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 • El Cerrito
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Vesta Marie Kelling Cummings
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Birth: Sep. 9, 1901
Nome
Nome Census Area
Alaska, USA
Death: Dec. 3, 1941
Manhattan
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Daughter of Henry C. and Leigh Kelling. Her parents had gone to Alaska but returned to Berkeley, California, where they were divorced. She graduated from the Univ of Caifornia and by 1923 was a reporter in Oakland. In the following year she went to Honolulu and was a reporter on the upstart reform minded Honolulu Times exposing explotation of sugar cane workers among other issues.

She returned to the mainland in 1926 and by 1930 was living in Lakewood, Ohio, as the wife of Charles Milton Cummings and had no children. At that time he was a lieutenant in the Army Air Force. By 1940 they were listed at living at Wright Field in Ohio where he is chief of exp engineering for the army air force. Vesta is his wife and they have a butler and maid from Virginia. The census shows that in 1935 they had been living in Washington, DC.and they are in the 1933 Washington DC city directory.

Then there are many twists and turns in 1940/41 ending in the strange deaths of both within 24 hours.

On December 1, 1941 Charles M. Cummings, was a Lt Colonel and military attache to the London Embassy. At this time travel between war torn Europe and the United States depended mostly upon Pan Am Clippers flying between Portual and the US. It took much influence due to the few seats. On that date he died suddenly in a hotel in Estoril, Portugal. A doctor said he had a heart attack. However, another American believed him to have been poisoned. He was traveling under a diplomatic passport issued June 22, 1941. Due to the allegations an autopsy was performed by the Portugese who said he had cerebral hemmorage.

His wife died in her apartment in New York City due to a gas explosion. It was said a flame went out under a pot on her stove causing her death. The blast shattered four windows on the 11th floor of 400 E 52nd Street wakening about 150 people in the 18 story building.

He had been on his way to see her for a reconciliation according to family and friends.

She had continued working as an editor for the Evening Star in Washington, DC and New York and then for the the Associated Press among the rich and important.

In May 1941 she interviewed James Montgomery Flagg. He was a famous artist and had done many posters for the government in WWI including the "I Want You" poster. Now on the eve of another war he did another series of posters for free. They included China Relief, Bundles for Britian, the Red Cross and "Speed Up America" calling for defense of America by aiding the Allies.

On May 1st she had a long article on the hurried build up of national defense in her native Alaska. The federal government found itself fought at every turn to change anything in Alaska by the sourdoughs. During the war the Japanese did invade and occupy some of the Aleutian Islands.

Among her articles is one dated June 1941 about the coming out party for Anne Bullitt, daughter of Ambassador William C. Bullitt. It was attended by President Roosevelt and wife, Duke and Dutchess of Windsor, and members of the diplomatic corp. Her mother was Anne Bryant who was previously married to John Reed. Reed was a famous journalist who died in Moscow and regarded as a hero there.

Anne helped her father in Moscow and Paris after the death of her mother. In 1939 she helped cut red tape to get Americans out before the fall of France. On the way back to the US she was with the James Farley family. Farley was postmaster general and asked what she and his daughters were talking about. She told they were plotting how to get rid of Hitler. 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Charles Milton Cummings (1892 - 1941)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Sunset View Cemetery
El Cerrito
Contra Costa County
California, USA
 
Created by: Ash Montagu
Record added: Jan 04, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103088030
Vesta Marie <i>Kelling</i> Cummings
Added by: Ash Montagu
 
Vesta Marie <i>Kelling</i> Cummings
Added by: Ash Montagu
 
Vesta Marie <i>Kelling</i> Cummings
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Eric Thomsen
 
 
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