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Showing posts from January, 2008

American Jennie - Portrait of Jennie Jerome Churchill

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On January 9, 1854, a baby was born who would one day grow up to be the mother of one of the man some people consider to be the greatest statesman England has ever known. Her name was Jennie Jerome. She was born in Brooklyn at 197 Amity Street, when Brooklyn was still a separate city. So not only was she a New Yorker but a Brooklyn baby, the greatest export before the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. She was the second of four daughters born to Leonard Jerome, and his wife Clarissa. Leonard Jerome was a financier, sportsman and speculator. He founded the American Jockey Club and created Jerome Avenue and Jerome Park in the Bronx (which still exist) as well as elevating the idea of horse racing in the United States. He was part owner of The New York Times and his mansion on Madison Avenue had its own theater. Clarissa, his wife, was a dark beauty who family legend says had Iroquois blood. Another legend is that Leonard Jerome named his second daughter after the Swedish soprano Jennie Lin

The Wild Ride of Lady Godiva - Fact or Fiction?

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"Lady Godiva was a freedom rider, She was a sister who really could!" Remember those lines from the theme song from the 1970's sitcom Maude? I do and I remember wondering who was Lady Godiva and what did she do that was so great that she was mentioned in a song? Was she even real? Well, yes Virginia, Lady Godiva (1040-1080 or thereabouts, no one is actually sure of her date of birth or death) was real but as for her 'freedom ride' that appears just to be the stuff of legend. The story goes that Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England in order to get her husband to repeal an oppressive tax that he had levied on his tenants. After Godiva's ride through the town, her husband kept his word and abolished the taxes. The origin of the phrase "Peeping Tom," also comes from later versions of the legend. All the villagers were ordered to shut their blinds so as not to see Lady Godiva in the altogether while she rode through the str

Royal Princess, Royal Scandal - the sad life of Princess Margaret

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It'll be six years next month that HRH Princess Margaret passed away at the age of 71. Apparently her ex-husband, Lord Snowdon has decided to share intimate details of his marriage to the late Princess in a new biography. According to Hello Magazine: "News of the book, which is set to hit UK stores in the summer, may come as a surprise to many royal watchers. "There has always been an understanding that no biography would be published during his lifetime," says royal author Tim Heald - who wrote a biography of the Queen's late sister. "He has never spoken a word in public about Margaret," he continues, "He has remained very loyal to her and to her memory." "However, the royal snapper, who married the beautiful, blue-eyed royal at Westminster Abbey in 1960, has given his "full agreement" to the new biography by well-known journalist Anne de Courcy. "I am now happy for people to know about my life and I want to put the rec

Evelyn Nesbit and the Murder of the Century

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It was called the Murder of the Century. Eighty years before the trial of OJ Simpson captured the attention of the nation and the world, there was the murder of architect Stanford White by Harry K. Thaw at the entertainment complex that he created Madison Square Garden. The story had everything, society -- money, rage, lust, envy. Within a week of the murder, the Biograph Company had produced a motion picture dramatization. And at the center of this love triangle gone wrong was a young copper haired beauty named Evelyn Nesbit. She was born Florence Evelyn Nesbit on Christmas Day in 1884 in Tarentum, a small town near Pittsburgh, PA, the same city that her future husband, Harry K. Thaw hailed from. But while Harry grew up in the lap of luxury living on the big hill, Evelyn and her family were barely scraping above the poverty line after the untimely death of her father when she was 8. Her mother tried to turn their home into a boarding house with minimal success. They often had