“Henry E. Huntington’s Library of Libraries” and the Tea, Scones & Gardens Book Club

Left to right: Book Club co-chairs Patricia Cowett and Elaine Stein.

On Saturday, June 17, 2023, the Tea, Scones & Gardens Book Club met to discuss Henry E. Huntington’s Library of Libraries at The Virginia Robinson Gardens. In a round of expressing an adjective or phrase to describe the personality of Mr. Huntington, each attendee got to describe our renowned collector: determined, focused, parsimonious, competitive, and solitary. Further, we had fun telling about our own collecting tendencies! The Huntingtons were friends of the Robinsons and had donated a night blooming Organ Pipe Cactus to them, which adorns a corner of … Read More

Sold-Out Book Club Meeting on Charlie Chaplin!

On March 18, 2023, at the Pool Pavilion of The Virginia Robinson Gardens, another quarterly meeting of the Tea, Scones, and Gardens Book Club took place. A record turnout of 26 spells the future for this popular event, so please sign up early so we won’t have to put you on the waiting list!  The book Charles Chaplin: My Autobiography brought out comments from attendees about Chaplin as a wordsmith, a multi-talented artist, a true supporter of his entertainer mother, and an acquaintance of so many important recognizable names of his era such as Albert Einstein, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Marion Davies, Winston Churchill, and so many others

The Duesenberg Caper and the Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group

The Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group had a large turnout this past Saturday, December 10, 2022, at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. It was exciting that we had so many first-time attendees!  The Duesenberg Caper by Roger Corea brought in some car enthusiasts like the Robinsons must have been; some attendees had family members who had raced cars.  In this novel, we enjoyed reliving the dynamism between the two protagonists Ada and Andrew and their eye-opening exposure to the criminal enterprises surrounding the auctions of rare high-end luxury vehicles in that era and as set in Sicily.  Our next gathering on March 18, 2023, will enjoy discussing the book Charles Chaplin: My Autobiography. Mr.  Chaplin, a one-time neighbor of the Robinsons, was a frequent guest and mixed doubles tennis partner of Virginia.  His career and popularity are legendary, and he sets forth a compelling case for this in his own words

The Chandlers and the Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group

At our September 17, 2022, Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group gathering at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, we had an interesting time discussing the family dynamics of the Chandlers including Norman and Dorothy (Buff) Chandler and son Otis. David Halberstam in The Powers That Be describes the evolution of the Los Angeles Times under Chandler's stewardship. Buff was a particularly enthusiastic fundraiser which played a part in her involvement with Virginia Robinson. She also was not only very influential in the transformation of the Los Angeles Times but was responsible for today’s art scene and venues in Los Angeles. A special guest, Scott B., gave us his insights due to his personal involvement with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Music Center

Book Club Meeting on Walt Disney a Hit

Refreshed with delightful treats provided by co-chair Elaine Stein and Shelly Roth as well as with the assistance of Curator April Walton on behalf of the Gardens, the Tea, Scones & Garden Reading Group gathered on the Back Terrace of the Virginia Robinson Gardens estate on June 18, 2022. A lively discussion was enjoyed by all about the book Walt Disney: An American Original. As is becoming a common occurrence, we had several attendees with special memories to share of their connection with Walt Disney as trusted employees, contractors or devotees

Mae West and the Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group

Rescheduled from December 2021, our book club finally met to discuss famed actress Mae West in the book by Charlotte Chandler titled She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography. What a unique and talented star she was! The book had many interesting quotes and a fulsome discussion of the life and times of women of her generation. Mae was a true combination of the influences of her corset-model mother and boxer father. She was admired for working hard. By her speech and by example, she expanded the influence of women in her industry. Vive la difference, Mae! We had such a nice group of approximately 15 participants who enjoyed delicious scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and gougères. There were two “winners” of the “diamond” ring and bracelet prizes who correctly guessed the answers to questions about the book asked by co-chair Patricia Cowett! A photo was circulated showing Virginia and Mae socializing with George Cukor.

The 1893 World’s Fair and the Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group

September 18, 2021 was the third meeting of the “Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group” in the Pool Pavilion at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. The 12 attendees enjoyed scones, cinnamon rolls, rugula, figs, and cucumber tea canapés as they discussed The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. We celebrated the innovations initiated at the Chicago Exposition, including incandescent lights, the Ferris wheel, Cracker Jacks, and Shredded Wheat. We explored the personalities involved in the complicated logistics to develop the venue, including such luminaries as Daniel Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Elias Disney. We recalled with horror the crimes committed by the psychopath H.H. Holmes. It’s no wonder Virginia and Harry Robinson and Leslie Brand (Virginia’s uncle) were forever changed after attending the fair

Fred Astaire and the Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group

On June 26, 2021, in the Pool Pavilion at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, a lively discussion was enjoyed by participants at a meeting of the Tea, Scones & Gardens Reading Group concerning Fred and Adele Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The book featured was A Step in Time, Astaire’s autobiography. An arduous journey to stardom is traced through his work in vaudeville, then film and his entertainment of the troops in World War II! The movie The Gay Divorcee featured one of the Robinsons’ Duesenberg vehicles as well as the graceful dancing of Fred and Ginger. Anecdotes both poignant and humorous are recounted in the book as determination, hard work, and talent prove fruitful.