Richard René Silvin

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Richard René Silvin
Rene up close at PF.jpg
Rene Silvin in Palm Beach, 2016
Born (1948-05-16) May 16, 1948 (age 70)
Bay Shore, New York
Nationality American
Alma mater Institut Le Rosey
Georgetown University
Cornell University
Occupation Author and lecturer
Website www.rrsilvin.com

Richard René Silvin (born May 16, 1948) is an American retired corporate executive, turned author and lecturer, who is best known as an expert on Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, Palm Beach society architect, Addison Mizner, the 1930s French Line flagship, SS Normandie, and the history of Mar-a-Lago.

Early life[edit]

Richard René Silvin at Le Rosey in 1966

Silvin was born in Bay Shore, New York to an American mother and a French father.[1]

During the first six years of his life Silvin spent most of his time in Islip, Long Island, NY living with a nanny, Mary "Nonnie" Lee, while his parents were mostly in France. At age seven he went to Swiss boarding schools; first to La Clairière in Villars-Sur-Ollon (1955 - 1958), Switzerland, and then to Institut Le Rosey in Rolle and Gstaad, Switzerland, (1958 - 1966). At Le Rosey, Silvin both rowed and coached the younger rowing team. His team went on to become National Swiss Champions in 1966, a feat no school had ever achieved.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1966 Silvin moved back to the United States to attend college. He earned a BS from Georgetown University in 1970, and an MBA in both Finance and Hospital Administration from Cornell University in 1972. He worked at Friesen International, a hospital design and management consulting firm in Washington, DC from 1972 until it was acquired by American Medical International, Inc. (NYSE: AMI) [3] in 1976. He rose to the head of the International Division of AMI, which owned and operated thirty hospitals in ten foreign countries.[4]

Writing[edit]

After retiring from the hospital industry in 1998, Silvin started writing.[5] He published I Survived Swiss Boarding Schools: An Arc To Triumph in 2006. The book received notoriety among Le Rosey alumni. Silvin's second book, Walking the Rainbow: An Arc To Triumph [6] was published in 2008, was also autobiographical, chronicling the AIDS crisis. Silvin's third book, Noblesse Oblige: The Duchess of Windsor As I Knew Her, was published in 2010, recounting Silvin's encounters with the widowed Duchess of Windsor, the former Wallis Simpson.

In 2014 Silvin published his first coffee table book: "Villa Mizner-The House That Changed Palm Beach".[7][8] The book explores the life and work of architect Addison Mizner, who was responsible for creating the Mediterranean Revival look in South Florida, including Via Mizner and the other vias around Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.

Silvin and his partner Dr. Robert Versteeg founded Silvin Books LLC in 2015, a full-service publishing company, and released a second coffee table book in 2016. Normandie: The Tragic Story of The Most Majestic Ocean Liner[9] details the building of the French Line's magnificent Art Deco flagship, its four-year active working life, and its sinking in New York City in 1942, when she was being converted to serve as America's only large troop carrier.[10]

In 2017 Silvin Books was renamed Silvin Books & Productions, and has expanded into publishing other authors' works, as well as assisting clients in creating and presenting lectures. Silvin Books & Productions then released the second edition of Silvin's book Noblesse Oblige, the Duchess of Windsor As I Knew Her in November 2017.

Lecturing[edit]

Richard René Silvin lecture at Florida Atlantic University in 2015

Silvin started lecturing about the Duchess of Windsor in 2010[11] after the release of his third book. He increased his lecture opportunities when he added Addison Mizner's life and work as a lecture topic in 2014. In 2016, with the publication of the Normandie book,[9] he added this topic to his lecture series. Additionally, he expanded the Normandie presentation by lecturing about the history of transatlantic ocean liner travel in general.[12] In 2017 Silvin premiered his latest presentation which chronicles the history of Mar-a-Lago, from Marjorie Merriweather Post to Donald Trump. [13] He has lectured at several universities,[14] as well as many venues in Key West,[15] Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, Florida; Atlanta and Thomasville, Georgia;[16] Newport, Rhode Island; North Carolina; Cape Cod, and Lenox in the Berkshires, Massachusetts.

Other[edit]

In 2010 Silvin competed in the Gay Games in Cologne, Germany.[17] He entered the body building competition in the over-60 class, and was awarded the gold medal. Because of this win, he published an article in the Queer Times, called "The Road To Cologne".[18]

In 2014, Silvin was appointed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the town of Palm Beach, which is a voluntary position. Members are voted in by the Town Council. He served on this commission as the Senior Alternate[19][20] from March 2014 until March 2016, when he was voted in as a full member.[4] In December 2016 he became the Landmarks Commission's vice-chairman.[21]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Murray, Mary. "A Writer's Life". Palm Beach Illustrated. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "July Author Appearances at the Provincetown Public Library - Provincetown Public Library". Provincetown Public Library. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "American Medical International Trims Staff, Hours, Raises". latimes. 
  4. ^ a b Kopf, Aleese. "Palm Beach elects new Landmarks Preservation Commission members". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Palm Beach author Silvin shares tales of royalty & loyalty". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  6. ^ Kathy Quan. "Walking the Rainbow An Arc to Triumph". Suite101. 
  7. ^ "At home with society architect Addison Mizner". Palm Beach Daily News. 
  8. ^ ""Villa Mizner" brings Boca Raton's Addison Mizner to life". Sun-Sentinel. 13 November 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Palm Beacher tells tale of SS Normandie in new book". Palm Beach Daily News. 
  10. ^ "HSPBC Guest Lecture: Richard Rene Silvin's "SS Normandie"". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "Revisiting the final days of Duke, Duchess of Windsor". Palm Beach Daily News. 
  12. ^ "The history of transatlantic ocean liner travel, the Costa Concordia". Lifelong Learning Society of FAU Jupiter/. 
  13. ^ "Fellowship expands Sunday programs to four". Palm Beach Daily News/. 
  14. ^ "Noblesse Oblige – The Duke and Duchess of Windsor | Lifelong Exchange". Florida Atlantic University. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "Monroe County Public Library Author Talks: Richard René Silvin on "Normandie: The Tragic Story of the Most Majestic Ocean Liner"". Monroe County Public Library. 
  16. ^ Susanne ReynoldsCNHI (16 January 2014). "Brush with royalty". Thomasville Times-Enterprise. 
  17. ^ ""The Road to Cologne": Rene Silvin". Gaygames.org. 
  18. ^ "A look back at Gay Games VIII via Living In the Queer Times: Richard René Silvin". Federation of Gay Games. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  19. ^ "Town Council names new landmarks board members". Palm Beach Daily News. 
  20. ^ "Landmarks board impressed with plan for Royal Poinciana Plaza". Palm Beach Daily News. 
  21. ^ "Landmarks board taps Silvin vice chairman after Gannon leaves". Palm Beach Daily News.