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.)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

ANNA LACHAPELLE : MISTRESS AND WIFE OF W.A. CLARK (HUGUETTE CLARK'S MYSTERIOUS MOM!) : MISTRESS OF THE MONTH

  ANNA EUGENIA LACHAPELLE  -  HUGUETTES'S MOM and MYSTERY WOMAN
Huguette's mystery is so vast that it cloaks the mystery of her mother.

 
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March 10 1878 Calamut Michigan - October 11 1963 Manhattan New York
 
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She had one blue eye and one brown and as a girl she had a "puckish" sense of humor.
 
You may have heard of the odd multimillionairess Huguette Clark because her estate has this year been in the news with auctions of paintings and jewelry and other sell offs and deals.  Huguette was never a mistress.  She was married once and briefly and never much interested in marriage afterwards, perhaps being naturally asexual. But her mom, Anna Eugenia LaChapelle, was her father's mistress before she was his wife.  

Anna LaChapelle was the very young mistress and then wife of W.A. Clark, for whom Clark County, Nevada, the home of Las Vegas, is named after.  She was born in Michigan to French immigrants who moved from Canada to America.  In youth she lived inhaling the smell of the smoke stacks and smelters in an industrial ghetto. W.C. Clark was about 40 years older than her and a widower.  After meeting Anna in America when she was about fifteen, he sent her to live in France and be educated there.  She was described as his "ward" but there are no court papers to prove he took on guardianship. Anna was no orphan.  Her parent's were alive. When W.A. wasn't busy with business he went to visit her in France. Much about their relationship is cloaked in mysteries.

Anna LaChapelle is the second known woman to be patronized, supported, or to become a protégé of W.A. Clark after he became a widower.  (The first of his protégé's, a woman who came from a boarding house in Butte, Montana, was Kathlyn Williams, who became a very successful silent screen star, appearing in 170 films.  He paid for her college education and to study opera singing but she openly referred to him but only as a benefactor.)  Both women were younger than his four previous children.

Speculation is that Anna and W.C. backdated their marriage to 1901 to accommodate an otherwise illegitimate birth of a daughter, Eugette's older sister, who then died in her teens. Anna's first child, a daughter, Andree, was born in 1902 in Spain and then Huguette was born in 1906 in Paris.  The family traveled to and lived in Paris quite a bit, going back and forth on the grand steamships of their era.  In 1904, while in the Senate, Clark announced that he had taken a second wife in France three years earlier, and that the couple already had a 2-year-old daughter. At the time of the supposed marriage, he was 62, and Anna was 23.

There is no documentation of the marriage other than William Andrew Clark's word.  The genealogists have failed to find a marriage certificate or church record.  He'd been born in a log cabin in Pennsylvania, went out west to pan for gold, sold eggs to miners, established a bank, became a very early (pre mob) investor in Las Vegas, and became known as "The "Copper Millionaire."    At one point his income from just one copper mine would be about 10 million a month today!  He even became a Senator from Montana.  Those were the days!

Never one to be especially interested in "society", but a lover of fine art and music, Anna was most known for playing the harp and giving small recitals for those closest to her, for keeping company with the business associates that her husband had trusted after his death, as well as their children.  Anna, not born to wealth any more than W.C. Clark had been, certainly acquired the taste of the very rich by living rich.  She was left $250 million when W.C. Clark died.  She was the person who had decorated the New York house and had Bellosguardo built and decorated after she was widowed.

Her daughter Huguette, as an adult, lived reclusively in a world of her own making in one of those old piles of a home in Millionaires Row New York's on Fifth Avenue in New York City that had been built in the Gilded Age and had been her parent's house where she grew up.  Then, for many more years, she lived in a drastically smaller hospital room with no view until she died at the age of 104 in 2011.  She hadn't always been so reclusive but, the theories go, first her sister died as a child and then her aged father and then her mother, Anna, leaving her isolated and unable to relate to most other people.  She got the genes for a long life from her parents.  She also inherited incredible wealth when Anna died, more than she could ever spend, even as she maintained her ultra-expensive hobbies such as Japanese doll collecting and custom designed doll houses.  From afar she oversaw the estate, including homes which were well maintained by staff, in case she ever showed up. But she didn't show up. She oversaw all this for many years, from that hospital room, fully capable but in no hurry to leave.  Her relatives thought she was still living in the house on Fifth Avenue!  After she died, a number of her younger relatives came together to fight her will for a share but it seems she knew what she was doing to the end.  She had remained unmarried and childless and had no heirs and had not well remembered them.  Huguette's legacy is thus Anna's.

Huguette inherited Anna's Bellosguardo, which will become a museum of art.  It had been built in French style, Anna designed the interiors as French as well, and Huguette wanted it preserved exactly like it had been when Anna died in 1963. That was about the last time she visited the estate.  It was maintained as if she might visit any time for the rest of her life.


 
A SELF PORTRAIT BY EUGETTE CLARK
She and her mother Anna were art patrons to individuals, artistic themselves. 
Anna played the harp and Eugette studied painting. I see the resemblance.
 
 
C 2014 Mistress Manifesto/ Missy Rapport All Rights Reserved including International and Internet Rights.  Pictures on this post from Google Images and remain the property of their original owners.