Three Young Women in Bathing Suits (Including Drew Barrymore’s Cousin)

Life was pretty good for the young women in this photo. From left to right we have Peggy Walsh, Clytie Collier and Ethel Barrymore Colt (i.e., Drew Barrymore’s cousin, once removed). These young women were living the good life during the summer of 1926.

- click image for more -
June 21, 1926. Washington, D.C. "Peggy Walsh, Clytie Collier and Ethel Barrymore Colt." National Photo Company glass negative.
June 21, 1926. Washington, D.C. “Peggy Walsh, Clytie Collier and Ethel Barrymore Colt.” National Photo Company glass negative.

Peggy Walsh

Peggy was born in 1909 to Edward, a successful broker, and Margaret Walsh. By all accounts, she was a popular girl from a wealthy family, and clearly associated with the upper crust of society, being in with the Barrymore family.

ON Cotber 17th, 1937, the Washington Post reported on her wedding to Norman E. McGrath, of Buffalo, New York.

Miss Peggy Walsh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Walsh, of Chevy Chase, Md., became the bride yesterday morning at 11 o’clock of Norman E. McGrath, son of Mrs. Frank L. McGrath and the late Mr. McGrath, of Buffalo, N. Y.

The ceremony took place at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, with the Rev. Thomas Smythe officiating.

Other attendants were Miss Ethel Barrymore Colt, of New York, daughter of Ethel Barrymore, the dramatic star; Miss Rita Walsh, sister of the bride; Miss Honor McGrath, sister of the bridegroom, and Miss Mary Flora Wenstrup, of Cincinnati.

The article also mentioned that the groom attended Dartmouth, was a member of Psi Upsilon and part of the swim team. After marriage, they would make their residence in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Clytie Collier

We could find little on Clytie, the girl in the middle. The only substantive mention of her in the news was her obituary from 1987.

On Tuesday, February 3, 1987, Clytie Whitson of Bethesda, Md., beloved wife of Lish Whitson; mother of of [sic] Clytie W. Taylor and Lish Whitson. Memorial service will be held at Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church, 102123 Connecticut Ave., Kensington, Md. on Saturday, February 7 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, sympathy may be expressed in the form of memorials to Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church for charitable purposes.

Ethel Barrymore Colt

The most recognizable name of the three, Ethel was born in 1912 to Ethel Barrymore and Russell Colt (i.e., of the Colt firearms family). Much like her mother, and most of the Barrymore family, she was also in show business, appearing in a number of plays in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The younger Ethel was a close friend of Peggy Walsh, and was listed frequently in the social pages with Peggy. The two of them were schoolmates at Notre Dame Academy near Philadelphia.

Below is a piece from the Washington Post on Mar 27th, 1932, noting her stay with the Walsh family in Chevy Chase.

Miss Ethel Barrymore Colt has been the house guest of Miss Peggy Walsh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Walsh, for the past week in her home in Newlands street. Miss Colt is a featured member of the cast of George White’s “Scandals,” which filled an engagement at the Washington Auditorium last week.

What are the chances Ethel and Peggy were at Marjorie Morris’ “Whoopee” party in 1929? I’d say pretty good, since it was only about a five minute walk to 28 Grafton St.

Ethel Barrymore Colt died in 1977 after a battle with cancer.

Another bit of trivia for you … before the older Ethel married Russell, she was actively courted by a gentleman by the name of Winston Churchill.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

Check Also

Looking east at construction on Arlington Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., in the United States. Note the statue on the partially-constructed pedestal just to the right of the abutments (bottom center). The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts erected this mock-up to determine how high statues on the piers of the bridge should be.

Cool 1928 Photo of Arlington Memorial Bridge Construction

This beautiful old photo shows the construction of Memorial Bridge looking from D.C. towards Arlington …

  • JimCooke

    Miss Colt’s mother, Ethel Barrymore, visited the Coolidge White House soon after he became president in 1923 following the death of President Warren Harding. She asked “Silent Cal” what kind of president he planned to be? He replied, “I think the American people want a solemn ass for president and I do not plan to disappoint them.”