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tiffany ball,Co-Chairs: Leslie Hull, Mary Van Pelt, and Gladys Szapary.

Co-Chairs: Leslie Hull, Mary Van Pelt, and Gladys Szapary.
Photo by:


Tiffany Ball Raises $300,000 for

The Preservation Society of Newport County



(Newport, RI)  The Preservation Society of Newport County, in partnership with Tiffany & Co., entertained 600 guests at a memorable Tiffany Ball in the legendary Vanderbilt "summer cottage," The Breakers, on Friday evening, August 15.   The black-tie event raised approximately $300,000 for the Preservation Society's ongoing mission of preserving its collection of historic houses and landscapes, including seven National Historic Landmarks.


            The evening included an additional fundraising activity: an exciting Tiffany & Co. Mystery Blue Box raffle. Two hundred Tiffany boxes were sold for $150 each.  Every box contained a keepsake Tiffany crystal or porcelain box…but two boxes contained very special gifts:  a pair of Tiffany Aria pearl and diamond drop earrings in platinum, and a Tiffany T-57 men's sport watch.


            On display during the evening was a collection of flatware and ceramics produced and/or retailed by Tiffany & Co., New York, in the late 19th century.  Included were a custom pattern silver flatware service made for the Vanderbilt family and designed by Charles Grosjean of Tiffany & Co.(1884).


            Dinner was served on the terrace of The Breakers, decorated by events designer David Price of Newport in colors of soft green, white and silver.  The menu prepared by Fine Catering by Russell Morin consisted of:  a first course of chilled lobster salad with smoked paprika remoulade, served with Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2006; the entrée was beef tenderloin with melted leeks and shiitake mushrooms, oven roasted new potatoes and summer sweet pea puree, served with Chateauneuf du Pape Mont-Redon 2004; and for dessert, Meyer lemon mascarpone cheese cake with summer fruit jewels, served with Taittinger La Francaise Brut N/V.


            Following dinner, guests enjoyed dancing in the Great Hall to the music of The Alex Donner Orchestra. Each guest also received a gift bag including a gift from Tiffany & Co. and a CD of music played at the Ball by The Alex Donner Orchestra. Valet parking for the evening was provided by Bentley Providence.


            The co-chairs of the Tiffany Ball were Mrs. Mark D. (Leslie) Hull, Miss Gladys V. Szápáry, and Mrs. Guy F.C. (Mary) Van Pelt.  


            About The Preservation Society of Newport County and The Breakers


The Preservation Society of Newport County is a non-profit educational organization accredited by the American Association of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts.  Its 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.


            The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America.


            Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19th century. The Commodore's grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885, and purchased a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport during that same year. In 1893, he commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace the earlier wood-framed house, which was destroyed by fire the previous year. Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create a 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters.

            The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count Laszlo Széchényi of Hungary, inherited the house on her mother's death in 1934. An ardent supporter of The Preservation Society of Newport County, she opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the Society. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs. Today, the house is designated
a National Historic Landmark.



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