Clara Longworth de Chambrun

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Clara Eleanor Longworth de Chambrun, Comtesse de Chambrun (October 18, 1873 – June 1, 1954)[1] was an American patron of the arts and scholar of Shakespeare.

Life[edit]

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Nicholas Longworth and Susan Walker, Clara belonged to a wealthy family that was involved in Ohio politics. Her father was an Ohio State Supreme Court judge, and her brother (also named Nicholas Longworth) was a congressman from Ohio for three decades, eventually becoming Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1925 to 1931.

Her brother Nicholas married Alice Roosevelt, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Clara was reputed to dislike Alice. Clara was friends with Josephine Crane, the second wife of Winthrop M. Crane, governor of Massachusetts.

Family[edit]

She was attendant at her cousin Margaret Reeves Nichols's marriage to the Marquis Charles de Chambrun, Charles de Chambrun (1875-1952) December 12, 1895.[2]

She married Count Aldebert de Chambrun, later General de Chambrun, a direct descendant of the Marquis de Lafayette on February 19, 1901 in Cincinnati. She bore him two children, Suzanne Eleanore, born 1902 and René, born 1906-died 2002. He was the French Military attaché in Washington, D. C. at one time, before serving as an artillery officer in World War I. He is reputed to have written his wife about the pleasure he had in shelling his own château, near St. Mihiel, with artillery as part of a six-week siege because it was occupied by German forces, though this later turned out to be a hoax.[3][4]

In 1921, Suzanne died of heart disease in Paris.[5][6] That same year, at the age of 48, Clara earned a doctorate from the Sorbonne and five years later she received the Bordin Prize of the Académie française for a book on Shakespeare which she wrote in French. She was one of the founding members of The American Library in Paris, and served as a trustee from 1921 through 1924. This was followed in 1928 by her election as a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour.

In 1935 her son René married Josée Marie Laval, daughter of Pierre Laval, who was then serving as Premier of France. Through such connections as this, the Countess was able to keep The American Library in Paris open past France's declaration of war in September 1939, organised an administrative set-up which made it possible to keep it independent after the US entered the war.[7] She acted as its director until the fall of 1944 when her ties to Laval became a liability. Before she died, however, thanks were given to her for her actions.

In the fall of 1935, the countess rented her apartment at 58 rue de Vaugirard, at the corner of the Luxembourg Gardens to the young poet Elizabeth Bishop, where Bishop wrote "Cirque d'Hiver", her first poem to be published in The New Yorker, and "Paris, 7 AM".

Works[edit]

She translated Hamlet into French

  • Pieces of the game: A modern instance. Indypublish.com. 1915. ISBN 978-1-4371-0045-7. 
  • Playing with souls: A novel, 1922
  • Shakespeare, actor-poet: As seen by his associates, explained by himself and remembered by the succeeding generation, 1927
  • His wife's Romance, 1929
  • De Chambrun, Clara L; De), Clara (Longworth) Chambrun (Comtesse (1933). The Making of Nicholas Longworth; Annals of an American Family. New York. ISBN 978-0-8369-5882-9. 
  • Two loves I Have: the romance of William Shakespeare, (Philadelphia, London, J.B. Lippincott Co., 1934)
  • Shadows Like Myself. New York: C. Scribner's Sons. 1936. 
  • Cincinnati: Story of the Queen City, (New York, London: Scribner, 1939)
  • Shadows Lengthen, the Story of My Life. New York: C. Scribner's Sons. 1949. 
  • Shakespeare: A Portrait Restored. New York: Hollis & Carter. 1957. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MME.DE CHAMBRIJN DIES IN PARIS AT 80" (PDF). The New York Times. June 2, 1954. 
  2. ^ "De Chambrun -- Nichols" (PDF). The New York Times. December 13, 1895. 
  3. ^ "SHELLS HIS OWN HOME, DELIGHTS IN ITS RUIN; Count de Chambrun, Artillery Officer, Turns Guns of His Battery on Germans Occupying It. Shadows Like Myself Countess De Chambrun Scribner's copyright 1936" (PDF). The New York Times. October 30, 1914. 
  4. ^ Article
  5. ^ "MISS DE CHAMBRUN DIES" (PDF). The New York Times. December 19, 1921. 
  6. ^ Article
  7. ^ Christopher Silvester (April 17, 2009). "AMERICANS IN PARIS: LIFE AND DEATH UNDER NAZI OCCUPATION 1940-44". The Daily Express. 

External links[edit]