The Family of William and Joanna McGaughey
My mother (Mary Joanna Durham) and my father (William Howard Taft McGaughey) became acquainted as a result of having attended the same college, Depauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana. My mother grew up in Greencastle. The Durham house at 309 E. Seminary Street was located on the edge of the Depauw campus. My mother’s father, Andrew E. Durham (“Pap”), was a lawyer and a state senator. My father grew up in Indianapolis, about forty miles east of Greencastle. My mother graduated from Depauw in 1932; and my father, who was six months younger, in 1934. He briefly dropped out of college to help support his family after his father died. It was the great Depression.
Fraternities and sororities were important to Depauw students in the 1930s as they are today. My father belonged to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity; he was a “Phi Gam”. My mother became president of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. The Depauw chapter had the first chapter of this sorority; it was perhaps the first sorority anywhere. I believe my mother and father first met when my father approached my mother in her capacity as the Theta president on behalf of his sister, Mary Jane. At one time, they may both have been pages in the Indiana legislature.
The other common interest of my parents was journalism. My father was an editor, if not the top editor, of the Depauw student newspaper. He was also a police reporter for the Indianapolis Times. Bernard Kilgore, the man credited with building the Wall Street Journal into the nation’s premiere business publication, had previously been editor of the Depauw student newspaper. My father knew him then. After my father graduated from Depauw, he came to New York to work at the Wall Street Journal. My mother’s interest in journalism began when she enrolled in the Columbia School of Journalism in New York City. She was a reporter at two community newspapers in the New York area before becoming a features editor at the Associated Press.
My parents did not date in college. The story is that they met quite by accident while walking down Broadway. My mother spotted my father on the street and called to him. (In fact, that’s what my father told the nursing staff in Andover, New Jersey, in 2004, the last time I saw him.) As young professionals in New York, they started dating. When my father accepted a public-relations position in Detroit, he proposed marriage and my mother accepted. Their married life began in Detroit in an apartment at 999 Whitmore Street. That’s when I entered the picture.
Mother worked in the insurance department at Central National Bank in Greencastle for a little less than a year after she graduated from Depauw in 1932. During her senior year she was a 5th and 6th grade teacher at a country school in Fillmore, about 6 miles east of Greencastle. Her ambition was to get out of Greencastle. Pap let her go to Columbia Journalism school for 1 year. (It became a 2-year course) but she graduated. Later Jane went for 2 years. Mother didn’t understand the insurance too well - left notes on note paper which were later found in the bank. This was the same bank which John Dillinger or his gang later robbed . They got $70,000. An unmarried secretary to the president was upstairs helping someone transfer a stock certificate when she saw the gang members with submachine guns in the lobby. She hid the stock certificates (wrapped them up) in an American flag, thinking the gang members might come up there. Mother learned about the Greencastle bank being robbed while she was a journalism student in New York.
Dad covered the funeral of John Dillinger for the Indianapolis Times. He phoned in a story. He was in the morning funeral procession which went to the cemetery. It grew dark and started to lightning and thunder when the casket was lowered into the grave. Only the AP reporter, who posed as a relative, was admitted to the ceremony. On his way back, Dad bought a copy of the Times (Scripps-Howard) and was surprised that the Dillinger story (which had been headline news for days) had been limited to paragraph. The Nazi murder of Dolfuss (1934) was top story. Curious people from all over the midwest came to Indianapolis for the Dillinger funeral. Dillinger had robbed a back in Lima, Ohio & also the police station in Peru, Ind., to obtain machine guns.
While she was at Columbia School of Journalism (graduated in 1932), Mother lived at International House. Burl Ives, the folk singer, was often there. She dated E.F. (Fritz) Schumacher, a young German man who was teaching a course in economics. Schumacher was later an economist with the Coal Board in the United Kingdom. He became world famous as author of Small is Beautiful which articulated the theory of appropriate technology. (This philosophy argued against strict use of labor efficiency in determining technology. In nations with teeming populations of poor people, it was better, he said, to use inferior or obsolete technology to keep everyone employed than to hire only a small number of people to tend the most advanced machines. For a time, this theory was government policy in India.)
Schumacher kept in touch with my mother throughout his life. (He died in the mid 70s.) He telephoned her, for instance, on a tour of the United States, right after he had met President Carter. California governor Jerry Brown was another fan of his theories. Fritz Schumacher also visited my parents in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, while traveling to South America. He wrote letters to my mother about philosophy.
