elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Eva Le Gallienne, Alice Delamar, Marion Evensen & Margaret Webster

Alice Antoinette Delamar (New York April23, 1895 - Norwalk Conn. August 31, 1983), daughter of Joseph Rafael de la Mar and Nellie Sands, was a Colorado mine heiress, one of America's youngest and richest heiresses. Alice remained unmarried and had no children. She had a half sister, Consuela, from the marriage of her mother with James Hatmaker. She was Eva Le Gallienne's lover and financial supported: disillusioned by the state of commercial theatre in the 1920s, Le Gallienne founded the Civic Repertory Theatre in the former Fourteenth Street Theatre in Manhattan, New York. financially backed by Alice, whose support was instrumental in the success of the repertory theatre movement in the U.S.

Alice was born on Madison Avenue 109, but already the following year she moved with her parents to Paris. Joseph and Nellie divorced in 1898 and Alice went with her father back to New York.

When Joseph was away traveling, he placed Alice in the famous Sherry Netherlands Hotel in New York. She received postcards from her father from all over the world. Sometimes she traveled along with Joseph.

"My parents divorced when I was 2 years old. We lived in Paris and I was on the weekends with my mother and the rest of the week with my father. When I was 5 years old, we moved back to New York and I saw my mother again only when I was 15. I was very bad with my dad along, was rebellious and my education was neglected. My godfather, Uncle Nelson Cromwell, was a lawyer for Spence School and he sent me to that school for girls when I was 12 years old. It changed my life and brought me, for the first time since my fifth year, a sense of security. I suddenly had two allies: Mr. Cromwell and the head teacher of the school. She stood behind me and helped me spend the summer of my fifteenth year with my mother in Paris." (Letter to Alexandra Alice Taylor)

Alice DeLamar was a Colorado mine heiress. Alice was Eva Le Gallienne's lover: Le Gallienne founded the Civic Repertory Theatre in the former Fourteenth Street Theatre in Manhattan, financially backed by Alice. When Alice died, she had no arrangement for what was to happen afterwards. Nobody did anything, and her black chauffeur, Charles Edwards, carried her urn to the Royal Palm Memorial Gardens in Palm Beach, because his girlfriend was working there in the funeral home, and so Alice is buried in an all-black cemetery. 

Alice was raised as a millionaire's daughter. As such, on her nineteenth year she had to be introduced into Society. Joseph hired Sherry's for a dance, "where Alice sparkled in a beautiful ball gown. She danced in the large ballroom. Supper was served just after midnight in the small ballroom. There was also an intimate dinner at the Delamar Mansion, Reverend Henry Sloane Coffin and godfather William Nelson Cromwell with their spouses were invited.

Alice inherited $10 million in 1918, upon the death of her father. She was 23 years old. She got the capital as Trust Fund, under the condition that, if she died without issue, the money would go to the medical institutions. Alice had to leave the capital untouched, but could use the interest. William Nelson Cromwell and Alfred Jaretski were the administrators of the estate and did the administration of the Trust Fund of Alice.

Then something happened that Alice had not expected. Joseph was invisting in Wall Street speculation with money from others, but always had the guarantee that no loss would be. Fourteen days after the funeral, the first claim would follow and then many others. The biggest claim was even $122,000.

Immediately after the death of her father, Alice rented a house on Park Avenue 270. The building occupied the entire block between Madison Avenue and the 47th and 48th Street. The complex of 12 floors containing 108 suites in 2 separate sections, which the architects connected by two arches on the Vanderbilt Avenue Bild. The apartments ranged in size of 10 to 17 rooms and Alice rented the largest apartment. The apartment building was near the Delamar Mansion, which had to be sold. In 1971, Alice wrote that the complex has long been demolished. In the place of the complex, opposite the beautiful Waldorf-Astoria hotel, is now a Morgan bank building. The auction took place on August 16, 1924, in the large Reception Hall of Pembroke. In 1920 Alice moved into a beautiful house on Sunset Boulevard in Palm Beach.

