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Elm Court

Newport, Rhode Island

Built in 1853, for Andrew A. Robeson Jr., and his wife, Mary Allen. Robeson was the son of a Quaker abolitionist from New Bedford who made a fortune through whaling, banking and calico printing. Designed by George Champlin Mason Sr., the Italianate house stands on the corner of Bowery and Bellevue Avenue with, "spacious and picturesque grounds". It was acquired by Mrs Frederick W. Stevens circa 1875 and when she had become Duchess Dino she sold the property in 1893 for $87,500 to Mr and Mrs C.R. Robert. Just three years later, Mrs C. R. Robert (Julia) sold the house and its contents for $115,000 to Frank Work, the personal stockbroker of Cornelius Vanderbilt... 
It has remained in his family ever since and it was probably at this time that Stanford White enlarged it and the interiors were redone by Ogden Codman Jr. Work passed the estate to his daughter, Frances, who'd recently divorced her husband and moved back to America with her daughter, Cynthia. It was passed on to Cynthia who was married here to her second husband, Guy F. Cary. In the 1950s, it ceased to be their summer home and became a year-round home. Mrs. Guy Fairfax Cary was a prominent art collector whose collection includes over 200 pieces, now housed at the Redwood Library. She died in 1966 when the house was passed to her daughter, Mrs Cynthia (Cary) Van Pelt Russell (d.1924). It is currently the home of Mrs Russell's younger son, Guy (b.1957) and his wife, Mary.




Frank Work Buys a Newport Villa (May 8, 1896), The New York Times; North by South: The Two Lives of Richard James Arnold (2009), by Charles Hoffmann & Tess Hoffmann; 
A Newport Story: The Twin Pleasures of Elm Court (2016), by Bettie Bearden Pardee