The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home

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9780981642208: The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home

The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home is the chronicle of two Los Angeles pioneers and the house they created at 8 Chester Place. Edward L. Doheny, oil millionaire extraordinaire and his wife Estelle, who was a noted book collector, philanthropist and devoted supporter of the Catholic Church, rose from modest backgrounds to become local and national leaders, entertaining friends and colleagues at their downtown Los Angeles mansion. For five decades, a procession of international movers and shakers passed through its doors. Industrial barons, politicians, financiers, church leaders, journalists, artists and movie stars were entertained sumptuously under the gilden dome of the Doheny's Pompeian Room.

At the height of his power, Edward Doheny was among the world's leading oil producers and owned a fleet of tankers. After he achieved unwanted media stardom at the center of the 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, his decline was almost as rapid as his sprint to the top a decade earlier. Estelle Doheny stayed loyally by his side, and as the chatlaine of a Victorian mansion she at first found dark and forbidding, she created an elegant city home in a private park with towering trees, flowering gardens and a sprawling steel and glass Palm House build for their collection of exotic tropical botanicals.

A generous benefactor to many worthy endeavors, Mrs. Doheny permitted Mount St. Mary's College to use some of her Chester Place properties for classrooms in the late 1950s. After her death in 1958, the Chester Place properties, including the Doheny Mansion, became the downtown campus of Mount St. Mary's College.

The Doheny Mansion continues to be preserved as a living monument to the lives and times of Edward and Estelle Doheny. Through newly-discovered photographs and years of research, author MaryAnn Bonino shines a new and glowing light on its creation and inner life, with a peek at a few ghosts in the attic.

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About the Author:

Curator of the Doheny Mansion, MaryAnn Bonino is College Professor-at-large Emeritus at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. A musicologist, she is the Founding Artistic Director Emeritus of the Da Camera Society, which has produced concerts in the Doheny Mansion since 1973.

In 1980 she developed the creative format for Chamber Music in Historic Sites, an innovative concert experience which has been praised for giving classical music "the sense of discovery and fun it so richly deserves." Its award-winning concerts have been called undoubtedly the most imaginative, permanent floating concert series in Southern California, if not the nation.

Educated at Mount St. Mary's College and the University of Southern California, Bonino has lectured widely on music on the arts, produced concerts for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival and the E. Nakamichi Baroque Music Festivals, and acted as a radio and television host, including several series of programs for KUSC. A former Fulbright Scholar and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, she is also the author of Severo Bonini's Discorsi e regole (1979).

Currently she is coordinating efforts to conserve the Doheny Mansion as an artistic and educational treasure of early Los Angeles history. In this regard, Mount St. Mary's College offers docent-led tours of the Doheny Mansion and Chester Place. For information, call 213.477.2962.


"A man's home is his castle" as the old proverb states, yet in the case of Edward Doheny's home it was both a castle and a mansion. The resplendent edifice at 8 Chester Place incorporates a fascinating history as well as displaying a magnificent style of architecture and furnishings.

In The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home, author Mary Ann Bonino, curator of the mansion, has meticulously researched innumerable historical details regarding individual lives besides the captivating description of the accoutrements that epitomize this architectural monument. The 192-page volume incorporates copious new photos and delineates the intricate, and at times revealing, details of the ''procession of international movers and shakers'' of another era.

Although the Doheny story is well known --- Edward, ''the millionaire extraordinaire,'' and his wife, Estelle, noted book collector and philanthropist --- this well-written history also contains perky sparks of humor, related historical insights and individual characterizations that are intriguing and revealing.

A few pertinent facts that add to this extraordinary history: Edward Doheny purchased the furnished mansion in 1901 from Oliver and Sara Posey for $125,000; Estelle, later named a Papal Countess, was his second wife; Edward dug his first oil well in 1892; by 1920 his wealth exceeded $150 million.

Their combined generosity to the Catholic Church, USC, Loyola Marymount University, St. John's Seminary and various other charities continues today as does the magnificent mansion on Mount St. Mary's Doheny campus south of downtown Los Angeles. Docent-led tours are available, but reading this well-documented book would be an invaluable aid for appropriate appreciation. --The Tidings, July 3, 2009

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Mary Ann Bonino
Published by Edizioni Casa Animata (2008)
ISBN 10: 0981642209 ISBN 13: 9780981642208
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1

Book Description Edizioni Casa Animata, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0981642209

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