BookBrowse Reviews The Barbizon by Paulina Bren

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The Barbizon

The Hotel That Set Women Free

by Paulina Bren

The Barbizon by Paulina Bren X
The Barbizon by Paulina Bren
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    Mar 2021, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Oberdorfer
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The story of the historic Barbizon Hotel for women, which hosted such figures as Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Grace Kelly and the "unsinkable" Molly Brown.

Esteemed historian and Vassar professor Paulina Bren brings the legendary Barbizon Hotel to life on the pages of her delightful new book. The hotel that "set women free" was built in 1927 on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street in New York City. The 1920s, according to Bren, was "the decade of women's residential hotels." These establishments had popped up everywhere, and while the Barbizon was not the first, it was certainly the most glamorous.

William H. Silk, who had already designed another hotel for women, the Allerton, developed the Barbizon. While he wanted the exterior to be masculine in a gothic style, he made certain that the interior had a feminine quality, opting for delicate colors and French-style furnishings. The Barbizon residents were also intended to be unlike many of the guests at similar hotels. While the Allerton welcomed female physicians, lecturers ...

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