Allene Tew

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Allene Tew
Born(1872-07-07)July 7, 1872
DiedMay 1, 1955(1955-05-01) (aged 82)
Cap d'Ail, France
  • (m. 1891; died 1902)
  • Morton Colton Nichols
    (m. 1904; div. 1905)
  • (m. 1912; died 1927)
  • (m. 1929; div. 1935)
  • Count Pavel de Kotzebue
    (m. 1936⁠–⁠1955)

Allene Tew Hostetter Nichols Burchard Reuß zu Köstritz de Kotzebue (July 7, 1872 – May 1, 1955)[1] was an American socialite during the Gilded Age who became a European aristocrat by marriage.

Early life[edit]

Allene Tew was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, on July 7, 1872.[2] Her father, Charles Henry Tew, was a banker in Jamestown, New York, and her mother was Janet (née Smith) Tew.[3][4]

She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. As such, she had to provide documentation that she was a descendant of someone who fought in the American Revolutionary War.[5] She may have doctored the evidence in order to encourage Mrs. Astor, the self-proclaimed queen of aristocratic American society at the turn of the century, to accept her as a member of the upper class despite her middle class upbringing, premarital pregnancy, and shotgun wedding.[6]

Personal life[edit]

First marriage[edit]

She married the first of her five husbands, Theodore Rickey Hostetter, a polo player and yachtsman who was one of the wealthiest men of Pittsburgh, in 1891.[7] Tod, as he was known, was the youngest son of Rosetta (née Rickey) Hostetter and David Hostetter, a prominent businessman and banker.[8] They had apartments in New York City at 8 East 65th Street and several country homes including Raccoon Farm in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, complete with polo grounds and golf links, and a summer house at Narragansett Pier.[9] Together, Tod and Allene were the parents of three children:

  • Greta Hostetter (1892–1918), who married Glenn L. Stewart (1884–1957).[7] She had her debut at Sherry's in 1911.[10]
  • Verna Hostetter (1893–1895), who died in early childhood.[7]
  • Theodore Rickey Hostetter Jr. (1897–1918), who was killed in World War I.[7]

Hostetter died of pneumonia on August 3, 1902, at the age of 32. He contracted a cold on his yacht Seneca during a trip to Larchmont, New York, to visit his brother Herbert.[9] His estate was valued at $1,349,196, which included shares of the Union Trust Company, the Pennsylvania Gas Goal Company, the Monongahela Coal Company, the Pittsburgh, Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad, and the Hostetter Company, the family firm.[11] After his death, it was reported that Tod had lost $1,000,000 in one year because of gambling.[12] Reportedly, "[b]efore he was buried the gamblers who claimed that the young man owed them large sums called upon the widow to effect a settlement."[12]

Second marriage[edit]

After Hostetter's death she married Morton Colton Nichols at St. Thomas's Church by the Rev. Dr. Ernest M. Stires on December 27, 1904.[13] Nichols had previously been rumored to be engaged to Vivien Sartoris, daughter of Nellie Grant and granddaughter of President Ulysses S. Grant.[14] After their honeymoon in Canada, Allene and Morton, a real estate investor with Ladd & Nichols, lived at 3 East 67th Street while their new residence on Park Avenue and 37th Street was being constructed.[15] They divorced a year later in 1905 and she resumed the name of Hostetter. In August 1932, Nichols hanged himself in a suite at the Pierre Hotel in New York.[16]

Third marriage[edit]

Her third husband was Anson Wood Burchard, whom she married on December 4, 1912, in London.[17] Among those present at the wedding were Burchard's best man, Edwin W. Rice, Lord and Lady Greville (Lady Greville, a fellow American, was the former Olive Grace, widow of Henry Kerr),[18] the Comte de Paris, Mrs. Hinsdill Parsons (Anson's sister and the wife of GE's General Counsel), Capt. and the Hon. Mrs. Feilden, among others.[19] At the time of their wedding, Burchard, a son of Walter Howard Burchard, was assistant to the President of General Electric.[10] He later served as a director and vice-chairman of the company.[20] In Manhattan, they were listed in the Social Register and resided at 57 East 64th Street on the Upper East Side, in a townhouse designed by architect C. P. H. Gilbert.[21] In 1925, they purchased 690 Park Avenue from Mrs. Henry P. Davison.[22] In Paris, they resided at 4 Rue d'Aguesseau in the 8th arrondissement.[23]

