Thursday, October 2, 2014


Huguette's mystery is so vast that it cloaks the mystery of her mother.

March 10 1878 Calamut Michigan - October 11 1963 Manhattan New York
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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Anna was never Clarks mistress and to be his mistress he would have had to be married at that time which he was not. Clark is most famous for being the richest copper King in Butte Montana and being a US senator. He is sadly least known for creating Las Vagas. Which he created to store all his workers and was originally a morman ranch. Clark sent Anna to the Deer lodge Girls Semanary School and then to Sent her to Paris France to further her education along with his younger sister and her children. Anna's father died when she was only 12 years old leaving the whole family penny less. Anna's mother ran a boarding house on east park street which was not a ghetto. I know this because of living in butte and working at Clarks mansion there. Please do further research. Anna Clark was an amazing woman and you are not pertaining her that way.

Missy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Missy said...

Missy here! Your comment reflects ignorance. You seem to think that in order for a woman to be a man's mistress there must be adultery. This is simply not always true. It is especially not true currently when so many are avoiding legal marriage in the first place. Secondly, I'm not rewriting a book. I'm referencing a very well written and detailed book that I read cover to cover, took notes on, that was authoritative, and then went searching on the Internet for other information. I've taken a position but I see nothing that derides Anna as a personality or a human being. It seems that you think that calling someone a mistress is derogatory; I think not. It's true that Clark himself has been described as difficult but I even suggest that perhaps in his relationship with gentle Anna he was able to be something other than a hard core business man. Read this blog. You will better understand the subject and my attitude.

Anonymous said...

I know what book you have read and it was fantastic. The problem is to do good research you have to go to the source which in this case is Butte Montana. The archives there are a wealth of information. I do not read your blog I just came across this when I searched her on Google. I did not read the whole blog either just because of all the misinformation on it. Society treated her horrible and I still hate how people say bad stuff about her when she did a lot of good things.