Rachel Lambert Mellon
|Rachel Lambert Mellon|
|Born||August 9, 1910|
|Occupation||Horticulturalist, arts patron|
|Known for||Redesigned White House Rose Garden|
|Spouse(s)||Stacy Barcroft Lloyd, Jr.
(m.1948–99; his death)
|Parents||Gerard Barnes Lambert, Sr. and Rachel Lowe Lambert|
Rachel "Bunny" Lowe Lambert Lloyd Mellon (born August 9, 1910) is an American horticulturalist, gardener, philanthropist, fine arts collector, member of the International Best Dressed List and widow of philanthropist, art collector, thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder, and banking heir Paul Mellon.
Known as Bunny, she is the eldest child of Gerard Barnes Lambert, Sr., a president of Gillette Safety Razor Co. and a founder of Warner-Lambert (Warner-Lambert is now part of Pfizer, following a 2000 merger). One of her grandfathers, chemist Jordan Lambert, invented Listerine, although it was her father who commercialized it. Her mother was the former Rachel Lowe. She had two siblings: Gerard Barnes Lambert, Jr. (1912–1947; married Elsa Cover, former wife of Angus D. Mackintosh); and Lily McCarthy Lambert (1914–2006; married William Wilson Fleming and John Gilman McCarthy).
Mellon's parents divorced in 1933, and in 1934, her mother re-married her former brother-in-law, Dr. Malvern Bryan Clopton, the widower of Gerard Lambert, Sr.'s sister, Lily Lambert Walker. In 1936, Gerard Lambert, Sr. also was re-married, to Grace Cleveland Lansing Mull, the former wife of John B. Mull and a daughter of Henry Livingston Lansing.
Forbes Magazine has been unable to put any sort of definitive number on Mellon's net worth since much of her fortune is tied up in trusts, but it is apparent that she is both extraordinarily wealthy and very private. In 2011, it was revealed that she had lost US$5.75M to investment adviser and convicted Ponzi scheme operator Ken Starr. Her attorney, Alex Forger, said: "She's well off, but assets are not liquid." She maintains homes in Antigua, Nantucket, and Oyster Harbors on Cape Cod, but two apartments in Paris and a townhouse in New York City were recently sold. Her main residence, Oak Spring Farms, a 4,000-acre (1,600 ha) estate in Virginia, has its own 1-mile (1,600 m) long airstrip for her Falcon 2000. She amassed an extraordinary collection of works by artist Mark Rothko, having purchased many of his 1950s works directly from his New York studio. One of the works, Yellow Expanse, is considered one of the greatest works that remains in private hands.
Mellon has long been known for her maximum discretion and minimum exposure. In a rare 1969 New York Times article, she proclaimed that "nothing should be noticed".
- Stacy Barcroft Lloyd, III
- Eliza Winn Lloyd (died May 7, 2008; married and divorced Viscount Moore). In May 2000, Eliza was hit by a truck while crossing a Manhattan street and suffered a severe brain injury. She became quadriplegic and unable to speak. She spent the remaining eight years of her life under round-the-clock care at Oak Spring Farms.
Lambert and Lloyd became close friends of banking heir and art collector Paul Mellon and his first wife, Mary Conover, who died of an asthma attack in 1946. After she divorced Lloyd, Paul and Bunny were married on May 1, 1948. By this marriage, she had two stepchildren, Timothy Mellon and Catherine Conover Mellon (later Mrs. John Warner and now known as Catherine Conover). Together the couple collected and donated more than 1,000 works of art, mostly eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European paintings, to the National Gallery of Art. The couple also bred and raced thoroughbred horses, including a winner of the Kentucky Derby.
In his autobiography, Reflections in a Silver Spoon, Paul Mellon wrote movingly of the warmth his wife brought to Oak Spring Farms, on the National Register of Historic Places. The couple decided to move out of the property’s stately brick house, designed in 1941 by William Adams Delano, whose neo-Georgian mansions were much favored by Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and other plutocrats of that era. They commissioned New York architect H. Page Cross to design Little Oak Spring, the much cozier farmhouse, completed in 1955, where Mellon still lives.
||This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2013)|
Mellon was a longtime friend of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, advising Mrs. Kennedy first on fine arts and antiques during the Kennedy White House restoration and then contributing to the design of the grounds of the President's house. In 1961, on Mrs. Kennedy's request, Mellon redesigned the White House Rose Garden creating a more open space for public ceremony and introducing American species of plants including Magnolia × soulangeana. She next began to work on the White House's East Garden, but was unable to complete it before the assassination of President Kennedy. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson asked Mellon to complete work on the East Garden and in 1965 it was dedicated as the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden.
