The Santa Barbara Public Library System will host a free event on Saturday afternoon, May 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Central Library related to the book “Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune.” Bill Dedman and Paul Newell, Jr., co-authors of the book, as well as former Santa Barbara Mayor Sheila Lodge will participate in a panel discussion facilitated by Scott London. The Central Library is located at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Huguette Clark’s long connection to Santa Barbara has included donations which became the Andree Clark Bird Refuge in 1930, and more recently the bequest of the oceanfront Clark Estate, known as Bellosguardo, to the City of Santa Barbara. That Santa Barbara was included in Huguette Clark’s will was due, in no small part, to the efforts of Sheila Lodge during her tenure as mayor. “Empty Mansions” is a tale of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. The authors reveal a portrait of Huguette and her intimate circle–including her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her beloved sister, her French boyfriend, her caretaker who received millions of dollars in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Ms. Clark’s copper fortune.

Bill Dedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and an investigative reporter for NBC News. Paul Clark Newell, Jr., has researched the Clark family history for twenty years. He shared many conversations with his cousin, Huguette Clark, about her life and family. Sheila Lodge was the mayor of Santa Barbara from 1981 to 1993. Scott London is a longtime research associate of the Kettering Foundation and the former host of “Insight and Outlook,” a cultural affairs program heard on NPR.

Reservations are not required, but seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, contact Jody Thomas at 805-564-5641. Visit the library system’s website to find out about programs and services at the Santa Barbara Public Library System libraries. All library programs are free and open to the public.


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