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Empty Mansions

The Mysterious Life Of Huguette Clark And The Spending Of A Great American Fortune

By Bill Dedman

#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 Prizewinning 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)

Format: Book
Author: Dedman, Bill
Summary: Traces the life of the reclusive American heiress against a backdrop of the now-infamous W. A. Clark family and includes coverage of the Internet sensation and elder-abuse investigation that occurred at the end of her life.
Title: Empty mansions : the mysterious life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a great American fortune / Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Publisher Date: New York : Ballantine Books, [2013]
Subject: Clark, Huguette, 1906-2011. Clark, William Andrews, 1839-1925 -- Family. Clark, Huguette, 1906-2011 -- Family. Clark, Huguette, 1906-2011 -- Homes and haunts -- United States. Heiresses -- United States -- Biography. Eccentrics -- United States -- Biography. Recluses -- United States -- Biography. Collectors and collecting -- United States -- Biography. Mansions -- United States -- History. BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Rich & Famous. HISTORY / United States / General. BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Entrepreneurship
Isbn: 0345534522 9780345534521
Current Holds: 0
System Items Available: 0
System Items Total: 12
Call Number: B Clark
Oclc:
Upc:
Bib Id: 456183

Format: Book
Author: Dedman, Bill.
Summary: Traces the life of the reclusive American heiress against a backdrop of the now-infamous W. A. Clark family and includes coverage of the Internet sensation and elder-abuse investigation that occurred at the end of her life.
Title: Empty mansions : the mysterious life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a great American fortune / Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Edition: First edition.
Publisher, Date: New York : Ballantine Books, [2013]
Description: xxviii, 456 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Subjects: Clark, Huguette, 1906-2011.
Subjects: Clark, William Andrews, 1839-1925 -- Family.
Subjects: Clark, Huguette, 1906-2011 -- Family.
Subjects: Clark, Huguette, 1906-2011 -- Homes and haunts -- United States.
Subjects: Heiresses -- United States -- Biography.
Subjects: Eccentrics -- United States -- Biography.
Subjects: Recluses -- United States -- Biography.
Subjects: Collectors and collecting -- United States -- Biography.
Subjects: Mansions -- United States -- History.
Subjects: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Rich & Famous.
Subjects: HISTORY / United States / General.
Subjects: BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Entrepreneurship
Other Author: Newell, Paul Clark, Jr.
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (pages 419-429) and index.
LCCN: 2013023933
ISBN: 0345534522
ISBN: 9780345534521
Requests: 0
Available Copies: 0
Total Copies: 12
Call Number: B Clark