I also had a chance to talk with Schumacher after I arrived in Munich in October 1961. He invited me for a short talk while he was staying at his mothers house. His two sisters were married to Werner Heisenberg, the noted physicist, and to Eric Kuby, who wrote a best-selling book. Thanks to him, I spent an afternoon at Kubys house and was introduced to Peter Harlin, son of a journalist, whose family lived in Baden-Wurtenberg. I last saw Schumacher, shortly before he died, when he gave a speech about appropriate technology in Minneapolis.
From a book, E. F. Schumacher: His Life and Thought, by Barbara Schumacher Wood p. 46 "He wrote very little to his parents about the girls he met. They too compared favorably with the girls he had met in Oxford. Many of the invitations were from affectionate matchmaker mothers who adored the handsome German who charmed and amused them. Of the many girls Fritz met, two stood out: Virginia and Joan (Durham). For Joan, a fellow student, he risked his neck climbing up to her room at night. They remained in contact long after both had settled down to marriage.
In the 1930s, the Wall Street Journal had a circulation of 33,000. Today its over 1,000,000. K.C. Hogate, a graduate of Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, gave many Depauw graduates a chance to work at this newspaper.
Many, including William McGaughey, who graduated in 1934, were members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at Depauw. Ted Callis, Depauw 1930, became advertising manager of the Wall Street Journal. Bernard (Barney) Kilgore of South Bend, Indiana, was first a columnist, then Washington D.C. bureau chief, and finally editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal. He, more than anyone else, was responsible for the Journals success. Buren McCormack, who started working at the paper in 193, became a managing editor.
Perry Tewalt, the first graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism to be hired by the Journal, was another Depauw graduate; he later took at job in Detroit with the Automobile Manufacturers Association (as did Dad). Charles E. (Charlie) Robbins was assistant managing editor and a bureau chief in the Midwest. Dad was briefly a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and its banking editor.
William McGaughey, Jr. was a copy boy there in the summer of 1960, working under Warren Phillips and Sam Lesch, at 44 Broad Street.
Bernard Kilgore and Ted Callis both had summer cottages at Twin Lakes, Pennsylvania, accessed from the Between the Lakes road. Joanna Durham McGaugheys family had a cottage on the same road, Loafers Lodge. Aunt Gret Durham occupied the main house during summer months.
Dad (William) recalled that they had a beautiful wedding in New York City. (St. Bartholomew's Church on Park Avenue, November 18, 1939) Mother (Joanna) was a beautiful bride. As newly weds, they drove across Canada on their way to Detroit. Mother commented as they drove down Jefferson Avenue: Oh. I think Im going to like this place.
She later found an apartment near a park (Palmer Park; at 999 Whitmore). The apartment building was owned by an advertising executive. The mans brother was in charge of maintenance. When maintenance was neglected, Mother called the owner. He was at a meeting with his most important client, Mr. Haller, sales manager of Chevrolet. The owner was gruff, irritated that the had been called out of the meeting. But he promised to have the maintenance problem fixed and did carry through with his promise.
Dad remembered that Mother had bought a silk scarf in Canada which he thought she still had. Mother said the scarf was orange. However, she said she had lost the scarf.
William McGaughey was public-relations director of the Automotive Council for War Production during World War II
See letter written by William McGaughey in September 1940.
I asked Dad if he remembered where he was when he learned that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. He first thought he might have been on a train to visit Mother and the children, including Margaret, in Milford. When I pointed that that this was impossible, he remembered that he and Mother were driving from their home in Palmer Park to visit the Andrew T. Court family in Indian Village who had invited them over for dinner.
(Later the McGaugheys bought a house at 2224 Seminole Avenue in Detroit, less than two blocks from the Courts. They lived in this house until 1955 when they moved to Bloomfield Hills, a suburb north of Detroit - first on Lahser Road and then on 131 Guilford Road.)
Joan and Bill McGaughey (Mother and Dad) heard the news (of the attack on Pearl Harbor) on the car radio. At the Court home, they sat around the radio listening to news reports. Dad remembered that a pundit had said that the Japanese were too polite to attack; but now they were doing it.
