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The aristocrats

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 4, 2010

Slocum hosted dinner parties on a scale few could afford, and thereby cultivated society friendships with everyone from the flamboyant Doris Duke to the sinister Claus von Bulow. Dinners for 90 were not unusual, with those for only 40 or 50 considered minor occasions. In a letter read in the documentary, the normally buoyant Slocum declares in exhaustion that "the orbit of my existence is the dimensions of the Newport house."

Nowadays, with the wealth of a century ago having been divided again and again in subsequent generations, such extravagant hosting — and sometimes even the mansions themselves — can no longer be maintained. Behind the Hedgerow chronicles the end of an era.

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