An American magazine, the St. Louis Star, "told" the adventures of Prince Carol of Romania in love with the beautiful Miss De la Mar, offering his heart with his titles along, but without the desired result. Ms. De la Mar told in a few words: "I did not want to marry the prince because I did not love him. I own $10 million and if I want to get married then I wish not to give up my freedom on a marriage without love." The prince himself wrote: "The American press blew the rumor that I came to America to find a rich wife. The Daily News chose even a few candidates for me. Miss Millicent Rogers, Miss Abby Rockefeller and Miss Alice de Lamar." Prince Carol (also known as Boris) became King Carol II. He reigned from 1930 to 1940. Carol is more known for his love affairs than his way of ruling. In this last aspect, he seems not to have excelled.

In the thirties Alice bought land along the Newtown Turnpike in Weston and Wilton. In her house, Stonebrook, were living friends and artists.

Alice divided her time between Weston and Palm Beach, while she also had apartments in New York and Paris.

Alice had a jet-set life of parties and nightclubs, but she also chose a life full of care and she was a patron of art, ballet and theater. She was often in the Social Notes from the New York Times. She was hostess at parties and often made trips around the world. In 1946 she went to the Bermudas.

In 1941 Alice sold her estate in Westport, Connecticut, to a bigwig of the General Electric Company. In 1950, in Alice's address book there is still a house in New York at Park Avenue 530. Moreover, she had her home in Palm Beach on South Ocean Boulevard. She would house there the famous architect Addison Mizner (1872-1933) until his death.

Over the years, several people tried to get in touch with Alice. They claimed to be family. With some of them, she corresponded. A lady even came from the Netherlands to visit her, but Alice didn't believe that most of them really belonged to her family. She knew she had real cousins ​​in the Netherlands and South Africa.

In 1979 she received $4,000,000. The money went into her Trust Fund. She herself had never seen the money.

Alice died at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk Connecticut on August 31, 1983. In the newspaper you could read: "In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your favorite charity."

On September 3, Alice was cremated at the Ferncliff Crematory in Hartsdale, New York and there begins an incredible story. Alice had no arrangement for what was to happen afterwards. But they knew that she did not want to be buried in the mausoleum of her father and that she would find a good destination in Florida. But nobody did anything, they only thought of the great legacy. Finally her black chauffeur, Charles Edwards, carried her urn to the Royal Palm Memorial Gardens in Palm Beach, because his girlfriend was working there in the funeral home, and so Alice is buried in an all-black cemetery.

After her funeral, her houses were emptied. Many of her personal belongings were discarded. The lawyers of the estate, Stonebrook, were pretty ruthless and retained only the valuable things. Which were sold at auction on April 11, 1984 at Phillips, Son and Neale, Inc, in New York. Another auction was scheduled to Phillips on June 5, for pieces that were later found in the salvage of Stonebrook.

Her entire library of 7,000 books was left to the library in Weston. The library spent months in inventory. Some of the books came into its own collection, another portion was sold for $45,000. Of this money, and with an additional donation by Alice, the library building was expanded in 1985 with 2 additional rooms. A few years later, the library received a bronze bust statue of Alice, now in its collection.

According to Anne McAleen, who for 15 years was her secretary, Alice had written an autobiography. According Eve Chevallier, Alice had a biography of her father, but both were never found.

Mrs. Chevalier, a daughter of a good friend of Alice, remembers her as a woman with a strong will. But she was also a rogue who loved jokes and cartoons. She gave her large collection of Comic Books in the Cartoon Museum of Rye NY.

She was so good to many people, Charles Edwards reminded himself. At eighteen years old, he helped Alice in and around the house, he was her driver and her captain at the Sailfish Club in Palm Beach. Mr. Edwards celebrates Alice's ability to organize and her attention to details. She spent much of her time in the last years of her life reading and when a book was not in place, she saw it. "She knew her people," said Mr. Edwards. "She knew their limits, but she did not look at their shortcomings but only to the good in each of them." Many of her servants had long been with her and she did not forget them at the end.

Alice was a woman without family, but she had many friends. When she was over eighty, she had survived most of her old friends. During her last stay in Norwalk Hospital, Mr. Edwards brought her meals and lots of things she loved. "The time is short," she told him.

