Emma Carroll

She ran an antiques and consignment business and headed the Daughters of the American Revolution in Maryland

January 09, 2009|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Emma Carroll, who established an antiques and consignment business at Glencoe Gardens in Baltimore County and headed the Daughters of the American Revolution in Maryland, died of a stroke Jan. 1 at her Sparks home. She was 90.

Born Emma Mosner in Baltimore and raised on Walker Avenue, she was a 1936 Eastern High School graduate. She attended Towson University and was a Baltimore Business College graduate. She was office manager for the Prudential Insurance Co. many years ago.

After her marriage to landscaper and Towson Nurseries owner William C. Price, she developed an antiques and Christmas decorating business at Glencoe Gardens, an 1830s brick and stone barn that stands on the west side of York Road in Sparks.

"From the mid-1950s to the late 1980s, she was busy starting up and running an antiques and household furnishings consignment business in the rural, hilly property," said a 2006 Sun profile of her.

She said that customers driving along York Road were often attracted to what a 1955 Sun article described as "mellowed gray of the stone work enhanced by mosaic-like brick indentations" at the ends of the barn, which originally sat on a 500-acre tract. The couple initially grew landscaping materials used in the Towson Nurseries business at their Sparks property, originally the John M. Gorsuch family's Retreat Farm.

"No one ever had any doubt where you stood with Emma. She was a very frank woman," said M. Wiley Hawks, who now runs Glencoe Gardens. "As her tenant, I paid rent, but she ran me. She was always totally in charge. Nothing ever stopped her. And what she did, she did well."

She and her husband named their business Glencoe Gardens and spent two years renovating the barn as their residence and as a retail store.

In 1954, she conceived the idea of selling antiques and household items on consignment. She did her own accounting and promotion to let consignors know that they could sell items at her shop for a 25 percent fee.

"The important thing was that I was very careful: When something was sold, I paid the people promptly," she said. "And I felt that that was one thing that was instrumental in my becoming a success, because as soon as their things were sold, they were paid."

She said she found an audience in older women interested in antiques, and they were happy to find a place where they could put their things.

"If they could buy something and sell it at a higher price [here], they were doing their own little business but using my store as their sales area," she said.

Friends recalled that she had an eye for Baltimore silver of the 18th and 19th centuries and lectured on the subject.

She also was an accomplished flower arranger and sold nearly 1,500 pounds of cut holiday greens each December. She conducted classes in how to make table decorations at Glencoe Gardens and sold flower-arranging supplies from the shop.

After her husband's death in 1968, she left the nursery business and sold some of the Sparks land. At her death, she managed 100 acres around the property.

"The place is a home base for an active octogenarian who never sits still, a woman with a hearty sense of humor," The Sun's 2006 profile said.

After leaving the retail business in 1987, she became state regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was curator general on its national board in Washington. She was also active in the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Engineering Society of Baltimore.

In retirement, she kept a series of cats that often settled by her feet. She named three of them Green India, Meissen and Minton after porcelain she admired. She named two more Jacoby and Jenkins, after famous Baltimore silversmiths.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. John's Lutheran Church, 3911 Sweet Air Road in Phoenix, where she taught Sunday school.

Survivors include a nephew, Robert W. Mitchell of Burke, Va.; and two great-nieces. Her second husband of three years, Roger W. Carroll, died in 1975.

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