Guest Book of the Princess Kotzebue for the Château de Suisnes
1932-1973. A guest book with entries by the cream of High Society, including Doris Duke, Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, Perle Mesta (the "Hostess with the Mostess"; the entry was made while she was the Ambassador to Luxembourg), Millicent Hearst, Hohenlohes, Armours, and on and on. 4to. 32 by 26.5 cm. Over 230 pages chock-a-block with the inscriptions, followed by about 50 blank leaves. The chateau was a setting where super-rich Americans hobnobbed with European aristocrats, not a few of whom were originally American. Some other names we recognize: Marjorie Oelrichs, who married bandleader Eddy Duchin and was the mother of Peter Duchin, actress and then ur-interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe (signing as Elsie Mendl), decorator and Edith Wharton collaborator Ogden Codman, Margaret Copley Thaw -- the Countess of Perigny, A. Hamilton Rice, an Amazon explorer and husband to a Widener widow, various Houghtons, Brokaws, Dillons (including Douglas), Lewisohns, etc. It is a safe assumption that virtually all the guests were very wealthy, or believed to be, or very socially connected, and the names that may today be obscure would have been widely known from the society pages back when. Many of the guests were repeat visitors. Occasionally a guest would not just sign his name, but would write a short appreciation, a bon mot or stab at wit, sketch something cute, or the like. Also coming with the album are several pieces that were always separate but probably always resided within its cover. The owner of the Chateau until her death was the Princess Kozebue (1872 - 1955), né Allene Tew, of Wisconsin. Her fourth husband was Prince Heinrich XXXIII Reuss of Köstritz, who for a short period, prior to the birth of Princess Juliana, was the heir to the Dutch throne. They divorced in 1935, but Allene remained close to the Dutch Royal family, becoming the godmother of the current Queen Beatrix. A year after this divorce Allene married Russian nobleman Captain Count Pavel Kotzebue (1884 - 1966). In the album, it would seem that the Prince and Princess were known to friends as Wally and Kitty. The Gruel binding is a highly decorative full brown morocco, with a wide border band of interlaced leaves, ruled lines and tiny tulip buds. In the center is a gilt crown and a ribbon flourish below bearing the name, "CHATEAU DE SUISNES", etched out of the gilt. The spine compartments, between the raised bands, have floral devices. The endpapers are a green silk moire. Thre are a few round stains on teh front board -- only one stands out -- probably from a resting cup. The hinge is cracked near the front, with an unlovely tape repair. Still, a most attractive album befitting a grand chateau.
(Inventory #: 005090)
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