Empty Mansions

Empty Mansions

The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of A Great American Fortune

Book - 2013
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When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed a property listing for a grand estate that had been unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled into one of the most surprising American stories of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Empty Mansions is a rich tale of wealth and loss, complete with copper barons, Gilded Age opulence, and backdoor politics. At its heart is a reclusive 104-year-old heiress named Huguette Clark. Dedman has collaborated with Huguette's cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have had frequent conversations with her, to tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter who is born into an almost royal family of amazing wealth and privilege, yet who secrets herself away from the outside world. Empty Mansions reveals a complete picture of the enigmatic Huguette Clark, heiress to one of the greatest fortunes in American history, a woman who had not been photographed in public since the 1920s. Though she owned three palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, they sat vacant while she lived out her final two decades in a New York City hospital room, despite being in excellent health. Her father was self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, who at the dawn of the twentieth century was one of the richest men in America.
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, [2013]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780345534521
Branch Call Number: B Clark Dedman 2013
Characteristics: xxviii, 456 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Newell, Paul Clark Jr


From the critics

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May 05, 2019

Offbeat wealthy people . Fun to read about . Really enjoyed the book .
The dad Mr Clark was amazing.

Oct 18, 2018

Very good narration of a quirky subject.
The magnanimous personalities of the super-wealthy seem far and few between but the characters of W.A. Clark and his daughter Hughette certainly make for an interesting listen. It boggles the mind how much money was tossed around but never ceases to amaze me how people will show up hat-in-hand to take what they can.


Apr 28, 2017

I really liked Huguette and didn't want the book to end! Seeing as her stolen Degas is at the Nelson (within walking distance!) I plan to go see it as soon as possible, and think of Huguette.

Jan 28, 2016

I feel like I missed out on something by listening to the audiobook version instead. I might come back to the book and actually read it, because I generally love stories about crazy-sad-poor-rich people and their crazy-sad-poor-rich-people problems.

Nov 19, 2015

Ebook comment: I love this book although I have to agree with one criticism that it's "property porn" (and what lovely property it is too).
Very well researched. Historical biographical non fiction. An interesting look at one of the wealthiest American families you've never heard of. The book photos, etc. are much better than ebook. And both are better than audiobook.

Nov 18, 2015

This is a great book!
I recommend the actual book if possible (rather than audio or ebook) due to photos and other primary-source materials published in the hardback.
The detailed research for the book is impressive in itself, but the storytelling keeps you interested. Historical, biographical and rich in quirky details about one of the wealthiest American families you've never heard of -- check it out.

Nov 15, 2015

Mrs. Clark became the last surviving member of the children of fabulously wealthy W. A. Clark, a copper baron from the Belle Epoch. Her reclusiveness and end-of-life generosity put her at odds with distant family generations removed from her. So interesting.
Reading about her artistic talent, her passions and seeming kindness was fascinating. You'll have to search online to know how the lawsuits following her death end—if that matters.

Oct 10, 2015

sad story. I can't believe that her nurse got so much of her money.. and that doctors were trying to extort millions from her. what a disgrace!

Mar 17, 2015

Fascinating tale of the reclusive heiress to an enormous fortune, told in such a way as to be easily followed, even though the story itself is quite complicated. As an aside, while you're reading, take the time to google some of the artists Huguette Clark collected and supported. It's amazing.

Jan 14, 2015

This is a long book and I thought it might become boring but it never did. Found it very interesting.

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steven7 Dec 18, 2014

steven7 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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