Cost: $5 for dues-paying Harvardwood members (and their guests); $15 for all others.
Advance registratiion is REQUIRED. No tickets will be sold at the door. IF YOU REGISTER AFTER 4 PM, BE SURE TO BRING YOUR REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION WITH YOU TO THE EVENT!
The doors will open at 6:30 pm (please do NOT arrive earlier) and the evening will begin with a reception with wine. The talk will begin promptly at 7 pm.
In 2008, at the age of 98, in spite of a lifelong determination to stay out of the limelight, Bunny Mellon was in the news. It was reported that she had given massive amounts of money to support John Edwards' doomed presidential campaign, some of which ended up being used to support Edwards' pregnant mistress. The irony of it was that she deserved to be remembered in a very different way. The heiress of the Listerine fortune, and married into the even greater Mellon fortune, she had lived at the nexus of politics, art, and fashion, mingling with Presidents, Queens, Duchesses, Hollywood actors, coutouriers, and artists. One Christmas dinner was spent in the Roosevelt White House and included the opening screening of Gone With the Wind. She hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip for lunch on the first official U.S. trip. At the request of her best friend Jackie Kennedy and of JFK, she designed the White House Rose Garden and she designed many other important gardens as well. She was a muse to such fashion designers as Cristobal Balenciaga and Hubert de Givenchy.
Now, Meryl Gordon has written a biography of Bunny Mellon based on thousands of pages of letters, diaries, and appointment books, and over 175 interviews with people who were close to Mellon. Gordon's previous books include the NY Times bestseller Mrs. Astor Regrets and the Wall Street Journal bestseller Phantom of Fifth Avenue. She is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor to Vanity Fair. She is on the graduate journalism faculty at NYU's Carter Journalism Institute, and is considered an expert on elder abuse.
Jeff Greenfield writes, "Meryl Gordon's heroic reporting and shrewd insights have given us a fully drawn portrait of one of the twentieth century's most compelling figures, by turns warmhearted and cold-blooded, coping with an emptiness no treasure chests of jewels and art could fill."
Joining Meryl Gordon in this talk will be her husband, the award-winning journalist Walter Shapiro. Shapiro is a columnist for Roll Call, a lecturer in political science at Yale, and a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU. He writes regularly for the Guardian. In covering the last 10 presidential campaigns, he has been on the staffs of USA Today, Esquire, Time, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. Shapiro helped in the research for Gordon's book and met many in the book's cast of characters.
Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend will be available for purchase, and a booksigning will follow the talk.
Special thanks to Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, and to Andy Goodwin and the Plymouth Hill Foundation.
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