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60 East 93rd St. | New York, NY. The 50-room mansion Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt commissioned architect John Russell Pope to design following her divorce from William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. Designed as a Louis XV-style limestone palais. Pope designed the house as two separate sections so that Gentry and Servants had no reason to meet unnecessarily. The main house was three stories with 15-foot ceilings. The servants areas had lower ceilings and fit 7-stories into that same height.

In 1915 the wealthy widow Lizzie Nichols kept mainly to herself. She had grown to an ample 250 pounds and was still recovering from her husband’s sudden death a year earlier. On the evening of September 9 the house was unusually empty. It was the butler’s night off and the cook, Ileona Toivonen, had gone home around 8:30. Only a maid, Edith Langfeldt, and Onne Talls, the “second man” of the house, remained downstairs while the 60-year old Lizzie was in her sitting room on the third…

The James Hampden Robb and Cornelia Van Rensselaer Robb House, at 23 Park Avenue, was designed from 1888-92 by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White.