Wednesday, July 30, 2014

OFFERED AT $1,250,000 "Rose Terrace" The Grossc Pointe Farms Residence of the Late Mrs. Horace E. Dodge

  The house was heated with oil boilers then thru a forced air system. There were grills in the floor underneath just about all the 42, French windows 14 foot high on the first floor. (The ceilings on the 1st floor were 18 feet high). There were no return grills in the house. Outside air was drawn in from grills outside near the South terrace and forced over steam radiators in the furnace room then sent to all the rooms. The positive pressure in the house forced the air up the 15 fireplaces to give a nice fire. Air was also forced out cracks or any openings in the windows to prevent cold air from coming in. One could stand near any of the windows and there would not be a draft. The house was not air conditioned. There was a 10,000 gallon oil tank under the front lawn to feed the furnace.

   When Hollywood wanted to film the Great Gatsby in 1974, they wanted to use Rose Terrace in the movie. At that time, the bank was still in control and denied the use of it. Hollywood then used "Rosecliff" in Newport, RI for the ballroom scene.

   The Developer who bought Rose Terrace wanted to make Condominiums out of it and add a few more buildings on the property. After a couple of years, economic conditions were not right and also not taking care of the building, (low or no heat, etc). the roof and walls leaked, and streaked the ceilings and walls, it was then decided to develop the property as single family homes. "Rose Terrace"  was demolished in 1976.

Monday, July 28, 2014

AN octagonal house with four terraces - "La Folie Monvel"

   Bernard Boutet de Monvel, the distinguished French painter, wants to build a house in all the lovely places where he goes, because he hates hotels. It follows that it is now five houses; and the only reason he does not have more, he says, he does not travel enough ...

Treanor & Fatio, Architects

   In 1936 he came to Palm Beach for a month's rest. He enjoyed the winter climate so much that he decided to build a folie there. When he left "La Folie Monvel" was already under construction. Folie, a French term meaning "madness", describes eccentric or fantasy structures that were built mostly from the 16th to 18th centuries. 

   The artist solved his terrace requirements by having four. The south one is the entrance court, the north terrace is for a swimming pool, the east, completely surrounded by a high hedge, is for sunbathing, and the west is to enjoy the view over a nearby meadow of wild pink and white vinca major, and a golf course.  Modern Regency in feeling, with a central living-dining room and four small square rooms projecting out from it, from alternate sides of the central octagon. The space left between these projecting wings formed the four terraces.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel asked three things about this house to its architect, Mr. Maurice Fatio: a purely geometric plane (square, round or octagonal), complete privacy and a good northern light. He could not say why he wanted a geometric plane: he simply loved these figures. In any case, the result was this fun octagon that can be seen on the floor plan.

   He had stipulated, when he discussed his winter home in Palm Beach with the architect, Maurice Fatio, that he wanted privacy and a studio with a north light, and that he had a penchant for a house which would not be irregular in shape but a pure geometrical form. This last stipulation might have proved a cramping restriction to some architects, but inspired Mr. Fatio to create an ingenious octagonal house, most efficient for its purpose.

Terraces lay on three of the sides, with a driveway entry on the fourth, or southern, side.

The octangular pool at Bernard Boutet de Monvel's Palm Beach is 25 feet by 25 feet in size; 7 feet deep at the north side, and 4 feet 3 inches deep at the south side by the steps.
   The western terrace offered a view of the lake, and the northern terrace, the site of the swimming pool, looked on to the Palm Beach Country Club golf course.

Bernard wanted a house with privacy and plenty of northern light. Fatio achieved both by placing the house on Hi-Mount Road, the islands highest area. The house had four rectangular rooms—two bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen—that projected from a central octagon that functioned as living room, dining room, studio.  

A perfect intimacy was achieved by building the house on top of the only hill in Palm Beach. A terrace overlooks a lake, another golf course; and to the east terrace, a view has been open to the sea.

   The studio-dining room is an extraverted room in a most attractive way. It looks outside through three sets of glass doors under half round arches, one pair of doors onto each of the living terraces. The glass doors that lead into the little hallway to the kitchen and front door, and those that open into the dressing room, and bedrooms, have mirrored panes reflecting like windows. The interior treatment, with the wood flooring following the shape of the room and continuing in horizontal courses up the walls to merge with the lofty ceiling, has somewhat the quality of the cypress groves from which the wood came. The uncluttered simplicity of the interior, depending on this beautiful natural wood, the brilliant blue glass top for the central table, the light summery rattan furniture and the tree forms of my favorite palm, the fishtail, in tubs here and there, all contribute to the outdoor atmosphere. The plan and treatment should be stimulating to anyone considering a week-end or vacation house.