Her trust fund of 10.000 dollar was, according to the last will of her father, given to the Universities of Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Columbia for medical research.

Burial: Royal Palm Memorial Gardens, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, USA.

Source: http://delamar.bntours.nl/!alice.html (in German, With special thanks to George Jordan, U.S.A.)

Eva Le Gallienne (January 11, 1899 – June 3, 1991) was a theatrical actress, producer, and director during the first half of the 20th century. In the late 1950s she enjoyed great success playing the role of Queen Elizabeth in Mary Stuart, an off-Broadway production. In 1934 she met actress Marion Evensen (September 29, 1891 - September 1971), who became her partner of 37 years sharing her house in Westport, Fairfield, Connecticut.

In the late 1930s Le Gallienne became involved in a relationship with theater director Margaret Webster, nevertheless maintaining her relationship with Marion Evensen. When they were in New York City, Le Gallienne and Webster shared Webster's apartment, when they were in Connecticut, all three of them lived in Le Gallienne's house. She, Webster, and producer Cheryl Crawford later co-founded the American Repertory Theater, which operated from 1946 to 1948. The relationship with Webster ended in 1948 and in the following years she lived with Marion Evensen. At the death of Evensen in 1971, Le Gallienne was devastated, and it did non help that also Webster died just one year later.

Le Gallienne was born in London to an English poet of French descent, Richard Le Gallienne, and a Danish journalist, Julie Norregard. After Eva's parents separated when she was three years old, she spent her childhood shuttling back and forth between Paris and England. She made her stage debut at the age of 15 in a 1914 production of Maurice Maeterlinck's Monna Vanna.

Eva Le Gallienne was a theatrical actress, producer, and director during the first half of the 20th century. In 1934 she met actress Marion Evensen, who became her partner of 37 years sharing her house in Connecticut. In the late 1930s Le Gallienne became involved in a relationship with theater director Margaret Webster. The relationship with Webster ended in 1948. At the death of Evensen in 1971, Le Gallienne was devastated, and it did not help that also Webster died just one year later.

Margaret Webster

The next year Le Gallienne sailed for New York, and then on to Arizona and California where she performed in several theatre productions. After travelling in Europe for a period of time, she returned to New York and became a Broadway star in several plays including Arthur Richman's Not So Long Ago (1920) and Ferenc Molnár's Liliom (1921).

Disillusioned by the state of commercial theatre in the 1920s, Le Gallienne founded the Civic Repertory Theatre in the former Fourteenth Street Theatre in Manhattan, New York. She was backed by the financial support of one of her lovers, Alice DeLamar, a wealthy Colorado gold mine heiress, whose support was instrumental in the success of the repertory theatre movement in the U.S. In 1928 she earned a great success with her performance in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. As head of the Civic Repertory Theatre, she is known to have rejected the admission of Bette Davis, whose attitude she described as "insincere" and "frivolous". The Civic Rep disbanded at the height of the Depression in 1934.

Le Gallienne never hid her lesbianism inside the acting community, but reportedly was never comfortable with her sexuality, struggling privately with it. In early Hollywood and acting circles, lesbianism was fairly common, and although generally not divulged to the public, it was accepted behind the scenes. Le Gallienne was very protective of her private life, and although she had no problems with people inside the acting community knowing her sexuality, she was very opposed to anything going public.

During those early days of her career she often was in the company of outspoken and bisexual actress Tallulah Bankhead, and actresses Estelle Winwood and Blyth Daly, with the four of them being dubbed "The Four Horsemen of the Algonquin", referring to the Algonquin Round Table.