I asked if they had bought their house on Seminole Avenue because of the Courts? Dad said yes. Andrew Court had said that there were some real bargains in real estate in Indian Village because doctors were leaving to go to war. However, the McGaugheys did not buy their house at 2224 Seminole from a doctor but from a man who had lost his job at the J.L. Hudson department store.
How had he met the Courts? Dad had started work with the Automobile Manufacturers Association in New York City (offices at 365 Broadway). The office was located there because company executives found it convenient to visit their bankers and attend AMA meetings in the same place. Dad had been urged to go to Detroit to visit the facilities there. While in Detroit, he met a young statistician who called himself an economist - Andrew Court. Shortly afterwards, the AMA moved its offices to Detroit.
Mother and Dad first called on the Courts on Iroquois Avenue by bus. When they climbed the stairs at that address, someone elses name was on the mailbox. They learned that Mr. Court had kept the name of the previous owner on the box because the utility company had raised its rates but kept the same rate for existing customers. Mr. Court pretended that they were existing customers. Mother was greatly amused by this device used by the frugal Andrew Court.
I asked if Dad knew much about the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). He said that the CIA had invited persons from the Washington D.C. public-relations association to tour their Virginia headquarters. Barbara Smith was one of those invited. What was Barbara Smith doing now? Dad thought she was raising funds for NYU. (Barbara Smith used to head the Washington D.C. office of a large advertising firm. Her father, J. Stanford Smith, was Dads roommate at Depauw. He was director of marketing at General Electric, while Ronald Reagan was employed there, and later became chairman of International Paper.)
I asked about Dads trip to the Far East (around 1953). A group of Detroit businessmen were invited to tour facilities of the U.S. Army in Alaska, Korea, and other places. The group landed in Pusan, Korea, and then spent several days in Seoul. Finally, they were driven to the front in Jeeps. They looked at the Chinese across the valley through binoculars. The commanding officer asked them to leave the area after a short time because the Chinese, too, were looking through binoculars. If the Chinese felt something important was happening on the U.S. line, as indicated by many Jeeps, they would shell the U.S. position. Dad drove a tank about this time, perhaps not on this trip but at the Chrysler plant near Pontiac, Michigan.
(Ironically, William McGaughey Jr. in 2000 married the daughter of a high-ranking Chinese military officer who did not serve in Korea but was stationed in Beijing during the Korean war.)
In 1948, the Automobile Manufacturers Association sent Bill and Joan McGaughey to England for the special purpose of inviting former Prime Minister Winston Churchill to be the guest speaker at a celebration of the 100 millionth automobile produced in the United States. Although Churchills schedule would not permit it, he did receive the McGaugheys at his London office where he engaged in a spirited discussion with them about U.S. politics. Churchill said that, while he admired Dwight Eisenhower, he thought Eisenhower had mishandled discussion that he might became a candidate for President in 1948. Three years later, when Billy and Andy McGaughey visited the William Dallas family in England for ten weeks, Churchills secretary, Jo Sturdee, took the two boys on a tour of Blenheim palace, Churchills ancestral home, as well as the House of Commons.
July 12, 1950
Margaret is crying - it is 11:15 p.m. - and I have been hauling stones all day to reset in the wall and make into steps leading to the back yard. So this will be short.
But I do feel very guilty for not writing - only by the time I get up and get started at 8 a.m., do the marketing, washing, ironing, try to keep the boys learning a little of one thing at a time, get to the Lakes so everybody can have a swim by 3:30, get back home by 7, feed, bathe, lay out clothes - it really is endless, and very tiring.
I do think a couple of things are of interest, though. Billy is developing into a rather good worker. He cleaned out two flower pots in the posts today, helped load about seventy five big rocks - and unload them, and went swimming to boot. I am trying to explain to him as he goes along that what he saves us we can spend in other things and I think he has gotten the point.
Andy and Billy stick together fine, too. David, however, is a little lone wolf. He has found one friend in Jimmy Kilgore - two years old. He loves Jimmy dearly - and Jimmy wont have anything to do with anyone except David.
The Kilgores are probably going to stay over another week renting the small camp, this time, while the Callises are here for two weeks in the big yellow camp. Mary Lous sister and her husband and their seven-year-old son, Ronny, are with her. Barney has been here most of the time, too.
