tv Susan Ronald Conde Nast CSPAN September 21, 2019 6:20pm-7:25pm EDT
>> a very warm welcome to the first lecture of the general society labor, literature and landmark lecture series but i am karen taylor program director of the general society. the labor literature and landmark lectures are supported in part by public funds from the new york city department of cultural affairs in partnership with the city counsel. for those of you who may be less
familiar with the general society and if you don't mind i'm going to ask. how many of you here this evening is this your first event? a warm welcome and of course a welcome back to previous attendees. the general society was founded in 1785 by 22 artisans. today our 234-year-old organization continues to serve the people of the city of new york. we do this through our cultural and educational programs. they include our lecture series which of course is the lecture to the party. the general society library which will be celebrating 200 years next year. our tuition free mechanics institute and the john m. loughlin and collection which you are welcome to visit after our talk this evening and that
is upstairs. you'll find more information on the blue-and-white postcard on your seats. now we have such a wonderful start to this year's lecture season. i have the pleasure of welcoming critically acclaimed biographer susan ronald who tonight will discuss her accuracy of condé nast the public affairs and other illustrious publications but i also want to mention if you have not argued done so you will have an opportunity to purchase this wonderful book but this absolutely stunning cover later this evening so please be aware that you have this opportunity and susan would be happy to sign the book for you. i also want to mention that c-span is also filming this talk tonight so this program will also be rebroadcast on booktv.
when we do get to the q&a portion i want to remind you anyone who is asking a question you will have the opportunity to be featured on booktv. born and raised in the united states ms. ronald has lived in england for more than 25 years and has come especially this week to talk about her book. she is the author of a dangerous woman, erratic queen, the pirate queen and shakespeare's daughter it is my considerable pleasure to introduce to you susan ronald. [applause] >> thank you everybody. i just hope that our technical problems are at an end. you may see some little dots there on the bottom. i decided to write about condé
nast really because i tend to write about power and greed. all of the people i've written about the four, there's another book which isn't on here about powerful people. some of them have been greedy and i'll post all of them have had some sort of brushes with the law but after a dangerous woman about foreign schools who was married to the youngest son of jay gould who many of you certainly know of i decided having written about someone who was incredibly powerful, incredibly devious and also hermann goering was never tried for her dastardly deeds. i needed to cleanse myself but. i wanted to write about a really good person so i told this to my agent and my publisher and they just kind of looked blankly at me and they said you write about
power and greed. how can you write about a nice person? it was my agent that i suggested i have a look at the publishing industry and are there any good guys and publishing? sure enough he was right so i decided i'm going to write a book about one of the most powerful people at the turn-of-the-century and then going into world war ii, condé nast. of course a lot of you know all of the various magazines but they weren't all there at the beginning. i'd like to take you through what makes condé nast, conde nast. there were a number of gratuitous circumstances but mostly and i apologize for the quality of some of these photographs. they were his mothers who is pictured on the right here. unfortunately i don't have her as a young woman. this was the only picture the family still has in their possession. she was quite a lady in her own right. her father was a guy called louis van wall.
he settled in st. louis in this lovely home here. he was married three times and had 15 children. and he was extremely wealthy. he was a banker apparently a good guy. that doesn't exactly go with the term banker but go with me on this, okay? he left several million dollars to his children when he died. condi as a child remembers playing in his paternal grandfather's bedroom. currently still a historic house on the outskirts of st. louis mostly as a wedding venue today. of course after his mother only in hair did 300,000 by the time the money came down to her. on his father's side is grandfather wilhelm nast was born in germany and came to the united states as a teacher. there was always a depressive
chapter but he became, he converted to methodism and he became known as the father of german methodism in north america, excuse me in north america. william was a man who wanted to be worn with a silver spoon in his mouth but his family didn't have any. so he decided he was going to go off to germany as the american consul to germany and hobnobbed with all the royals. his father was absolutely beside himself and naturally william nast fell on very hard times because he also stole money from american citizens while he was there. he left germany very quickly under a cloud and took a number of odd jobs and somehow met up with mr. van wall in new york city. condé was the eldest son.
