Born On This Day ~ January 17 ~ Alva Belmont ~ American Multimillionaire Socialite

Born: January 17, 1853 (Mobile, Alabama)
January 26, 1933 (Paris, France)

Famous For/Known For:
American multi-millionaire socialite who devoted her time and money advocating for woman’s rights.

A Little About Alva Belmont:
Born Alva Ertskin Smith to parents Murray, a cotton merchant and Phoebe, the daughter of a US Congressman.

Alva’s first husband was William Kissam Vanderbilt who came from one of the wealthiest families in the United States. During this marriage Alva arranged to have magnificent mansions built in New York City, Long Island NY and Newport, RI. In 1895 she divorced her husband due to infidelity and received a substantial financial settlement.

In 1896 Alva married Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont. Twelve years later, Belmont died from an infection caused by having an appendectomy.

In 1909 she started attending suffrage meetings and soon joined the National America Suffrage Association.

In 1914 Alva brought Christabee Pankhurst, co-founder of the Women’s Social And Political Union in England, to the United States for a speaking tour.

In 1916 Alva co-wrote with Elsa Maxwell a suffragist operetta, Melinda and Her Sisters, which was performed at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Alva often organized and funded lectures at the Marble House, her home in Newport. She also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cause of women’s rights.

During her later years Alva became an architectural developer and was elected to the American Institute of Architects.

In 1929 the National Woman’s Party bought a house in Washington, DC to use as its headquarters. They named it The Alva Belmont House (now known as the Sewall-Belmont House National Historic Site).

Alva Belmont suffered a stroke and died the following year at the ago of 80.

Books About/Written By Alva Belmont:

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont: Unlikely Champion of Women’s Rights

Alva, The Vanderbilt-Belmont Woman

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