Margaret is swimming along (with a life jacket, of course). Just loves it, and yells her had off if you take her out. Even goes out to the life raft.
Billy is building the fire in the hot water stove all the time now. That is his responsibility - and hes doing rather well.
Andy is our carpenter, but definitely. He has made two flower boxes, painted one. (Billy painted the other.)
We had one bad scare. The float got away - and was well on the way over the dam. Billy and I had to cross in very swift current (weve had terrible rains and the dam has been almost normal level) and fight our way back upstream and pull the thing ashore on the opposite site, because we couldnt cross the current with it. I used muscles I never knew I had - and have been sore ever since.
Weve added somewhat to our wild life, speaking of rabbits and problems with the neighbors. The other day I found a great big turtle and brought it home. It wanders all over the back porch at random and someday will be smart enough to wander off.
David also had a lovely little green frog. He is loose somewhere in the upstairs, for David took him up in a can last night - and he escaped.
Today Andy (wouldnt you know?) caught a small bird on the main street of Port Jervis. He had a wonderful time with it, but turned it loose willingly when he learned it could fly.
Oh, yes, and we now have 21 salamanders, caught three to six at an outing. I dont think any are left in Little Lake.
Do you really think the Auto Show and Festival will go on - with the war situation as it is? Or have the boys and I been doing too much reading at night of the newspapers? (They curl up every night on Andys bed and I read them the days news about Korea. I also read them the Declaration of Independence the other day ... in toto. At the end, Billy said, You know, Thomas Jefferson really knew how to use words, didnt her? Needless to say, I felt amply rewarded.)
About the bunny, cant you get rid of it? I do know how the neighbors feel about such things - and it isnt worth it if the thing runs loose. After all, how would we feel if some family got to go away for the summer and left behind a varmint that ate up all the results of our hard labor? Remember how mad I got about the Morse cats? I finally called the Humane Society and got rid of them.
It sounds as if you were making good use of your spare time. If I had any at all Id be terribly lonesome for you. As it is, I gloat when another day is done - and I can hardly hold my head up long enough to bed down four young ones who would be good for the night if Id let em.
Some Highlights in Dad's (and Mom's) Career including travel
After working as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in the mid 1930s, Dad went to work in a public relations capacity for Western Electric, the manufacturing subsidiary of AT & T. About the time of his marriage, he became head of the public relations department for the Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) whose offices were in the New Center Building in Detroit (not far from General Motors headquarters). He was public relations director of the Automotive Council for War Production during World War II. George Romney was Dad’s boss in both organizations.
During the war years, Dad wrote a novel, “Roll out the Tanks”, about converting the automobile industry to war production. It was a spy thriller seen from the perspective of a young man who worked on the assembly line.
In 1946, the automobile industry put on a civic event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the day when Richard King and Henry Ford first drove automobiles on the streets of Detroit. Antique cars were driven down Woodward Avenue. Old timers such as Henry Ford and Barney Oldsfield made some of their last public appearances. Dad was publicity chairman of this event; Romney was general chairman. As a 5-year-old boy, I remember posing for a photo in an antique car along with my mother and father and brothers. We were dressed in period costumes.
In 1951, the city of Detroit celebrated the 250th anniversary of its founding. Dad might have been publicity chairman of this event as well. I remember him making a speech at Detroit City Hall, along with others. Two young friends of mine, Jim Howbert and Christy Court, were dressed, respectively, as a French explorer and an Indian. Christy, the bare-chested Indian, caught polio from his exposure to the cold while riding in a convertible in the parade. (Christy (John) Court later went to work under Les Aspin in the Pentagon and on Henry Kissinger’s staff at the National Security Council. He accompanied Kissinger on a secretive trip to China in preparation for Nixon’s 1972 visit).
Around this time, Dad wrote another book, American Automobile Album, that told the story of the auto industry through the mid 1950s. There were plenty of photographs. I remember going with my father to the Pentagon to check its photo archives.
My father was also general chairman of the National Automobile Show in New York City in 1956. I remember that he first had to persuade the chairman of General Motors, Harlow Curtis, to participate in this show with other automobile companies. General Motors previously had its own annual show.
In 1959, my parents went to Moscow where American Motors participated in an exhibition. This was where Nikita Khrushchev and Vice President Richard Nixon had their famous “kitchen debate”. My father might have been present at this event. I remember that a Rambler car was parked in front of the exhibit hall where that event took place. A Kelvinator appliance might have been represented. I believe that my father also worked to get Art Linkletter permission to enter the Soviet Union but was unsuccessful.