The interior of the house had natural-colored rattan furniture with dark blue upholstery. The walls and ceilings were completely covered in natural cypress, and the floor was oak laid in an octagonal pattern.

Light - a sine qua non of the artist - is provided by a huge window facing north in the large octagonal room, that balance a fireplace on the opposite wall.

The main room, octagonal - which combines a room and workshop - opens four smaller square and independent parts. Adjoining terraces complete construction on three sides, while the entrance is through the fourth side
 Bernard Boutet de Monvel in Palm Beach before the portrait of WK Vanderbilt in 1937.

  Inspired by two pavilions designed by Louis Sue for the Paris Expo 1925.

Louis Sue and Andre Mare, Grand Salon, Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1925
   Bernard Boutet de Monvel was born in Paris in 1884, the son of Maurice de Monvel, a painter and etcher. A student of Luc Olivier Merson, Bernard attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1908 to 1910. De Monvel was a talented portrait artist, but he was best known for his fashion illustrations in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and as an illustrator of children's books. De Monvel died on the island of San Miguel in a plane crash in the Azores on 28 October 1949. He died in the same plane crash that killed the boxer Marcel Cerdan and the violinist Ginette Neveu. He had sold "La Folie Monvel" just months before, wanting to return to France after the war.

   A Harper's Bazaar article gives some insight into his thinking regarding his fondness for geometric shapes - "Bernard Boutet de Monvel's focus is to search among all tangled lines that blur the vision of ordinary people, just a few lines, a few essential lines: those that give the woman, animal or a home, both his personality and projecting its sculptural beauty." 

Self-portrait with the Place Vendȏme in the background.

   Starting in 1926, de Monvel made yearly trips to the United States, where his society portraits were in much demand. De Monvel, elegant, charming, amusing and always beautifully dressed, attended the same dinners and balls as upper crust New York society, where he would easily attain new clients. The portrait above, of Mrs. Payne Whitney, cost upwards of $10,000, a staggering sum during the Depression.

Millicent's mother had been a life-long patron, and de Monvel often painted generations of a family.

Barlow was a society decorator under the professional name of Ernesta Beaux and was the wife of composer Samuel L. Barlow.

Fatio and de Monvel made a unique agreement to cover the cost of the house's design: Fatio offered his plan in exchange for a portrait of his daughter. 

    In 1990 the four wings were demolished and the octagon moved  to a corner of the property in order to build a new and larger house.

   BING - A better understanding of  the terrain(the highest hill in Palm Beach) can be found at Bing's Streetside view.

January 1938

Friday, July 25, 2014


A farmhouse that is an oldest inhabitant250 years set lightly on its rugged frame

Dating back to 1680, the country home of William Lawrence Bottomley, architect, at Brookville is one of the oldest houses still standing on Long Island. Necessary remodeling has been so carefully carried out as to preserve all of its old-time charm. The wall shingles are gray and exterior trim is painted white.

    In 1924 William Lawrence Bottomley acquired "Hickory Hill" (c. 1680), in Old Brookville, New York, for use as his summer house. Bottomley carried out extensive restoration, renovation, and additions to the original saltbox structure, one of the oldest houses on Long Island. Roads, terraces, pools, and gardens were laid out, boxwood and borders planted, and the ancient trees pruned on the seven-acre property. The result was judged at the time as one of the most charming and dignified small country places in its section of America.   

Landscaping is decidedly informal, with Phlox, Iris, Peonies and flowering shrubs creating a typical old-fashioned garden before the house. Shading the front grass terrace are a huge Sugar Maple and a Silver Birch. A grape vine from a side arbor clambers across the face of the house at second story height.

A pear tree such as this provides beauty in the Spring, shade in Summer and fruit in the Fall.

