Helen Pyle

Helen Cyrus Pyle (1863-1948)

By Martha Bunting [written circa 1935]

Helen Cyrus Pyle, daughter of Cyrus and Mary Bassett (Rumford) Pyle, born April 12, 1863; married April 12, 1888, Charles Andrews Bunting, son of Samuel and Susanna Lloyd (Andrews) Bunting.

Helen C. Pyle was educated at the Friends’ School of Wilmington, Delaware; and at Swarthmore College, majoring in English, from which she graduated, with the degree of B.L. [Bachelor of Literature], in the class of 1883.

I well remember the wedding of Helen Cyrus Pyle and Charles Andrews Bunting. The wedding dress that Helen wore had a somewhat tragic history: Helen had come to Philadelphia in March to purchase some material for the gown and to spend the weekend with the family of Charles Andrews Bunting, who came down from Steelton, Pa., to spend Sunday. A snowstorm started Sunday night and continued unabated throughout the following day; Helen was urged not to return to Wilmington, Del., on Monday, but a dressmaker had been engaged to come to her home the following day to make her wedding dress, the material for which she was carrying home with her, therefore she decided to accompany her brother-in-law, Calvin Bye, to Wilmington that afternoon. The train did not reach Wilmington that night, and Helen sat all through the night with the material for her wedding dress. While the storm raged outside, the crew of the train made every effort to keep the occupants of the cars from suffering seriously from the extreme cold. This storm was the great blizzard of 1888. The people of Helen’s generation had never experienced such a snow storm and Helen little realized the danger she might encounter by insisting on returning to Wilmington in the midst of such a storm. The next day, Tuesday, the train pulled into Wilmington, the wedding dress was made as scheduled, and Helen looked very attractive in it on that April 12, 1888. The wedding took place at the home of the bride, and I expect it was by the Marriage Ceremony of the Religious Society of Friends; I remember signing the Marriage Certificate.

After the marriage, instead of taking an extended wedding trip, which the young bride and groom knew they could not afford, they went to the house in Steelton which the groom had provided for his bride. Charles had planned for them to take the more scenic route from Wilmington to Steelton as a contribution towards a wedding trip for his bride; a gentleman, who was one of the guests at the wedding, remarked to me: “those young people are a sensible couple, they will make a success of their wedded life.”

[ . . . ]

We have spoken of the economic ability exhibited by Helen C. (Pyle) Bunting as a home-maker; we wish to mention other attributes which has made her a success in this line. By careful planning she always prepares the household meals with the least amount of apparent effort, and thus supplies an attractive table for her family, while, at the same time, entering into the social and philanthropic activities for which Swarthmore is noted. In her early married life she carefully studied the best methods for rearing children; she always maintained an unperturbed manner when one of the youngest children might be inclined to petulance from some cause the child did not understand, and we would note that it would become calm under the influence of the mother’s even temperament. As we recall, Helen was accustomed to read aloud to her family of little children, and to carefully supervise their reading when they began to read for themselves.

Helen C. Bunting is a member of the Swarthmore Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. She takes much interest in the work of the meeting and has served as an Overseer for many years.

[End of text quoted from Martha Bunting.]


Children

  • Mary Pyle Bunting (Apr 1889-Sep 1889).
  • Edith Caroline Bunting (1890-1960). Dietitian, cafe owner. Unmarried.
  • Isabel Pyle Bunting (1892-1976). Artist, designer, teacher. Unmarried.
  • Charles Bunting (1894-1905).
  • Charlotte Andrews Bunting (1898-1982). Homemaker. Married Sheldon R. Green.

Howard Pyle

Helen Pyle had a famous first cousin: Howard Pyle (1853-1911), artist, illustrator, author, and teacher. Today he is often referred to as “the father of American illustration.” He was also admired by Vincent van Gogh, who mentioned Pyle several times in his letters.*

*More info on Howard Pyle will be added later, on a separate page. If you are a descendant of Charlotte Bunting & Sheldon Green, then Howard Pyle is your first cousin, too – just add the appropriate number of “times removed.”

Obituary

Mrs. Helen C. Bunting — Well Known in Swarthmore

Mrs. Helen C. Pyle Bunting, a resident of Swarthmore for over 41 years, died Saturday at her home, 215 College Avenue, after a long illness. Mrs. Bunting was the wife of the late Charles Andrews Bunting, who was superintendent of Swarthmore College in 1900. Mrs. Bunting was graduated from Swarthmore College in 1883 with a BL degree. Her husband-to-be was a classmate. Though inactive for several years because of illness, Mrs. Bunting was a member of the Swarthmore Monthly Meeting and the Swarthmore Women’s Club. She was one of the oldest members of the latter organization. Mr. Bunting died on Christmas day, in 1933. Surviving are three daughters, Miss Edith C. Bunting and Miss Isabel P. Bunting, of Swarthmore, and Mrs. Sheldon R. Green, of Ridgewood, N.J. Funeral services were held today from Oiver H. Bair’s, 1820 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Interment was private.

Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, PA) – 20 October 1948 – Page 2.


Handwriting

Helen Pyle's handwriting, 1884
Helen Pyle’s handwritten dedication to her fiancé, Christmas 1884.

Photo

So far I have found just one image of my great-grandmother Helen Pyle. A larger version (1305 x 1600, 246 KB) is linked to below:

Helen Pyle in 1883.
Helen Pyle in 1883.