In 1961, toward the end of his employment at American Motors, Dad was involved in negotiations to purchase the building in Times Square which used to house the New York Times newspaper. A developer named Lee was trying to sell the building. I walked thorough it with my father just before leaving for Germany and also met Mr. Lee. Dad did some investigation and arranged for the building to be bought at a good price but AMC’s board of directors (by then George Romney had left to run for Governor of Michigan) decided not to go through with the purchase. The Marriott hotel chain was interested in partial use of the building and the Mormon connection - both J. Willard Marriott and George Romney were Mormons - made the board back off the deal. I remembered this years later when on the eve of December 31, 1999, I stood seven blocks from Times Square waiting for the millennium to arrive.
In 1978, after my father retired from the National Association of Manufacturers, my parents toured China. My father wrote a cover story for the Conference Board publication, Across the Board, about this experience. Among other things, they had a visit with Leonard Woodcock, former president of the United Automobile Workers union, who was then U.S. ambassador to China. However, the article was mainly about the daily experience of traveling in China.
In 1987, my parents arranged for me to visit China as part of the “Edgar Snow delegation” from Kansas City (where Snow had been a newspaper reporter) arranged by the University of Missouri - Kansas City. The participants were mostly medical doctors from Kansas City. My mother had corresponded with Edgar Snow for a number of years. In 1996, I returned to China as part of a group from Phillips Exeter Academy. My brother Andy, who was on the trip, was a 1960 graduate of Exeter. This group was led by James Lillie who had been U.S. ambassador to China in the late 1980s, including the period of the T’ian anmen Square crack down. The tour leader was Lily Dong through whom I met my wife.
My parents also toured Kenya and other African countries where my father contracted malaria. They and other family member visited Egypt and perhaps Israel. I have never been there. In 1950, my parents attended a wedding of a friend, Dave Bon, in Panama. I do not believe that any family member has ever visited South America except for my step-daughter, Celia, who has recently flown to Argentina as a flight attendant with United Airlines.
Andy and I spent ten weeks with the family of William and Marjorie Dallas in the summer of 1953. For me, it was a life-transforming experience. We spent five weeks at a country estate in Sussex called “Toat House” which William Dallas purchased when the Labour government nationalized his trucking firm. The Dallases had four children: Robert, Michael, Gregor, and Caroline who were all younger than me. We spent another five weeks at a seaside cottage, “Pebbles”, near Portsmouth on the English channel. One of our main interests then was catching butterflies.
In 1958, Andy McGaughey took part in an exchange program, living with the Gerhardt Kilian family in West Berlin. Meanwhile, Bill McGaughey Jr. accompanied the Floyd Bunt family on a summer tour of several European countries. In 1961 and 1961, he lived in West Germany (Munich, Landshut, and Berlin) for thirteen months, interrupted by a one-month stay with the Maurice Bosquet family in Paris and the French Alps and a shorter bus tour of Greece with a group of students from Munich.
While at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) as a senior vice president, my father was in charge of running this organization's 75th anniversary celebration in New York City in December 1970. President Richard Nixon was the featured speaker. Also on the program was the conservative writer, William F. Buckley, shown here with my Dad.
left to right: William McGaughey Jr., Joanna McGaughey, William McGaughey, Margaret McG. Isaacson
The McGaughey family lived at several places in the Detroit area, owning homes at 2224 Seminole Avenue in the Indian Village area on the east side of Detroit and at 131 Guilford Road in Bloomfield Hills, a northern suburb.
Family traditions included hosting an annual New Years Day reception at their home. For this reception, Joanna McGaughey created each year a gingerbread house which, in fact, was a small cardboard model of a house covered with hardened sugar in which pieces of candy were inserted to cover the outside surface.
The McGaughey Christmas-card list was extensive. In earlier years, the annual mailings included customized cards which imitated the format of a popular magazine and reported the activities of the four McGaughey children. As the McGaugheys moved from Detroit back to New York City and to Washington D.C. and Milford, PA., this became an effective way to keep in touch with old friends from various times in their life.