Boxwood Garden, "Hickory Hill"

South Garden, "Hickory Hill"

Harriet(Townsend) and Lawrence "Larry" Bottomley enjoyed gardening together at "Hickory Hill".
c. 1944

Above a powder blue dado, room walls are covered with an old French wall paper in which soft greens and blues predominate. The sofa is upholstered in blue silk. Under a valance board painted in blue and gold to resemble drapery, curtains are of white voile edged with old-fashioned cotton fringe.

A Seventeenth Century original

   Numerous paintings and etchings adorned the walls. In 1932 these works were destroyed in a fire that started in the cellar of the house and spread to the first floor. Little damage was done to the structure itself, but the loss of the artwork was estimated at $20,000.  The housed was being opened for the season with blame attributed to a faulty furnace. 

Huge fireplaces were characteristic of the Early American houses—such fireplaces as this one still surviving in the living room of William Lawrence Bottomlcy's Long Island home. The wood paneled fireplace wall is painted powder blue. The rug, in tan and blues, is decorated with the various signs of the zodiac—the Gemini twins being located in position to toast their little bare toes.

Mr. Bottomley's dining room has oyster white walls inset with old toile paper panels. Chairs are white with gold decorations. The huge antique sideboard displays a miscellaneous collection of old blue and white china and silver. The principal color notes of the room are red, blue and gold, usually on white.

In 1947, Bottomley added a barn to the property. 

William Lawrence Bottomley in his studio.

    "Hickory Hill" was leased for additional income in the 1940's

Hickory Hill"
William Lawrence Bottomley, Architect

   Bottomley died on February 1, 1951 after a series of small strokes, with the sense that he had been typed as an eclectic, hence irrelevant in the modernist world of architecture. The Bottomley family sold the property in 1952. 

  "The great masters of painting, sculpture and architecture are remembered by their successes, not by their failures." William Lawrence Bottomley

   wikimapi LOCATION of "Hickory Hill".  BING.

   Before "moving on up" to the River House in New York City the Bottomley's  resided at a remolded brownstone. Follow THIS LINK to see "The House of the Hanging Kitchen".

   Mrs. Bottomley gave the scenic French wallpaper originally  in the  living-room to the Goodspeed Opera House in Essex, Connecticut.

Outside the Ladies Drinking Parlor at the Goodspeed Opera House is this wood-framed commemorative plaque 
This Early 19th Century Wallpaper given in memory of William Lawrence Bottomley by his wife Harriet Townsend Bottomley

This Early 19th Century Wallpaper given in memory of William Lawrence Bottomley by his wife Harriet Townsend Bottomley

This Early 19th Century Wallpaper given in memory of William Lawrence Bottomley by his wife Harriet Townsend Bottomley

This Early 19th Century Wallpaper given in memory of William Lawrence Bottomley by his wife Harriet Townsend Bottomley

This Early 19th Century Wallpaper given in memory of William Lawrence Bottomley by his wife Harriet Townsend Bottomley

Thursday, July 17, 2014


DINNER on the terrace—the first step in the march of events

   Society Leaders Are Barkers and "Freaks" in Benefit at Marshall Field Estate. 


   Mr. Field and W. R. Stewart Act as Waiters—Proceeds Aid Long Island Biological Society.

July 16, 1932

Special to The New York Times. HUNTINGTON, L. I., July 16.—Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Field were hosts tonight at "Caumsett", their estate at Lloyds Neck, Cold Spring Harbor, at one of the largest and most brilliant benefit entertainments given on the North Shore in many seasons. The large sum realized from the subscription will go to the Long Island Biological Society of Cold Spring Harbor. The guests numbered more than 1,200.

A few of those who attended came on their yachts and moored off private piers or at the New York Yacht Club in Morgan Memorial Park.

Dinner, which was arranged for the sunset hour, was at tables of different sizes set on the green terrace around a dancing platform illuminated with colored lanterns. The long driveway from the entrance, almost a mile away, to the terrace in front of the mansion was also illuminated. The waters of Cold Spring Harbor provided the setting.

Mrs, Field had about fifty guests at her table and Mr. Field served as head waiter, with William Rhinelander Stewart assisting. At Mrs. Field's table were: George Gersawrn. Mrs. Huntington Marshall, Harrison Williams, Mrs. Geraldyn L. Redmond, Fred Astaire, Conde Nast, Mrs. Payne Whitney, Mrs. Baldwin Brown, Mrs. Baldwin Preston. Jack Kennedy, Mrs. Clifford Hodman, Miss Eleanor Barry, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice B. (Lefty) Flynn, Mr. and Mrs. Courtland Barnes. Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Astor. Mr. and Mrs. Fulton Cutting, Mr. and Mrs. G. MacCulloch Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Bradford Norman, Mr. and Mrs. Averell Clarke, Mr. and Mrs. James Warburg, Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Phipps. Mr. and Mrs. James Gwathmey, Winston Guest.

