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Aug. 10, 2023

Episode 146 - A Gilded Age Tale: The Owl Mausoleum of James Gordon Bennett Jr

Episode 146 - A Gilded Age Tale: The Owl Mausoleum of James Gordon Bennett Jr

On the western side of Paris, France, not far from the Eiffel Tower, is Cimetière de Passy, a small cemetery where a simple mausoleum whose doors are topped by an owl sits among its fellow graves in a most unassuming manner. Yet the story of the man who rests inside this mausoleum is one straight from the Gilded Age and had fate delt him a different hand, his remains may have been laid to rest in America in a very different mausoleum; one that would have gained world-wide fame had it been built. This week Jennie and Dianne are joined by retired librarian Elizabeth Broman as she tells the story of James Gordon Bennett Jr., an American newspaper publisher and editor, who at one time planned to spend eternity inside a giant owl-shaped mausoleum, the likes of which had never been seen or imagined. Discover the twists of fate that led to his burial in Paris, rather than on a hill overlooking the New York City skyline. Prepare to be transported to the Gilded Age, where ambition and eccentricity intertwined, in a story that sheds light on the Extraordinary amidst the Ordinary.

Elizabeth BromanProfile Photo

Elizabeth Broman

Elizabeth Broman is a graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York with a Master's Degree In both Library Science and Art History and is recently retired as a Librarian at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, in New York City. Her MA thesis was "Egyptian Revival Funerary Art in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY". She continues to pursue Egyptian Revival all these years later and has done presentations on pet cemeteries, hair and mourning jewelry.