Mary Millicent Abigail von Salm-Hoogstraeten de Peralta-Ramos Balcom (Rogers) (1902 - 1953)

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Nicknames: "M.R."
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Death: Died
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About Mary Millicent Abigail von Salm-Hoogstraeten de Peralta-Ramos Balcom (Rogers)

Socialite and fashion icon Millicent Rogers is notable for having been an early supporter and enthusiast of Southwestern-style art and jewelry, and is often credited for its reaching a national and international audience. Later in life, she became an activist, and was among the first celebrities to champion the cause of Native American civil rights.

She was born Mary Millicent Abigail Rogers on February 1, 1902, the granddaughter of oil tycoon Henry Huddleston Rogers, and an heiress to his wealth. Her mother was Mary B. Rogers and her father was Henry Huddleston Rogers II, whose father founded the Standard Oil fortune. She grew up in Manhattan, Tuxedo Park, and Southampton, New York in New York.

When Millicent contracted rheumatic fever as a young child, doctors predicted she would not live past the age of 10. She suffered from poor health for the rest of her life, having multiple heart attacks, bouts with double pneumonia, and a mostly crippled left arm by the time she was 40 years old.

In the 1920s, as a young woman Rogers became well-known on the socialite scene, and photographs of her were often featured in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Newspaper gossip columns, such as the one in the Hearst's New York Journal-American, regularly detailed her personal life. Rogers lived primarily as an ex-pat for many years, and remained in Switzerland until World War II broke out.

In the mid-1940s, Rogers retreated to a small adobe home in Taos, New Mexico, which she referred to as Turtle Walk. While living there, she purchased more than 2,000 Native American artifacts. In 1947, Rogers and several prominent friends (including authors Frank Waters, Oliver Lafarge and Lucius Beebe) hired lawyers and visited Washington DC to promote the issue of Indian rights and citizenship. She successfully lobbied for Native American art to be classified as "historic", and therefore protected.

She died on January 1, 1953, following surgery for an aneurysm. Her autopsy revealed that her heart had swollen to four times the normal size. Her legal full name at her time of death was Mary Millicent Abigail Rogers von Salm-Hoogstraeten de Peralta-Ramos Balcom.

Marriages

Rogers was married three times.

  1. Ludwig von Salm-Hoogstraten - Eloped in 1924 and married in a New York courtroom; she was 20 years old and the groom was 40. An unemployed film actor through most of their short marriage, Salm-Hoogstraten was characterized by the New York Times as "a gold-digging Austrian count" and TIME magazine called him "penniless." The couple had one son together, Peter Salm, but had legally separated before the boy was born. Their divorce was finalized in April 1927.
  2. Arturo Peralta-Ramos - Married in 1927. He was a wealthy Argentine. The couple had two children together, Paul Jaime and Arturo Henry Peralta-Ramos Jr. They were married in the parish house of the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton, Long Island, with only Roger's father and a few friends in attendance. Approving of the marriage, Henry Huddleston Rogers II gave the couple a $500,000 trust fund, with the provision that Peralta-Ramos "lay no future claim to the Rogers fortune, estimated at $40,000,000." Peralta-Ramos filed for divorce on December 6, 1935, with both parties citing "extreme cruelty".
  3. Ronald Balcom - He was an American stockbroker. They were married in Vienna on February 26, 1936, and were divorced in February 1941. They had no children together.

Source: Wikipedia