Other Dinner Hostesses.

Other hostesses at tables were: Mrs. Paul Hammond, Mrs. Junius S. Morgan, Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, Mrs. Parker Corning, Mrs. Richard F. Hoyt, Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Mrs. Walter Jennings, Mrs. Herbert Lee Pratt, Mrs. Harold Irving Pratt, Mrs. Robert Livingston Clarkson, Mrs. J. Henry Alexandre, Mrs. J. Gordon Douglas, Miss Neysa McMein, Mrs. Franklin B. Lord, Mrs. Charles G. Cushing, Mrs. Woodward Babcock, Mrs. Beekman Hoppin, Mrs. Robert Livingston Stevens, Mrs. Robert C. Winmill, Mrs. Henry Rogers Winthrop, Mrs. Henry C. Taylor, Mrs. Harold E. Talbott and Mrs. Joseph B. Davis.

After dinner the guests wandered through the circus. Up and down the midway were members of society disguised as barkers and vendors of amusement and wares. Vincent Astor was in charge of the china-breaking booth, which proved one of the most popular of the attractions. Hundreds of plates, cups and saucers were broken by the skillful patrons.

The freak show, in charge of Mrs. Joseph E. Davis, was one of the centres of amusement in the midway. In it were Mrs. Ralph Isham and her twin sister, Mrs. Malcolm Meacham; also Mrs. Baldwin Browne and her twin sister, Mrs. Baldwin Prescott, the former Misses Priscilla and Phyllis Baldwin.

Singing Cigarette Girls.

Mrs. Frederick McLoughlin, the former Irene Castle, who was to have danced with Clifford Webb on the cabaret program, directed by Mrs. Field, injured her foot while swimming off the Field estate yesterday and could not appear.

Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Mrs. John Whitney, in the costumes of Egyptian girls, strolled about the grounds singing and selling cigarettes from trays suspended from their shoulders.

Miss McMein and George Abbott directed a living picture show, in which their models were prominent in society. They represented famous works of art, ancient and modern.

In the cabaret show, which was continuous, the Boswell sisters, accompanied by Mrs. James Warburg and Mrs. Norman Bradford, sang, and Ramona, through the courtesy of Paul Whiteman, appeared as surprise star.

A well-known Harlem orchestra provided dance music all evening. Miss Eleanor Barry, Mrs. Alexandre and Miss McMein assisted Mrs. Field in the arrangements. 

Click HERE to see the invitation to this party. HERE to read ALL about the event.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Circus—A New Pattern in Parties

Leader of one of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920's, Paul Whiteman produced recordings that were immensely successful, and press notices often referred to him as the "King of Jazz". His band played as part of the grand finale entertainment. Click on the video for the music of the era.

Requiring a Sense of Humor, a Generous Supply of Talent, and a Country Estate with the Spacious Charm of "Caumsett"

On the west side of the Main House are the Boxwood and Long Gardens. This area, like much of the grounds, was designed by the Olmsted Brothers with input from Evelyn Field, Marshall’s first wife. Several statues filled the niches in the brick wall that runs along the garden. In spring the apple trees in the garden bloom beautifully, and at the end of the Long Garden is the gate that leads to the never-completed terraced garden.

    JUST when all the variations in parties seem to have been exhausted, some public benefactor thinks of a new one, and life goes gayly on. We all remember the Great Treasure Hunt Era—during which the bright young people swept over the countryside like a horde of Huns, routing the peasantry out of bed to inquire the way to Smith's Cove, or Barker's Corners. And, the Fancy Dress Era—particularly dangerous during its later and more decadent phase, when guests started dressing up as their fellow guests, thereby causing a general deflation in everybody's ego. And of course, before all that, the classic standby of all our more rural hostesses, the Garden Party—chiefly distinguished by picture hats and ominous thunder clouds on the horizon. . . . But now a newer and better day dawns. The circus party is in order, with the famous Dutch Treat Dinner and Circus at the Marshall Field's North Shore estate as its very admirable and amusing example.

