Leila Hadley, 83, Who Traveled the World and Then Wrote About It

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Matthew Kruk

Feb 14, 2009, 11:31:47 PM2/14/09
February 15, 2009
Leila Hadley, Who Traveled the World and Then Wrote About It, Dies at 83

Leila Hadley, whose impulsive trip around the world in her 20s led to a
career writing travel books like "Give Me the World" and "A Journey With
Elsa Cloud," died on Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 83 and lived
in Manhattan and on Fishers Island, N.Y.

The death was confirmed by her son Matthew Eliott, who could not provide
details about the cause. She had suffered from emphysema for several years.

Mrs. Hadley, a glamorous, socially fluent beauty with a long list of
prominent friends and lovers on her résumé, first tried her hand at writing
with the encouragement of S. J. Perelman, one of many admirers. After
quitting her job as the publicity director for "The Howdy Doody Show" in
1951, she took her 6-year-old son, Arthur T. Hadley III, on a two-year
round-the-world trip, traveling from Singapore to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and
from Beirut to Malta onboard a schooner being sailed by four young American
men, one of whom became her second husband.

The trip provided the material for "Give Me the World," praised for its
sharp-eyed, vivid descriptions and for the author's enthusiasm for leaving
the beaten path, wherever she was. Mrs. Hadley went on to write a series of
guidebooks for travelers with children, drawing on her own experience as a
mother of four.

"Children are hardy and adaptable if given a chance to rise to the
occasion," she told The New York Times in 1962. "I always remember that
wonderful Zulu saying, 'Dirt that don't make dead, fattens.' "

Her reputation as an expert on children came under a cloud when her daughter
Caroline Nicholson and Ms. Nicholson's oldest daughter, Faith, filed a
lawsuit against her in 2003. The suit claimed damages for what the two said
was sexual abuse during the 1970s, when Mrs. Hadley was having an affair
with Henry Luce III, the oldest son of the founder of Time magazine, whom
she married in 1990. (He died in 2005.) Mrs. Hadley, who denied all
accusations of abuse, said that her daughter had filed the lawsuit simply to
get money. The case was settled out of court earlier this year.

Leila Eliott Burton, the daughter of a linens manufacturer, grew up in
comfortable circumstances in Greenvale, N.Y. The pronunciation of her first
name stumped new acquaintances throughout her life. "It's LEE-la, as in the
Hindi for 'cosmic play,' which should register in anyone's mind forever, but
doesn't," she once said.

After graduating from St. Timothy's School in Stevenson, Md., where her
classmates included Gloria Vanderbilt, she turned down a scholarship to
Radcliffe to marry Arthur Twining Hadley II, whom she later described as
"handsome, but a cad." Her mother handed her off with the only bit of
intimate advice she ever imparted: "Don't worry, Dear, sex will only last a

The marriage quickly ended in divorce, as did marriages to Yvor H. Smitten,
a geologist she met on her round-the-world tour, and William C. Musham, a
Chicago businessman. In addition to her sons Matthew, of North Salem, N.Y.,
and Dr. Arthur T. Hadley III of Richmond, Tex., and her daughter Caroline
Nicholson of Devonshire, England, she is survived by another daughter,
Victoria S. Barlow of Manhattan; and eight grandchildren.

Mrs. Hadley quickly landed on her feet after her first marriage ended and
found work in public relations, initially with the cartoonist Al Capp. In
1950 Look magazine described her as "the chic, high-level, in-the-know,
celebrity-surrounded career girl that millions of young women dream of
becoming in New York." After making a splash with her first book, she worked
as an editor at Diplomat magazine and The Saturday Evening Post, where she
rose to the position of cartoon editor.

At the same time, she wrote "How to Travel With Children in Europe" (1963),
a successful advice book, which led to "Fielding's Guide to Traveling with
Children in Europe" (1972) and "Traveling With Children in the U.S.A."
(1976). With John Barclay she wrote "Manners for Young People" (1966).

