NEW YORK: Sic Transit Gloria

In the mid-1930s, many a U.S. housewife without so much as a Cadillac to call her own wrung her hands in anguish over the plight of a pathetic, ten-year-old waif named Gloria Vanderbilt. Fatherless at two, Gloria was heir to a trust fund totaling some $3,000,000, and nobody seemed to love her for her wide-eyed, wispy self alone. In one of the most relentlessly publicized custody fights of all time, little Gloria's mother, the gadabout "big Gloria" Morgan Vanderbilt, and her aunt, the redoubtable, socialite art lover, Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, traded haymakers of innuendo and insult across...

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