A CORNER of the garden at "Caumsett", the Marshall Field estate at Huntington, Long Island. This delightful place was the scene of one of the season's most amusing parties—a dinner and circus given for the benefit of the Long Island Biological Association. As the invitation suggests, the activities were inspired by the sawdust ring, and the big top, ranging widely from a freak show of strictly amateur standing to the perverse pleasures of breaking china without inhibition or apology to the hostess.

   One of the most successful parties of the season, it demanded a glamorous setting, and "Caumsett", with its broad lawns and gracious formal gardens, its stately Georgian house and wide terraces, made a perfect background for the festivity. Four thousand generous acres sweep down to the Sound and twelve hundred guests could not crowd or bustle its hospitable tranquility.

   Nor was there lacking an excuse for the party, for the Long Island Biological Association, of which Mr Marshall Field is secretary, was worthily in need of funds and contributed to the occasion by furnishing the party with a highly commendable purpose.

   Of course, you mustn't misunderstand us. This was not a common or garden variety of circus. Don't look for a general return to the simple life, the naive and ingenuous amusement. Quite the contrary—this circus was a very sophisticated, typically 20th Century variety, revealing all sorts of unsuspected talents for showmanship among the amateur ranks.

   It has now been established beyond the shadow of a doubt that Mr. Vincent Astor, for example, is incomparable as the chief Factotum of a china-breaking booth—that the "Baldwin Twins" can, on occasion, be quite successfully Siamese—that the big top is the poorer for not having Mr. Lucius P. Ordway and Mr. Edward McIlvaine as barkers—and particularly, that a certain wistful painted donkey in the photographic booth will go down in the history of art as bearing on its flanks the unmistakable brush strokes of a genuine Gershwin.

DINNER on the terrace—the first step in the march of events, A gay affair, lit by searchlights and punctuated by the rhythmic enthusiasms of a negro orchestra. Above—Mrs. Frederic C. Thomas' table.

   First, speaking chronologically, there came the dinner—served on the lawn, with Mr. Marshall Field and Mr. William Rhinelander Stewart as the delightfully urbane headwaiters. And by way of further attractions—an open air dance floor with one of those negro orchestras that keep you up on your feet for hours while the consomme grows cold, and the sherbet melts wistfully away.

THE "Baldwin Twins"—Mrs. Baldwin Browne and Mrs. Baldwin Preston—famous for their ability to completely confuse the general public, prove conclusively that they can be quite successfully Siamese when the occasion arises.

Mr. Frank Field as that curious phenomenon, the World's Tallest Dwarf.

Mr. Lucius P. Ordway and Mr. Edward MeIlvaine as barkers extraordinary for the "greatest show on earth".
   After the demi-tasse, there was a general trek to the midway. On with the circus. Come on, ladies and gentlemen, and see the greatest show on earth. . . . Barkers—noise—booths.... To the right, ladies and gentlemen, the Freak Show! Nature will have her little jokes. Consider Captain "Bunny" Head as the Wild Man From Borneo—so fearsomely furry that women cover their eyes, and strong men pale beneath their tan. And Mr. Lytle Hull, the Strong Man —all muscles and mustachios. Also, Mrs. Baldwin Browne, and Mrs. Baldwin Preston being very Siamese. The Two-Headed Woman, looking suspiciously like Mrs. Malcolm L. Meacham, and Mrs. Ralph H. Isham. Mr. Frank Field as the World's Tallest Dwarf. Mrs. Joe Davis as the highly decorative tattooed lady. And finally, Mrs. Harold E. Talbott as one of the most duck-billed Duck Bill Women it has ever been our pleasure to behold. . . .

A MURAL painter at play—Lucinda Goldsborough Ballard, and her delightful side-show caricatures for the photographic booth.  Mr. George  Gershwin, at right, contributed advice  and final touch of paint to the donkey.

MRS. MARSHALL FIELD, Mr. Wadsworth R. Lewis, and Mr. Marshall Field— as the Fat Lady, the Living Skeleton, and the Midget. 
 Mrs. August Belmont, Jr., Miss Peggy Moffett, Mr. August Belmont, Jr., and Mr. Jay F. Carlisle interpret one theme, with variations.

