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Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964) by George Charles Beresford, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Astor [née Langhorne], Nancy Witcher, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964), society hostess and politician, was born at Danville, Virginia, on 19 May 1879, the eighth child in a family of eleven. Her father, Chiswell Dabney Langhorne (1843–1919), a veteran of the American Civil War, had made his fortune in railway construction and bought an estate at ...

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Gladys Marie Spencer- Churchill, duchess of Marlborough (1881–1977) by Sir Jacob Epstein, 1917 © Tate, London, 2004; photograph courtesy Sotheby's Picture Library, London

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Churchill, Gladys Marie Spencer- [née Gladys Marie Deacon], duchess of Marlborough (1881–1977), society beauty, was born on 7 February 1881 at the Hotel Brighton in Paris, the eldest of five children of Edward Parker Deacon of Boston (1844–1901) and his wife, Florence Mary (1859–1918)...

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Lola Montez (1821–1861) by Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes, c. 1850 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937. (37.14.41) All rights reserved, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Montez, Lola [real name Elizabeth Rosanna Gilbert] (1821–1861), adventuress, was born on 17 February 1821 at Grange, co. Sligo, Ireland, the only child of Edward Gilbert (c.1797–1823), an ensign of the 25th foot regiment, and his wife, Eliza Oliver (...

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Stephenson, Rowland (1782–1856), art collector, politician, and bankrupt, was born at sea between Florida and England on 19 May 1782 and baptized at St Andrew's Church, Holborn, London, on 2 August. He was the third surviving son and fifth of eight children of ...