Addison Mizner – Social History in Palm Beach from New York Social Diary – Mansions and Yachts

Addison Mizner (left) and his career as an architect of fact and fable.  From mansions to yachts.

More Social History in Palm Beach from a great story in New York Social Diary.

Cruising The Past also looks at one of Mizner’s first clients: Edward Townsend Stotesbury and his yacht Neveda.

Our thanks to Wayne C. Wilcox and his STOTESBURY.COM website for photos and background.

El Mirasol, Palm Beach, FL; from a c. 1920 postcard published by the E. C. Kropp Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Designed by architect Addison Mizner, the winter home of Edward Townsend Stotesbury was completed in 1919. Razed in the 1950s, the 37-room mansion’s fittings and furnishings were sold at auction, and its 42 acres (17 hectares) were redeveloped as a 14 lot subdivision.

(Left: The Stotesbury’s yacht Neveda cruising in front of EL Mirasol.) Even though Henry Morrison Flagler founded Palm Beach, it took Eva and Edward Stotesbury to put it on the map

In 1917, when the Stotesburys decided to build ‘El Mirasol,” they were a couple in the right place. at the right time.

“El Mirasol’s” architect, Addison Mizner was kept busy at his drawing board constantly trying to devise new ways to combine the towers, turrets, cloisters and balconies which typify the Spanish vernacular. In time, other Palm Beach houses were grander and more lavishly appointed, and still others were perhaps more convincingly authentic designs, but “El Mirasol” always occupied a very special place, because it was the first.

(Left: A “Best-Dressed” E.T. Stotesbury and lady friends aboard the sixth yacht Nedeva, 1937. Stotesbury’s nurse Miss Connell is on the far right.) The name Nedeva was the combination of the name “Ned,” a nickname for E.T. Stotesbury, and “Eva,” the name used by Stotesbury’s second wife Lucretia Roberts Cromwell Stotesbury.

There were a total of six yachts named Nedeva.

The only one that still exists today is the fifth Nedeva, launched in November of 1930 for Stotesbury by the New York Yacht, Launch and Engine Company under registration number 230345.

(Below) The Nedeva docked in front of Mizner’s El Mirasol.

The yacht was christened by Miss Margaret Connell, Stotesbury’s private nurse. Mr. and Mrs. Stotesbury were both present at the christening, and they gave a tea on board the yacht immediately afterwards.

Other guests present were Mrs. Christopher Dumphy, Mrs. Grace H. Hutchins (who was in charge of the interior decoration of the yacht), Jimmy Cromwell (Eva’s son from her first marriage), and J.F. Masterson, a vice president of the shipbuilding company.

The yacht Nedeva was used to transport the Stotesburys between their houses in Bar Harbor, Maine; Philadelphia and Palm Beach, Florida.

New York Social Diary has an excellent piece on Addison Mizner by Augustus Mayhew.

He takes a good look at the Addison Mizner archive at the Four Arts In Palm Beach.

A man of fact and fable, Mizner’s work lives on a century later and this piece explains why and how. Really fascinating stuff.

Addison Mizner and his career as an architect of fact and fable; and a visit to a destination for the “Mad Men” of the day, and read it today on New York Social Diary.

Envisioning Palm Beach

The Gilded Age grandeur of Venice’s Hotel Bauer, seen in a photograph from the Addison Mizner Collection at The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach. Although best known for all things Spanish, Mizner frequently visited Italy, taking his first visit trip to Venice shortly after he moved to New York in 1904.

The Addison Mizner Collection at The Society of the Four Arts
By Augustus Mayhew

Architect Addison Mizner’s extensive library, volumes that span three centuries, and his design diaries — scrapbooks filled with sketches, watercolors, photographs and ephemera — are noteworthy aspects of the decorative arts collections at The Society of the Four Arts, reflecting Mizner’s influential status as a professional architect and illustrating the inspirations for the houses, buildings and interiors he created in New York and Palm Beach.

To read the complete story in today’s NEW YORK SOCIAL DIARY – Click here.


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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