THIS touching little family group includes Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Phipps as the young couple, Miss Eleanor Barry as the Baby, and Mr. Winston Guest as the Innocent Bystander.

Mr. Peter Bostwick as the strong man.
CAPTAIN "Bunny" Head—completely submerged in the personality of the Wild Man From Borneo. So fearsomely furry that women cover their eyes and strong men pale beneath their tan—and quite the most irrepressible of all the freaks at the circus party.
Mr. Lytle Hull, as the “Strong Man”

   And now, ladies and gentlemen—to the left we have the photographic booth, otherwise known as the Coney Island Booth. Have your pictures taken as the Fat Lady, the Living Skeleton, the Sweet Young Couple. Consider how your grandchildren will cherish these little mementos. Observe the quaint charm of this masterpiece—an equestrian portrait of Mrs. Harold Talbott and Mr. John D. Kennedy, familiarly known as "Travels with a Donkey." Or this touching family group, a bit sentimental perhaps, but sentiment makes the world go round—Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Phipps, gazing fondly at the Little One, who the way, bears quite a startling resemblance to Miss Eleanor Barry. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and have your pictures taken. Incidentally we take this opportunity to warn you, watch out for the Bicycle Built for Two. It disappeared from this booth two hours ago, and hasn't been seen since. Dreadful rumors reach our ears that this death-dealing device is being wildly driven about the grounds by various mad wags, with no regard for life and limb. We disclaim all responsibility for this Public Menace. . . .

   Leaving the photographic booth behind us, we approach the hit of the show. The Living Picture Booth, ladies and gentlemen. The high spot wit and humor in this stupendous spectacle. Tableaus by Mr. Baragwanath, and Mr. George Abbot assisted by several charming young models. Bits of human drama, in short, ladies and gentlemen—Life. Tragic perhaps, but life is like that. The facts must be faced. Consider, for example, this heart-rending scene—"Her Tragic Honeymoon." The curtain parts and what do we find? But no, we shan't spoil it for you. Let us proceed to the next little scene—"A Bird in a Gilded Cage." The curtain parts and there we find, of all things—a canary bird in a gilded cage—to the complete amazement of the audience and the canary bird. Step right up ladies and gentlemen, and see the Living Pictures. Incidental organ music by Mrs. James Warburg. Step right up. . . .

   And now, ladies and gentlemen, step right this way for the China Breaking Booth! The chance of a lifetime to just let yourself go. Three balls to each person, and all the china you can break. Think of the Financial Situation,—think of the Political Situation,—think of practically any situation, and just let yourself go. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen,—Mr. Astor will give you each three balls.

   But let us pause a moment, ladies and gentlemen. What is this dashing up the road in a cloud of dust. Why the applause? Why all the laughter and cheering? Prepare to be overwhelmed, ladies and gentlemen. Prepare to meet the most famous character of the current American scene, the idol of American childhood, the toast of the talkies—his Royal Highness—Mickey Mouse. Where, my friends, is the teddy bear, once the pride of every nursery? Laid low, ladies and gentlemen, by the Mickey Mouse toys. Where are the movie "shorts'' and Mack Sennett comedies of yesteryear? Driven into oblivion by the conquering hero, Mickey Mouse. And even now, I feel it my duty to warn you that he has come to this party by special truck, direct from the studio, with the dastardly purpose of stopping; this show. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and see Mickey Mouse in action. . . .

   And finally, ladies and gentlemen—the grand finale. Step into the living room. Come right along and enjoy the midnight cabaret. Listen to the Boswell sisters,the real authentic bona fide Boswell sisters, ladies and gentlemen. You've heard them over the radio, and now you have the golden opportunity to hear them in person, ab-so-lute-ly in person. Come in and hear George Gershwin at the piano. You all know George Gershwin, the famous composer who "made a lady out jazz" with his Rhapsody in Blue. Also, ladies and gentlemen, you will hear Ramona, the "find of the season"—the recent discovery of Mr. Paul Whiteman, and the bright particular star of the Biltmore Cascades. Ramona will sing and play for you. . . . But, to continue with this all star cast, it is also my very great pleasure to announce that Mr. & Mrs. "Lefty" Flynn will sing, to the accompaniment of Mr. Flynn's banjo. Mr. & Mrs. Flynn's delightful duets are familiar to many of you, and need no further ballyhoo. Also—that Mr. Bradford Norman and Mr. Dick Meyer will prove, with their usual virtuosity, that two pianos are infinitely better than one. . . . And so on, and so on. . . . But the barker grows hoarse.