he had another brother, louis who was a great pianist but condi grew up essentially without a father. at the age of three william nast decided he was going back to europe to make his fortune. actually it was hard work for. condi wisdom men of the family. he had two younger sisters as well that they called new women. new women were women who didn't hang around with chaperones before the turn of the 20th century to actually work extremely independent and so was his mother. she had to be to keep the family together but of course as the years went on his father stayed away until condé was 17. things got pretty tough in the end. the only nast member of the family that stayed close to them with his aunt fannie who was william nast's younger sister. now fannie was actually quite a
gal herself. she married into money. she loved fine things. she was very stylish in her own way and considering this picture was taken in the 1880s you could see she did like to look nice. what is amazing is she married into the gamble family of proctor & gamble fame. she decided that she was going to help out after to get her sons to an american college that would send them on their way. the only problem was when she went to visit lily he apparently was very untidy. he reminded her great deal of her brother who had abandoned the family. therefore she decided she would only send conde to georgetown university. louis never spoke to his brother again. here's conde has he graduated. he was a very handsome young man his best friend in college was
bob collier. bob collier was of course the heir to the collier library. he went off for a dear to europe to england to oxford, came back and his father said i'm going to give you colliers white lee because it was failing. they only had something like $1000 worth of advertising at the time he gave the week we over to bob. bob had done a lot of work with conde at georgetown and he went down to st. louis and talked conde into accepting a 12-dollar a week job with him. which he did. considering he was the man of the family at that point unfortunately can't be's father died so he was no longer drain on the family and the two of them work worked together very happily indeed for about 15 years. bob collier pictured on the left here was an innovator.
he thought about making collier left of the generalized magazine but with conde pushing him saying look we can really tell -- sell advertising if we decide we are going to create special issues. you saw before the other picture that i just showed you with frederick remington's art, this was the issue that started the gibson girl in terms of collier's magazine. he overpaid gibson double of what he would normally get of the ladies home journal so he could have him exclusively for period of two years. that was something that condé learned about as well. bob collier was also very into navigation produce great friend was orville wright who is on the right here and together with conde they set up the first-ever national newspaper, not newspaper, national newspaper -
magazine company that had its own sales network in every major city across america. condé understood to sell magazines you had to make sure that your customer wanted cherica adams that were in it first of all, that your advertiser had to feel he wasn't wasting his money advertising it also you were ethical and what you sold. this was the era of quack medicines. almost every newspaper promised to give you something special. i didn't think i would want to have in a swamp for it that i don't know about you but i think that's pretty bad. this product claimed it could cure absolutely anything. colliers joined with believe it or not ladies home journal to stop quack medicine advertising. they believed it was killing americans. this is just a few of the ads at
the time. you can have your diabetes readily cured with the van urey and test we to prevent diabetic shock. we won't go to dr. bandits products, will we? believe it or not at cw post who founded post cereals was another one of the people who is selling his cereals as a medicine. here's to another year and years and years of steady nerves, to clear brain sent to chris health. but collier was spurred on by conde to say he was going to sue old tw and he did anyone. conde learned a great deal from his relationship with bob. not only that but bob introduced him to his first wife carise could bear. i don't know if any of you
remember a legal firm called cuday are brothers in new york city. they had their offices on fifth avenue for many many years. the family came across to america at the behest of the markey d lafayette, george washington's friend. they establish themselves as international lawyers in the early 19th century. clarice was part of new york's 400. conde was by now a wealthy man by 1902 when he married her. he was earning about $40,000 a year. the only person in america earning more at that time was theodore roosevelt as president. he burned 50,000. so she decided that she loved bob collier bipod collier didn't love her. condé was a good second from her point of view. he wasn't after her money. he understood that she was with him as far society was
confirmed. only problem was condé understood society was changing. women were changing that they wanted to be independent and they wanted to vote and they wanted their thoughts to be recognized. while certainly clarice felt that was for her to she didn't really like the idea of working for a living is that was beneath a member of the 400 on the social register. instead after two years of marriage where she had two children, cuday are who was the sun and then the tica the daughter, she decided she was going to go off to paris and become a soprano in paris. of course she would because her three sisters lived there as well. one of them had been supporting the artist of ms. rodin as his moneymaker basically for the previous 20 years. that isn't very good for a
