- Laura Bush.
- Hillary Clinton.
- Nancy Reagan.
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
The answer is after the JUMP.
Name the American First Lady who declared, "I loathe the French."
The answer is after the JUMP.
“History is lived forwards but is written in retrospect. We know the end before we consider the beginning and we can never wholly recapture what it was to know the beginning only.”
The events of the past seem so obvious, so easily predictable when reviewed from the vantage point of the present. To take from the past all the lessons it has to offer, however, means forgetting for a moment its eventual outcome. Retrospective histories do not permit this. One book that avoids this paradox is The Mitfords, Letters Between Six Sisters. This collection of correspondence of the six lively and intelligent Mitford sisters begins in 1925 and does not conclude until the first decade of the 21st Century. All six were gifted writers with distinct points of view. Moreover, they were on intimate terms with Churchill, Kennedy, and a great many others who gave form to the 20th Century. Their letters reveal history as it occurs, in real time, and offer extraordinary perspective on how we might better live our lives today.
I visited Chatsworth House, home of Deborah Mitford (who became the Duchess of Devonshire), in the fall of 2008, when she was still living and remained a powerful presence at the Devonshire family seat. There were a stack of copies of Letters Between Six Sisters in the gift shop, all signed by the then-Dowager Duchess, Deborah Mitford. Having read the book and understanding its significance to the 20th Century, I bought every copy. It is heavy (three pounds), and a dozen of them were more than I could comfortably carry with me on the thirty minute walk back through Chatsworth Park. My arms were aching as I raced to back in time to catch the bus to my hotel in Buxton. Of course, now I am glad I did. One of the few remaining copies from that cache is available for purchase here.
Image Credit: The Mitford Family Album
“Funny, isn’t it, what little gratitude you find among the lower classes these days?”
Compton Mackenzie, Rich Relatives
Compton Mackenzie excelled at social satire. His novel The Early Life and Adventures of Sylvia Scarlett is better known, but Rich Relatives is divine. Read it!
Image Credit: Society in Vogue
“Fashion is the union of two opposites, which together form a compulsion: on the one hand, to be different, on the other, to subscribe to a common mean.”
--Philip Core, The Original Eye
Image Credit: A.L.T. 365 by André Leon Talley
“Two of the cruelest, most primitive punishments our town deals out to those who fall from favor are the empty mailbox and the silent telephone.”
--Hedda Hopper, From Under My Hat
Image Credit: Happy Times
“I thought people in New York were detached but they really care. In Paris it’s great. They are detached. They laugh at you. I thought that maybe they didn’t know anything but now I think they know everything.”
--Andy Warhol, The Sixties: A Decade in Vogue
Image Credit: Warhol by Makos
“Nothing is tragic to a socialite.”
--Anonymous, via Palm Beach, The Place, The People, Its Pleasures and Palaces
Image via Delempicka.org
“What is more dull than a discreet diary? One might just as well have a discreet soul.”
Sir Henry "Chips" Channon, via The Financial Times
Image Credit: Chips, The Diaries of Sir Henry Channon
“Hollywood, like New York, is all about work. The glamour is the myth.”
--Tina Brown, The Diana Chronicles
Image Credit: A Wonderful Time
“Nothing shows the vanity of human beings so much as the belief that the universe was created solely for them, and that what does not please them is therefore wrong.”
A. Morse Hastings, Blondes Prefer Gentlemen