Eleanor Close Barzin

7 entries | 2 photos
  • "Aunt Eleanor was a woman of grace, intelligence, and deep..."
    - whitney stewart
  • "Dear E. So many great stories... don't know where to..."
    - Leon Barzin
  • "My favorite memory was when she brought me along to go..."
    - steven dye
  • "Dear Eleanor, I too wish I had known you. You sound..."
    - Allegra Hutton Rumbough
  • "Dear Eleanor, I wish I could have known you. My..."
    - David Colgate Rumbough
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December 3, 1909 - November 27, 2006

She died at her home in Paris, France, on November 27, 2006. She was born Eleanor Post Close on December 3, 1909, in Greenwich, CT, to Edward Bennett Close and Marjorie Merriweather Post.

A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Eleanor Close Barzin was held on March 6, 2007, at Hillwood Museum & Gardens in Washington, DC. Among those attending were her granddaughter, Laetitia Allen Vere (London), sister, Nedenia Hutton Hartley (Dina Merrill) (New York), her brother, Edward B. Close, Jr. (Colorado), nieces, Ellen MacNeille Charles (Washington, DC) and Melissa MacNeille Cantacuzene (Virginia), nephew, Stanley Hutton Rumbough (Connecticut), and grandniece, Glenn Close (New York).

She was an avid collector of fine art and built a P,.3 magnificent personal collection of 18th Century French furniture and decorative arts as well as contributing to the collection at the museum founded by her mother, Hillwood Museum & Gardens in Washington, D.C. She supported the development of Hillwood after her mother's death in 1973, serving on the board of trustees from 1978 through 1986 and as trustee emerita thereafter. One of her more well-known donations was a 1964 gift to the National Museum of Natural History of a pair of pear-shaped diamond earrings that belonged to Marie Antoinette. She served on the board of the American Hospital of Paris Foundation and was awarded the 2001 American Hospital of Paris Foundation Medal. She also received the French Legion of Honor. She contributed to other organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee; the American Hospital of Paris; Doctors Without Borders; the First Church of Christ, Scientist; the International Eye Foundation; the National Orchestral Association; the Salvation Army; and the Versailles Foundation.

She resided in Fribourg, Switzerland, and Paris, France, until her death on November 27, 2006, in Paris. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leon Eugene Barzin in 1999, a well-known conductor who founded the National Orchestral Association and served as the founding musical director of the New York City Ballet, and her sister, Adelaide Close Riggs, who died in 1998.

She is survived by her son, Antal Miklas Post de Bekessy; granddaughter, Laetitia Allen Vere; sister, Nedenia Hutton Hartley (Dina Merrill); brothers, Edward B. Close, Jr., and William B. Close, M.D.; nieces, Marjorie Durant Dye, Ellen MacNeille Charles, Melissa MacNeille Cantacuzene, Nedenia Rumbough Roosenberg, and Heather Robertson; nephew, Stanley Hutton Rumbough; and many grandnieces and nephews.

Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 25, 2007