Our Tie-In With Grace Moore - And Response

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I  enjoyed Chester Martin's article on the Grace Moore era. My parents had a house on Lookout Mountain near Covenant College that was next door to the Moore's house, and much of Grace's furniture was stored in the attic.

Several years ago all of her bedroom furniture came up for auction at Chattanooga Auction House and my wife and I bought her entire set of bedroom furniture. We had a small antique business in Atlanta at the time and sold most of it, but kept a magnificent mid-1700's chest that came packed with pictures of Grace (some signed), as well as 15-20 musical scores, of which 4-5 were signed by the composer with short notes to Grace.

As we have gotten to know more about the "Tennessee Nightingale" we treasure these items and feel so blessed to be able to see them every day in our house.

Thanks for your article.

Forrest Simmons

* * *

Dear Mr. Martin, Your article on "the Grace Moore era" in Chattanooga stirred up memories and jibed with what I'd been remembering several weeks ago.  Noticing how many old movies (seen on Turner Classic Movies) from the thirties especially contained classical singers and orchestra performances, I remembered how many more cultural opportunities existed in Chattanooga when I was growing up in the forties through the sixties than now. 

I also believe that Chattanooga was fortunate to have "The Chattanooga Times" be a dominant force for so long.  Would that it still were. 

About Grace Moore: I have the old colored movie that my father took outside First Baptist and then at Forest Hills Cemetery on the day of Grace Moore's funeral and burial.  My family were members of First Baptist for many decades, and despite the jubilation brought by building the present First Baptist, what a shame that the old building is gone.  Also, unfortunately many of the old colored movie of my family and of scenes around Chattanooga from the forties and fifties are now disintegrating.  All the best to your memories.

 I spent several hours yesterday triaging 70-year-old film much of it reeking of ascetic acid.  At the same time, I was running a lot of it through the projector. 

The movie of Grace Moore's funeral shows the casket being brought out the door and down the steps of First Baptist and into the hearse with people lining the street between the church and the courthouse.  My father was tall and he must have stood on the courthouse wall to get the shot.  The rest of the film just shows the casket being brought up a hill and into a tent at Forest Hills and then some relatives (?) leaving after the service. 

As the casket is brought down the steps at First Baptist, there's a lovely shot of the buildings (all of which are still there!) on the east side of Fountain Square.  My grandmother lived in the Robinson Apartments for 20 years, and I lived with her for two years while I finished up at City High so the area is familiar to me. 

You all are welcome to the film which is now enclosed in a thick plastic bag.  For years, it has been stored along other small rolls in metal canisters in a climate-controlled environment.  I am reluctant, however, to mail it to you in this hot weather.  I'll spend this afternoon further examining other rolls of film---a bittersweet experience as some of them contain images of family members who died young as well as younger images of close relatives who lived a long time.  If I come across anything relevant to Chattanooga history, it's yours.

Roberta Woods

Huntsville, Ala.


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