|Description: A hand made valentine card, made of light brown paper. The top and bottom fold to form an envelope, with a message inside. Inside is an ink and watercolour drawing of a small girl holding two parcels - one of which reads, "To My Valentine". The drawing is in green, red, yellow, and black colours. Red hearts line the top of the page. Outside, the envelope has three hearts painted on it and the words “Dear Granmum/love from Dora” written in pencil. The paper has some slight tears.
History: Valentine card came from the jewellery box accessioned under 2005.4.125, originally belonging to Dora Sayers Caro. ‘Granmum’ refers to Mary Harris.
Dora Sayers Caro (1915-2004) was born in Clarkson in 1915, to Beverly and Annie Sayers (née Harris). Dora lived close to Benares in a number of homes, including Skidoo, The Pines, and later The Log Bungalow. During World War I, Dora lived at Benares with her mother and brother while her father was overseas as an officer.Dora first started acting at age 10, appearing in school plays, and later in local stage productions in Mississauga and Oakville. To gain experience, she found work at the University of Toronto’s ‘Hart House Theatre’, working with children’s theatre productions. In 1936, at the age of 21, Dora moved to New York and found work with the touring company of ‘What Every Woman Knows.’ Dora’s first big break came a year after arriving in New York, in 1937's ‘Stage Door.’ She later appeared in the long-running Broadway production of ‘My Fair Lady.’ The pinnacle came in 1941, when Dora was chosen to be the understudy for the legendary Katherine Hepburn in ‘The Philadelphia Story.’ The Tony award winning playwright, Moss Hart, took one of his shows to the American-occupied Pacific islands during World War II, to entertain the troops. Dora joined his cast for ‘The Man Who Came To Dinner.’ Dora also helped form the United Services Organization in 1941. The USO provided health and recreational facilities for soldiers and administered church services, but was best known for the travelling vaudeville reviews that entertained Allied troops in Europe and the Pacific during WWII.
Dora married actor Ralph Forbes (pronounced RAYF) in 1946. Forbes appeared in over 70 movies from 1921 to 1944. He and Dora met in 1942 during the stage production of Noël Coward’s ‘Private Lives.’ Ralph died 5 years after he and Dora married in 1951. Dora later married Jim Caro in 1954 and retired from the stage. Jim and Dora were avid equestrians. They also enjoyed breeding and showing thoroughbred dogs. Dora and Jim lived in France and the Bahamas before settling in the United States. She lived in McLean, Virginia - near Washington D.C. - until her death in 2004.
Items donated by Barbara Sayers Larson. Barbara Larson is the daughter of Annie Harris (1882-1986) and Beverly Sayers (1883-1976) and granddaughter of Arthur (1843-1932) and Mary (1859-1954) Harris. Barbara was born January 27, 1920 and was the youngest of three children. Barbara and her siblings, Geoffrey Sayers (1907-1997) and Dora Sayers Caro (1915-2004) donated Benares to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1968 after inheriting it from their aunt, Naomi Harris (1883-1968). Many of the items donated by Barbara originally belonged to her mother or Aunt Naomi and came from Benares. Barbara lived in a log cabin originally given to her mother by her grandparents at 1723 Birchwood Drive. She still maintains a close tie with Benares and is now living in Kelowna, British Columbia, with her daughter.