Bill Dedman Speaks about His NY Times Bestseller, “Empty Mansions” Chronicling The Life of Heiress Huguette Clark on August 25 at Rago Auctions

  • LAMBERTVILLE, New Jersey
  • /
  • August 10, 2015

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Huguette Clark
The Estate of Huguette M. Clark, from the book "Empty Mansions"



Lambertville, NJ:  The Rago Arts and Auction Center hosts an open house on Tuesday, August 25 featuring Bill Dedman speaking about the life of heiress Huguette Clark in a lecture entitled, “Empty Mansions: A Photo Tour of Huguette Clark’s Long Life of Art, Excess, and Generosity” at 6 pm.


Bill Dedman’s book, Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune, is a mystery of wealth and loss — and a secretive heiress named Huguette Clark. Though she owned palatial homes in Santa Barbara and Connecticut and New York, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Empty Mansions unravels the story of her remarkable family, from her father, W.A. Clark, the “Copper King”, founder of Las Vegas, and controversial U.S. senator, to his daughter, the generous artist who held a ticket on the Titanic and was still living in New York City on 9/11. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Bill Dedman, who discovered Huguette's story for NBC News, has collaborated with Huguette Clark's cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have conversations with her.

Bill Dedman
David Beyda Studio


Carefully drawn from interviews with Huguette, her personal papers, and testimony of her inner circle, Empty Mansions is the story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms. In a story that spans nearly all of American history in three generations, Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the talented daughter, born into a family of fortune and privilege, who hides herself from the outside world. The authors reveal a complex portrait of the enigmatic Huguette and her intimate circle—including her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her French boyfriend, her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette’s copper fortune.


Bill Dedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and co-author of the No. 1 New York Times bestselling biography Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune.  Bill received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for The Color of Money, a series of articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on racial discrimination by mortgage lenders in middle-income neighborhoods. He has received other national journalism awards over the past thirty years for investigative reporting, feature writing, and creative use of online media. He joined Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, in 2014 as a senior writer, reporting investigative stories for Newsday and its sister cable television channel, News 12 Long Island. In eight years with NBC News, reporting online for and, Bill uncovered stories on the Pentagon's failed efforts to identify servicemen and women lost in past wars, fatal problems with firefighter safety equipment, the Obama administration's hidden visitor logs, and coercive interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo.

Empty Mansions
Ballantine Books


Bill stumbled upon the mystery of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, who was featured in a series of reports on and the Today show. The Clark series was the most popular story ever on, with more than 110 million page views. His book with Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., hit No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list.


Bill got his start in journalism at 16 as a copy boy at The Chattanooga Times. He has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe, and was the first director of computer-assisted reporting for The Associated Press. He taught advanced reporting part time at the University of Maryland, Northwestern University, and Boston University, and served for six years on the board of directors of Investigative Reporters and Editors.


A wine and cheese reception begins at 5 p.m. Mr. Dedman's talk begins at 6 p.m. RSVP to 609.397.9374, ext. 119 or If you are unable to rsvp in advance, please join us if you can. All are welcome.



High-resolution images available on request.


About Rago Arts and Auction Center

Rago is a leading U.S. auction house with $30 million in annual sales. It serves thousands of sellers and buyers yearly with a singular blend of global reach, personal service and competitive commissions for single pieces, collections and estates. Rago holds auctions of 20th/21st c. design, fine art, decorative arts, furnishings, jewelry, Asian, militaria, coins and currency, silver, historic ephemera, and ethnographic property. Rago also provides a range of appraisal services conducted by USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) compliant appraisers, performed to the highest standards set by the IRS, insurers and the Appraisers Association of America. Rago is located in New Jersey, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.



Rago Arts and Auction Center
333 N. Main Street
Lambertville, New Jersey

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