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prologue                                                        2

success, she always guarded her privacy, on the admirable aristocratic principle "never complain and never explain", she has grown into a figure of somewhat mythical dimensions. To some she is long dead, to others she is extremely ancient, others allow that they have heard of her but are unclear about her accomplishments. Her professional lifestory has all the ingredients of which legends are made: the glad, the sad, the highs, the lows, the happy ever after.

From a prominent Michigan family, she was gifted with beauty, wealth, and talent. She was an only child, orphaned at 12, and at 15 was, at Kingswood School, brought into the orbit of one of the outstanding architects of the time, Eliel Saarinen, becoming his protogee and an honorary member of his family. She showed precociously early promise as a designer, and Eliel, his wife Loja and son Eero guided her training in architecture and the arts. While still a schoolgirl, she lived in their homes at Cranbrook, Michigan, and Hvittrask, Finland, and, through them, in her impressionable teens she met a generation of giants including Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto. She studied at Cranbrook Academy, Columbia University, the Architectural Association in London, and with Mies van der Rohe at the Armour Institute, Chicago. She worked, as an apprentice, for Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, and studied graphic design with Herbert Bayer who had been a teaching master at the Bauhaus. Working in New York as an independent designer, with Nelson Rockefeller among her earliest clients, she met the brilliant and