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Eliza Violet Gist Blair. Francis Preston Blair and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ6-1725).

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Blair, Eliza Violet Gist (1794–05 July 1877), newspaperwoman and political hostess, was born in either Virginia or in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the daughter of Nathaniel Gist, an Indian agent and planter, and Judith Cary Bell. Eliza’s father died in 1797, and a decade later her mother married ...

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Kennedy, John F., Jr. (25 November 1960–16 July 1999), American icon, publisher, and lawyer, was born John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr., in Washington, D.C., the son of President John F. Kennedy, a descendant of a politically and socially prominent Massachusetts family, and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy...

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Elsa Maxwell Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1935. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103698).

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Maxwell, Elsa (24 May 1883–01 November 1963), international hostess, songwriter, and newspaper columnist, was born in a theater box during a touring company’s performance of Mignon in Keokuk, Iowa, the daughter of James David Maxwell, an insurance salesman and part-time journalist, and Laura Wyman. Her childhood was spent in a modest flat situated among the elegant homes on San Francisco’s Nob Hill. A disappointment there at age twelve may have influenced her later party giving. A neighbor, the wealthy senator ...