marriage obviously. condé decided in 1904 that he was going to set out on his own. yes bob collier was paying him more money than he was worth, there was no doubt about it, 40,000 in those days was close to $1 million but essentially he decided he was going to take the plunge into women's fashion. you say, why women's fashion? is that a national magazine and they are starting to go into the niche markets. condé had decided that women's fashion was going to be key to the changing role of women. up until now women's fashions in terms of the clothing that would be put into patterns had two distinct shortcomings. the first was all patterns were giveaways alongside fabrics. the second which was even more incredible was the fact that there was only one size. condé decided the new woman has
many sizes. i'm going to empower her. i'm going to empower women to make their own clothing and all the sizes that they come in and they should discard their corsets, enjoy life and be women. of course he was right. he ended up allowing ladies home journal to take his patterns. he is still working for bob collier but due to a number of circumstances he ended up leaving in 1906. it was the first time he tried to by the vote but he failed. he went across to europe at that point to rescue his two children from paris and his wife. she decided that she wanted to stay on so they went across, picked up the children and the nurse made. clarice decided she would come home to. but then in 1909 queries
disappeared for six months. nobody in the family knows why but she did. he was lucky enough to buy vogue sadly its owner that time back i called arthur turner part of the big club at the time for publishers, he had set it up very early on in 1895. he had hired on a lady at that point as a male clerk. her name name is edna woman chase. by the time you see her on the right she had been the editor of vogue, the editor-in-chief at vogue for over 50 years. condé kept her on obviously. he was turner sister who had been the editor at the time he had audit and she basically left due to a disagreement over money. in 1912 he decided to buy two more magazines something called
house and garden. i think a few of you've heard of that one too. now he had vogue, house and garden 1912. by 1914 he decides he'd really like to set up an international magazine empire dedicated to women and women's fashion. unfortunately there was something called world war i which began in europe in 1914. edna woman chase comes up to condé and says i've got this wonderful idea. i know where cut that from friends freshen in the men's fashion because of the bar but why don't we have something called a charity fashion show and get all the new york 400 involved. he was very skeptical. queries doesn't like working. can you imagine these were women working on a charity fashion show? she said give me a chance and of course she made it a success.
she was able to talk her into creating this fashion show. it was a done deal. the only problem was it was arranged to be at the ritz-carlton new york to the only problem was all of the models for all of the nations previously were tied to various fashion houses in europe, not in america. mrs. astor and mrs. fish were able to cobble together a very interesting show of new york fashion. don't laugh. here it is. the new york city public library just found some of the stills and if you go to their web site you will see the fashions. as i said the models were tied to other places and as you can see fortunately calmed a was making clothing in different sizes. not all of them were models, where they?
there are more of these apparently at the new york city public library. i thought it would be really interesting to see. anyway this upset another gentleman william randolph hurst who had just bought "harper's" bazaar. he sent his people out to badmouth vogue and condé nast. people want to get rid of european fashion and not imported to america anymore. they were only out to support new york clothing designers etc. etc.. well what happened was condé's representative arrived in paris during the war. there was a big that check for the seamstresses who had been put out of work. hurst lost the first round but he wasn't going to give up. we all know he never did that. come 1915, two things happened. the most important one was a lunch with the gentleman who founded the coffeehouse frank ronin shield. frank was a great aficionado of
modern art. he was everybody's favorite raconteur. he he had miles and acres of friends throughout new york city and condé had lunch with him probably at the coffeehouse actually. i don't know where it's at and he said i've got a problem. i've got to two magazines called address in "vanity fair". i have tried to edit them myself but i'm a publisher. i'm not an editor. would he think i'm getting from anne frank sidwell is very simple. you have to make it sizzle. you have to make it a cocktail party where every time somebody turns the page they are actually joining you in a conversation. they are actually understanding what it is that everybody in society or everybody who we read about his thinking about. so condé decided to hire frank as the editor for "vanity fair" on a handshake.
he did his best deals on a handshake. they had one competitor at the time. h.l. mencken was the editor and it was a smart set where they said one civilized reader is worth 1000 pits. smart set went out of business but they have a very friendly rivalry between them. as a matter fact he ended up working at "vanity fair" after close. condé believed and hiring the best people no matter what. it didn't matter whether they were,, jewish, catholic, whatever. it didn't matter. it didn't matter if they were known so we hired a girl called dorothy rothschild to write captions for vogue.
