Allene Tew

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Allene Tew
Allene Tew.jpg
BornJuly 7, 1872
DiedMay 1, 1955
Cap d'Ail, France
Cause of deathcancer
Resting placeLa Caucade
Spouse(s)Theodore R. Hostetter
Morton Colton Nichols
Anson Wood Burchard
Prince Heinrich XXXIII Reuss of Köstritz
Captain Count Pavel Kotzbue
ChildrenGreta Hostetter
Verna Hostetter
Theodore R. Hostetter, Jr.
Parent(s)Charles Henry Tew
Janet Smith

Allene Tew (1872-1955) 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. [1] Her father, Charles Henry Tew, was a banker in Jamestown, New York, and her mother was Janet Smith.[2][1][3] She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which meant she had to show documentation that she was a descendant of someone who fought in the American Revolutionary War [4] But 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 up bringing, pre-marital pregnancy, and shotgun wedding.[5]


Her first husband was Theodore R. Hostetter (1870-1902).[2][6][7] They had three children:

  • Greta Hostetter (1892-1918; married Glenn Stewart).[2][6]
  • Verna Hostetter (1893-1895; died in early childhood).[2][6]
  • Theodore R. Hostetter, Jr. (1897-1918; killed in World War I).[2][6]

Her second husband was Morton Colton Nichols (1870-1932), whom she married on December 27, 1904.[2][8] They divorced a year later, in 1905.[2]

Her third husband was Anson Wood Burchard (1865-1927), Chairman of General Electric, whom she married on December 4, 1912 in London.[2][1][3][9][10][11] They were listed in the Social Register.[12] In Manhattan, they resided at 57 East 64th Street on the Upper East Side, in a townhouse designed by architect C. P. H. Gilbert (1861-1952).[13] In Paris, they resided at 4 Rue d'Aguesseau in the 8th arrondissement.[14]

Her fourth husband was Prince Heinrich XXXIII Reuss of Köstritz (1879-1942), whom she married on April 10, 1929 in Paris.[2][15] They divorced on October 31, 1935.[2][16]

Her fifth husband was Captain Count Pavel Kotzbue (1884-1966), whom she married on March 4, 1936 in Geneva, Switzerland.[2][1][17] He was born 20 February 1884 in Kremenetz, and died in Paris on 13 September 1966. It was his first marriage.

She negotiated on behalf of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld leading up to his marriage to princess Juliana of the Netherlands because she was a friend of his mother's (Armgard von Cramm).[18] In 1938, she became godmother to their eldest daughter, princess Beatrix.[19]


She died in Cap d'Ail, France on May 1, 1955, at the age of eighty-two.[2][1]

Further reading[edit]

  • The Dutch journalist Annejet van der Zijl published a biography of Allene Tew in 2015. The English translation by Michele Hutchison, An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew followed in 2017. A translation in German is planned for 2018.


  1. ^ a b c d e Arnold McNaughton, The Book of Kings: A Royal Genealogy, Garnstone Press, 1973, Volume 1, p. 342 [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The Peerage
  3. ^ a b Transactions, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1927 Volume 91, p. 1166 [2]
  4. ^ Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, Volume 3, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1893, p. 99 [3]
  5. ^ "An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew" by Annejet van der Zijl [4]
  6. ^ a b c d "Sudden Death of Hostetter". The Pittsburg Press. August 4, 1902.
  7. ^ 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 [5]
  8. ^ Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Volume 35, Issue 2, p. 54
  9. ^ HITCH IN WEDDING OF ANSON BURCHARD; Applied in London for License to Marry Mrs. Hostetter and Then Withdrew., The New York Times, November 22, 1912
  10. ^ MRS. HOSTETTER WEDS.; Marriage to Anson Wood Burchard to Take Place in Registry Office Today, The New York Times, December 05, 1912
  11. ^ BURCHARD -- HOSTETTER.; Mrs. Theodore Hostetter Marries Anson Wood Burchard in London., The New York Times, December 06, 1912
  12. ^ Social Register, New York, Social Register Association, 1921, p. 12 [6]
  13. ^ Upper East Side Historic District designation report, The Commission, 1981, Volume 1, p. 1921 [7]
  14. ^ A. M. Brace, Americans in France: A Directory, American Chamber of Commerce in France, 1926, p. 85 [8]
  15. ^ Time Magazine, 1929, Volume 13, p. 40
  16. ^ Milestones: Feb. 4, 1929, Time, February 4, 1929
  17. ^ Alden Hatch, H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands: An Authorized Biography, Harrap, 1962, p. 276 [9]
  18. ^ Annejet van der Zijl, Bernhard, een verborgen geschiedenis, 2010, p. 250 [10]
  19. ^ Annejet van der Zijl, Bernhard, een verborgen geschiedenis, 2010, p. 288 [11]