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Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House Paperback – August 3, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
(I grew up in Springfield and have toured the house both before its restoration and after.)
Susan Lawrence was an enigma during her lifetime (1862-1946) and she remains one today. Roberta Volkmann's impressive research and gifts as a storyteller, however, enable her to explore her subject's enigmatic features and introduce her readers to a truly fascinating person.
The fascination lies in Susan Lawrence's repeated remaking of herself. She began with many advantages, as she was the only child of a wealthy "intuitive entrepreneur and astute opportunist," as Volkmann portrays her father. His daughter displayed comparable characteristics, and she drew upon them in coping with considerable sadness. She and first husband, Edwin Dana, experienced joy with the birth of two babies, but joy turned to sadness when their offspring died in infancy. After seventeen years of marriage, Edwin was killed in a mining accident. Twelve years later, at age forty-nine, Susan married a twenty-six-year old singer; he died unexpectedly about sixteen months later. Her third marriage, in 1915 led to estrangement and eventually divorce.
But there was more to Susan Lawrence Dana's life than marriages. She was, as Volkmann recounts her activities, a traveler, a socialite, an extraordinary hostess, a community volunteer, a participant in political causes, a philanthropist, a spiritualist who communicated with her deceased father, a believer in astrology, a mystic, and a friend to many--some prominent, some ordinary folk.
One of her friends was Frank Lloyd Wright, and she commissioned him to remodel her father's home in Springfield.Read more ›