During their marriage, both of Allene's children from her first marriage who lived to adulthood died within the same week in 1918.[24] Her husband died suddenly at the home of Mortimer L. Schiff on January 22, 1927.[25][26] His estate was valued in excess of $3,000,000.[27] Burchard's nephew, Seth Rosewater (son of Charles Rosewater, a part owner of the Omaha Bee), changed his last name "to Burchard in order to keep the Burchard name alive" and to inherit the millions left by his uncle.[24]

Fourth marriage[edit]

In October 1928, Prince Heinrich XXXIII Reuss of Köstritz accompanied her to the Moulton musicale celebrating Arthur J. Moulton's restoration of the historic Chateau de la Verrières in Verrières-le-Buisson, formerly owned by the Comte de Lavalette, Napoleon's aide-de-camp in his Italian campaign.[28] Allene had recently purchased a new house at 33 Rue Bardet de Jouy in France,[28] the former residence of the Comtesse de Montebello.[29] In January 1929, she chartered the Indiana, a luxurious houseboat referred to as a "floating palace", to travel up the Nile River in Egypt. Prince Heinrich, known as Henry in the American press, was among her guests, as was Lord Greville and Lady Greville.[29]

In Paris on April 10, 1929, she married Prince Heinrich as her fourth husband.[30] Capt. Steele, naval attaché of the embassy in Paris, gave the bride in marriage. The guests at the wedding included German Ambassador Prince Heinrich XXXII and Prince Heinrich XXXIV.[31] Her new husband was a member of one of the oldest reigning houses in Europe and a grandson of Charles Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach through his mother Princess Marie. He had been divorced in 1922 from Princess Victoria Margaret of Prussia, niece of German Emperor Wilhelm II. He served as an officer in the Second Dragoons Guard, the regiment of the Empress Alexandra of Russia, and was in the diplomatic service with the German embassy in Paris.[31] During their marriage, she was known for her entertaining, including throwing a debut party at the Waldorf-Astoria for her stepdaughter, Princess Marie Luise Reuss zu Köstritz in 1932.[32][33]

She became Princess of Reuss, and it was her secretary who announced in June 1935 that the Prince and Princess had divorced.[34][35]

Fifth marriage[edit]

Her fifth husband was Capt. Count Pavel de Kotzebue, who was known as Paul de Kotzebue in the American Press, whom she married on March 4, 1936, in Geneva, Switzerland.[36][37] He was born on February 20, 1884, in Kremenetz and his uncle, Ernest Karlevich Kotzebue, was the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. from October 31, 1895, to October 28, 1897.[36][38][39] It was his first marriage and their guests included Prince Ferdinand of Lippe-Weissenfeld, Prince Lobanoff of Lausanne and Colonel Alexander Kotzebue, the Count's brother. In 1940, they bought Beechwood, the former Newport cottage of Caroline Schermerhorn Astor from Mrs. Astor's grandson, Vincent Astor.[1] They entertained extensively in Newport,[40][41] including an elaborate garden party for the benefit of the Newport Chapter of the American Red Cross.[42] They lived in New York, Paris, and Palm Beach.[38][a]

She negotiated on behalf of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld leading up to his marriage to princess (and subsequently queen) Juliana of the Netherlands because she was a friend of his mother's (Armgard von Cramm).[46] In 1938, she became godmother to their eldest daughter, princess Beatrix, later Queen of the Netherlands.[47][48]

She died at her villa in Cap d'Ail on the French Riviera on May 1, 1955, at the age of eighty-two.[1] At the time of her death, her New York residence was 740 Park Avenue, considered to be "the most luxurious and powerful residential building in New York City".[49] After her death, six of her cousins filed claims contesting her $20,113,000 will, which reportedly was the largest filed in Newport Probate Court.[50] Count Kotzebue, who had been president of the Russian Nobility Association in America (RNA) from 1942 until 1953, died in Paris on 13 September 1966.[2]


  1. ^ In Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago was the residence of the second United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union from November 1936 until June 1938 Joseph E. Davies of Watertown, Wisconsin, who was the husband of Marjorie Merriweather Post and later became the United States Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg from May 1938 until November 1939. According to the Hermitage Museum Foundation, Post and Davies were Russophiles and had a large private Russian art collection.[43][44][45]