the one that caught frank crenna and shields i was brevity is the soul of lingerie. she kept dropping little poems on frank's desk to transfer it from little old folk to "vanity fair" that finally he agreed to take her on. he then also wanted to take on somebody to make the "vanity fair" article's more substantial city brought on the chap in the middle a guy called robert benchley who was actually one of the funniest people i've ever written about and his own biography is absolute historical. he was a harvard graduate. he'd been the editor of the harvard lampoon and he got the job he could see was going to get very serious. i open the book with one of the incidents that happened while they were working there. essentially by the way he went on to win an oscar for short that was produced by mgm called how to sleep.
it's a stared way funny if you can ever get ahold of it. dorsey of course would eventually go on to other things but the third person in the pictures a gentleman called robert sherwood who is about 6 feet 8 inches. he was fresh out of the army in 1919 and came to work. he said he was a very good writer. frank wanted to believe him. he had been very wounded during the war. he had been shot in the legs and his dorothy would say how did they miss his hard? this guy was enormous. he went on to win four pulitzer prizes and went on to be the speechwriter for fdr. these were all announced that they all behaved tremendously and of course ended up getting fired. it was all basically because dorothy decided as a theater
critic by now that she was going to go after broadway producers and she ended up labeling them so he really had no choice. conde didn't really want to fire her but he knew she had to go. it was poor frank had to do it. so, during the war he sets up british vogue's because he can't export tape from america believe it or not during world war i and decides at the end of the war in 1919 that is going to go across to europe and set up a french vogue. he has now become the first international magazine publisher in the world. we talked about a few of the staff writers. i'm just going to show you a few pictures because of wars that the negatives are all about. his number one photographer was on the left here. it was in 1915 after he lost the
first battle, after hurst lost the first battle with condé nast that he decided he was going to poach dermyer. it was a loss but only for about 10 minutes because george hearn again replaced him and it was george who took the first pictures of movement. he was followed by edward steichen and sussel bacon later on. and then there was the discovery of the model turned photographer v miller. v miller was vogue photographer during the second world war. we will come back to her pictures in a minute. this is an example of the type of picture that adolph meyer took. it's actually mary wedding dress to douglas fairbanks senior and
its condé's.org the tica who is modeling it. she was apparently so small that nobody but a child could fit into it. this was a lady called grace moore who is the next soprano. she also became condé's mistress by 1919 when his marriage to clara reese finally broke up. the picture is one of his pictures and it shows now they are starting to play with shadows and light in a way that is more tenable we are used to today. steichen is the one who created the celebrity photograph. here we have gloria swanson and charlie chaplin, adele and fred astaire, noel coward who by the way condé saved from starvation giving him his first 10 bucks when he came to america in the 1920s. greta garbo and this is sussel
bacon specialty. he is to make people of a certain weight then. here is how he managed to change leyna rubenstein into somebody who is quite dutiful. but then again sussel p. was also friendly with the british aristocracy and when it came time for the apt occasion of edward the eighth to marry wallace simpson it was be convicted at pictures of her trousseau. of course the trousseau was made i do designer who also happen to be a condé nast employee. the only ugly pictures to ever appear in vogue were these taken by lee miller and on the left is a picture of and hitler's bath and what happened when she walked into one of the huts at
daca. i mentioned that he hired lots of writers, loss of everything. f. scott fitzgerald, p.g. wodehouse and believe it or not jack dempsey. all these people work for him. what mattered was the diversity in fact people had so many special gifts to give to the reader. the artists were incredible. this is eduardo paneto one of his famous covers. here we have carl ericson with one of his more beautiful light touches for one of the models that he drew. miguel kovar vests and i always get it wrong but you know who i mean. he did some of the more fanciful covers. now the other thing that happened with the photography in vogue in particular was he never doubted what any picture was trying to sell you. here we have sandals.
