File Size: 50003 KB
Print Length: 528 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 26, 2017)
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Drawing from Mellon family private papers and letters and from other intensive research and interviews, Meryl Gordon takes us chronologically through Bunny Mellon's life from childhood to death, portraying her as a many-faceted woman. She gave amply to friends, provided old age benefits and health care for her employees, and visited everyday with her tragically-injured daughter. Yet in addition, she preferred handsome young men who sometimes used her, such as John Edwards, decreased people after she lost interest in them, revealed marked favoritism to some family members, and performed not reply to a request from a earlier friend who had been dying of cancer. Predictably, she remaining some individuals feeling entranced and others bitter.
Three aspects of Bunny Mellon's personality stood out and amazed me. When quite young, she saw photographs of the cruel living conditions suffered by employees at her father's Arkansas cotton plantation and struggled to reconcile them with her own family's lifestyle and with her belief that her father, though the head of an exploitative company town, was a good man. That discrepancy between worlds stayed with her. Later on, she encouraged Paul Mellon to give more than 0 million to leads to supporting minorities and the unlucky. " She was not the usual rich lady, " said Vernon Michael jordan.
I was also amazed that Bunny Mellon did not dwell on the earlier. Even late in life, she remained a forward-looking woman, always thinking to the future, always planning her next project. Another garden needed to be planted, another room needed to be rearranged, another property needed to be refreshed. Something new and interesting always called her to the long run. This inclination was a saving grace which helped her move past the loneliness of her last decade. In addition, it benefited the larger community for the reason that she left a splendid country church, a outstanding library, and a well-endowed foundation for folks to enjoy.
Finally, I had been impressed by Bunny Mellon's imagination and creativity. She was obviously a true artist, designing beautiful interiors, landscapes and gardens with a keen awareness of color, space, shadow and light. She perfected the ability of shaping her environment even while leaving behind it looking natural. While she strove for exquisite forms and patterns, in addition, she instructed gardeners to let wisps of grass grow between the flagstones and let apples remain on the floor after they had decreased from trees. Human artwork and nature must enhance each other. After reading this book, I will never look at the horizon in quite the same way again and am now interested to find out more about landscape design., Fantastic read, well written & informative, well written book about the elite and the drive for money., I admit it: I purchased this book to see how the REALLY abundant live and am was not disappointed. My desire was precipitated after seeing the library and garden conservatory that Bunny had built on their Virginia property along with seeing the interiors of her New York townhouse.
It is a cradle-to-grave resource of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon who was already born into privilege through her grandfather (a chemist who invented “Listerine”) and her father (who invented Gillette Razor Company the originator of Warner-Lambert). The author’s research is incredible and she had access to many of Bunny’s private letters and papers as well as cooperation from Bunny’s family members. Since Rabbit died at age one zero five this is a huge biography and may keep your interest throughout. Seriously, it’s unimaginable to comprehend the life-style of Bunny and her second husband, Paul Mellon (yes, son of THE Andrew Mellon) lived. 1 of her neighbors who saw their private plane depart their Virginia property, only to fly around and land again, said that “…Bunny must have forgotten her scarf…” The woman husband created the National Gallery in Washington, DC and purchased Old Master paintings by the truckload. And, of course , everyone is aware that Bunny was asked by JFK to produce a Increased Garden on the White-colored House lawns…. a garden that exists today. There are a real sense of style about Bunny and the times she lived in. Typically the era of writing Say thanks to You notes; of dressing appropriately for each and every occasion; of correct behavior. However, Rabbit Mellon’s ONLY claim to fame was her development of the Rose Back garden at the White House and this is referenced throughout the book. OKAY, I get it…. she created the Rose Back garden. I didn’t feel that referencing that practically in every chapter was necessary. Typically the rest of her life – before and after the Rose Garden : was spent as a very rich man’s better half.
The author’s writing style is very good and she doesn’t have an schedule – it’s all here, the good, bad, and ugly. Very objective - which lets someone form their own personal thoughts and opinions of the book’s subject matter and peripheral characters. You will find photographs in the book – all black and white. I would have hoped to have color photographs available showing, at least, their Virginia property, the gardens, the NEW YORK townhouse. I’ve seen color photographs of these places in other publications so I was surprised that only a small number of photographs were in this book.
On the other hand, having money does not always make a person better or nicer which is SO true in this case. Bunny was a nasty, mean, spiteful person who constantly tried to dominate and control her children and step-children treating them like rubbish nearly all of their lives. She dropped – friends and very long time friends – without rhyme-or-reason in a New York second with out a backward glance. And then, when she needed the dropped friend for some reason, she brought them back into the flip. And shame on those friends who just didn’t tell her to “get lost” after being treated so badly. But their association with Bunny meant more to them than their satisfaction. To them, it was more important to say in a conversation, “…when Bunny and am had lunch…. ” so that men and women would be impressed. There were several of these men in her later years and they are protected in the book. She dumped her first husband when Paul Mellon revealed an interest because he was SO very rich. Plus when Paul started having affairs she, like the well-bred person of her day, looked the other way because she certainly didn’t want to lose her social standing or her use of Paul’s enormous wealth. Although it seems she reconciled, to some extent, with her children once they attained middle-age, she remained stingy to her grandchildren during her lifetime and in her bequests to them when she died. She had enormous debt in her later years after Paul died and rather than getting rid of about 200+ staff, she required out loans against her properties and art. She could have easily cut down her staff by providing them some type of lump sum compensation but selected not to do so. So in the end, she cared more about her staff than about letting her blood family get more of her wealth when she perished.
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