. . . The Klaubers were a part of a huge family group. These days it would be called an ‘extended family’. The cousins, aunts, grandparents, relatives of relatives and so on, were all very much a part of the scene. It was a matriarchal society as to mores and patriarchal as to business; and the dicta of the elders was heeded. The hub of everything was San Francisco, not idly called the Paris of the West. It was a sophisticated atmosphere; cosmopolitan, intellectual, sociable, and full of exciting opportunities for the bright young people of a highly perceptive circle. The “Family” was into all of the interesting aspects of life in this climate. When they came to San Diego, (by boat, of course, three days worth), they brought their excitements, interests, as well as their social attitudes with them. When one or another of them went to San Francisco, they fell naturally into the local scene. The children were sent, one at a time, as they were ready for high school, to stay with their grandparents for the duration. Their days were filled with school and after-school lessons. No idle moments there! German, French, dancing, music, and drawing lessons, were all fitted in; and, although there well may have been some rebellion, particularly on the part of the boys to practice violin lessons, they were all full of the need to know, and to study was balanced by the treats a big cosmopolitan city could offer; theatre, music, art shows, balls and parties; and avid reading.

. . . Alice was no naïve pioneer starting out into the great wide world on her own. She was part of a great clan of seekers after information and of backers-up of each other’s interests and excitements. And, San Diego was no ‘dry as dust’ little village, either. From the days of the Hortons, there were clubs and study groups. There were admirably well equipped leaders for discussions in any area of thought they might choose to consider, all on a smaller scale than San Francisco, but good just the same. In San Francisco there was a great group of artists, musicians, philanthropists, and talented amateurs among whom Alice was completely at home. Julie A. Heyneman was a cousin of sorts, and the families of both ladies were long time friends. Also, the Steins were San Francisco friends before Gertrude and her brother moved to Paris. At every step of her life, friends and relatives supported Alice. They believed in her talent, enjoyed her and valued her opinions. She was always a part of a lively intellectual scene.

. . . As for an earlier family picture, the entire brood was seldom all in one place at one time. There was, after all, a twenty-five year span between the eldest and the youngest, and Alice was about a third of the way from the top. The troop was rather divided into sub-groups. The A group were all excited about literature and art, and even parties, while the younger ones were still being marshaled by a couple of nurses, maids and the Chinese cook who ruled with an iron hand; later he and Alice struck a sort of truce. All the children were animal nuts. When they were five or six, Melville and Laura hunted grasshoppers in the San Diego canyons ‘to sell to Chinamen.’ What the Chinamen did with them no one seems to know. Stella, Hugo and Edgar collected trap door spiders, mocking birds and frogs. Laurie and Leda collected snakes (you know where this landed Laurie), and the house was according to song and story a veritable zoo long before a Zoo was a gleam in Dr. Wegeforth’s eye. Despite the children being extremely gregarious, they all had a great need to escape every now and then. Grandpa had a little house in Encanto. Alice often went there with him. She was the only one who could take the hot weather. Alice’s favorite escape was to sit among the willows where she read, wrote and painted.

. . . By the time Alice was established in her own apartment in San Diego (between trips) she was a leading light of any number of local study groups. The forerunner of the San Diego Museum of Art’s Asian Arts Committee was one of them. Her sisters and brothers who had biggish houses were always glad to have Alice’s friends from far and near as guests for lunch and dinner parties. She in turn was a popular and sparkling guest at local affairs. There was more good talk and fewer cocktails then. Although she could not subscribe with large sums herself for such projects, as she might have liked, she certainly was extremely influential in getting others to take part in efforts on behalf of the growing town. The Appleton Bridges, in their gift of the Museum building were surely under her umbrella. The great conferences as to who should be invited to create the architecture of the 1915 Exposition were subject to her enthusiasm. Her devotion to the project of a permanent gallery after the Exposition dominated her thinking for a lone long time.

. . . When one speaks of her trips, it should be noted that she did not leap out into a void to see what the world had to show. She knew from research and confirmed by her own observations. She thrived on study.

-Amy Jo Wormser, niece of Alice Klauber 1


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