Langworthy, Louise (1906-1978); Langworthy, Frances (1910-1993)
Born in Hillsdale on August 8, 1906, and September 5, 1910, respectively, Louise and Frances Langworthy were two of the four daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd MertonLangworthy, the others being Helen (Mrs. Henry Brown) and Harriet (Mrs. Horace W. Field).
The Langworthys moved to Albion when their father, always known as “Prof” Langworthy, became head of the science department at Albion High School, a position he held from 1910 to 1916. Mrs. Langworthy’s parents, named Monroe, also moved from Hillsdale to Albion in order to be near their daughter and her family. Their home was at 700 East Michigan. When Floyd Langworthy later held administrative positions at schools in Joliet, Illinois, and Detroit, the Monroe home was retained and every summer they all looked forward to coming to spend the summer back at the “big house.” It became the year-round family home again in 1940.
In that year, Frances and Louise, who had both studied at Wayne State University and the Arts and Crafts Society of Detroit, opened The Treasure Chest of Gifts in their home, specializing in handmade jewelry. Customers could choose their own styles and gemstones. During World War II, the use of silver was restricted and the sisters resorted to copper, brass, leather and even macaroni! The college dormitory then known as Susannah Wesley Hall was directly across the street from the gift shop and provided many customers.
Louise, who had studied under Arthur Nevel Kirck at the Artisans’ Guild, received numerous awards for her handcrafted jewelry. At one time she was the designer of “Orange Blossom” bridal sets for the Traub Company of Detroit. The sisters once spent a year designing and making a jeweled silver cross, commissioned by Floyd Starr, founder of Albion’s Starr Commonwealth, a residential community for troubled boys. It carried a star in the center, emblematic of Starr Commonwealth, and was designed to be worn over clergy vestments.
Earlier, Frances and Harriet broadcast for a year as “The Singing Sisters” over a Jackson radio station. Frances studied voice at the Miller-Phipps studio, and sang in several church choirs and with the Albion College Choral Society.
Louise died on January 28, 1978. Frances maintained a gift shop until 1986 when her eyesight began to fail and she moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where her sister Harriet lived. She died on November 26, 1993.
Source: Albion Public Library, Local History Room
From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.