we also have marlena dietrich who is modeling a hat. more hats. if you want to buy any kind of cosmetics you of course have to have the cool compact in the jewelry to go with it, don't you? and the covers. it was not unusual to see black people on the covers of vogue in the 1930s. you always knew what every issue is going to sell you. then there came a fresh face to vogue. carmel white as she was at the time, carmel snow as she became when she married one of the 400. she arrived and she was a complete breath of fresh air, completely untrained just like edna had been in the beginning. her only claim to fame was that her brother worked for william randolph hurst.
little did conde know that would actually mean something in several years. carmel's husband was very much into sports and she was also very much into the idea that women could do anything and go anywhere and be anything. the covers became more exotic. you had women were asked the doing sports who were riding camels, who were shooting, who were skiing, who are voting and doing all kinds of activities. he never forgot his core business which was selling clothing and fashion to women. you can look at the cover and you know they are trying to sell me jewelry. here we have the beginning of the paris season in the beginning of the new york season but everything was done with the purpose so the customer and the reader always knew what they were getting. the advertiser always knew that
they were advertising in an issue that meant something to people. and meanwhile condé's friendship with frank blossom. they were really like brothers. there were a lot of rumors that they were. i don't know about frank one way or the other. i know edmund wilson who was one of the editors at "vanity fair" for a brief period of time believed that he was unix. i prefer to call him a preferred bachelor. kanye on the other hand loved women. he always seen with a pretty woman on his arm after he inquiries split up. took many years for her to agree to a divorce but that's for something in the future. in the meantime in the 1920s querry's move to 1000 park avenue. their daughter mateen to became
the host of many of condé's many famous parties. conde move to 1040 park and lc will face the person who decked raided the apartment. that is where the most famous café society parties take place. i would like to say think of mrs. astor dancing with groucho marx but i can imagine groucho marx dancing but anyway. anybody who was in the news, anybody who is a trendsetter was invited to the party. frequently they didn't even know condé to begin with. that was the case with charles lindbergh as an example. he just returned from his solo flight over france and conde decided to throw up out -- party in his honor. he came, he was mobbed by the came. the tica rescued him but that's another story. this is apartment frito-lay
backdrop in "vanity fair" and at times per "vanity fair". -- it gives you an idea for what it was like that in the right-hand side you have the ballroom. these were actual shots that appeared in various poker "vanity fair" magazines. and guess what happens? suddenly in 1925 a guy called harold ross decides to come up with something called "the new yorker." they are worried about "vanity fair" but it turns out they decided to work with herald ross and when i say condé was the first to think of a lot of things he was a pioneer with all new tech elegies and he had the best printing plant in the entire united states and greenwich connecticut. they did a deal with "the new yorker" to print "the new yorker" at condé's printing plant. basically it was a very successful relationship for many
years. then the new houses bought "the new yorker" and the two magazines were part of a condé nast publication. as you can see they also have very stylish artist and this is the tica in 1928, 29 when she was still the host guests for condé. she introduced him to this man on the right a chap called iver could save rich who was a white russian who had come over to his estates. he started out as a runner on wall street. he was always very fashionable in debonair and she insisted with her father you will love this man. he is just like you. he said why is he just like me and she said he thinks the numbers. he sees numbers as pictures. he understands how important it is to have a balance sheet that works, to have all of the covers
that worked and understand what covers attract people and which ones don't attack people. i promise you dad, he is a great guy. they met and they liked each other but conde was thinking about something else. he had fallen in love with a woman the same age as his daughter, leslie foster. the picture on the lower right is leslie who is facing us and that is matika talking to her. he was afraid people would make fun of them and she was afraid people would make fun of them. they were a real generation apart but at the end of the day they truly love each other and they got married right before the crash. this is a picture of them on honeymoon and as a matter of fact he was so nervous that he invited all of his children to join them on honeymoon. he agreed to higher to save rich
