Friday, May 31, 2013

'Florham" ~ The Queen's Outpost

As the last survivor of the Vanderbilt heirs ~ the last surviving
grandchild of Commodore Vanderbilt ~ Florence A. Vanderbilt
Twombly had led exactly the kind of life of pomp and splendor
that the rich were supposed to lead. 
Florence Adele Vanderbilt Twombly portrait ~ By John Singer
Sargent. Circa 1896. 

Florence Twombly's regal arrival at the opening night of the
Metropolitan Opera at the age of 76 created a sensational image of her.
Circa 1930.
At her New Jersey estate, 'Florham', Mrs. Twombly led her long life 
in extreme elegance and luxury ~ giving grand entertainments in the
massive ballroom and in the marble entrance hall. Her chef, Joseph
Donon, made the finest foods of the day; at a salary of over $25,000 a
Chef Donon working in the massive kitchen at 'Florham' ~ his workplace
of over thirty-eight years. Circa 1920.
The East Facade, showing the rose terrace at 'Florham' ~ circa 1920's.

At 'Florham' ~ Mrs. Twombly and her youngest, unmarried, daughter 
Ruth ~ her lifelong companion ~ led the lives of enormously wealthy 
heiresses. Now two recluses lost in a world that had quickly changed 
from what they had known, they lead out their remaining days in 
undisturbed immense luxury at 'Florham'. 

Florence Twombly ~ Circa 1950. 

After surviving a civil war, depression and two world wars, the last 
remaining granddaughter of Commodore Vanderbilt died on April
11, 1953, at the age of 98. It was said by her grandson Shirley, "When
Grandma died, so did Florham". And there went one of the last 
surviving Gilded Age 'grand dames'. 


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