   A party to end parties, someone called it. Rather a party to usher in a new era of parties. A typical party of these nineteen-thirties where a hostess—or several hostesses—gathers around her all the amusing and fun-loving people she knows, and where every guest contributes his own share to the entertainment.

   "Caumsett", named for the Matinecock Indian word meaning place by a sharp rock.

This is the entrance to the never completed Terrace Garden looking back towards main house.  It was to stretch all the way to the Master's Bathhouse.
The gates today, no longer accessible. 

Sunken Garden beyond the Iron Gates showing Mr. Fields award-wining tulips.
Sunken Garden Steps

Sunken Garden Steps

Sunken Garden Steps

Sunken Garden Steps
The BING VIEW toady.

Mrs. Frederic C. Thomas and Mr. O. Allen Campbell, one of the officials

    Frederic Chichester Thomas, Sr. was an architect and designed his own home on Long Island called "Woodlee Farm" somewhere along Woodbury Road, in Cold Spring Harbor, now demolished"The Oaces", estate of Oliver Allen Campbell. 

Press photo of Palm Beach FL Society Mr/Mrs Edward McIlvain at the Patio. Mrs. McIlvain is the former Peggy Seyburn, niece of Mrs. Dodge Sloane
Mr & Mrs August Belmont Jr arrive at the Southampton Riding and Hunt Club steeplechase in Southampton, L.I. ca 1935
Between 1919 and 1927, Flynn appeared in 40 feature films, often as the lead actor, and sometimes as a sports hero or daring adventurer.

  "Lefty" had a six-week affair with Nora Langhorne Phipps, wife of Paul Phipps of London. They had daughter Joyce Irene Grenfell. The athlete; as it happened, was a guest at the Long Island home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Phipps.   It wasn't the type of love that is satisfied with a rendezvous now and then. It was a very possessive sort of passion. The couple eloped together to North Yakima, Washington, letting public opinion feel as it liked about it. They stayed for nearly six weeks while Flynn tried to find work as a farm laborer. They nearly starved. They took a train headed east. At Chicago they said goodbye. One went east . . . back to her husband and children. And the other went west(Hollywood). They never saw each other again until 1930, sixteen years later, when they did finally marry. Married and living in Tryon N. C., F. Scoot Fitzgerald was a frequent guest. Nora tried to curb his drinking, with only limited success.

Charcoal Drawings by John S. Sargent c. 1907

   Nora's sister was Lady Astor. Her father-in-law, William Waldorf Astor, was the great grandson of John Jacob Astor. He became a naturalized British subject, bought Hever Castle - pouring millions into restoring it, got elected member of Parliament in 1910, raised to peerage in 1916 (House of Lords), and then was created Viscount Astor in 1917. His son won his seat in the House of Commons.  In 1919 her father-in-law died. Nancy's husband succeeded his father as the second Viscount Astor of Hever Castle and he entered the House of Lords, vacating his seat in the lower House. 

   At the time that Flynn came to the Phipps home as a guest, Lady Astor was already winning the prominence that was going to make her the first woman member of the English Parliament. Nancy became a candidate for her husband's  vacant seat and won - the first woman to ever hold a seat in the House of Commons. 

   Lady Astor to Winston Churchill, "Winston, if I were your wife I'd put poison in your coffee." Whereupon Winston said, "Nancy, if I were your husband I'd drink it."

 Profile John Singer Sargent c. 1907 Charcoal on white paper
   Another sister, Irene Langhorne, was the original Gibson Girl.  

Charles Dana Gibson recognized Irene as the girl of his dreams and he sketches her the moment that he saw her.

   Mr. Lytle Hull(Strong Man) went on to marry the former Helen Huntington Astor(Vincent). They resided at "The Locust".  

The Biltmore summer dining garden. This charming and artistic dining garden was situated on  the nineteenth floor of the hotel, with an unobstructed view of almost the entire city. The Cascades was one of the most popular spots in New York during the hot summer months.

   Click HERE to see the invitation to this party. From the New York Times announcing the party(additional information/photos of the guests) on July 11, 1932. Special before the "Circus" from the paper published July 15th.