Daisy Bell Allen Maximoff
Dancer Ruth St. Denis in her autographed note to my grandmother wrote, "To Daisy Allen, who knows more about this ÌÇlife' than most people." Daisy Bell Allen Maximoff enjoyed an uncommon life for thirty-eight years prior to marrying my grandfather and two years later, in 1920, to bringing my mother into the world.
Daisy Bell Allen was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan into a family of achievers, among them her grandfather, George W. Allen, a two-term representative of the county in the State legislature and later vice president of Grand Rapids Savings Bank. By the age of four, she had moved to New York City with her father, publisher Henry Gilbert Allen and his wife, Hattie. Daisy was educated at St. Mary's Episcopal Girl's School and soon after began her training in voice. Her interest in the performing arts took her to Paris, France where she studied under Maurice LaFarge and later with Helen Ware Krumbhaar, a musical composer in New York City. She performed in French and English in Europe as well as New York City and was a member of the "Globe" Music Club, founded by the New York Globe for the purpose of "bringing good music within the reach of many who might not otherwise have the opportunity."
Her romance with my grandfather, Maxim A. Maximoff, former Russian vaudeville strong man and later noted masseur and physical therapist, began in the summer of 1918 when she gave a musical recital which he attended. Newspaper reports indicate it was "love at first sight" and they were married on Christmas Eve of that same year. Following their marriage and his service to the United States Army during World War I in Colonia, New Jersey, they often visited New Jersey and Washington, DC political friends including Governor Runyon where my grandmother reportedly sang for the guests.
Daisy Maximoff then focussed her attention on my mother and my grandfather and his business. They traveled extensively. In 1940, after she was unexpectedly widowed, she moved to another home in Summit, New Jersey, which my family frequently visited. Daisy Bell Allen Maximoff was a gracious gentlewoman who provided my mother with a wonderful upbringing, which has benefited all of us. --Testimonial submitted by Jennifer Hesketh Aviles