|Description: A calling card made from card-weight paper, an off-white colour with script-like printing on the face side. The face reads: 'MRS. ARTHUR B. HARRIS, BENARES.' On the reverse side it reads: 'I WANT DORA TO HAVE THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK HER FATHER GAVE ME & WHICH I HAVE PRIZED SO MUCH. MAY SHE LOVE IT AS I HAVE. ? MARY HARRIS 1919.'
Mary Horatia Magrath Harris (1859-1954) was the granddaughter of Reverend James Magrath (1769 1851), who was the first rector of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Erindale. Her parents, Christiana (née Sutherland) and William Melchior Magrath, married in 1856. Christiana died after the birth of her third daughter, Isabel, in 1860. Mary and her two sisters were raised by their aunt, Anna Cordelia Magrath, at Erindale Estate. Both the Magraths and Harrises were members of the St. Peter's Anglican Church and the families knew each other well. It was at church that Mary and Arthur Harris first met and later married in 1881. Mary and Arthur had three children, Annie (1882 1986), Naomi (1883 1968) and Margaret (1887). Oral tradition suggests that Mary never fully recovered from the sad loss of her third child and she suffered hearing impairment soon after. Mary was a very generous woman and held in high esteem by all who knew her. She enjoyed polishing silver, crocheting, and gardening. Mary died at the age of 94, January 20th, 1956. 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 (1882-1976) 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 1969 after inheriting it from their aunt, Naomi Harris (1883-1968). |