Kip And Alice Rhinelander Social Error

Kip And Alice Rhinelander Social Error

New York Daily News
1999-05-02 07:10Z

Jay Maeder, Daily News Staff Writer

From Germany to the New World came the Rhinelanders in the year 1696, and here they settled New Rochelle and begat. They were quite meticulous about it. For 200 years, naught but the proudest blood streamed through the veins of old Philip Jacob Rhinelander’s descendants as they amassed a real estate fortune second only to that of the Astors and assumed positions of importance at the most rarefied levels of New York and Newport society.

There was a bit of clucking late in the 19th century when young Philip R. Rhinelander married a Kip. Still, the Kips were only slightly less distinguished. It was not as if young Rhinelander had married, for example, a Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilts were nothing but Staten Island farmers.

In the year 1924, the last of the line was Philip’s son, 21-year-old Leonard Kip Rhinelander, and he was something of a disappointment, a graceless and awkward lad who was in and out of sanitariums for treatment of assorted nervousnesses and who was regarded as perhaps a little feeble. For all that, he still belonged to the Sons of the Revolution and the Society of Colonial Wars and the Society of the War of 1812 and the Riding Club and the Badminton Club, and he was heir to $100 million, and accordingly he was one of high society’s most eligible bachelors, fluttered at by the fairest of debutante flowers and even by a few hopeful widows. He was, after all, a Rhinelander.

But Kip’s heart belonged to pretty Alice Jones, a nursemaid and laundress, daughter of a New Rochelle busman, and on Oct. 14, 1924, he married his Cinderella in a civil ceremony so quiet that word did not get out into New York and Newport for several more weeks. Whereupon there erupted high society’s most shocking public scandal in generations.

For the bride’s father, English-born George Jones, was the son of a West Indian, and thus did West Indian blood stream through his own veins as well, and thus, too, did it stream through his daughter’s.

Or, to put it another way, Alice Jones was a colored girl…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,