Vienna Historical Society
Preserving the History of Vienna and Mount Vernon, Maine

Elisabeth Marbury

                                                                                Elisabeth Marbury
                                                                      1856 - 1933  
                                                                  Photograph of painting by William Rankin                                            


Born in New York City, Elisabeth Marbury grew up in a well-to-do and cultured home. Educated to a large extent by her father at home, she spent her early years occupied with social activities, and Sunday school teaching.  In 1885 she volunteered to organize a benefit theatrical performance, which became the springboard for her career as a professional manager.

A few years later, she managed to get a job handling the dramatic version of Little Lord Fauntleroy, which had become a current best-seller.  Later in her career she would represent other major writing talents such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, James M. Barrie and Somerset Maugham.

In the early 1890s, she joined several other agents in forming the American Play Company, and she helped stage several productions with music by Jerome Kern and Cole Porter, becoming instrumental in the development of the typical American style of musical comedy.

Around 1925, Marbury acquired a summer home in Mount Vernon called Lakeside Farm, where she entertained many illustrious guests.  One of her friends was Elizabeth Arden, whom she encouraged to purchase property in Maine.  Arden liked the area so much that she bought an adjacent property, The Gables, and turned it into the famous Maine Chance Farm health and beauty spa.

In 1933, following several years of declining health, Marbury died in New York City.  In her will she requested that Lakeside Farm be turned into a home for working women, but her friends failed to see the plan through. In frustration, Arden purchased the property with the intention of overseeing the project herself, but in the end she combined Lakeside Farm with Maine Chance and made it into the first of many luxury resorts where patrons paid top dollar to enjoy a full range of dietary, exercise, and beauty regimens.


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