Mary Wingfield Scott

This book is a collection of articles by and about Mary Wingfield Scott and centered around her unpublished autobiography which she wrote as therapy when she was recovering from a stroke that left her paralyzed on the right side.

Winkie took no prisoners in her battles to save old buildings, and she was famously eccentric. I remember back in the 1980s she called me at home about something, and after talking about the subject at hand, she asked "How's the family?" I was in mid-sentence with an answer as I heard the phone go click. She did this routinely and would simply end a phone call whenever she felt like it and she never signed off or said 'goodbye'. So the last chapter of this book is to ask "How's the family" about her own family.

Winkie’s books are still the bibles of Richmond architectural history. She was instrumental in the preservation of Linden Row, Oregon Hill and Church Hill, and she has been an inspiration for generations of preservationists who have followed in her footsteps.

We have now completed a limited printing of the book for family and friends, and we offer it here for anyone to read. We are also including with the book two CDs of Winkie reading Diddie, Dumps and Tot and Uncle Remus as examples of southern black dialect.

Alfred Scott


Old Billy

Uncle Snake-Bit Bob’s Sunday School

The Fourth of July
[“The glorious Fourth was always a holiday on every Southern
plantation] and of course, Major Walden was no exception to the rule...

A Plantation Meeting and Uncle Daniel’s Sermon

Diddie, Dumps and Tot or Plantation Child-Life was published in 1882.
Winkie recorded this for Shelah Scott's children in 1970.
To follow the text, find a copy of the book at Google books.



I will be happy to post any emails or notes about the Winkie book here.

Alfred Scott

What a great surprise to receive the books and "Diddie, Dumps & Tot". The family will be delighted to have a peek of what Winkie was like and accomplished during her days on this earth. Many thanks for the hard work, time and patience with those who contributed.

Nancy Walker

You have done a truly magnificant job pulling together so many pieces of Big Pollys life. I can only imagine how much time on the computer, phone and other electronic wonders it took. Mary Wingfield was a remarkable person and now will have a worthy resource for her family to remember her by.

Shelah Scott

The Winkie book arrived!!! Wow, you did a fantastic job. It was moving just holding it in my hands. I love how you edited my contribution. It is lovely. You captured exactly what I wish to have had captured regarding Grandfather Walker. Thank you. I have read much of the book already and love it. It is truly magnificent. It is Winkie.

Thank you so much for putting together such a wonderful book on such an interesting woman. Also, I'd like to thank you for including my mother and me. It has meant a lot to both of us to be able to share our experiences with Winkie and Grandfather Walker. You have given us a gift that will last forever.

Elisabeth Tolegian

Last night when I got home your package was waiting for me. It is all I anticipated and more. You did such a fine job of putting it together. It flows so well with photos placed in just the right locations. The CD's bring Winkie's storytelling to life as the book brings her legacy to life. What a treasure this set is. It means so much to me and my children to have this family history. Thank you for all the work you did to make it all come together. I am very grateful to you for this fine accomplishment.

Elisabeth received her book before I received mine and called me so excited and thrilled at how it turned out and very happy about your editing of her piece.

So you have made us all very happy!

Kathy Van Karnes

Just want to let you know how much I’m enjoying the story of “Mary Wing”. What an inspiration she was! The tales about life in Old Richmond are fabulous, and I’ve shared the “Died of Errands” saying a couple of times this week.

Diane Cox Basheer

This is a thank-you letter. I am sure you had no earthly idea, when you handed us your Mary Wingfield Scott oeuvre, just what a treat you were giving me. So I'm going to tell you!!

First, in addition to my naturally keen interest in MWS herself, I am devoted to Alice & Jimmie. They were among Mother's and Daddy's very best friends and one of my fondest memories is going to their beautiful spot on Locke Lane most every hot summer Sunday afternoon to swim in their pool (a rare luxury in those days) for hours and then to remove to their living room while I, half-starved, would proceed to eat up all the blue cheese and crackers Alice had provided for the grown-ups! Mother would be mystified and Alice would be completely indulgent, saying all was well; and I would be eternally grateful for food! After Daddy died (when I was twelve), Alice and Jimmie started taking Mother on wonderful trips to Europe and the Caribbean, for which Mother was, very vocally, eternally grateful. Then, as more and more friends departed their circle, Alice and Mother started having each other, together with Eleanor Opp and Mary Warner Ware, to each other's house for lunch. Another gift to Mother, who was lonesome.