because he was thinking in terms of the future. they need somebody who is reliable who can take over for me. sorry, it's really bad shot. i apologize. that's the house that they bought together on long island. that's the sun room that overlooks the sound. and within the first year leslie gave birth to her daughter little leslie who is one of the main people who helped me on this but her little leslie is 89 today. so this is -- they look like bankers, don't they? well they are. the chap on the left is the deal catchings. some of you may have heard of him, some not. harrison williams owned the largest power generation company and united states. catchings was the chairman of goldman sachs and together they
decided in 1928 that they were going to start telling people whose companies they wanted to acquire once the crash came and that they should load themselves up with debt. one thing that conde rice believed in you go to the experts in the expert adviser and at the end of the day it's your decision but you have to trust the experts. these men were his friends and he trusted them and they loaded him up with too much debt so when the crash came condé was worthless and condé nast publication was actually taken over by them. they tried to get condé out of the company. they might have succeeded if it wouldn't have been been for ed note woman chase. they wanted to make her in charge of the company and she said not only would she not take the job but she would quit and she would make sure that all the staff would quit as well. conde was left in place but he
had to help someone -- find someone to help them out with the debt. they were taken over by floyd goldman who put the condé nast notifications back on a level footing but he also said i will sell to anybody who wants to buy this so i can make a profit. by now can't day is really getting upset. he approached joe kennedy to buy it because joe offered because joe operative by the hurst publications when they were in trouble and joe said no. he asked his good friend bernard baruch and he said no. everybody in america said no. .. >> he never forgave her. never. she is the only person who did
him strong who he never forgave. as you can see there's a very famous new yorker, diana friedman, was at harper's bazaar, talking to carmelo snow, by now carmen his brother, light, is the general manager of all of those companies and he is one of seven people who was bailing out first at the same time. if that weren't bad enough, he gets prostrate cancer. and he has a heart attack. he is the radical process is to me, it's a harbor to say. basically, he is in such poor health he doesn't know what he is going to do. there is this lady who he meets at a cocktail party. he is still married but is now deciding if he is prepared to run this young woman's life. she will build have any more children with him. he's not quite sure what is going to do about it. and this lady into his life and
everybody knows who she is? at the time she was claire booth brokaw. he met her at a cocktail party and he said go meet missus cha chase. she did. missus jay said well i'm off to europe for the summer. come back in september and i'll see if i can hire you. claire being claire, did the most amazing thing i have ever seen. she decided since she was away and then there was away, as she wouldn't she would use her way into vogue. what is that mean. she reported for work and claimed she was the new girl. [laughter] and actually and suddenly, she started working and by the time and it came ba back, it was is it too late to fire her. so she went from that to becoming the managing director of vanity fair eventually.
but all within three years. there were boats of rumors that connie was enamored with her and he was going to leave his wife for her and everything else. frankly, that's a lot of hokum. she would marry him anyway. but condé decides very painfully to tell his wife leslie, she has to go and marry somebody else. he had arranged for her to meet this gentleman rex benson who was a banker. they did fall in love and they did get married. but rex's children said to me, leslie and condé remained entirely devoted to each other for the rest of his life. they had two children together. they were very happy. condé, kept little leslie in new york with him so he could go to the american school and obviously is very difficult for
big leslie is the culture in the family. to keep leslie in england at the time. meanwhile dear claire decide she's going to marry and recluse, and the picture on the left was taken only four months before the picture on the right. it was not a happy union. i just put this in for the fun of it because there they parker such a breath of fresh air. so incredibly kind to her inferiors, dorothy says or does she find them. >> meanwhile condé about 1934, finally find somebody who is going to bail him out and buy condé mass publications from a hoodlum, it's a gentleman in england called william mary lord camrose who have a variety of women's magazines and also at the time the daily telegraph.
the deal that they did was handshake deals okay. nobody was to know that cameras had bailed them out and condé still stated charge of all of his magazines. i do know anywhere today that would happen. claire now by 1936, she is now in charge of vanity fair and she was of course a staunch republican and is one of you may recall, she decides that as the election is coming up in 32 that she is going to start lampooning as the art because of course his news deals a terrible thing and he is the horrible man. that didn't really play very well because naturally fdr was very popular with the people. so vanity fair subscription started to fall off and people weren't buying it as much of the newsstand. this continued through 1936.
