An afternoon of Vanderbilt glamour with New York Times best-selling novelist, Therese Ann Fowler, celebrating the power and strength of women, was the highlight of the season at Weymouth.
This Fall Fundraiser was held on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
Many enjoyed a reception with the author featuring wine, beverages and hors d’oervres, a reading and discussion, and a personalized copy of A Well-Behaved Woman, the story of Alva Vanderbilt, a Southern belle who married into the legendary family and created their mystique as we know it today. Named one of the most anticipated new novels by People magazine and Publisher’s Weekly and receiving “Best of” accolades from Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Good Housekeeping, Garden & Gun and others, the November event was a special gift to Weymouth Center by one of its most renowned Writers-in-Residence.
Alva literally put the “gilt” in the gilded age. Breaking into the “Four Hundred”, the cream of New York society, was hard work. Having been shunned by Mrs. Astor, the new Vanderbilt money wouldn’t buy them into the best society. Alva’s long-term plan came to fruition after she built a $3 million-dollar mansion on Fifth Avenue and planned a masquerade ball for 1200 attendees. Mrs. Astor was forced to come to call on Alva to secure an invitation for her daughter. Mrs. Vanderbilt and her favorite architect, Hunt, went on to create “Marble House” a cottage which took four years to build and whose gold room, leafed in real gold, lent the gilded age its name. Alva built nine mansions and successfully married her daughter, Consuelo, to the Duke of Marlborough. She divorced William Vanderbilt and married Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont. After his death she became an international force in women’s suffrage and women’s rights. She was elected president of the National Women’s Party and was founder of the Political Equity League. She is credited with coining the phrase, “Pray to God. She will help you.” In later years she was one of the first women elected to the American Institute of Architects. Her last years were spent in France where she owned a number of residences.
Alva defied the conventions of her time and in doing so created the quintessential modern American woman: strong, indomitable, independent and passionate about important social issues.
This special event was brought to you by our sponsors: Vanderbilt Sponsors: Knickers, Donna Virrelli, Katrina Denza and Cav Peterson; and Belmont Sponsors: Southern Whey, Patricia, Becca Leen of Landseer Properties, Orthotics and Prosthetics of Pinehurst, The Drum & Quill Public House, Pat Riviere-Seel, Valerie McKean, Cynthia Davis: cabi Stylist, Denise Baker & Lois Holt, Barbara Keating, Shane English, Myles Larsen, Katherine Bozarth and Kathryn Talton.
Therese Ann Fowler is the author of the best seller, Z, a novel about Zelda Fitzgerald. Like Z, which was made into a tv series on Amazon, A Well-Behaved Woman has already been optioned by Sony for a series.
After several earlier novels, Fowler has found her métier in biographical novels about strong women. As she puts it, “I have an affinity for badass women from history whose stories have been either mistold or are largely untold.” Holding a BA in sociology /cultural anthropology and an MFA in creating writing from NC State University, her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. A regular at Weymouth in its Writer-in-Residence program, Fowler wrote part of Z while in residence, and is a generous supporter of the program and the center.