Second, Mary Wingfield's beloved neighbor (mentioned early in your collection), Floyd Taylor, was Mother's beloved first cousin, with whom we kept in very close tough. Dixon and I ended up living near her in the Berkshire Apartments.

Third, Virginia Withers was my beloved nursery school teacher, for two years. I adored her place on Roselawn Road so much. I pushed Dixon to buy a house in that neighborhood at 34 Old Mill Road.

Fourth, Daddy's beloved Aunt Carrie and Uncle Jim Pleasants, for whom Daddy was named, owned and occupied a Linden Row house until her death in 1921. She left it to my grandmother, who sold it before, I feel certain, Mary Wingfield started buying. I'm mad at myself for not noting the number of the house when I came across it. Will do in the future!

So you can see why I've had fun with your collection. And I love the CDs. What a character!!!

Thank you, Alfred.

Kate Roy Christian

This weekend was supposed to be dedicated to all sorts of jobs around Fox Hill, big and small, indoors and out. But I threw them all aside the minute Temple came up the driveway with the mail, and I discovered that the package had Winkie inside. After that I spent every free moment reading the wonderful accounts of Miss Mary Wingfield Scott which you compiled so skillfully.

I had been looking forward to your book ever since the announcement at the Historic Richmond meeting at St. Catherine's that anyone who would like a copy should let them know. Reading it this weekend was sheer delight. Thank you so much for letting us have a copy.

Lynn Bayliss

I have just received the books for my family, and have paged through with delight to recall family reunions and funny stories about Winkie. My father, Hugh, was absolutely devoted to Winkie, and we spent a good amount of time visiting her when we lived in Richmond, including after he died and my mother took up the reins for the "Cousin Winkie
visits." On what may have been my last visit with her, when I was home from Atlanta where I had begun practicing law, she remarked directly, as only she could or would, that I was looking more and more like my father—and shouldn't gain "any more weight." Would that I had followed her advice consistently over the years! At least I now blame any excess
weight on my children, the older of whom is named for my grandmother, Cousin Winkie's beloved cousin Austin. Our Austin is a rising junior at Vassar, and I think Cousin Winkie would be very pleased with her, although she might well be fonder of our son, Campbell, who has a penchant to push the envelope—she always liked the mischievous boys!

Thanks so much for the books—we all will enjoy them (Cousin Winkie bestowed a copy of her autobiography on me, as she did her books about Richmond and Baltimore houses, and I have enjoyed them for many years.)

Meg Campbell

Dear Cousin Elizabeth,

I just wanted to say thank you for printing the book on Big Polly that Alfred assembled and edited. I have enjoyed reading it and can hear her voice throughout as clearly as if she were sitting at the dinner table at my grandparents home on Lock Lane. It was quite a project for all involved, but the finished product is wonderful.

Scott Cardozo

I finally started reading "Winkie" this weekend, and was fully absorbed. Of course, the HRF family feels "related" to Mary Wingfield... knowing and appreciating all she did to jump start the preservation movement in Richmond. It was Mary Wingfield who allowed HRF to start our endowment when she trusted and left Linden Row to us. It gave us firm financial footing to allow our work to continue in tough enconomic times. Reading your book fills in little blanks about not only Mary Wingfield, but also other members of the Scott family.

A very HUGE, personal thank you for your wonderful thoughts to give HRF a copy for our library. It will be a "treasured resource" for years to come, as Mary Wingfield's history will become more valuable and meaningful in the years to come. She was a lady before her time. Bless you for taking the time to capture what you did for future generations.

Mary Jane Hogue
Historic Richmond Foundation

Thank you so much for the wonderful story of Winkie. I have not had time to read it all, but have spend many minutes thumbing through. Each time I settle in for a quick scan, I find something new to ponder. This afternoon I especially enjoyed looking at Aunt Nancy's photos and reading her part of the story. I believe you have managed to thoroughly capture Winkie. When I read some of her own writing, I can hear her voice and see that familiar twinkle in her eye.

