Laura Myrtle Harkness (1883-1962)

Mrs L. Myrtle (Harkness) Macomber, Hussein

Associated Houses

Villa Sylvia


Rancho Cienega de Los Paicines


Walnut Hall Farm

3725 Newtown Pike, Lexington

Chateau Vanderbilt


She was born in New York City, the grand-daughter and principal heir of Stephen V. Harkness of Cleveland, one of Rockefeller's original partners in Standard Oil. She developed a passion for horses living and working at Walnut Hall Farm, her father's nationally renowned facility in Kentucky. In 1899, at New York, she married the adventurous A. Kingsley Macomber, of Pasadena, California. They built the Rancho Cienega de Los Paicines and invested large amounts of money running it as a stud farm and cattle ranch. After 1918, as they became more passionate about thoroughbred breeding and racing, they moved to France, buying the Chateau Vanderbilt at Carrières-sous-Poissy. They divided their time between there and Paris until Macomber died in 1955. In Monte-Carlo, she met Ilhamy Hussein Pasha, a colorful exile from the Egyptian Royal court and they were married in 1960. They bought and started furnishing the Villa Sylvia on Cap Ferrat that they renamed "Baia dei Fiori". Myrtle died just two years later, without children by either marriage, leaving almost the entirety of her fortune to her widower.  


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 20/05/2020 and last updated on 25/05/2020.