Soon after Jennie’s 24-year-old sister, Mary, wife of an East Coast political figure, was killed in an automobile accident on Long Island.
Now $2 million richer from her sister’s estate, Jennie traveled to England with a letter of credit, covering all her expenses. In London, her friends included the American Ambassador and his wife, the daughter of D.O. Mills. Wearing a white crepe de chine princess gown embroidered with pearls and diamonds, she was presented to King Edward VII.
Back in San Mateo in 1907, Jennie Crocker competed with 300 entrants for 135 trophies at a dog show held on the grounds of the fashionable Peninsula Hotel, once mining tycoon Alvinza Hayward’s huge villa. Her prize Boston bull terrier, Dick Dazzler captured the Freeman Ford trophy for best in class.
But European tours and a passion for dogs could not replace the loss of her parents. Jennie and Templeton Crocker established the Armitage Orphanage in San Mateo in 1909.
Presiding over the dedication was Bishop William Nichols, the same minister who would perform Jennie’s wedding ceremony three years later.
(Next: Part 5)