3 down, 15 more to go: Mar-a-Lago and Addison Mizner dominate December

November has started off our season very well. The reception at the Woodfield Country Club, where we presented our updated Duke and Duchess of Windsor lecture, was extremely positive. Additionally, the Second Edition of the book Noblesse Oblige was for sale at that venue for the first time. It is now available on Amazon and Classic Books in Palm Beach. 

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Woodfield has requested our return for next season, so the planning has started.

We returned to the Boca Raton Resort and Club a week later and were very happy to see Barbara and Ron again. Addison Mizner designed the “Boca Resort,” then called the Cloister Inn when it first opened in 1925, so the Life and Work of Addison Mizner was a very appropriate topic there. The audience, whom we have come to know well, was welcoming and warm. We will return to the Boca Resort twice more this season.

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Our third November presentation received a lot of promotion in the Palm Beach Daily News. René presented a specially designed, British focused lecture for the Palm Beach St. George’s Society at the Chesterfield Hotel. The British Dominance of North Atlantic Passenger Travel, contained parts of our History of Transatlantic Ocean Liners presentation, but had a significant British slant. Of course, we did compare their liners, like the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, to the French Line’s Normandie, René’s favorite ship of all time. The audience was riveted, and we thank Susan Oyer for her hospitality.

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Now on to December. We have 5 lectures lined up, and they are all in the first week of December! There are three Mizner lectures, and two opportunities to see the brand-new Mar-a-Lago, from Post to Trump lecture.

DECEMBER 1: We return for the third year in a row to the Bellaggio Club House. Leia Moses-Levine will be our gracious hostess once again, when René will present the Life and Work of Addison Mizner. We have always received a warm welcome from the membership, so we expect a great turnout.

IMG_5071 Last season at The Bellaggio 

DECEMBER 3: The official inaugural presentation of Mar-a-Lago, from Post to Trump, right in Palm Beach. The Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews invited René back after last January’s success with the Mizner lecture, and this time we are the first lecture of their Sunday Conversations Series. Moreover, it will be held in the community room of the newly renovated, landmarked building of Wells Fargo Bank on South County Road, where we are working closely with Wells Fargo’s Senior Vice-President Heath Randolph to make this a successful event. Fellowship Chairman John “Skip” Randolph, Vice-chair and Town Councilwoman Maggie Zeidman, executive director Sherri Guilbert, and board member Enid Pollak were all instrumental in making this happen.

IMG_5141 Mar-a-Lago, from Post to Trump


DECEMBER 5: René will give a private Life and Work of Addison Mizner lecture at Pizza Al Fresco in Via Mizner to the Institute for Classical Architecture & Art. We have worked with Lani Summerville to get this luncheon organized. Besides, the lunch presentation, René will also take this visiting group for a special tour through Dale Coudert’s home, Villa Dei Fiori, and the amazing La Fontana Mansion on Dunbar Road in Palm Beach.

DECEMBER 7: We return for the 4th year in a row the Lifelong Learning Society of FAU Boca Raton, and this time it is with the Mar-a-Lago, from Post to Trump presentation. It was actually Dr. Herb Shapiro, the Provost, who encouraged us to create this particular lecture. We are happy that ticket sales have gone very well since the lecture date was revealed, but, there are still tickets available so sign up now.

IMG_4870 René last year at LLS at FAU Boca 

DECEMBER 8: We finish the week with another private Life and Work of Addison Mizner lecture. This time it will be at the Gulfstream Little Club for a private Book Club. Pat Wanklyn invited us, and will be hosting together with Susan Ridgley.

Finally, don’t forget the second edition of Noblesse Oblige, the Duchess of Windsor as I knew her was just released. It’ll be a great gift for Christmas for any Royal aficionado. It is available on Amazon, but if you are in Palm Beach please drop by Classic Bookshop on South County Road, where it is now available, alongside René’s coffee table books Villa Mizner, the house that changed Palm Beach and Normandie, the tragic story of the most majestic ocean liner. Say “Hi” to storeowner Jeff from us, he’s a really cool guy!

