Saturday, October 18, 2014

HOW W.A. MET ANNA : THE OFFICIAL VERSION?

EXCERPT FROM EMPTY MANSIONS by BILL DEDMAN and PAUL CLARK NEWELL JR.

(page 47) 

"W.A.'s eyes fell on Anna, who was fifteen or sixteen.  After she was well into her twenties she would become his second wife and the mother of two daughters, Andree and Huguette.

There are competing stories of how W. A met Anna.  The family version, the official version, has W. A. spotting her of the Fourth of July in a community pageant in which she played a chaste statue of Liberty.  Anna loved to sing and play music, but she was shy and reserved in public.  The teenager stood a shapely five feet four with cascading brown hair, a prominent round chin, and an inviting gap toothed smile.  W. A recognized her talents immediately.

The unofficial version, printed in Anti- Clark newspapers casts Anna as the forward one...  According to this story, Anna called on a banker in Butte, asking him to sponsor her acting career.  That man declined but suggested that she contact another banker who might receive her more generously, W.A. Clark.

The family also put forward another story about Anna, one describing her as the daughter of an honored physician who had died before the wealthy W.A. Clark became her guardian and she his ward, as though she were an orphan and in need of his legal and financial protection.  The facts were quite different, however. Anna's father wasn't quite a doctor, and he was very much alive.

Anna Eugenia LaChapelle was born in the Michigan copper mining town of Red Jacket, now known as Calument, on March 10, 1878.  Her parents were immigrants from Montreal, in French-speaking Quebec, who had arrived in the United States six years earlier as part of a great French Canadian wave of immigration.  The family later moved to Butte, settling in one of the rougher neighborhoods on the Butte hill, right below the smoke-belching smelters...  Anna was the oldest of three children... "

The LaChapelles rented out rooms to miners."

 

Monday, October 13, 2014

DECLARATION FOR MISTRESSES - TRUE

"I shall be true to myself"

*****
What does it mean to be true to yourself?  I think it's about self knowledge and acceptance and being genuine. Let's take Anna LaChapelle Clark as an example. Of course she had tremendous financial resources, but most women in her financial position felt obligated, even aspired to, be very social.  Such women spend most of their time reinforcing their position in society by make calls on other women of their stature. Dressing the part and making these calls took up much of their days. It seems Anna was just not into that lifestyle so she didn't bother. 

There is a peace in not having to be "on" all the time, of not being an actress, or not always trying to sell yourself or something. Anna preferred a more private life and to associate with those she chose, even if they were not as wealthy as she and W.C. Clark. 

Anna also chose to be with a man over 40 years older than she and, though they offered little explanation or apology for it, in a controversial relationship.  She and W.C. chose to keep the relationship and not go out of their way to defend it or explain it other than making a public statement about it when he aspired to political office. It doesn't seem to have held his career back any.

Being true to yourself requires that you also let others be true to themselves and understand it when there are just some things someone else is not interested in or won't do.  You don't spend a lot of energy trying to change them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EMPTY MANSIONS by BILL DEDMAN and PAUL CLARK NEWELL JR. TELLS THE EUGETTE CLARK STORY

 
I read this book, which is heavily focused on Eugette Clark, Anna's only living daughter and heir, cover to cover. Much of what I learned about Anna La Chapelle Clark I learned from this book.

Monday, October 6, 2014

SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT ON THE NEW MUSEUM BELLOSGUARDO

INDEPENDENT OCT 2013 - EMPTY MANSION FILLS PROMISE

EXCERPT " With 1,000 feet of ocean frontage and only the quiet folks in the Santa Barbara Cemetery for neighbors, the spectacular mansion on the bluff above East Beach has to be the most conspicuously unoccupied private home in Southern California. Vacant except for a team of caretakers and groundskeepers since the 1950s, Bellosguardo has for many years been kept in Huguette Clark’s preferred state, which is as close as possible to the way it was when her mother, Anna Clark, lived there in the 1930s."

(There's some good photos on this link of the estate and the family.)