  1. ^ a b c "Countess Kotzebue Is Dead on Riviera" (PDF). The New York Times. 3 May 1955. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b McNaughton, Arnold (1973). The Book of Kings: A Royal Genealogy, Vol. 1. Garnstone Press. p. 342. ISBN 9780900391194. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  3. ^ Engineers, American Society of Civil (1927). Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. 91. American Society of Civil Engineers. p. 1166. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  4. ^ Annejet van der Zijl, An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew, 2017 [1]
  5. ^ Revolution, Daughters of the American (1893). Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine. National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  6. ^ "An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew" by Annejet van der Zijl [2]
  7. ^ a b c d "Sudden Death of Hostetter". The Pittsburg Press. August 4, 1902.
  8. ^ Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe, Memoirs of the Harvard dead in the war against Germany, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1923, Volume 4, p. 351 [3]
  9. ^ a b "DEATH OF T. R. HOSTETTER; Millionaire of Pittsburgh Contracted a Cold on His Yacht During Trip to Larchmont" (PDF). The New York Times]. 4 August 1902. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b Times, Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph To the New York (22 November 1912). "HITCH IN WEDDING OF ANSON BURCHARD; Applied in London for License to Marry Mrs. Hostetter and Then Withdrew" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  11. ^ Times, Special to The New York (9 December 1903). "Hostetter Estate Aggregates $1,349,196" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  12. ^ a b "THEODORE HOSTETTER "THE LUCKY PLUNGER"; Apparently Invincible at Other Games, Roulette His Bete Noir. LOST A MILLION IN A YEAR The Young Pittsburgh Millionaire's Passion Made Public Through the Compromise of David Johnson's Suit for $115,000" (PDF). The New York Times. 8 February 1903. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Harvard Alumni Bulletin". Harvard Alumni Bulletin. 35 (2): 54. 1932. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  14. ^ "MRS. HOSTETTER WEDS TO PLEASE DYING MAN. Widow of Millionaire Weds Morton C. Nichols That His Aged Father May Pass Last Days Happily". Fall River Daily Evening News. 31 December 1904. p. 3. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Morton C. Nichols Married" (PDF). The New York Times. 28 December 1904. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  16. ^ "MORTON C. NICHOLS ENDS LIFE IN HOTEL; Hangs Himself to End Pain of Sinus Trouble From Which He Had Suffered Two Years. TOOK SUITE 2 DAYS BEFORE Member of Union League and Other Clubs Was 62 -- Retired From Business Some Years Ago" (PDF). The New York Times. August 12, 1932. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  17. ^ TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (5 December 1912). "MRS. HOSTETTER WEDS.; Marriage to Anson Wood Burchard to Take Place in Registry Office Today" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  18. ^ MacColl, Gail; Wallace, Carol McD (2012). To Marry an English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery in the Gilded Age. Workman Publishing. p. 335. ISBN 9780761171980. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  19. ^ TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (6 December 1912). "BURCHARD -- HOSTETTER.; Mrs. Theodore Hostetter Marries Anson Wood Burchard in London" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  20. ^ Social Register, New York. Social Register Association. 1921. p. 12. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  21. ^ Commission, New York (N Y. ) Landmarks Preservation (1981). Upper East Side Historic District designation report. New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  22. ^ "Mrs. Henry P. Davison Sells Park Av. Home To A.W. Burchard; Assessed at $530,000" (PDF). The New York Times. 17 July 1925. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  23. ^ Brace, A. M. (1926). Americans in France: A Directory. American Chamber of Commerce in France. p. 85. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  24. ^ a b Times, Special to The New York (30 June 1928). "TOOK BURCHARD NAME, INHERITS MILLIONS; New York Boy of 17 Is Heir of Omaha Man, Formerly of General Electric Co" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  25. ^ "A.W. BURCHARD DIES IN THE SCHIFF HOME; Vice Chairman of Board of General Electric Co. Stricken With Acute Indigestion. WAS GUEST AT LUNCHEON Noted Electrical Engineer, Aged 61, Was a Director of Many Corporations" (PDF). The New York Times. 23 January 1927. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  26. ^ "BURCHARD FUNERAL TODAY.; General Electric's Factories Will Pay a Silent Tribute" (PDF). The New York Times. 25 January 1927. