History of Grace & Holy Trinity Church

The Dorcas Window

In memory of Anne Bruce Page (June 20, 1867 to December 22, 1888)

Inscription: “The King’s daughter is all glorious within.”

Gift of Thomas Nelson Page

This window is by the Mayer Studios of Munich and is the only window in the nave which is signed by the maker (lower right corner).  Though the exact date of the window’s installation is unknown, Mr. Page was given approval of the vestry in November, 1889 to install it.  The makers of many of the windows in the church remain unknown, but most of them are likely of American manufacture.  Thus, this seems to be the only imported window in the church, and is one of the earlier, if not the earliest, European window anywhere in Richmond.

Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc. was founded in 1847 by Joseph Gabriel Mayer (1808-1883) as the “Institute for Christian Art.”  In 1882 the company was awarded the status of “Royal Bavarian Art Establishment” by King Ludwig II.  The first overseas branch opened in London in 1865. Following this, the studio moved into a rich and active period with over 500 employees and world-wide business connections. This was achieved during the management of Franz Borgias Mayer (1848-1926) who was the founder’s son.  In 1888 a new branch in New York City was opened bringing the company to full international status, and in 1892, Pope Leo XIII named the company a “Pontifical Institute of Christian Art.”  Today the company is managed by Gabriel Mayer (b. 1938) and his son Michael C. Mayer (b. 1967), who is the fifth generation. [1]

Dorcas is depicted under a fanciful gothic canopy and is distributing food and clothes to the poor.  Dorcas was a widow who lived in Joppa and was raised from the dead by Saint Peter; she was known for her acts of charity (The Acts of the Apostles 9:36-42).

Anne Page was the youngest daughter of Charles and Sarah Seddon Bruce.  She was married to Thomas Nelson Page (1853-1922) on July 28, 1886 at the age of nineteen, and died a little more than two years later.  Her death was unexpected.  Indeed, she was described as “the picture of health” only the day before and was ill for about 18 hours; death was caused by internal hemorrhaging.  Mrs. Page was a member of Saint James’s Church, from which her funeral was held.  In attendance were Governor and Mrs. Fitzhugh Lee.  Pallbearers included Otway S. Allen, E. T. D. Myers, Jr., and Willie Trigg, family names which appear elsewhere in this narrative.  Her burial was in Hollywood Cemetery.

“Mrs. Page was a very beautiful and accomplished lady.  She was not only the co-laborateur of her husband in his literary work, but has been the heroine of several of his stories, notably Unc’ Edinburg’s Drowndin, A Plantation Echo.  This story was written by Mr. Page while on a visit to his sweetheart’s home, the meeting therein described being taken from the author’s own experience.”[2]   Mr. Page was a lawyer, and as aforementioned, an author.  He wrote a large collection of both novels and short stories, many of them about life in the Old South.  He was elected to the vestry of Holy Trinity in 1890; later remarried, the couple moved to Washington, D.C.  He served as Ambassador to Italy during the administration of Woodrow Wilson.

             Research and writing by Mr. Donald Traser

[1] Excerpted from the company web site.

[2] Richmond Dispatch, Sunday, December 23, 1888