Mrs. Clifford H. McCall is planning a fashion show of brides— of every country and period. Aiding her are Mmes. A. Wallace Chauncey, John Laurence Hutton, Eltinge F. Warner, and McAlpin Bell.
Among the young women who will appear as brides is Miss Edith Beale, who will model the Eastern Bridal Costume.
Color lithographs of Grey Gardens by Frances Benjamin Johnson, 1914.
Jerry was a teenager when he met the Beales— exploring the property believing the house to be empty, and becoming enchanted with the Beales when Little Edie saw him and invited him inside. He helped the Beales with whatever odd-jobs they came up with, and I’m sure he took it upon himself to do some things for them, but he didn’t have the means to do the larger repairs that Grey Gardens required.
Grey Gardens was the way Big Edie wanted it. Little Edie was not comfortable there, but it was Big Edie’s house and she respected her mother too much to do anything about it. After the clean-up funded by Jackie, Edie kept the house as organized as she could manage, with the exception of Big Edie’s bedroom which was kept as she wanted.
By all accounts, no one but Edie’s brothers knew what a state of disrepair the house had gotten into, or how little money the Beales possessed. After WWII, the Bouvier clan dissipated, especially the Beale branch— free-spirited matriarch Big Edie wanted little to do with her stuffy relatives. Big Edie’s sons wanted their mother to sell the home, and washed their hands of the situation when she refused.
It wasn’t until the Beales received media attention that Jackie knew of their plight, so it wasn’t until then that she offered to help. She spent thousands of dollars making Grey Gardens livable, going even further and paying their monthly bills and giving them an allowance. This gesture was more than the independent Edies wanted— they wouldn’t allow any more. A nurse would be out of the question, an insult to two women who saw nothing wrong with their way of life.
If you pay attention to the documentary, it is only Big Edie’s room that returns to a state of filth, because that’s the way she wanted it. Little Edie managed to keep the rest of the home relatively tidy— as much as a 60 year-old woman raised in the manner she was, could manage.
If the media hadn’t pointed out the negative, there wouldn’t have been a story in the first place. The only reason the Beales got press on a national scale was because they were relatives of Jackie Kennedy— the filth of their home wouldn’t have made it past local news.
I do think the press were cruel in their judgement of the documentary, Edie’s cabaret act, and of the Beale women as human beings. The only time they received sympathy of any kind was when the writer wasn’t looking to cash in on the sensationalism of it all. Unfortunately, sympathy doesn’t sell. I think many of the reporters took the oddness of the story and ran with it, not taking the time to get to know the Edies or treat them with the respect they deserved.
"As we see her through Albert Maysles’ lens, she looks directly at them— and views David with a particular affection and desire that is announced the first time that she appears. After this, Little Edie seems never to stop looking.
Throughout Grey Gardens, her capacity to gaze bestows upon her a sense of presence offered to very few women in the more conventional regimes of gendered viewing in the cinema. That is to say, historically women have been denied the possibility to look, and to look with desire— and have subsequently been positioned to be seen, most often by men. Little Edie, by contrast, continuously gazes at the world around her.”
Summer Colony In Easthampton Fair On Village Green Today. In the attractive setting of the ancient elms, oaks, and maples of the village green, the annual street fair for the benefit of the Village Improvement Society of Easthampton L.I., will be held today. The vaudeville performances will be under the direction of Miss Maude Bouvier. Mrs. Phelan Beale will give several solos, and her daughter, Miss Edith Beale, will do fancy dances.
"As she talked I was again intrigued by the resemblance to her most famous cousin. Edie had a very dramatic face: full lips, Egyptian eyes, heavy brows, and the straight high Grecian nose that Caroline Kennedy also inherited from the Bouviers.
Several times as I looked at Edie reclining in a graceful but studied way on the chaise— the grey hair she hated covered in a turban, the bright red lip color rather touchingly asymmetrical— and listened to her reminiscences of times past, it struck me that she was like one of Chekov’s ‘Three Sisters’ who had somehow wandered into a play by Tennessee Williams by mistake. The play was a tale of two formerly beautiful women living out their years on the far eastern tip of the American continent, a dismembered arm that stretches out for Europe, their gaze averted from tawdry, crime-filled, dangerous East Hampton to focus yearningly on London and Paris. Exiled Edith and Edie were two American ex-patriots-to-be who never quite made it back to Europe’s cradle of culture. They couldn’t have gotten much closer without leaving land.”
"I really wanted to put this song in. Kent Bartram sent it to me— it’s an Eddy Duchin song. It mentions the Social Register, and the Social Register was a big line in the documentary. It didn’t end up making a line of dialogue in the film, so I wanted to make sure we referenced it somewhere." -Michael Sucsy on HBO’s Grey Gardens.