Inside the Barbizon: The Hotel that Set Women Free

Inside the Barbizon

Explore the history of NYC’s iconic Barbizon Hotel, a famous women-only hotel where celebrities like Grace Kelly lived!

  • Discover the amenities available to women of a certain set eager to occupy the Barbizon’s rooms.
  • Ponder why Sylvia Plath tossed her carefully curated wardrobe off the roof of the Barbizon.
  • Experience the disappointment of the Barbizon residents who were not considered the “it” girls.
  • Find out who was the first man to officially go beyond the lobby level of the hotel (and not the men who claimed they had managed to sneak in).
  • Learn who “the Women” were, why they were feared, and where they are now.

About this Webinar:

Paulina Bren will guide you through the history of New York’s most famous women-only residential hotel from the time it opened its doors in 1928 to its transformation into luxury condominiums in 2005. Like so many other women’s hotels, the Barbizon was built to accommodate the thousands of women coming to New York in the aftermath of World War I and the women’s vote. But unlike so many others, the Barbizon survived the Great Depression, becoming a home for Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Liza Minnelli, Cybil Shepherd, Betsey Johnson, and so many others. Yet its mission came under scrutiny with the rise of women’s equality in the 1970s, leading to drop off in occupancy, and the necessary addition of men in 1981. The Barbizon, built for young women with an artistic sensibility, was eventually gutted and converted into multi-million dollar apartments, becoming a casualty of New York City’s post-1990s development.

About Paulina Bren:

Paulina Bren is an award-winning writer and historian who teaches at Vassar College. Her current book, The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free, has received international press coverage, with reviews in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Guardian’s Sunday Observer and The Times. Paulina is also a well-known scholar of everyday life and communism behind the Iron Curtain, starting with her groundbreaking book, The Greengrocer and His TV.  She lives in New York City with her husband, teenage daughter, and schnoodle Bobo.

Attendees will receive a link to join the webinar after completing the registration.

All images provided by the author, courtesy of Susan Camp Private Collection

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