A cousin of Huguette Clark and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist trace the life of the reclusive American heiress against a backdrop of the now-infamous W. A. Clark family and include coverage of the internet sensation and elder-abuse investigation that occurred at the end of her life.
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The rich mystery of a reclusive, eccentric heiress Huguette Clark: a true story of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance.
Born in 1906, Huguette Clark grew up in her family's 121-room Beaux Arts mansion in New York and was one of the leading celebrities of her day. Her father William Andrews Clark, was a copper magnate, the second richest man in America, and not above bribing his way into the Senate. Huguette attended the coronation of King George V. And at twenty-two with a personal fortune of $50 million to her name, she married a Princeton man and childhood friend William MacDonald Gower. Two-years later the couple divorced. After a series of failed romances, Huguette began to withdraw from society--first living with her mother in a kind of Grey Gardens isolation then as a modern-day Miss Havisham, spending her days in a vast apartment overlooking Central Park, eating crackers and watching The Flintstones with only servants for company. All her money and all her real estate could not protect her in her later life from being manipulated by shady hangers-on and hospitals that were only too happy to admit (and bill) a healthy woman. But what happened to Huguette that turned a vivacious, young socialite into a recluse? And what was her life like inside that gilded, copper cage?
Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of nineteenth-century America with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money? Huguette Clark was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder, and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to guarding the privacy she valued above all else. Empty Mansions reveals a complex portrait of the mysterious Huguette and her intimate circle. We meet her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her French boyfriend, her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette's copper fortune. Richly illustrated with more than seventy photographs, Empty Mansions is an enthralling story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms.
Vanderbilt: the very name signifies wealth. The family patriarch, "the Commodore," built up a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after the Commodore's death, one of his direct descendants died penniless, and no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Fortune's Children tells the dramatic story of all the amazingly colorful spenders who dissipated such a vast inheritance.
You'll never discover the secret if you stay safe at home. Like generations before them, cadets Adam and Dawn have always lived aboard the asteroid. But past generations have never experienced a threat like this: Robotic Alien Technology (R.A.T.) is attacking the spaceship--with the intent to destroy everyone on board. Dawn and Adam are two of the best new Coupler pilots, but they're also famous for their clashes. When a family crisis and a R.A.T. sighting coincide, Dawn has to call on all her inner resources to stay focused on the mission. A deep space discovery lies ahead, threatening to forever alter the ship's future--and every life on it.
Please note: This is a companion version & not the original book. Sample Book Insights: #1 Huguette and Andrée, the daughters of multimillionaire W. A. Clark, were immigrants to America in 1910. They had sailed from Cherbourg, France, in first-class cabins on the White Star liner Teutonic. They were being educated by private tutors and governesses, with lessons in three languages: English, Spanish, and French. #2 The house was completed in 1911, and was called the most expensive and beautiful private residence in America. It was a fairy-tale castle come to life, with secret entrances, mysterious sources of music, and treasures collected from all over the world. #3 W. A. supervised every detail of the house, from the furniture to the car rotunda. He also bought the stone-dressing plant, marble factory, and woodwork factory. The plans were modified to include an automobile room after Ransom Olds began selling his Curved Dash Oldsmobile in 1901. #4 The Clark house was very expensive to build, and it cost more than two years' profits from the United Verde copper mine in Arizona. W. A. was able to get the courts to lower his property tax bill by valuing the home at only $3. 5 million.
In this marvelous anecdotal history, Justin Kaplan––Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Mark Twain––vividly brings to life a glittering, bygone age. Endowed with the largest private fortunes of their day, cousins John Jacob Astor IV and William Waldorf Astor vied for primacy in New York society, producing the grandest hotels ever seen in a marriage of ostentation and efficiency that transformed American social behavior. Kaplan exposes it all in exquisite detail, taking readers from the 1890s to the Roaring Twenties in a combination of biography, history, architectural appreciation, and pure reading pleasure
South Regent Mansions has all the modern conveniences . . . including murder London, February, 1924. Discreet sleuth for the high society set, Olive Belgrave is delighted with her new flat at South Regent Mansions where she’s made several friends, including the modern career woman, Minerva, who draws a popular cartoon about a flapper for a London newspaper. But then Minerva comes to Olive for help after catching a glimpse of a disturbing sight—a dead body. At least, that’s what Minerva thought she saw, but there’s not a dead body anywhere in the posh building, and the residents are continuing with their lives as they normally do. Is Minerva seeing things? Is she barmy? Or is there a more sinister explanation? To help restore Minerva’s peace of mind, Olive investigates her neighbors. They include: society’s “it” girl of the moment, an accountant with a fondness for gadgets, a snooty society matron, and a school teacher turned bridge instructor. Olive uncovers rivalries, clandestine affairs, and hidden jealousies. With dashing Jasper at her side, Olive must discover whose secret is worth killing for. If you like sophisticated whodunits, charming characters, and novels with a lighthearted tone, you’ll enjoy the seventh installment of the High Society Lady Detective series, Murder at the Mansions, from USA Today bestselling author, Sara Rosett.