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Central Library Set to Rise From Ashes

September 23, 1993|MARY LOU LOPER

The Central Library's landmark building will gleam Oct. 2 at the Library Foundation of Los Angeles gala designed to raise more than $500,000. It has been closed since 1986, when two disastrous arson fires destroyed 400,000 books.

The long-awaited debut of the restored and expanded building at 630 W. Fifth St. calls for Fifth Street to be closed between Grand and Flower. Guests will tour the library, have cocktails in Maguire Gardens and sit for a black-tie dinner between the lower Bunker Hill Steps and the Library Rotunda. Singer Vanessa Williams will entertain.

The rotunda has been renamed the Lodrick M. Cook Rotunda to thank Cook for his leadership in the Save the Books Campaign. Over two years, a blue-ribbon committee raised $10 million.

ARCO, which Cook heads as chairman (and he is also chairing the party), is underwriting the affair.


ROYAL: Prince Michael of Kent, first cousin to Queen Elizabeth; great-great-grandson of King George V; the image of his distant cousin, the last czar of Russia, Nicholas II; and godson of President Franklin Roosevelt, has an "American" birthday: He was born on the Fourth of July, 1942.

The affable prince was in town a few days ago to promote upscale British goods in North America. Not just any upscale goods, but those from the Royal Family's Royal Warrant Holders included in "The House of Windsor Collection." The collection is being introduced in an autumn mini-catalogue and selected magazines and in the spring in a major mail-order catalogue, an effort headed by Bradley R. Larschan in the United States and Nicholas Wills in Britain.

What's a British Royal Warrant? Says Prince Michael, "an item of integrity, quality and service." The honor can be bestowed by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales, and only 900 companies hold the distinction of making goods that receive the warrants--a tradition of royal patronage of trade begun in 1155.

The catalogue will include nearly 200 items--porcelains, leathers, clocks, even thimbles. Quality, mind you.

On a whirl, the prince was in Boston, New York, Dallas and here (plus Phoenix for an afternoon swim with friends). In Los Angeles, British Consul General Merrick Baker-Bates and his wife, Chrystal, hosted cocktails for 80 in their Hancock Park residence. Prince Michael presented them properly warranted Swaine, Adeney & Brigg umbrellas before he and his entourage, including his equerry Lt. Col. Sir Christopher Thompson, left in a hunter green Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II for the home of Betsy Bloomingdale. Her dinner guests included former President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, Eva Gabor and Carroll Petrie of New York. They dined on filet of beef ("now that it's back in fashion," said Betsy) and homemade vanilla ice cream with lots of silver and continental china.

The evening before, Caroline Hunt (former owner of the Bel-Air Hotel) entertained for 20 at the Crescent Hotel in Dallas. After Bloomingdale's party, Prince Michael left to meet his wife in Singapore for the inaugural Singapore Oriental Express train debut. Very dashing.


THRILLS: The thrill of accomplishment put a glow on the dedication last week of the Children's Institute International's new Burton E. Green Center in Torrance. At least 400 crowded into the center and its alcoves and offices, where they looked out over flowered window boxes from multi-levels to see Gov. Pete Wilson, his wife, Gayle, and institute trustees Beth Lowe and Ann Petroni wipe eyes after the children of Barbara Marsh's fifth-grade class at Peninsula Heritage School sang "Bless This House."

As executive director Mary Emmons explained, it seemed fitting that the house be blessed because it will be a haven for abused babies until they can be returned to their parents or placed in foster care. The new center looks like a cluster of quaint houses painted terra cotta, mint, rose and blue.

Lowe introduced the Wilsons and presented them the Champion of Children Award. Petroni praised the cooperation of Los Angeles County supervisors in the project, which was initiated by a grant of $1.5 million from the Burton G. Bettingen Corp.

L.A Mayor Richard J. Riordan, who until recently headed the fund drive of $5 million for the building with David G. Price, sat in the front row with the Wilsons and his friend Nancy Daly, chairwoman of the Mayor's Task Force on Children.

Members of the Colleagues, the first support group for CII, were in the audience: Erlenne Sprague, Natalie Robinson, Lupe Hinckle, Harriet Deutsch and Anna Murdoch. One of the Colleagues had just given a gift of $100,000 to the cause, requesting anonymity. As a surprise to member Pat Ryan (who catered the party for Party Planners West), CHIPS (the junior Colleagues) requested that their $50,000 gift be used to name the family interview room in Ryan's honor.

The crowd lunched on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and lemonade.


KUDOS: In 1988, when Laney Techentin was its president, Las Madrinas of Childrens Hospital voted to raise $3 million for the Las Madrinas Endowment for Molecular Pathology, primarily through the Christmas debutante ball.

Techentin and this year's president, Mary O'Connell, and all the Las Madrinas presidents in the interim--Jane Ackerman, CeCe Baise, Ann Barrett, Janice Carpenter and Sally Mogan--joined forces to celebrate completion of the goal at a cocktail party last week in the Brentwood home of Rick and Sally Mogan.

As members and their husbands stood in the garden, O'Connell said, "The real measure of success is what that money has done." Then, she introduced Dr. Tim Triche, who praised the group for creating "the crystal" for research on childhood disease in a program with eight medical scientists and physicians, 20 research personnel and $2 million in annual grants.

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