Tomorrow we head for the Oregon coast where we will spend a few days with the kids and kidlets. We will surprise them with their own copies and know they will enjoy them. Our sons have definite memories of Winkie, while Katie's memories are based on family lore. I'm sure there will be no shortage of "Winkie stories" and the resulting questions.

Seeing such a monumental task to its conclusion must feel really good. Now I am wondering what you will do with your free time! Good luck with your next project—wherever it takes you. And thank you again for such a nice piece of family history.

Jayne Gallagher

We were so pleased to open a package in our mailbox that contained a beautiful book about cousin MWS! What a tribute to all of her accomplishments and rich character!

My only critique is that nowhere in the book does it give credit to the editor/compiler.

Thank you for sharing the fruits of your latest project. We look forward to the entertaining and interesting read!

Scott and Anna Reed

Thank you again for all your hard work producing this treasure. All are delighted with the finished product and the gift from your dear mother. Love from your cuz,

Polly Cardozo

Thanks you soooooo much for doing the book on Cousin Mary Wing, I am so happy to have it! I had no idea you were working on it. You are so very good at doing those things. Many thanks.

Leezee Porter

Thank you so much for the wonderful book on Mary Wingfield Scott. She was a remarkable person by all acounts, and this book is a great tribute to her. I am very grateful to have this book and the cds as a wonderful addition to my library. Love the photograph of her on the cover!

Sally Guy Brown

Thanks so much for all your efforts in producing Winkie. I've enjoyed reading the various writings and particularly listening to the disks. I'd forgotten about her readings.

Walter Scott

Thank you so much for the book Winkie and the CDs of her readings. She was an original and they broke the mold.

Tom Word

What a present you've given me! Thank you for a very readable, educational book—Winkie—my pal, Jack Thornton, is trying to share the book with me—and he brings up a lot of family 'doings' that I didn't know about. What a gift. Timely, attractive and fun, fun, fun!

The CDs are an 'education' too. Thank you for carrying out a beautiful idea—finished product is smooth sailing for us all.

Lib Carter

Your very attractive book Winkie caught up with me in Rhode Island. Many many thanks for it—a beautiful job.

MWS, my father's sister, was Polly go me and then Big Polly after my sister's birth. She was my godmother, a job she tackled with her usual energy, imagination and generosity. I enjoyed being swept into her whirlwind, but I know my mother found some of her command appearances tedious.

As I grew older, I realized that for my mother sharing my father with her demanding sister-in-law was exceedingly stressful, so much so my mother refused to bury my father in his parent's section at Hollywood—the thought of "resting" in turmoil next to her sister-in-law was too much to bear. Finally Mother put her foot down.

Alice Scott Nalle

Dear Cousin Elizabeth,

Your wonderful son, Alfred, sent a copy of Winkie. It was kind of him and I thank him. Your book is a delight, full of jolly tales and memories. The story about 712 were familiar, likely Winkie sent a copy to my mother during the second world war.

My sister, Mary Austin, tried to find and talk to Bobby Walker during here later years. She reached Bobby's telephone answering machine, to no avail.

Alfred sent two of your earlier books, your delightful story about your family and your edited memories about General Pierson. Could you 'do' one about Pierson Scott?

Thanks to you and Alfred,

Susie Stuart Campbell Drake

It was a pleasant surprise to receive your package containing "Winkie" and the CDs. I look forward to reading this collection of articles by and about Mary Wingfield Scott. I have four copies of her wonderful book "Old Richmond Neighborhoods" which I constantly use as a reference source.

John Guy

Having juse returned from Fishers, I find your book and two tapes await me. Can't wait to read the book—which you did write, I believe—and I've already started listening to the tapes in the car. Oh, that voice I so remember. Thank you for your unselfishness, wisdom, research, talent, time in doing this enormous project. And thank you for giving a copy to me. What a lady.

Mary Denny Wray

Thank you so much for Winkie and the CDs! I have enjoyed learning more about your remarkable relative. Wonderful job of putting it all together.

Mary Ann Ready