A Christmas card from 1945; left to right, Billy, David, Andy McGaughey
Hudson and Nash merged to create American Motors Corp. in 1954. After 1957, both the Nash and Hudson names were dropped, but AMC continued Nashs popular line of Rambler cars.
The Rambler name dated back to 1897. In 1950, Nash revived the name for its all-new line of 100-inch-wheelbase compact cars.
By 1957, the Rambler had grown into a 108-inch-wheelbase intermediate. but it was back to basics in the recession year of 1958, when a 100-inch-wheelbase model returned to the line as the Rambler American.
The Americans name was intended to stir up the loyalty of those who resented the invasion of the small foreign cars. And this new model was truly a gas saver. an overdrive-equipped American got 35.39 miles per gallon on an official Los Angeles to Miami economy run.
Rambler sales jumped to 135,606 in 1958, moving the car into seventh place in automotive sales. The Rambler dominated the domestic compact field until that market became saturated with other new American entries in the 1960s.
The American was replaced in 1970 by the Hornet,
which never became the hit that the American had been.
In the spring of 1961, American Motors vice president, William McGaughey, accompanied by son William McGaughey, Jr., had lunch at the Detroit Athletic Club with Maurice Bosquet, president of Renaults North American division. Washington D.C. attorney David Busby had brought the two parties together. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of Renault and American Motors cooperating to market automobiles. Renault, the French automaker, had been the #2 import behind Volkswagen in the late 1950s.
As a result, Bosquets son, Nicolas, stayed with the McGaughey family in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, for several months in the summer of 1961. Among other things, they attended the debutante party of Anne Ford, daughter of Ford Motor Companys chairman, Henry Ford II, who was soon to be divorced. In the following summer, William McGaughey, Jr. and brother David stayed with the Bosquet family for a month in Paris and Cordon par Sallanches in the French Alps. Other Bosquet children, including Daniel and Christine, later stayed with the McGaugheys after William McGaughey Jr. moved to Minnesota.
American Motors and Renault did engage in a joint marketing venture although Ramblers success in America could not be replicated in Europe. Renault, owned by the French government, later acquired a majority of American Motors stock. Under the leadership of Roy D. Chapin, American Motors purchased the Jeep line of automobiles. This brand made it an attractive acquisition for Chrysler Automobile Company, which later merged with Daimler Benz, the German auto maker. Today, the old AMC plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is owned and operated by Daimler Chrysler.
Dad’s early recollection of Christmas
As a young boy, Dad visited a friend’s house & spent most of the time riding a red Irish Mail. (This is a small, four-wheeled vehicle which children propel by pulling a bar back and forth.) That’s what he wanted for Christmas. Dad’s father told him to get into the car & drive to a friend’s house to get the Christmas gift. Dad hoped it would be an Irish Mail. Instead, the gift was a dog which they named “Jack”. Dad was unhappy. But later the dog proved to be a wonderful addition to the family.
On vaudeville in central Indiana in the 1920s:
Mom: The vaudeville show came to Russellville (where her father owned a bank). It lasted for a week or just over the weekend. The show was held in a lot next to the bank. The show had to rent space; they paid in free tickets for the bank. There were free marching bands on the 4th of July holiday. She seldom went to the movies since they were expensive. There were cheaper movies on Saturday afternoons in Greencastle.
Dad: Dad went to vaudeville shows in Indianapolis. A former heavyweight boxer showed his practice routine. Vaudeville and movies coexisted for awhile. However, vaudeville died out when radio became more popular. North Pennsylvania (Avenue) was the center of vaudeville activity, specifically B.F. Keith’s theater, which was later converted into a movie theater. Dad’s father (Samuel McGaughey) dropped dead on the edge of this property in February 1931.
How American Motors sponsored the Disneyland television show:
Right after the merger between Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson, there was a meeting to decide how to spend next year’s advertising budget. Dad (as George Romney’s assistant) was in charge of the meeting. Some of the other people on the committee favored sponsoring television shows like the $64,000 Question (later embroiled in a cheating scandal), some cops and robbers shows, and The Show of Shows (a New York dance extravaganza). Mom and Dad were in favor of Disneyland although Dad, as committee chair, took a neutral position. However, a vote was not taken so Dad had the final say. The question never went back to committee.
