We may earn commission from the links on this page. When asked how often she entertains friends with the history of Rebekah Harkness and Holiday House while spending time there, Swift revealed, “Anyone who's been there before knows that I … In The Last Great American Dynasty, Swift not only describes all of these antics, but also draws comparisons between herself and her home's former owner, singing, 'Holiday House sat quietly on that beach / Free of women with madness, their men and bad habits / And then it was bought by me.'. Upon her death in 1982, Rebekah Harkness was called many things in her New York Times obituary. Said house (“Holiday House”) is located in the affluent village of Watch Hill in the town of Westerly, Rhode Island. Rebekah Harkness in 1966, Taylor Swift in 2020. Jack Mitchell/Getty Images; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic After Rebekah Harkness died in 1982, her daughter Terry took her mother’s remains home in a Gristede’s shopping bag, according to a … We went digging, and, Swifites, we finally cracked who "The Last Great American Dynasty" is about (no, not that Kennedy she dated): Rebekah Harkness. 'The Great British Baking Show': Who Is Peter? Swift tells the story of the former owner of her Rhode Island home, Holiday House, By The two purchased a mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, which they nicknamed Holiday House. Rebekah Harkness asked. Rebekah Harkness was practically destined to become a spoiled little rich girl. The fascinating story of the most infamous necklace in British portraiture, Tiara of the Month: The fascinating origins of the Delhi Durbar tiara, The remarkable story of the Muslim Princess who spied for the British during World War II, The romantic story of Menabilly - the real life inspiration for Manderley in Daphne du Maurier's 'Rebecca'. In the 1960s, Harkness became well known as a philanthropist and patron of the arts. The Return of Concorde: Is this the most glamorous Christmas present for 2020? Harkness inherited her late husband's Watch Hill, Rhode Island, manse, which was known by friends, family, and distinguished celebrity guests—think Howard Hughes and Salvador Dalí—as the Holiday House. Lizzo Surprised Her Mom with a Car for Christmas! People, the clues, write themselves. “Little by little, Holiday House, as the Watch Hill Estate was called, began to acquire the character of Rebekah’s private living room. 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She was known for her rebellious streak throughout her life - as Swift's lyrics allude to - and even formed a sub-culture group of debutantes called the 'Bitch Pack' who enjoyed disrupting social events, including lacing punch with mineral oil, or performing a strip tease at a dinner. Born Rebekah West in St. Louis, Harkness spent her childhood summers in Watch Hill. Influenced by her surroundings, specific images popped into her head, which eventually led her to writing multiple songs. Through the Rebekah Harkness Foundation, Harkness sponsored Jerome Robbins and the Joffrey Ballet. When Swift bought the property in 2013 for a reported $17 million, it was reported that her neighbours were worried she would bring too much media attention to the small town - which she did. The Harkness family looked immaculate from the outside…behind closed doors, though, was another story. The ashes were placed in a … "This arrangement effectively kept her from having to see her three children on anything like a regular basis," said the Times of the arrangement. “Is there a classy way to go?” Harkness completely remodeled Holiday House, their Rhode Island mansion. The song ends, 'Who knows, if I never showed up, what could’ve been / There goes the loudest woman this town has ever seen / I had a marvellous time ruining everything / I had a marvellous time ruining everything / A marvellous time ruining everything / A marvellous time / I had a marvellous time. Now, her … As Swift's lyrics explain, 'Rebekah rode up on the afternoon train, it was sunny / Her saltbox house on the coast took her mind off St. Louis / Bill was the heir to the Standard Oil name and money / And the town said / “How did a middle-class divorcée do it?” / The wedding was charming, if a little gauche / There’s only so far new money goes / They picked out a home and called it “Holiday House” / Their parties were tasteful, if a little loud / The doctor had told him to settle down / It must have been her fault his heart gave out.'