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  27. ^ Times, Special to The New York (2 February 1927). "BURCHARD WILL AIDS WIDOW; General Electric Officer Said to Have Left $3,000,000 Estate" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  28. ^ a b Birkhead, May (28 October 1928). "MOULTONS RESTORE CHATEAU IN FRANCE; New Yorkers Are Hosts to Paris Society Folk at Their Historic La Verriere Estate. NEWLYWEDS IN CAPITAL Mrs. Anson Burchard Moves Into New Home--She Is Reported Engaged to Prince Henry" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  29. ^ a b Birkhead, May (13 January 1929). "MRS. BURCHARD GETS HOUSEBOAT ON NILE; Henry XXXIII of Reuss to Be Among Guests--Paris Friends Insist They Will Wed. PRINCE LACKS SURNAME All Men of New York Woman's Reputed Fiance's Family Have Same Name. Principalities Near Poland. Henry XXXIII of Younger-Branch" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  30. ^ Hadden, Briton (1929). "Time". Time Incorporated. Vol. 13. p. 40. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  31. ^ a b TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (11 April 1929). "MRS. A.W. BURCHARD MARRIED TO PRINCE; New York Woman the Bride of Henry XXXIII of Reuss in Paris" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  32. ^ "PRINCESS HENRY FETES DEBUTANTES; Gives Dinner Dance for Princess Marie Louise of Reuss and Miss Lucile Brokaw. EFFECT OF GARDEN GIVEN Australian Tree Ferns, Roses and Chrysanthemums Used in Decorations at Waldorf" (PDF). The New York Times. 20 November 1932. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  33. ^ Birkhead, May (15 September 1935). "MANY AMERICANS ENTERTAIN IN PARIS; Princess Hen XXXIII of Reuss, Former Mrs. Burchard, Gives Luncheon at Ritz" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  34. ^ Milestones: Feb. 4, 1929, Time, February 4, 1929
  35. ^ "Princess of Reuss, American, Divorced; Wife of Prince Henry XXXIII Was Widow of Anson Wood Burchard of This City" (PDF). The New York Times. 26 June 1935. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  36. ^ a b "PRINCESS OF REUSS IS WED IN GENEVA; She Becomes Bride of Count Paul de Kotzebue in Civil and Religious Nuptials. WEDDING TRIP TO ITALY New York Woman, the Former Allene Tew, Donated Large Fund to Stevens Institute" (PDF). The New York Times. 5 March 1936. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  37. ^ Hatch, Alden (1962). H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands: An Authorized Biography. Harrap. p. 276. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  38. ^ a b "RNA presidents". Russian Nobility Association in America (RNA). 14 September 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2021. See the section "Count Paul Pavlovich de Kotzebue (1942–1953)".
  39. ^ "Адрес-календарь. Общая роспись начальствующих и прочих должностных лиц по всем управлениям в Российской империи на 1897 год. Ч. I. Власти и места центрального управления и ведомства их" [Calendar address. General list of superiors and other officials for all departments in the Russian Empire for 1897. Part I. Authorities and places of central government and their departments]. Сенатская типография (Senate Printing House) (in Russian). Санктпетербург (Saint Petersburg). 1897. p. 574. Retrieved 9 April 2021. Please see section for (North American States) Северо-Американские Штаты: Эрнест Карл. Коцебу // Министерство иностран.
  40. ^ TIMES, Special to THE NEW YORK (8 September 1940). "Dinners Held at Newport; Count and Countess Kotzebue Are Among Those Who Entertain" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  41. ^ TIMES, Special to THE NEW YORK (27 September 1941). "PAUL DE KOTZEBUES HOSTS AT NEWPORT; Count and Countess Entertain at Beechwood -- Mrs. John R. Bradley Week-End Guest" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  42. ^ TIMES, Special to THE NEW YORK (19 July 1942). "Newport to Hold A Garden Party For Red Cross; Fair at de Kotzebue Estate on Saturday to Be Marked By Several Novelties" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  43. ^ "Hermitage Museum Foundation Newsletter" (PDF). Hermitage Museum Foundation website. January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  44. ^ Dworkin, Scott (February 5, 2017). Trump Hosted Event for Putin Sr Advisor at Mar a Lago in 2010. Dworkin website. Archived from the original November 26, 2020. Archived from the original December 17, 2020.
  45. ^ Gutierrez, Rual. "Trump's Russian Connections, A Handy Timeline". The Medium. Archived from the original on March 1, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  46. ^ Annejet van der Zijl, Bernhard, een verborgen geschiedenis, 2010, p. 250 [4]
  47. ^ Annejet van der Zijl, Bernhard, een verborgen geschiedenis, 2010, p. 288 [5]
  48. ^ Evans, Kathleen Crocker (5 August 2018). "Story Of Allene Tew, Jamestown Native And Dutch Princess, Shows Wonders Of Research". Post-Journal. Jamestown, New York. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  49. ^ Zeveloff, Julie (December 29, 2011). "740 Park Avenue: Inside The Most Powerful Apartment Building In New York". Business Insider. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  50. ^ "$20,113,000 WILL FOUGHT; 6 Cousins Contest Bequests of Countess de Kotzebue" (PDF). The New York Times. 1 September 1955. Retrieved 14 November 2019.

Further reading[edit]

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