Danny the Nanny

History_People_Douglas-Family_Servants_Ella-McDanell.jpgOne employee, Ella McDannel, had a very close relationship with the Douglas family. Fondly named "Danny the Nanny" by the Douglas girls, Danny worked for the family for over 20 years.

An American-born woman, she was the same age as Irene and had a nursing degree. The Douglases hired her in January of 1909, one month after Barbara's birth. Her bedroom was on the second floor next to the nursery and her primary duties involved caring for the three girls.

In her diary, she documented their milestones, illnesses, birthday parties, sleepovers, and other events, as well as her daily activities and those of other servants. Danny's diary suggests that the staff shared some duties even though most multi-servant households were very specialized.

Her other tasks included washing Mrs. Douglas' hair, cleaning, dusting, mending, and sewing. The second longest standing employee, she left the family by 1930, but remained in contact with them for the rest of her life.

« Return to People