In 1918, while in Hollywood, she began an affair with the great actress Alla Nazimova, who was at her height of fame, and who at that time wielded much power in the acting community. The affair ended reportedly due to Nazimova's jealousy. Nonetheless, Nazimova liked Le Gallienne greatly, and assisted in her being introduced to many influential people of the day. It was Nazimova who coined the phrase "Sewing circles", to describe the intricate and secret lesbian relationships lived by many actresses of the day. Le Gallienne was also involved for some time with actresses Tallulah Bankhead, Beatrice Lillie and Laurette Taylor during that time. Her only known heterosexual affair was with actor Basil Rathbone. (Picture: Alla Nazimova)

In 1920, she became involved with poet, novelist, and playwright Mercedes de Acosta about whom she was passionate for several years. She and de Acosta began their romance shortly after de Acosta's marriage to Abram Poole which strained their relationship. Still, they vacationed and travelled together often, at times visiting the salon of famed writer and socialite Natalie Barney. De Acosta wrote two plays for Eva during that time, Sandro Botticelli and Jehanne de Arc. Neither was successful. They ended their relationship after five years. (Picture: Mercedes de Acosta)

In 1960, when de Acosta was seriously ill with a brain tumor and in need of money, she published her memoir, Here Lies the Heart. The reviews were positive and many close friends praised the book. But its allusions to homosexuality resulted in the severance of several friendships who felt she had betrayed their sexuality. Le Gallienne in particular was furious, denouncing de Acosta as a liar and stating that she invented the stories for fame. This assessment is inaccurate, however, since many of her affairs, including that with Le Gallienne, are confirmed in personal correspondence.

By early 1927, Le Gallienne was involved with married actress Josephine Hutchinson. Hutchinson's husband started divorce proceedings and named Le Gallienne in the divorce proceedings as "co-respondent". The press began accusations that named Josephine Hutchinson as a "shadow actress", which at the time meant lesbian. Five months later, Le Gallienne performed in the daring play about Emily Dickinson, titled Alison's House. The play won a Pulitzer Prize. (Picture: Josephine Hutchinson)

For a time after the Hutchinson scandal, Le Gallienne drank heavily. According to biographer Robert Schanke, Le Gallienne's anxiety over being lesbian haunted her terribly during this time. One cold winter's night, drunk, she wandered over to a female neighbour's house. During the conversation that followed, she told her neighbour "If you have any thoughts about being a lesbian, don't do it. Your life will be nothing but tragedy."

Another biographer, Helen Sheehy, has rejected Schanke's portrait of the actress as a self-hating lesbian. Sheehy quotes Le Gallienne's words of advice to her close friend May Sarton, who was also a lesbian: "People hate what they don't understand and try to destroy it. Only try to keep yourself clear and don't allow that destructive force to spoil something that to you is simple, natural, and beautiful." Similarly, Le Gallienne told her heterosexual friend, Eloise Armen, that love between women was "the most beautiful thing in the world."

Eva Le Gallienne starred as Peter Pan in a revival that opened on November 6, 1928, and presented the lead character full of elan and boyish charm. The flying effects were superbly designed, and for the first time Peter flew out over the heads of the audience. The critics loved "LeG", as she became known, and more than a few compared her favourably with the great actress Maude Adams, who had originated the role. The Civic Repertory Theatre presented Peter Pan a total of 129 times.

In late 1929, just after the great stock market crash, Le Gallienne was on the cover of TIME. During the Great Depression that followed, she was offered directorship of the National Theatre Division of the Works Progress Administration by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She declined on the grounds that she preferred working with "true talent" rather than nurturing jobs for struggling actors and actresses. She was instrumental in the early career of Uta Hagen, whom she cast as Ophelia opposite her own portrayal of Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet.

In 1964, Le Gallienne was presented with a special Tony Award in recognition of her 50th year as an actress and in honor of her work with the National Repertory Theatre. The National Endowment for the Arts also recognized her with the National Medal of Arts in 1986. Le Gallienne was a naturalised United States citizen.

Although known primarily for her theatre work, she has also appeared in films and television productions. She earned an Oscar nomination for her work in Resurrection, for which she gained the honor of being the oldest Oscar nominee up to that time (1980) until Gloria Stuart in 1997; and won an Emmy Award for a televised version of The Royal Family after having starred in a Broadway theatre revival of that play in 1976. She made a rare guest appearance in a 1984 episode of St. Elsewhere, appearing with Brenda Vaccaro and Blythe Danner as three women sharing a hospital room.

On June 3, 1991, Le Gallienne died at her home in Connecticut of natural causes, at the age of 92.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Le_Gallienne

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: days of love, eccentric: alice delamar

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