|Mrs. White in the Conservatory of Her Lenox Home|
'Elm Court'. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Bruce.
Here is the incredible biography of Mrs. Henry White written by her friend
and biographer, the collector Robert Bruce.
Emily Vanderbilt Sloane White. Second daughter, and fourth child, of William Henry Vanderbilt (1821-1885), and Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt (1821-1896); grandaughter of 'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), founder of the family fortune. Wife of William Douglas Sloane (1844-1915), president of the W. & J. Sloane Company; furniture makers and decorators. Charitably minded, together they founded the Sloane Maternity Hospital in New York, the first of its kind. Renowned hostess of New York aristocracy's golden era, who, along with her sister, Florence Vanderbilt Twombly; her sister-in-law, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt; and friends, Ruth Livingston Mills, and Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry, came to exercise complete dominance over "Old Guard" New York and Newport Society. Widowed five years, in 1920 she married superb diplomat, and family friend, Henry White, a widower of age seventy. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "The most useful man in the entire diplomatic service." Widowed again, in 1927, she lived on for another score of years entertaining at her New York townhouse, and at her vast country estate, 'Elm Court', in Lenox, Massachusetts ~ of 93 rooms it was the largest shingle-style house ever constructed; its greenhouses, providing flowers and fruits in all seasons, covered over two acres of land. At moments she had moved those on Fifth Avenue, and in Lenox, with the fatal luxury of her exquisite maroon Rolls Royce, of the Vanderbilt fleet. Her ample fortune allowing such elegance throughout her lifetime. Passing away peacefully in Lenox, her service was held there at Trinity Church, with music provided by her favorite organist, Archer Gibson, assisted by Johnston F. Stewart.
Biography compiled and written by Robert Bruce