Melba Charlotte Broderick

Above is a photo of my father’s mother, Melba, and her childhood friend, Violet (Vie), near Joaquin Miller’s house. I heard they were into Isadora Duncan. Did they meet Miller and his daughter at this age?

Joaquin Miller lived in the Oakland Hills above the Stuttmeister farm and orchard located in the city of Fruitvale that would later be incorporated into the city of Oakland. Miller was titled the `Poet of
the Sierras’. His farm was called `The Heights’ and was a Mecca for California artists and poets. This eccentric Bohemian was friends of William Broderick and would accompany Melba Charlotte Broderick, the mother of Victor Presco, to San Francisco where Melba met her husband, Hugo Presco, a professional gambler in the Barbary Coast.

Miller carried the infant father of Rosamond on these adventures that proved too much for Melba who divorced Hugo when Victor, Melba’s only child, was three years of age. Joaquin Miller was invited to England by the Pre-Raphaelite poet and artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and had dinner at his house with most of the Brotherhood present. The four Presco children would converse with Miller’s daughter on the phone, she calling herself `The White Witch’..

The boy in the two photos is Melba’s brother, Frederick Broderick, with his cow, Daisy. This had to be taken on the farm in Fruit Vale.

Jon Presco


Angela Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, California on May 27, 1877. She was the youngest of four siblings: Augustin Duncan, Raymond Duncan, and Elizabeth Duncan. Their parents were Joseph Charles Duncan (1819ā€“1898), a banker, mining engineer and connoisseur of the arts, and Mary Isadora Gray (1849ā€“1922). Soon after Isadora’s birth, her father lost the bank and he was publicly disgraced. Her parents were divorced by 1880 (the papers were lost in the San Francisco earthquake), and her mother Dora moved with her family to Oakland. She worked there as a pianist and music teacher. In her early years, Duncan did attend school but, finding it to be constricting to her individuality, she dropped out. As her family was very poor, both she and her sister gave dance classes to local children to earn extra money.[citation needed]

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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