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Louise Astor Van Alen Saunderson
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Birth: May 10, 1910
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Death: Dec. 30, 1998
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County
California, USA

Louise Astor Van Alen Saunderson was a Santa Barbara socialite and heiress. Daughter of James L. Van Alen and Margaret Post. Wife of Alexander Saunderson, a famous British soldier and war prisoner. Growing up as a girl in Newport, at the family estate 'Wakehurst', she grew up around wealth. Known in Newport for her wit, charm and beauty, she regularly appeared every morning at Bailey's Beach for a swim. Much to the chagrin of her mother, Louise married to Prince Alexis Mdivani. Shortly after, however, the marriage ended in divorce. Next, in one of the biggest scandals in Newport, she married his brother Serge, who unfortunately died in a polo accident literally months after. While grieving in Newport, a friend introduced her to Alexander Saunderson, a British soldier and WWI prisoner. They quickly fell in love and married, moving to a wonderful little estate in Santa Barbara, known as 'the pillbox'. The couple split their time between there and a luxurious apartment in Paris. They traveled the world, mainly in the houseboat that had been a wedding gift from Mrs Van Alen. She developed a love for art and architecture, insisting that the gardens at 'the pillbox' be replicas of the famous gardens in Europe. An avid collector of vases, she had a large hall built connecting the main house and the greenhouse, the later and the hall which she turned into a vase gallery. A relatively quiet socialite, she was known for her marvelous tea parties, held in the especially built octagon breakfast room. Wanting to remember Europe when at 'the pillbox', she hired John Sander, a prominent English artist, to paint the walls of her master bedroom and turn them into murals of Venice. A lover of all animals, she and Alexander owned 12 dogs alone, all of which slept on or around their master bed . A kind and hospitable hostess, she often and very frequently hosted family events and reunions, the few guest bedrooms at 'the pillbox' being filled completely. Her moderate Van Alen fortune providing for their simple yet lavish way of life. A generous philanthropist, she often gave to charities as anonymous. Most of those who met her instantly liked her and she had a large and extensive group of friends.
Written and Complied by Tyler Hughes 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Serge Mdivani (1904 - 1936)
 
Burial:
Berkeley Memorial Cemetery
Middletown
Newport County
Rhode Island, USA
 
Created by: Tyler Hughes
Record added: Jul 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 94050154
Louise Astor <i>Van Alen</i> Saunderson
Added by: Tyler Hughes
 
Louise Astor <i>Van Alen</i> Saunderson
Added by: Tyler Hughes
 
Louise Astor <i>Van Alen</i> Saunderson
Added by: Tyler Hughes
 
 
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Remembering you Louise Saunderson - A view of the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island, which was eventually purchased by your brother and turned into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the opening of which you attended.
- Tyler Hughes
 Added: Mar. 16, 2013
Remembering Louise Van Alen this day - a view of the staircase at 'Wakehurst' in Newport RI, where Louise grew up and later where she spent her first night as Mrs Midivani.
- Tyler Hughes
 Added: Mar. 8, 2013
Rest in peace.
- Threeweeks
 Added: Dec. 27, 2012
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