17CFAB71-E54A-41F9-83CA-91095BA25838  Villa Mizner at Classic Bookshop  Cover of New Duchess book

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we hope to see many of you in December.


Written by Robert Versteeg, partner at Silvin Books LLC.

SEASON 17/18 IS OFFICIALLY HERE! Mar-a-Lago, Duchess of Windsor, Addison Mizner, Normandie all reappear

We are back from our travels! In case you think we sit around and eat bonbons in Provincetown, the entire summer was spent planning for the new season that is upon us. The results are several newly tailored lectures from subjects we inaugurated in prior years, and a brand new 90-minute lecture on Mar-a-Lago. We also found time to rewrite our Duchess of Windsor book. So, with 18 events scheduled, we will be happily busy and hope to see many of our friends, and new comers.

 Cover of New Duchess bookThe cover of the Noblesse Oblige, 2nd edition 

We open the season on November 2nd at the Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton. We had our pre-lecture visit this week, and were very impressed with the venue and the two women in charge: Mandy Markham and Jaclyn Ross, as well as with AV specialist Byron. It is a beautiful club in West Boca Raton, which is just inaugurating an amazing new club house. Everything is in place for it to be a great event. Because this is a lecture about the life of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, we will be selling the first copies of the second edition of Noblesse Oblige, the Duchess of Windsor as I knew her there. However, these are early print copies, and we will have the official release date very soon!!!

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René at the Woodfield Country Club

On November 8th, we return for the third time to the Boca Raton Resort and Club. We will present three lectures there this season, and we start with the Life and Work of Addison Mizner. Since Mizner designed and built the Boca Raton Resort and Club, then called the Cloister Inn, it is very appropriate to present this lecture there. We will add some extra focus on the hotel and on Mizner’s efforts to create the model city of Boca Raton. We can’t wait to see Barbara and Ron, our gracious hosts. If non-members want to attend, please let us know directly so we can work on getting you seats.

 IMG_5117 René at the Boca Resort & Club 

This is followed by a private event for the St. George’s Society of Palm Beach at the Chesterfield Hotel in Palm Beach on November 16, courtesy of the lovely Susan Oyer. The topic we developed for this bastion of all things British, is a specially designed version of our transatlantic travel presentation. The British Dominance of North Atlantic Transatlantic Passenger Travel will focus solely on how the British managed to be the dominant force on the North Atlantic for one hundred fifty years. The lecture begins with the early days of the Sirius, the first winner of the Blue Riband given to the fastest ship in regular service crossing the Atlantic. The show then transitions to the White Star Line’s Titanic, Olympic and Britannic; followed by Cunard’s grand sisters: The Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. It ends with the last hints of glamorous ocean liner travel aboard the Queen Mary 2.

Queens Room René on Queen Mary 2 by the Queen’s Room

We can hardly wait for the inauguration of our new passion: The Mar-a-Lago, from Post to Trump presentation. The inaugural show (and it is a show) will be in Palm Beach for the Fellowship of Christians and Jews on December 3. The next venue for this show is the Lifelong Learning Society of FAU Boca Raton, on December 7. Please follow the links for tickets to either event.

Rene at MaralagoRené at Mar-a-Lago 

The talented Lee Bell, the Kravis Center’s Senior Director of Programming, has kindly booked us on Thursday March 1 at 1:30 PM to present a Duchess of Windsor lecture. René was the guest at the Kravis Center’s “Lunch & Learn Series” in 2012, and he was interviewed by Steve Caras about the Duchess of Windsor. Lee informed us the upcoming event is already sold out! They have decided to add extra seats, so if you have not gotten tickets yet, and were planning to go, please sign up now. We want to see you there! Follow this link to get tickets.

For other upcoming events this season, check out our events page, and let us know if you are coming, so we can keep an eye out for you.

Written by Robert Versteeg, partner at Silvin Books LLC.SEA