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Arthur Commerford and Edith Wetmore papers on Stuart's Washington Portrait at the Colony House

Biographical note

Arthur B. Commerford (1865-1942), a Newport resident and very active member of the Emmanuel Church, lived on Ayrault Street. He followed his father into the tailoring business until World War I when he organized the first Roll Call of the Newport Chapter of the Red Cross. He reamined with the Red Cross until they closed their war time program. Afterwards he returned to his former profession, operating a successful custom tailoring business.

Commerford was prominent in civic affairs. He had leadership roles in many clubs and societies in town including, the Tops Club, Newport Lodge of Elks, Newport Rotary Club, St. John's Lodge No. 1, Newport Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, the Washington Commeandery or the Knights Templar, Miantonomi Club, Newport Tuberculosis Association, and a charter member of the Society for the Restoration of of the Old State House.

He was also active in the arts, starring in several Newport Opera House productions and was an active member of his church choir.

Edith M.K. Wetmore (1870-1966) was a resident of both New York and Newport. Edith and her family, were very active in Newport social and civic life. Her father, George Peabody Wetmore, was a govenor and U.S. Senator for Rhode Island. Wetmore was a member of the famed '400' included on Ward McAllister's list.

She was a charter member of the Old State House in Newport, Inc., as well as chair of the women's division of the Rhode Island Tercentenary celebration, a founder and early officer of the Newport Casino Theatre, and a member of the Newport Garden Club and Newport Horticultural Society. After donating her large collection of children's books to the Providence Public Library, they established the Edith Wetmore Wing.

Her Newport home, Chateu-Sur-Mer is located on Bellevue Avenue was built by her grandfather, William Shepard Wetmore, a China trade merchant in 1854. It was purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County in 1969.