. Rebekah Harkness, Self-Help Author, has inspired countless individuals to become the best version of themselves while feeling happier, more successful, and balanced. In 2013, Swift actually purchased a house belonging to Harkness. Not to mention, the governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, even proposed a tax at the time on second-homes worth more than a million dollars, otherwise known as the "Taylor Swift" tax. The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called the Holiday House… 2.6K likes. In the song, Swift sings, "They picked out a home and called it 'Holiday House,' their parties were tasteful if a little loud.". Swift bought her "Holiday House" in 2013 for $17 million. After throwing a series of 4 July parties with celebrity guests including Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and then-boyfriend Tom Hiddleston, the property and beach were swarmed by paparazzi, capturing every moment of the festivities. Swift even mentions Rhode Island, singing: "Rebekah gave up on the Rhode Island set forever/ Flew in all her Bitch Pack friends from the city/ Filled the pool with champagne and swam with the big names/ And blew through the money on the boys and the ballet.". As well as the fascinating facts that have become myth - such as Harkness filling a pool with Dom Perignon, dying a cat green (a dog in Swift's song), and being kicked off a cruise for swimming nude - her 1988 biography, Blue Blood, written by Vanity Fair and New York Magazine editor Craig Unger, reveals a far more tragic story, including the fact that her childhood nanny was chosen specifically because she had worked in a mental asylum. This site uses cookies to improve your experience and deliver personalised advertising. She and her second husband William … One song that has drawn a lot of attention is The Last Great American Dynasty, which tells the story of socialite Rebekah Harkness, who it turns out used to own Swift's Rhode Island mansion, Holiday House. Taylor Swift’s home in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, which was previously owned by Rebekah Harkness. Carol Ann Mossa/Shutterstock. Taylor Swift's '1989' Streamed More Than 'Witness', Taylor Swift's '1989' Is the Fastest Selling Album of the Last Decade. After her husband’s death, Harkness renovated the home she owned in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Harkness completely renovated Holiday House, their Rhode Island mansion. First, a brief biography: Born Rebekah Semple West in St. Louis in 1915, Harkness was a divorcée whose second marriage was to Standard Oil heir William Hale Harkness. She went to school in South Carolina and married an advertising photographer—but it didn't work out. And this is where the connection to T. Swift comes in. While the rest of us were hard at work making banana bread, Swift was making a stellar 16-song album, giving us songs to sing in quarantine and plenty of Easter eggs to mildly majorly obsess over. Welcome to Tatler. Press photo of Rebekah Harkness in 1966 with two o her Harkness dancers. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. After her husband died, Harkness renovated the house she owned in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. "Gradually, Holiday House, as the Watch Hill estate was called, began to acquire the character of Rebekah's private salon. Salinger and Salvador Dali. (Photos: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images, Beth Garrabrant) As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. Rebekah married William Hale Harkness, the heir to the Standard Oil fortune. Harkness had a ballet company! A philanthropist. The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called the Holiday House, that featured eight kitchens and 21 baths. But she was also known for a bunch of other, not so pleasant, things, like dyeing a dog green, moving hundreds of thousands of dollars from one bank to another to confuse her accountants, and joking about her daughter's suicide attempt. They are also available for NOOKs, iPads, and Kindles. It was also, infuriatingly to the neighbors, a place for the Harkness Ballet dancers to practice on the lawn. Taylor Swift buys Rebekah Harkness’ House. (She would marry four times in total.). What a lovely welcome to the neighborhood! A patron of dance and medicine. As Swift mentions, Harkness was also friendly with Salvador Dalí; after she died of cancer in 1982 at the age of 67, she even requested her ashes be kept in a $250,000 custom urn of the artist’s design. Indeed, the latter designed the $250,000 urn that her ashes were stored in after her death from cancer aged 67 in 1982. Rebekah was a beautiful, talented, divorcee originally from St. Louis, and her husband, William Hale Harkness, was heir to the Standard Oil fortune. It’s got … a lengthy semi-nonfictional track about Rebekah Harkness, a St. Louis–born debutante who married the heir to Standard Oil, bought a giant house in … Harkness died of cancer in 1982. She was 67 years old. This content is imported from YouTube. Rebecca Cope, Just as the sprawling house of Manderley cast a spell over the second Mrs de Winter, so too did its real life inspiration, Menabilly, which Du Maurier eventually lived in after the novel's publication. Rebekah West Harkness, a philanthropist who gave millions to the dance and to medicine, died of cancer Thursday in her Manhattan home. So, how does this all concern Swift? These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. Together, the pair resided in Rhode Island, in a home called "Holiday House" that Swift now owns. The Harknesses were married for a brief period—just seven years. Taylor Fans Think Her BF Joe Co-Wrote Two Songs, See Taylor Swift's Complete Beauty Evolution, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Destined to become a spoiled little rich girl by Hope Coke the saying,... 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