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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Meeting wealthy industrialists unaware

Earlier in the interview, Durr had explained that her family had sent her north so that she could find a wealthy husband, but in this entertaining anecdote three northeastern industrialists come courting, but she fails to realize who they are.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Anyway, Corliss Lamont was a marvelous dancer and so he drove us back to Wellesley and he became a beau of mine, he began coming up. I never any more heard of the Lamonts than the man in the moon. I didn't know who he was and he had a kind of a thin overcoat and a raggedy collar and the rich boys in those days, you see, had these big old coonskin coats and great big red Stuz automobiles. He didn't have anything like that at all and I thought that he was just a poor boy. When we would go out, I would always look on the right side and take the 50¢ lunch and 35¢ drink or something that was cheap, because I thought that the poor boy was just a poor Harvard student, you know, and barely getting along. So, one night, he called me up and said that he had two friends that he wanted to bring out and would I get Emmy and Kay Bosley to go along on this date. So, he came out with these boys named Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. Well, of course, we thought that it was a huge joke, we didn't believe a minute that they were. We thought that they were playing a joke on us. So, we called Mr. Rockefeller "Mr. Rockebilt" and Mr. Vanderbilt "Mr. Vanderfeller." (laughter) We thought that he was playing a joke on us. It never occured to us that they really were Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, it just literally never crossed our minds. So, we made a great joke of it, you know. They never came back, that was the end of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. (laughter) But Corliss kept on coming back. I used to go with him a great deal and he was the most marvelous dancer. He became a beau, but not a suitor.
And you didn't go to the Southern Club with him?
No, no, I'd just go out with him. He did take me out on the lake one time and he made some advances toward me, but with the canoe, we were so afraid that we were going to fall that we couldn't do much courting. That was one reason that I think that they had canoes on the lake, because it was very dangerous, if you moved, you would tip over. So, we never got up to the courting stage at all. But I was very fond of him and I like him still, I'm devoted to him. You see, I think that I am one of the few people in the world that ever liked Corliss Lamont and didn't know that he was rich. All his life, everybody that has known him has known that he was heir to this immense fortune. So, I was one of the few people in the world that ever liked him and not knowing that he was rich. Thomas Lamont was J.P. Morgan's partner and I didn't know who J.P. Morgan was. You know, we were just toatlly ignorant of all this and then romance was the great thing. I had a friend from Birmingham, a beautiful blonde, who had a boy named Jack Pew that fell in love with her, just wild about her. Well, we didn't know who Jadk Pew was, we never heard of Pew Oil Company and we thought that he wasn't terribly cute. He was a nice boy, blonde and we would say, "Oh Gusta, are you going out with that Pew, Pew, Pew boy?" (Laughter) He came down to see her and wanted to marry her. Her mother and father had no idea who he was. They never had heard of the Pew Oil Company. He died, I saw, not long ago in the paper, one of the richest men in the United States. Well, I don't know if she would have married him anyway, she was full of romance, too.