finally what happened, claire left when she married henry lives and helen brown took over very briefly as its managing director. condé had a brief affair with her. she wrote about him in her book a stranger at the party. but i think he would've been very upset to find out that she was publicizing their life. he was a very part of why it's and very shy man. he didn't want his private life to be talked about in public. this is the last issue of vanity fair in 1936 in february of 36. ellen brown became helen lawrence and she went on to write a lot of esquire and became a sort of biographer for clare as well. vanity fair was assumed into
vogue and frank and condé were both broken. it was their love affair with new york that had created vanity fair. they were just so upset they were never going to be the same. one of the other things that vanity fair got going or got strong was it would decide it would talk about ms. miss lena and hitler but their predictions for what they're going to be doing to europe in the world were entirely strong. and of course hitler invades the west in 1939 and died june 1940, they'd taken over paris. condé is now a cold man. his heart is been broken by all of the strain of trying to save his company, he said several heart attacks and he skipped secret is prostate condition. nobody knew anything except the only a secretary and his daughter and his butler.
that was it. so now he's faced with a situation where all of the people that he hired in france who he loved and many who were very close friends were now in danger. he brought as many of them to safety as he could. on the right-hand side, he brought over the editor of vogue, there he is pictured after the war with lee miller. on the left was supposed diane who was the fashion editor of the period put into concentration camps but did survive the war. her husband was put into a different concentration camp did not make it. there's a lot of the book out condé desperately try to say people. how he'd spent any cash that he had in sending care packages to the british as well. including at that., to his former wife. condé died in september of 1942.
of heart failure. it was a very touching story that edna woman chase wrote that this law stays with him. i do include this in the book. he died virtually that went out any money. his first wife clarice had an apartment on east 72nd street, which honey had bought for her outright. they worked together for the benefit of the grandchildren. and he was always wonderful to her and very generous. he and leslie remained very good friends. frank was the only member of the vanity fair team who came out on top. he sold his shares on the eve of september the eighth right before the stock market crashed. so here we have condé furniture and all of his personal effects up for auction. it is very sad even the family
had to bid for it at auction. they weren't allowed the smallest trinket. i mentioned before with named by condé as the new chief executive of the magazine empire. he wanted to marry marlena and he she didn't want him. he was very active in hollywood. there is pictured on the left with some of his good friends david nevin, annie scott james stewart and eventually he married ciesla lewis in 1963 in the state mary. and he was cut from the same cloth as condé. his word was his bond. but every hire people who he felt were right for the job as opposed to famous. he is it too realized that he had cell the magazine empire when william mary died.
his given the opportunity to find an american buyer. and he opted for the new family. so of course, a new era. he brings forward alex lieberman and of course they poach to get their own empire. diana friedman. here are the two of them look very happy. i think this picture characterizes the relationship a lot better. don't you. [laughter] they didn't get on. she left to go for and after h her, we have tina brown who came in to effectively resurrect vanity fair in 1984. she did a great job until 1992. of course the lady in the right, needs no introduction to new york. even though she is british i think partially british.
but the one who really made vanity fair see. every single song is to see was definitely writing carter. he again made vanity fair what had been originally. in other words, it wasn't that you would invite a star to vanity fair star at the oscars, the stars had to be at the vanity bar or they weren't stars. that is a big difference and anybody who read vanity fair was allowed to go into that world. we had movie stars, they wrote fabulous article about the girly collection which was what i wrote about. they did when i called important journalism in many different ways. essentially, here we have their 100 issue on their 100th anniversary issue. never on the it was in publication. but that is what vanity fair was
all about. was a very shy man from very modest beginning who actually brought business ethics to america. america's can-do attitude to europe and european style to new york thank you. [applause] screaming. >> ladies and gentlemen please speak clearly and directly into the microphone his around you. take you. >> somebody must have a question. zero the gentleman here.
>> who currently has the apartment at 1040. i'm sorry. who currently has the house on long island in the apartment at 1040 park. do you know? >> i asked leslie who owns the house now at sands.and she didn't know. i can tell you what happened at 1040. it is a very sad story. it was in 32 rooms, duplex apartment. it has an enclosed balcony all the way around. magnificent. it could not be sold. it was eventually after about five years, more than that, 19 1948, it was subdivided back into three separate apartments.
and no longer a duplex. the teak i used to go there often with her daughter to paint because it had fantastic light in it. her daughter used to dance her ballet and the dance floor. that part is also in the book. but unfortunately didn't remain. >> there are two very beautiful granite stones where i assume the plant was. who owns those pillars. >> i believe it town of greenwich has asked for them to remain in place and they taken over the care and maintenance. essentially the printing plant which was the most extraordinary place, i think 400 acres originally. it had been scrubland.