In Disneyland’s favor was the fact that the American Motors chairman, George Mason, also wanted it. Mason, an avid fisherman, admired Disney’s nature shows involving fishing. Disney also sponsored conservation measures. (Mason regularly contributed to Ducks Unlimited and Disney had made some films for this organization.) Mason agreed to be on the first Disneyland show. However, he died several weeks before it aired and George Romney (executive vice president who became president and chairman) stepped in. This was Romney’s first national exposure.
Generally, the critics gave Disneyland high marks. On the other hand, the Detroit newspaper critic panned it. Afterwards, the sales manager of Hudson, Vanderzee, came into Dad’s office and chewed him out for sponsoring a loser. Disneyland went on to become the sensation of the year. Kids loved it.
About AMC’s exhibit at the Disneyland theme park and opening day:
See another article about Disneyland including a photograph of Walt and Roy Disney with my Dad in July 1954.
Walt Disney was short of money needed to open the Disneyland park. He asked companies to invest in it. American Motors was given a chance to come in early. The Disney organization created “Circarama”, a movie theater with a circular screen. Fourteen cameras together shot the film to create continuous action on a 360-degree screen. Viewers, standing in the middle, could turn around to view the scene from any angle. In the film, Nash and Rambler cars came at you. There was also interesting photography involving AMC cars in Las Vegas.
There was a special opening event to introduce Circarama. Dad and George Romney were there at 8 p.m. A line of invited guests was lined up at the door. When Dad came out, he saw Frank Sinatra in line. Sinatra’s friend, Sammy Davis Jr., was hanging back. Dad invited them both to come into the building to meet Romney and see the exhibit. Sinatra was effusive in his praise of Circarama. “This is the ultimate in motion pictures,” he said. ATT later picked up the Disneyland Circarama exhibit and made it available to the U.S. Government for the 1958 World’s Fair.
Disney provided transportation for Dad and four people from Cincinnati (Gibson’s greeting cards) to fly to California by private plane. Before the park officially opened, Disney made a one-hour television show. Cameras roamed the park and picked up interesting people. Two of them were Art Linkletter (famous for interviewing children) and Marjorie Main (a film star who was Dad’s first cousin). They were asked: “What do you think of this?” “Great!”, they would answer.
Opening day was spectacular. Mom and Dad went on a boat ride on an artificial river in the park. They were seated on either side of Roy Disney, who handled the business side for the Disney organization. (Walt handled the creative side.) Also in the boat was a man named Goldenson who was president of the ABC television network (where Disneyland aired). Mom had the impression that Goldenson wanted to sit next to Roy Disney and was trying to elbow his way into that position. I do not know how that situation ended.
Free liquor was served to the special guests on opening day. Dad’s driver, who worked in the sales department at Hudson, drank too much and so was in no condition to drive back from the park. Therefore, Dad had to drive through Los Angeles, though unfamiliar with this city.
Dad had become acquainted with Art Linkletter as a result of the 1946 Automobile Golden Jubilee, for which he had been publicity director. Dad also knew Linkletter’s business partner, Clyde Vanderberg. Vanderberg had been publicity director at the Packard Motor Company. Dad once helped Vanderberg call his daughter in Stockholm. Mom wrote an article about meeting Winston Churchill.
(Historical note: Michael Jackson, the late pop star, called the opening of Disneyland one of history’s most important events.)
William, Jr., the oldest son, moved to Minnesota where he held a number of accounting jobs before retiring and becoming an inner-city landlord. He was married several times, most recently to Yang Lianlian (Lian) of Beijing, China. He is the principal subject of this identity profile.
Andrew D. dropped out of Harvard after his freshman year. A schizophrenic, he lived in New York City, Europe, Washington, D.C., and other places before moving to Minneapolis in 1993. He married Virginia Gauger on February 14, 1998. Andrew died in Minneapolis on July 24, 1999 during a heat wave.
David P., the third oldest son, spent the last thirteen years of his life as a patient in head-injury recovery facilities after he was struck by a car in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on New Years Day, 1992. He had previously been a grant writer and tape librarian at Prodigy.
Margaret D., the youngest child and only daughter, married a lawyer in Maine and practices law as an appeals attorney with the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland. She and her husband, George Isaacson, have three children: Emily (born June 6, 1982), Abigail (born April 24, 1985), and Nathan (born April 9, 1988). See picture below.
