t more warmly garbed. So during their stay in New York their small son was burdened with a few extra garments, but when they came west he once more wore the flowing robes of a young Greek of ancient times.
Social Life of San Francisco
By Grace Tibbitts
November 17, 1917