Empty mansions: the mysterious life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a great American fortune

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Janet Maslin, The New York Times * St. Louis Post-Dispatch When Pulitzer Prize - winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century 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?   Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark's cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her. Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who secrets herself away from the outside world.   Huguette 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.   The Clark family story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class stateroom on the second voyage of the Titanic .   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. Praise for Empty Mansions   "An amazing story of profligate wealth . . . an outsized tale of rags-to-riches prosperity." -- The New York Times   "An evocative and rollicking read, part social history, part hothouse mystery, part grand guignol ." --The Daily Beast   "Fascinating . . . [a] haunting true-life tale." -- People   "One of those incredible stories that you didn't even know existed. It filled a void." --Jon Stewart, The Daily Show   "Thrilling . . . deliciously scandalous." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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ISBN:
9780345534521
9780804149563
9780345545565
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 2f2d0e20-0509-fe2e-3417-5ffa1b7f394f
Grouping Title empty mansions the mysterious life of huguette clark and the spending of a great american fortune
Grouping Author dedman bill
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-09-17 22:59:17PM
Last Indexed 2018-09-17 23:55:41PM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Newell, Paul Clark, Jr.
author Dedman, Bill.
author2-role Newell, Paul Clark,Jr.
author_display Dedman, Bill
available_at_catalog Donelson, Edmondson Pike, Edmondson Pike Kids, Green Hills, Green Hills Kids, Hermitage, Hermitage Kids, Looby, Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Biography
detailed_location_catalog Donelson - Adult Biography, Edmondson Pike - Adult Biography, Green Hills - Adult Biography, Hermitage - Adult Biography, Looby - Adult Biography, Main Library - Adult Biography
display_description "When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed a property listing for a grand estate that had been unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled into one of the most surprising American stories of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Empty Mansions is a rich tale of wealth and loss, complete with copper barons, Gilded Age opulence, and backdoor politics. At its heart is a reclusive 104-year-old heiress named Huguette Clark. Dedman has collaborated with Huguette's cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have had frequent conversations with her, to tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter who is born into an almost royal family of amazing wealth and privilege, yet who secrets herself away from the outside world. Empty Mansions reveals a complete picture of the enigmatic Huguette Clark, heiress to one of the greatest fortunes in American history, a woman who had not been photographed in public since the 1920s. Though she owned three palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, they sat vacant while she lived out her final two decades in a New York City hospital room, despite being in excellent health. Her father was self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, who at the dawn of the twentieth century was one of the richest men in America. Huguette's inheritance afforded her untold luxury: gorgeous paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls, lavish gifts for her friends, the freedom to pursue her own work as an artist, and, most important, the privacy she valued above all else. The Clark family story takes the reader nearly the entire span of American history in just three generations. The same Huguette who held a ticket for the return trip of the Titanic was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11. In this scrupulously detailed account, we meet Huguette's extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her noble French boyfriend, the nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives seeking to inherit Huguette's $300 million fortune. Richly illustrated with more than seventy photographs, some never before seen, Empty Mansions is a touching story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms"--
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literary_form Non Fiction
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owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
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publishDate 2013
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subject_facet Clark, Huguette, -- 1906-2011, Clark, Huguette, -- 1906-2011 -- Family, Clark, Huguette, -- 1906-2011 -- Homes and haunts -- United States, Clark, William Andrews, -- 1839-1925 -- Family, Collectors and collecting -- United States -- Biography, Eccentrics -- United States -- Biography, Heiresses -- United States -- Biography, Mansions -- United States -- History, Recluses -- United States -- Biography
title_display Empty mansions : the mysterious life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a great American fortune
title_full Empty Mansions The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune, Empty mansions : the mysterious life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a great American fortune / Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
title_short Empty mansions :
title_sub the mysterious life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a great American fortune
topic_facet Biography & Autobiography, Clark, Huguette, Clark, William Andrews, Collectors and collecting, Eccentrics, Family, Heiresses, History, Homes and haunts, Mansions, Nonfiction, Recluses