Rachel Flowers, a Philadelphia Black Socialite

Rachel was a well-known figure in the Black communities of Harrisburg and Philadelphia. In the City of Brotherly Love, she worked with a number of organizations including the Q.C. Charity Club, YWCA, Study of Negro Life and History, the Utopia Business and Professional Club, Las Buenas Amigas, and the Business and Professional Club. She also served as the choir director for St. Phillips Lutheran Evangelical Church.

Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 7.11.49 PMAfro-American, January 3, 1942

Newspapers’ archives such as the Philadelphia Tribune and Afro-American (available via Proquest Historical Newspapers database). These newspapers highlight Rachel, the Black socialite, specifically her grand parties.

Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 7.19.18 PM“Spooky Party is Given for Visitors”, Philadelphia Tribune, October 27, 1932

The guest were Mr. and Mrs. Mansfield Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Howard, Miss Lillian Goings, Miss Laura A. Brown of Camden, N. J.., Mr. and Mrs. Ricahrd Mack, Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay Crawford, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Frances Ingersoll, Mr. and Mrs. Paul G. Stevenson, Mrs. Eaton Burnett, Mrs. William Jarvis, Miss. Sarah Monk, Miss. Alberta Wilkerson, Miss. Marion Brown, Miss. Eunice White, Miss. Mildred Burris, Miss. Theo. Gibson, Mr. J. Walker Freeman, Mr. Earle Roberts, Mr. Benjamin Freeman, Mr. Charles Green, Mr. Frank Hamilton, and others.

Two years later, Rachel hosted a party at her Philadelphian home on North Frazier Street. The guests included many of the same guests at her Halloween party.


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That same year she hosted a dinner party in honor of newlyweds, Dr. and Mrs. Harold D. Taylor. The article provided great detail of her fashion—”Miss. Flowers received in an extremely simple red and white figured crepe frock.”

At another party, the writer noted that the home was decorated with masses of flowers transforming each room into a “veritable fairyland of color.” With 50 guests in attendance, Rachel entertained them with numerous musical performances, a violinist, a pianist, and soloists. With such grand parties, I am curious about how Rachel funded such events. According to the 1930 Federal Census record, she worked as a domestic. Where did her wealth come from? These events came a few years following her father’s death, perhaps she received an inheritance from him. This would make sense as an event was held at her family’s home in Boiling Springs.



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