February 2, 2011
For Immediate Release
For additional information:
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
A granddaughter’s search
“The Loveliest Woman in America”
Author Bibi Gaston will visit Clark College on Tuesday, Feb. 15
as guest lecturer in the 2010-2011 Columbia Writers Series
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Actress Rosamond Pinchot lived a glamorous life – the kind that many people envy. But her meteoric career ended in 1938, when she committed suicide at the young age of 33. Her suicide sparked decades of confusion, sibling rivalry and emotional turmoil for the family she left behind.
Pinchot’s granddaughter, Bibi Gaston, is the author of The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter’s Search for Home (2008). Gaston will be the next guest speaker in Clark College’s renowned Columbia Writers Series. Gaston will appear on Tuesday, Feb. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Foster Hall auditorium on Clark’s main campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Clark College is located at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver. Driving directions and parking maps are available at www.clark.edu/maps. Information about the Columbia Writers Series is available at http://www.clark.edu/special/cws/.
Individuals who need accommodation due to a disability in order to fully participate in this event should contact Clark College’s Disability Support Services Office by Feb. 11 by calling (360) 992-2314 or 126.96.36.199 VP, or by sending an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Loveliest Woman in America
Born into one of the country’s most illustrious political families and dubbed “the loveliest woman in America” at 23, Rosamond Pinchot was an acclaimed actress, socialite, and sportswoman. For much of the 1920s and 1930s, she was the toast of Broadway and Hollywood.
Shortly after her father’s death in 2001, Bibi Gaston received a mysterious cardboard box filled with more than 1,500 pages of a diary that belonged to her grandmother. Gaston traces her remarkable journey to uncover the truth about her forgotten grandmother, her divided family, and her enigmatic and adventurous father.
A compelling story of wealth, fame, passion, and tragedy, Gaston’s remarkably candid exploration of not only her grandmother’s tumultuous life but also of her own difficult past, presents an unforgettable story of how a family of wealth and prestige hid behind decades of deeply painful family secrets.
Through the diaries, Gaston pieces together Rosamond's life story and discovers a young woman whose passion was the stuff of legend: from her love of nature, to her love for two brilliant but difficult men, to her life in the fast lane of New York’s high society.
Despite Rosamond’s accomplishments and fame, Gaston had been told virtually nothing about her by her father. Not until she began to read the diaries did she realize just who Rosamond Pinchot was and what she might have meant to her family had she lived.
The story connects to many aspects of the American scene in the first half of the 20th century—high society, family dynamics, politics, the film and entertainment industry, and the place of women in American culture. It also links to current issues as Gaston explores the legacy of Pinchot’s tragedy in her own familial relationships.
The book was a finalist for the 2009 Oregon Book Awards and is currently being reprinted in paperback by Harper Collins.
About Bibi Gaston
Bibi Gaston is a landscape architect who lives in The Dalles, Ore. With 25 years of experience in the field, she has been responsible for more than 300 projects, from family gardens to scenic highways.
She has been honored with numerous awards including a U.S. Department of Transportation Honor Award in 2000.
She is currently working on a new book that will couple her interests in landscape and family history.
Tentatively titled “The King of Jeeps: A Romantic Guide to the Lost Landscapes of Northern Morocco,” the work follows the trail of a 1955 guidebook her parents wrote about Morocco, the country of her birth.
What critics say about The Loveliest Woman in America
“…a fascinating memoir... Her writing is deft and sure…poetic, wry, humorous and, above all, spoken with the voice of truth and compassion. With ‘The Loveliest Woman in America,’ she gives readers the topography of the heart of a family, and in it we find pieces of ourselves.” (Bangor Daily News)
“….Uncovers a family history long obscured by secrets and lies… functions well as a window into a largely vanished social and cultural structure. Heartfelt and accomplished…” (Kirkus Reviews)
“…a Dreiserian treatise on the corrosive uses of money and class in America and how self-destructive patterns of behavior are often handed down in families…Bibi Gaston does a remarkable job piecing together this dramatic family history….” (Washington Post)