December 20th People

December 20th

12-20-1865 – 07-12-1950 Elsie de Wolfe (also known as Lady Mendl) – Born in New York City, New York. She was an American actress and interior designer. In 1926 she married diplomat Charles elsie-de-wolfeMendl. The marriage was platonic and one of convenience. The couple entertained together, but kept separate homes. She lived openly with her lover, Elizabeth Marbury until her death in 1933. In 1926 the New York Times described de Wolfe as “one of the most widely known women in New York social life,” and in 1935 as “prominent in Paris society.” In Cole Porter’s lyrics about modern scandals, Anything Goes, he wrote, “When you hear that Lady Mendl, standing up/Now turns a handspring landing up-/On her toes/Anything goes!” The gossips called de Wolfe and Marbury “the bachelors.” Her niece was Natacha Rambova who was an American film costume and set designer, best known for her marriage to Rudolph Valentino.

 

12-20-1932   Carla Walschap – Born in Antwerp, Belgium. She is a Belgian teacher and writer. In 1959 she wrote the lesbian story Femmes Damnées in answer to Baudelaire’s famous poem of the same title. Her third novel, De Eskimo en de roos (The Eskimo and the Rose), published in 1963, focuses on a lesbian relationship between Claire, a 25 year old, and a fascinating Greek woman, ten years older. The novel was received favorably, despite what was considered controversial at the time. According to Dutch Professor Maaike Meijer, “What makes Walschap’s contributions to lesbian literature so memorable are both the truly joyful and unproblematic presentation of lesbian desire and the fact that she succeeds in shedding all associations with the mythic mannish lesbian.”

 

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