"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mrs. "Mamie" Stuyvesant-Fish, Social Iconoclast

Everyone knows my adoration of Mrs. "Mamie" Stuyvesant-Fish. A stellar member of "The" Mrs. Astor's 400 list of acceptable people allowed into Society, Mamie did everything she could to turn New York and Newport society upside down. She loved pranks, especially when it was the very members of the 400 who suffered. She once invited all of Newport to greet The Prince del Drago, and all of Newport dutifully showed only to find the "Prince" was a monkey in a tux. She once announced to a stunned ballroom that Tsar Nicholas II was about to enter. Two taps of a staff and the double doors of the ballroom opened. Everyone including Senators and Wall Street bankers deeply bowed and curtsied. And, of course, there was her infamous party for Newport dogs where she gave her own pooch a diamond necklace priced at $10,000; when asked by the papers if she worried about the negative publicity, she answered, "I don't have to care."
Crossways was her summer "cottage" in Newport, home of wild parties; she even gave a barn dance once a year in her stables. The house still stands and is privately owned.
Less known was a cross-country trip she made in 1903. In the Palestine Herald she mocked The Four Hundred. "I am disgusted by this new fad, Conservatism. That is aggravated snobbery".

And, still, I get emails and notes about this magnificent woman, including some charming notes from her great-grandson Chris, who's daughter is named Mamie. And, just this week I got this question: "A friend of mine owns the 50 inch opera pearl and diamond necklace that mamie owned. She has a picture from Vogue magazine with mamie wearing the necklace.Would you have any idea who designed the piece?"
I would give anything to have been a friend of Mamie. Of course, I have my own Mamie here, and she's a big hoot and a great friend on whom I can always count on to surprise our own Four Hundred. We have a lot of fun playing out that game.


At 10:27 PM, Blogger countess von Cartier said...

Yes Doll The house still stands but it has been cut up into Condo apartments...Very SAD

At 3:47 PM, Blogger "the" Mrs. Astor said...

Yes, I know, but I'd settle for the diningroom. Supposedly it sat 200

At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be impertinent, but it was Ward McAllister (Mr. Make-A-Lister) that invented the Four Hundred List--it was his grooming of Mrs. Astor for her role as "queen of New York society"...
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-McAllist.html...Just thought I'd let you know.


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