Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 5:30PM
King Library

Book Discussion

Author: Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell

Facilitated by: Mr. Ed Lamont

Empty Mansions is an enthralling story of an eccentric of the highest order, revealing a complex portrait of the mysterious Huguette Clark, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms.

Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the 19th century with a 21st-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 20 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-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.

About the Facilitator
Since 1991, Ed Lamont has served as a docent at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach. Recently, he has been a guest history lecturer at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He also leads tours of the Breakers Hotel and gives gallery talks at The Society of the Four Arts. Ed presents historic topics at Daughters & Sons of the American Revolution Chapters, The Lake Worth Pioneer Association, and The Mayflower Society.

EVENT INFO

There is no charge to attend.

Reservations are not required.

Borrow this Book

TALK OF KINGS

Delve into some of the most intriguing and captivating tales in history and culture.

Seating is limited, please arrive early. For more information please call (561) 655-2766 or email kinglibrary@fourarts.org.

← Return to King Library

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN

Empty Mansions
November 5, 2019
Tuesday 5:30PM

Details

(Sold Out) A Palm Beach Wife
November 13, 2019
Wednesday 1:30PM

Details

The Red Address Book
November 20, 2019
Wednesday 1:30PM

Details

Educated: A Memoir
December 3, 2019
Tuesday 5:30PM

Details

Navigation Menu
Administration: 561-655-7227 Box Office: 561-655-7226 King Library: 561-655-2766 Children's Library: 561-655-2776 Campus on the Lake Registration: 561-805-8562