Sister Margaret McGaughey Isaacson's children: Abigail, Emily, and Nathan, ca. 1988
Joan and Bill McGaughey believed in giving their children the best education possible. This meant that, more often than not, the children attended private school. They all started out at the Liggett School on Burns Avenue in Detroit, a private school for girls which accepted boys in the lower grades. After finishing second grade at this school, Bill Jr. went to public school, the John F. Nichols School on Burns Avenue, for third and fourth grade. He was enrolled in the fifth grade there when he was suddenly transferred to Detroit University School, a private school in suburban Grosse Pointe. He spent his fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades there, and then his ninth grade at Grosse Pointe University School as the school was renamed. He and Andy received top grades. For tenth grade, Bill Jr. attended Bloomfield Hills High School in the northern suburb of Bloomfield Hills, a public school. Then he was a boarding student at Cranbrook School, a private school in Bloomfield Hills, for eleventh and twelfth grades, graduating from this high school in June 1958.
Andys school attendance paralleled Bills. He, too, attended Nichols, Detroit University School, Bloomfield Hills High School, and Cranbrook. However, for his eleventh and twelfth grades, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy, a private school, in New Hampshire, graduating in 1960. David attended Putney School in Putney, Vermont, for several years, graduating in 1963. Margaret attended Kingswood School and then the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. One of her classmates was Randy Paar, daughter of the legendary talk-show host. By this time, the McGaughey parents had moved from Detroit to New York City.
For college, Bill Jr. attended Yale and graduated in 1964, after a two year leave of absence. Andy attended Harvard in his freshman year, 1960 to 1961, but dropped out when he was sent to a mental institution. David attended University of California at Berkeley, and Margaret Stanford University, during the turbulent years of the 1960s. David later received a masters degree in city planning from Hunter College in New York City. Margaret attended law school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she met her future husband, George Isaacson. They were on a debating team together. Bill Jr. enrolled in an MBA program with a major in accounting at Rutgers University in Newark. By this time, however, he had soured on formal education and dropped out of the program to move to Minnesota.
After his freshman year at Harvard, Andy engaged in a minor act of violence at his parents home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, which resulted in his being taken to a mental clinic in Detroit for observation. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he was later a patient at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, where he lived for a year. He was in and out of mental institutions for the remainder of his life. During the 1960s, he lived in Sweden and Denmark and traveled to Israel and Czechoslovakia. While in the United States, he lived in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis where he died in the early morning of July 24, 1999. On February 14, 1998, he was married to Virginia Gauger.
David was a Vista volunteer following his graduation from Hunter College. He took jobs in Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Lumberton, North Carolina. Then he was a grant writer with a nonprofit in New York, and finally a tape librarian at Prodigy in White Plains, New York. After leaving that job in 1990, he went to Washington D.C. to help with arrangements for his brother Andrew who was living there. On January 1, 1991, David was struck by a car while crossing a highway at Gaithersburg, Maryland. He suffered severe brain damage and spent the rest of his life in head-injury treatment facilities. David died on March 31, 2005.
Margaret met her future husband, George Isaacson, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia. She worked briefly as a public defender in Boston. For the remainder of her career, she has been a staff attorney with the U.S. Attorneys office in Portland, Maine, handling appeals for that office. Her husband, George, is managing partner of a law firm. They live near the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick, Maine, and have three children.
David McGaughey is a 44 year old white male who as a pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle on January 1, 1992. Mr. McGaughey experienced a loss of consciousness at the scene and reportedly had a Glasgow Coma Scale of 7 at the time of his emergency admission to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. An initial CT scan on January 1, 1992, showed diffuse cerebral edema and bifrontal hematomas. Records indicate that David remained in coma no more than a week although he remained intermittently lethargic and unresponsive. A follow-up CT scan performed on January 11, 1992 showed improvement in the bilateral intercerebral contusions but there was some residual edema and evidence of early encephalomalacia. David transferred from Suburban Hospital to the Head Injury Recovery Center at Hillcrest (in Milford, PA) on February 6, 1992. During his course of recovery at Hillcrest, David began to develop paranoid delusions leading to increased aggressive behaviors. In reading the records, there appears to be variation across time in the occurrence and intensity of behavioral and psychiatric concerns.
left to right: William McGaughey, Andrew McGaughey, David McGaughey, Joanna McGaughey (seated)
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