Grand Homes & Gardens Distinguished Speakers Series 2021

Debra Lampert-Rudman's picture
February 23, 2021 to March 23, 2021
New Jersey, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies

$25; $18 Friend of Morven; Series: $75; $50 Friend of Morven

We are delighted to build on Morven’s popular Grand Homes & Gardens Distinguished Speakers Series with another stellar lineup for 2021. Join us in armchair travel with “The Woman of the House” as this year’s theme.

The programs will be all-virtual this year. Each specifically tailored to the Morven audience with added surprises with each talk. This year’s illustrated lecture series will again brighten up the winter doldrums with its finale set for the first week of spring.

Lyndhurst Castle

Tuesday, February 23, 6:30 p.m.

Howard Zar, Executive Director

Overlooking the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York, is Lyndhurst, one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. Designed in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis, its architectural brilliance is complemented by the park-like landscape of the estate and a comprehensive collection of original decorative arts. Its noteworthy occupants included former New York City mayor William Paulding, merchant George Merritt, and railroad tycoon Jay Gould. The interesting thing about the women at Lyndhurst is that in many ways, they ruled the roost.  The initial mansion was funded by Maria Rheinlander, William Paulding’s wife.  In an unusual turn of roles, she provided the money and her husband and son did the design and furnishing work. The second owner we will meet, died five years after moving in and his wife was left to manage the estate. The Jay Gould family owned it the longest, and daughter Helen Gould, who lived there the longest of any owner, was a noted philanthropist and NYU law school graduate who made some interesting changes to Lyndhurst.Harbor Hill & Beacon Towers: Long Island “Gold Coast” mansions and the women who created them



Thursday, March 11, 6:30 p.m

Gary Lawrance, Architectural Historian and Lecturer


Join us on a trip to the “Gold Coast” of 1920’s Long Island to meet Katherine Duer, wife of Silver heir Clarence Mackay and her fabulous over 60 room Harbor Hill mansion once located at Roslyn. Mrs. Mackay not only managed the home when completed, but also oversaw the planning with “Gilded Age”, architect Stanford White and during Harbor Hill’s construction. We will also meet Alva Vanderbilt Belmont. Known as a force to be reckoned with, Alva Erskin Smith first married a Vanderbilt and built one of the most dazzling mansions on New York’s Fifth Avenue, then the equally splendid summer cottage, “Marble House” at Newport, Rhode Island. With her second husband Oliver Hazard Belmont she enlarged his Newport mansion and then a home at East Meadow, Long Island. After his passing Mrs. Belmont built a Castle on the Long Island Sound at Sands Point, Long Island, that many believe was used by Author F. Scott Fitzgerald as the inspiration for the magnificent mansion of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”. It was at this house that Mrs. Belmont held suffragist women’s events and reigned over her version of a Scottish Castle. The evening will also provide a brief look at other estates and an aerial tour, circa 1926, to give an idea of the extensiveness of the great estates that were once world famous as the land of elegance, splendor and lavishness. This evening’s lecture sponsored by Heidi A. Hartmann of Coldwell Banker Princeton


Glebe house & Gertrude Jekyll’s garden

Tuesday, March 16, 6:30 p.m.

LoriAnn Witte, Director

The Glebe House, built about 1740, is celebrating its 96th year in operation in 2021 as an historic house museum and garden.  It was the home of Rev. John Rutgers Marshall, his wife Sarah, nine children and three slaves from 1771 to 1786 and is furnished with period furniture including a wonderful collection of furniture made in Woodbury during the 18th century. By the 1920s the house had passed through several owners and fallen into great disrepair. The Glebe House was restored in 1923 under the direction of Henry Watson Kent, a pioneer of early American decorative arts and founder of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. One of the early historic house museums in the country, The Glebe House opened its doors to the public in 1925.

The Garden

In 1926, the famed English horticultural designer and writer Gertrude Jekyll was commissioned by board member Annie Burr Jennings (Colonial Dame, heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, living in Fairfield, Connecticut, Connecticut Trustee at Mount Vernon) to create an "old fashioned" garden to enhance the newly created museum. Although a small garden, when compared with the some 400 more elaborate designs she completed in England and on the continent, the Gertrude Jekyll Garden includes a classic English style mixed border and foundation plantings, and a planted stone terrace. For reasons unknown today, the garden Miss Jekyll planned was never fully installed in the 1920s and its very existence was forgotten. After the rediscovery of the plans in the late 1970s the project  began in earnest in the late 1980s and is now being completed according to the original plans. This evening’s program is sponsored by Keller Williams Princeton

The Mount: A Great American House & garden Designed by a Great American Writer

Tuesday, March 23, 6:30 p.m.

Anne K. Schuyler, Director of Visitor Services 

Edith Wharton is known today mainly for her contribution to American literature, yet she was also a skilled pioneer of house and garden design. This program will look at The Mount, Wharton’s elegant estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, which she designed with the same passion and lucidity she applied to her written work. This evening we will survey the history of The Mount from its creation in 1902 to today, where its thrives as a cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. This evening’s program is sponsored by Callaway Henderson/Sotheby’s International Realty

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Debra Lampert-Rudman

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