Later years and support for John Edwards
Her daughter Eliza was hit by a car and became a quadriplegic not long after the death of her husband, Paul, in 1999. Eliza died in 2008. Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of friend Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, sat beside her during her daughter's funeral.
Mellon expressed interest in the John Edwards campaign as early as 2004, because he reminded her of President Kennedy, but when she called his campaign office with an offer to help, no one recognized her name and she wasn’t called back. That changed when Edwards sought the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. In August 2008, Edwards's campaign finance chairman Fred Baron told NBC News that he had been providing financial assistance to both Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young without Edwards's knowledge. He further stated that no campaign funds were used. Mellon allegedly gave more than $725,000 to John Edwards over an eight-month period (through decorator Bryan Huffman) beginning in May 2007. The check falsely referred to as “chairs”, “antique Charleston table” and “bookcase.” During this period Mellon wrote a note to Young saying: “I was sitting alone in a grim mood — furious that the press attacked Senator Edwards on the price of a haircut. But it inspired me — from now on, all haircuts, etc. that are necessary and important for his campaign — please send the bills to me... It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions.” The funds were believed to be used to secretly support Hunter, with whom Edwards had an extra-marital affair and child. The FBI interviewed Mellon at her estate in Upperville, Virginia, on two occasions in 2010. Then in early December of that same year, her son, Stacy Lloyd, III, grandsons, Stacy Lloyd, IV and Thomas Lloyd, along with grandson Thomas Lloyd's wife, Ricki Lloyd, appeared before a grand jury in Raleigh, North Carolina. On June 3, 2011, Edwards was indicted on using campaign funds to help cover-up an affair and pregnancy during the 2008 presidential campaign. Mellon was widely believed to be 'Person C' described in the indictment. Just one week prior to his indictment in late May 2011, Edwards visited Mellon at her Upperville estate. Following his indictment, the judge forbade Edwards to speak with any potential witnesses. People close to Mellon said that the money was a personal gift and that she had no idea how Mr. Edwards used it.
Although described as strong and resilient, her health has deteriorated due to a bad fall and a bout with cancer. She no longer spends her days gardening. “I had a serious operation a little while ago, and ever since then I’ve been very, very weak,” Mellon says. “I’m going along on very weak wheels.” Most distressing is her loss of vision, as a result of macular degeneration, but she continues to stay active. She still swims and does Pilates, which she learned from the exercise's inventor Joseph Pilates more than 50 years ago.
- Abbott James A., and Elaine M. Rice. Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration. Van Nostrand Reinhold: 1998. ISBN 0-442-02532-7.
- Garrett, Wendell. Our Changing White House. Northeastern University Press: 1995. ISBN 1-55553-222-5.
- McEwan, Barbara. White House Landscapes. Walker and Company: 1992. ISBN 0-8027-1192-8.
- Mellon, Rachel Lambert. The White House Gardens Concepts and Design of the Rose Garden. Great American Editions Ltd.: 1973.
- Seale, William. The White House Garden. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 1996. ISBN 0-912308-69-9.
- Bremner, Charles. The Times (London) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article713238.ece
|url=missing title (help).
- Gordon, Meryl (July 25, 2011), the Secret-Keeper, Newsweek, retrieved Aug 7, 2011
- O'Connor, Claire (June 3, 2011), The Money Behind John Edwards: Heiress Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon, Age 100, Forbes, retrieved 2011-06-05
- Reginato, James (August 2010), Bunny Mellon’s Secret Garden, Vanity Fair, retrieved June 6, 2011
- Seldes, Lee (1996). The legacy of Mark Rothko. Da Capo Press. pp. 230–235. ISBN 978-0-306-80725-1.
- Seelye, Katherine Q. (June 4, 2011), Edwards Case Casts Spotlight on a Long Reclusive Donor, New York Times, retrieved June 11, 2011
- "Milestones, Dec. 5, 1932 (partial access only without subscription)". Time. December 5, 1932.
- Later in life, after her divorce, she used the name Eliza Lambert Lloyd, but her wedding announcement in The New York Times in 1968 called her Eliza W. Lloyd and news articles about her coming out in 1961 called her Eliza Winn Lloyd. Her obituary in The New York Times, however, called her Eliza Lloyd Moore.
- Death notice of Eliza Lloyd Moore, The New York Times, May 12, 2008.
- Yale Center for British Art
- Paul Mellon : In his Own Words. Accessed 5 June 2012.
- Jeralyn, "Bunny Mellon's Relatives Make Grand Jury Appearance in John Edwards Investigation", TalkLeft, December 03, 2010.
- National Gallery of Art: Paul Mellon Remembered
- David Cannadine, Mellon: An American Life, Knopf, 2006, ISBN 0-679-45032-7
- Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Inc. - History
- Grandson Thomas Lloyd's marriage notice.
- Step-mother Grace Lansing Lambert obituary