Errata for Empty Mansions

Dear readers, we have made the following changes in later printings of Empty Mansions, fixing typos or errors of fact. If you see any error, or have questions of any kind, please send an email to Bill Dedman.. Thank you for your help and encouragement.

Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr.

Page with Roman numeral x: In the family tree, on the fourth row from the top, the dates for W.A. Clark's daughter Katherine Louise Clark Morris should be 1875-1974.

Page 18: In the last full paragraph, beginning “Those were hard times,” in the next-to-last line, change “westward journey fifty years earlier” to “westward journey thirty years earlier.”

Page 20: In the first full paragraph, beginning “Will’s schooling…,” the second reference to him should be “Will,” not “W.A.,” as he was called Will at that time. So the third sentence is, “As the two oldest, Sarah and Will had an advantage over the younger children, going on at age fourteen to Laurel Hill Academy, a selective private school at the Presbyterian church in town.”

Page 20: In the last paragraph, beginning “In 1856,” the first paragraph should begin, “In 1856, at age fifty-eight, perhaps a dubious age to start a new venture, …” (Correcting John Clark’s age.)

Page 30: In the paragraph beginning “In 1867,” remove the reference to headwaters of the Columbia River. The paragraph should begin, “In 1867, W.A. found that he could earn a bigger profit by hauling the U.S. mail. His route began near Missoula in western Montana, stretching through northern Idaho to Walla Walla, which was then the largest community in Washington Territory, a distance of more than 450 miles.”

Page 43: We've removed two descriptions of the Clark mansion in Butte because they couldn't be confirmed: W.A.'s silhouette being sculpted above the mantel, and the staircase of nations.

Page 121: In the map of mansions on Millionaires' Row, home No. 13 at 972 Fifth Avenue should be identified as the Payne Whitney house. It was built for William Payne Whitney, known as Payne Whitney, not for his brother, Harry Payne Whitney.

Page 138: In the first paragraph, beginning “Her own wedding…,” in the second sentence, delete reference to a fire. The sentence should be, “A few months after W.A.’s death in 1925, the home was shaken in the June earthquake, which burst a dam and badly damaged much of Santa Barbara’s downtown.”

Page 144: In the second full paragraph, beginning “This run of male self-destruction,” delete the sentence beginning, “Katherine died in 1933….” (Katherine lived until 1974.) Replace with “May and Katherine had no husbands or sons ready to take over a business, and Huguette was in her twenties and recently divorced.” In the following paragraph, change “…May and Huguette sold off the United Verde…” to “…the three daughters sold off the United Verde…”

Page 145: In paragraph beginning “Butte is still paying,” adjust the punctuation so we have: “Water and wind spread the copper, arsenic, cadmium, nickel, and lead from the mines and smelters…”

Page 172: In the paragraph beginning “Huguette had projects,” in the third line, “A.d” should be “And.”

Page 183: Line 18, change “when she was nearly ninety-nine” to “when she was ninety-seven.”

Page 195: In the paragraph beginning “An enormous floating wooden dock,” we removed the reference to the dock being stored near the rustic beach house.

Page 200: We removed a reference in the second paragraph to Morton being the staff member who cultivated bonsai. It was the house man, Harry Pepper, not Morton the butler, who worked with bonsai.

Page 204: In the first full paragraph, we removed a reference to guests at Rancho Alegre riding the horses. (Few people dared to ride the stallion, Don Antonio.)

Page 204: In the last line, it was La Cumbre Junior High School, not Santa Barbara High School, where the Clark chauffeur, Walter Armstrong, embarrassed Barry Hoelscher by driving him in the Rolls-Royce.

Page 252: In the second line, change “overdraft free” to “overdraft fee.”

Page 273: Huguette was six miles from the World Trade Center, not two miles, on September 11, 2001. This was before she moved, so the distance should be measured from Doctors Hospital (Beth Israel North), not from the main Beth Israel downtown.

Page 304: In the third line, we now reflect that it was the cancellation of the Mapplethorpe exhibit, not its scheduling, that damaged the Corcoran’s reputation in the art world (after conservative politicians made an issue of the exhibit). The corrected sentence: “The Corcoran stepped on its reputation in the art world in 1989 by canceling an exhibit of photographs by the late Robert Mapplethorpe, including homoerotic and sadomasochistic works.”

Page 347: Corrected the brief description of aphasia. Not a disease, and not akin to dementia, it is a language disorder caused by brain damage, often due to stroke, head injury, cerebral tumors, or degenerative diseases.

Page 350: In the paperback edition, as pages 348-350 were updated to reflect the settlement of the contest over Huguette's will and the Clark estate, one line was in error and has been fixed in later printings. The paintings created by Huguette were to go, under her will, to the Bellosguardo foundation. But in the settlement no special provision was made for those paintings, so they were sold by the estate in the auction at Christie's in 2014.

Page 363: Added Katie McNally to the list of Random House staff who brought you Empty Mansions.

Page 368: On the 18th line, delete “of the Montecito Association.”

Page 437: In the caption, in the fourth line, it should be “Clarkdale,” not “Clarksdale.”


In several places, the correct name “Surrogate’s Court of the State of New York, County of New York,” is rendered incorrectly with an extra “County.”

A note for page 193 refers incorrectly to the Montecito Historical Archives, which is not connected to the Montecito Association.