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When Frilly Met Paley: 1942

When Frilly Met Paley: 1942

September 19, 1942. "William S. Paley, residence in Manhasset, Long Island. Mrs. Paley's bedroom, to bed." 5x7 acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

        Dorothy Hearst Paley was sketched by Matisse, photographed by Cecil Beaton and Horst, listed as one of the world's best-dressed women and featured in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. She decorated Kiluna Farm, the Paleys' 85-acre estate in Manhasset, with a saltwater pool and an indoor tennis court, lining the walls with their growing collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. Twenty-two servants looked after the house, gardens and greenhouse. (N.Y. Times)


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Simply Amazing

"Less Is More", an expression evidently unknown here. Today, it's White, Grey, and Beige minimalist monotony void of warmth. There has to be a middle of the road though, and I sure would enjoy seeing it.

Truman Capote

Insinuated himself into the lives of Babe Paley, Cornelia Vanderbilt and Elizabeth Taylor and other high society women to such an extent that they trusted him with confidences they'd normally not share with anyone. The confidences were betrayed in an expose in Esquire beginning with the November, 1975 issue with the first installment of Answered Prayers. Babe was outraged and cut him off entirely and that was the beginning of the end of his career and ultimately his life.

[Babe had yet to enter the picture here. She married Bill in 1947. - Dave]

Foot of bed

I don’t understand that thing at the foot of madame’s bed. People sometimes have benches in that place, but never anything like that. And it’s so tiny, like doll furniture. The whole room is so much like a strange dream or movie, but that particular piece is downright weird.


She had a very small secretary.


Bill Paley had a temper, and he could be crude; he once flashed Truman Capote to taunt Capote about his sexuality. I could see that sample-sized Governor Winthrop desk at the foot of the bed getting kicked into oblivion during a row.

Next to last

Her successor, Mr. CBS's second and final wife, Barbara "Babe" Cushing Mortimer Paley, was quite the fashionista in her own right. The first Mrs. Paley's bedroom is ghastly ... but I could almost take it if not for that horror of a chandelier, complete with wonky tapers.

Here too

Well at least you have more cigarettes to allow a carbon monoxide slumber until the nicotine fit requires you to wake up and refuel.

Even the small desk at the foot of the bed has some smokes ... for children?


All those dust-catching frills and flounces make my nose tickle. I'm glad that style doesn't appeal to me, because I sure couldn't afford it, anyway.

I might have to adopt their style of nightstand, though. My current "tower'o'books" is apt to tip over and bury me one of these nights.

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