Celeste Anderson, also known as "Lessie," by virtue of being the only woman in her class whose last name began with "A," was the very first graduate of Westhampton College in 1915. Celeste was involved in many activities during her years at both the downtown and Westhampton campuses. Most notably, she was President of the Westhampton Student Governement Association, 1914-1915. Several years after graduation "Miss Keller" contacted her to see if she would be willing to manage the new Westhampton Alumnae Tea Room, later to be known as the "Chatterbox."

 

We are fortunate to have two separate interviews recorded in the 1970s of Celeste describing her experiences and the campuses in the early days.

Celeste Anderson

Celeste Anderson's 1915 Yearbook Page

Several of the young women in Westhampton College's first graduating class of 1915 had their gradutation portraits in cap and gown taken by local photographer Walter Washington Foster. Celeste Anderson was one of them. Her portraits, from the original glass plate negative, are pictured at the right.

 

"Originally from Norfolk, Foster relocated to Richmond, where he worked in partnership with other photographers and eventually operated his own studio from the late 1870s to the mid-1930s. In 1972, 30,000 of his glass plate negatives were donated to the Virginia Historical Society."

Miss Celeste Anderson

Celeste Anderson's Graduation Portrait

Although we are unsure as to what the Crammer's Club really was, it appears that the young women of Westhampton College enojyed themselves in the Foster Studio.

Westhampton College - Crammers Club

Celeste Anderson is smiling in the back row in the center of the group.

In 1918, Celeste married Mr. Wilmer Loy O'Flaherty, A.B. Richmond College, 1913 and LL. B. Richmond College, 1915. Their daughter Mayme Frayser O'Flaherty Stone graduated from Westhampton College in 1941 and was also President of the Student Government Association. The O'Flaherty's embodied that Spider Spirit.

 

Both Celeste and Wilmer O'Flaherty are buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA.

Wilmer Loy O'Flaherty

Wilmer Loy O'Flaherty

A recording and transcription of Celeste Anderson O'Flaherty as interviewed by Peggy Stevens in 1975.

A recording and transcription of Celeste Anderson O'Flaherty recalling the Westhampton Tea Room.