they turned it into the most beautiful park. they were printing for about 25 of america's most important magazines at the time. it was sold after the new house was bought. mass publications. i am pleased that was after condé his life because it would've been a tremendous sadness to him. it probably would've killed him if vanity fair had gone a long way towards that already. i'm almost certain that it is the city or the town of greenwich that owns them. >> thank you there are very beautiful and they are maintained. >> they are gorgeous yes. >> what is one of the stories that most surprised you in your research for the book. >> i think it was a story about
leslie and condé and why they decided to divorce. i had a bizarre connection with the benson's. the benson side of the family. my husband worked for many years for mr. benson in the same maker. we gave up baking by the way. we give that up in 2005 we were not part of the bad stuff. anyway, he, i knew about him and i knew he was quite a buckling character. unfortunately, what was so good is that leslie's half brothers, robin and david, give me access to their father's diary about we need had met leslie. also how he was afraid that he was falling in love with a married woman. and she was afraid she might be falling in love with him.
but they hadn't actually realized that condé had sent her to england to meet him on purpose. they always say if you love somebody a lot, you have to be wheeling to let them go. in conley his case, he not only was wheeling to let her go but he felt that that was the only way she could have a life. he was afraid that she married an old man, yes they love each other but frankly, it wasn't a good life for her. she need it a different life. it was his selflessness on top of the fact that he was this terribly ethical person. it made me say i wish i had known him. there are so few people around like that. it would've been lovely to have actually met him. the meeting is children in span children and great-grandchildren, amongst all this i suppose.
>> this is about the new houses. what are they doing with condo nest. >> to everybody here the question. she asked if i could tell us a little bit more about the new houses and what they are doing with condé nast. very short answer is no. simply because when i was being vetted by condé nasa, as to both of or not i was a fit person to go into their archives, they asked me one question. who are you writing about. and i said condé nast. and they said are you going to be writing about anyone who was living. i said no, i like writing about dead people. [laughter] so i specifically stayed away from the new houses.
obviously because i think people didn't want to have the story just end with sadness of funny dying. it was important to understand in the book that the empire lived on. there are an awful lot of changes at condé nast and all of the new house publications. obviously, the world is spinning at such a rate right now that print magazines are difficult for people to make any kind of a profit known. we do are privately held company like advanced publications is, it's very difficult for anybody outside to understand. there were boats of rumors around carter's quitting we need did. there have been huge changes in personnel. i think with her trying to do is very simply make it profitable. and keep all of the magazines in front as well as online.
both of they will succeed, i don't know. it is a bill bewildering world in the media right now. i think and condé were alive today, he would be totally beside himself. does that help? okay good. >> at the peak of his empire, what was the publications? interns of readership and buying. >> at the peak of the empire, it was probably around 5 million. you have to understand that in the 5 million, you've got offices that had them out on their tables when people were in the waiting rooms and doctors
offices and what have you. see would probably multiply that by five. thank you everybody. [applause] background sounds. [background sounds] [inaudible conversation] >> we emerge in catholic society. thank you so much for that. on the occasion like this, we would like to make a presentation to you and to do so as our executive director the taurean.
>> it was so thoughtfully put together and we all can't wait to read the book. thank you for your very thorough research and really tell you we really loved your characters. on behalf of the gerald society library, we express our gratitude to susan ronald of confidence, and the empire for her labor literature and landmark lecture series. on behalf of the society, thank you. [applause] >> we can ra tell there's already another book inside of you. we made you a lifetime member to our library. we also have new york times
bestseller so i'm sure you find something. come back. [laughter] >> the next book is about somebody else who is also known in america. but going back to the dark side. sorry. it's called the ambassador. it's about joseph p kennedy as an ambassador to britain. 1938 to 1940. [applause] we look forward to it. thank you. [applause] i want to thank you all for coming the 70. on remind you that this book is for sale and susan would be happy to autograph it and i hope you will also join us now for the glass of wine and exorcism will be happy to answer more questions. thank you so much for coming this evening. [applause]