The woman is Rebekah West Harkness, a famously wild heiress from St. Louis who once owned the Rhode Island coastal mansion that Swift purchased … These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. It’s based on a story about Rebekah West Pierce Harkness, known as Betty to her friends. It's a biography about the socialite with the subtitle “She had everything—beauty, wealth, and glamour—until obsession, madness, and suicide destroyed it all. (Yes, the seaside mansion that was the … Iyengar.) [11], La villa "Holiday House" di Harkness a Watch Hill, Rhode Island, è stata acquisita nel 2013 dalla cantante Taylor Swift. They nicknamed the property as their "Holiday House." Mary Elizabeth Andriotis is a home decor and culture writer based in New York. Not just going to performances, but sponsoring entire ballet companies, buying up real estate for them and sending them on world tours. She was briefly married to a photographer before marrying philanthropist William Hale Harkness, half-brother of Henry Flagler, in 1945. The woman who owned Holiday House for more than 30 years, from the 1950s until her death in 1982, was famous for her glamorous parties that brought in … 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 an attempt at making it big as a singer and releasing several albums, Harkness shifted her talents (read: wealth) to dance and established the Rebekah Harness Foundation, which sponsored various ballet companies and took them on tours around the world with the heiress at the helm. The character named Bill is in reference to Rebekah Harkness’s second husband, William Hale Harkness, who was in fact the heir to Standard Oil. 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 do 'The Tour,' in quotes, where I show everyone through the house. 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. Oh, I learned about her as soon as I was being walked through [her former Rhode Island] home. After Rebekah Harkness died in 1982, ... “Fifty years is a long time/Holiday House sat quietly on that beach,” she adds. Harkness' "Holiday House" in Watch Hill, Rhode Island was acquired in 2013 by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. She adds, “As soon as I found out about her, I wanted to know everything I could. Holiday House is one of Taylor Swift’s many homes, and it encompasses 11,000 square feet and sits on 5.23 acres. Swift also shared that every single room of Holiday House “has a different anecdote about Rebekah Harkness.” Clearly, Swift is fascinated with the home's former owner, and we certainly can’t blame her—who else steals their neighbor’s cat (changed to "dog" in the song, given Swift's love for cats) and dyes its fur key lime green? The 10-time Grammy winner originally learned about Rebekah - who died, age 67, from cancer in 1982 - after buying her 'Holiday House' mansion in Watch Hill, RI for $17M in 2013. She first found out about Harkness through “the real estate agent who was walking us through the property,” according to her Entertainment Weekly interview. Rebekah Harkness spent much of the Standard Oil fortune she inherited on the ballet. In 1962 she turned her Rhode Island estate, Holiday House, into a summer dance camp for the entire Joffrey […] What does this socialite and ballet enthusiast have to do with Swift? In 2013, Swift bought the same home for $17 million and also named it her "Holiday House.” Swift bought Harkness’s Rhode Island “Holiday House” in 2013. The house sat empty on the beach until Taylor bought it in 2013 for an alleged all-cash deal of $17 million. 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.'. The two purchased a mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, which they nicknamed Holiday House. This was the same house Swift purchased in 2013 for nearly $18 million, where she's hosted many a summer bash with model friends and big-screen beaus. William Harkness bought Holiday House in 1948, a year after their marriage. 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