In 1978 her daughter Victoria invited her to visit India. Victoria, from
whom she had been estranged for years, was translating Sanskrit texts into
Tibetan near Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile. Mrs. Hadley
saw the invitation as a chance to re-establish ties, and she and her
daughter traveled from New Delhi to Dharamsala. Mrs. Hadley described the
trip in "A Journey With Elsa Cloud," a blend of autobiography, family saga
and travel book whose title came from Victoria's childhood wish to be "the
sea, the jungle, or else a cloud."

Along the way, Mrs. Hadley developed a lifelong interest in Tibet. In 1979
she wrote "Tibet 20 Years After the Chinese Takeover." She was a board
member of Tibet House for many years and endowed the Leila Hadley Luce Chair
for Modern Tibetan Studies at Columbia University.

Trouble lay just over the horizon after the journey of reconciliation.
Victoria denounced the book and later contributed family letters and her own
diaries to support her sister Caroline's lawsuit, whose details were
reported in The New York Post and Vanity Fair.

Caroline Nicholson said that Mr. Luce had repeatedly tried to rape her and
that she had been invited into bed by her mother and Mr. Luce. The case was
dismissed in 2004 when the judge ruled that New York's 30-year statute of
limitations for the complaint had expired. Faith Nicholson said that Mrs.
Hadley had attempted to assault her sexually and had intentionally inflicted
emotional distress.

As charges and countercharges flew back and forth, Mrs. Hadley revealed, in
her deposition, that she had been pursued ardently by Marlon Brando when he
was performing on Broadway in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and had had a
passionate affair with the cartoonist Charles Addams.

Matthew Eliott (who changed his last name in the 1970s) conceded that his
mother was mentally troubled but challenged his sisters' version of events,
which painted a picture of their mother as a narcissist obsessed with money,
social connections and her weight.

During the turmoil Mrs. Hadley produced a serene book, "A Garden by the Sea"
(2005), about the pleasures of tending marigolds and irises on Fishers

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company


Feb 14, 2009, 11:40:01 PM2/14/09
Matthew Kruk wrote:
> February 15, 2009
> Leila Hadley, Who Traveled the World and Then Wrote About It, Dies at 83
> Leila Hadley, whose impulsive trip around the world in her 20s led to a
> career writing travel books like "Give Me the World" and "A Journey With
> Elsa Cloud," died on Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 83 and lived
> in Manhattan and on Fishers Island, N.Y.

Bizarre obit.


Feb 15, 2009, 9:07:10 AM2/15/09
On Feb 14, 11:40 pm, Hyfler/Rosner <rel...@rcn.com> wrote:

> Bizarre obit.

Even more bizarre a woman.


Feb 15, 2009, 10:53:12 AM2/15/09

"Ted" <nyfilm...@gmail.com> wrote in message

On Feb 14, 11:40 pm, Hyfler/Rosner <rel...@rcn.com> wrote:

> Bizarre obit.

Even more bizarre a woman.

Actually, that's what I meant. It's kind of hard to figure
out what the truth is. Not a good thing in an obit.

Matthew Kruk

Feb 15, 2009, 11:30:03 AM2/15/09
"Ted" <nyfilm...@gmail.com> wrote in message
On Feb 14, 11:40 pm, Hyfler/Rosner <rel...@rcn.com> wrote:

> Bizarre obit.

Even more bizarre a woman.


Have a read - "The Luce Family War; At 81, Leila Hadley Luce, widow of Time


Matthew Kruk

Feb 15, 2009, 11:31:28 AM2/15/09
"Ted" <nyfilm...@gmail.com> wrote in message
On Feb 14, 11:40 pm, Hyfler/Rosner <rel...@rcn.com> wrote:

> Bizarre obit.

Even more bizarre a woman.


Also "Leila Hadley Luce: Intrepid Traveler":


Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted


Mar 22, 2009, 12:35:59 AM3/22/09
In spite of two days of communicating with William Grimes, who wrote
this obituary, which is packed with errors, bad research and
misinformation, he refused to include the corrections, except for the
fact that she was not Mrs. Leila Hadley when she died but Mrs. Leila
Luce. Leila Hadley -without either Miss or Mrs.- was her professional

Here are a few of my emails to Mr. Grimes, who is obviously doing an
inadequate job writing obituaries or is deliberately trying to
disconnect Leila Hadley's name from her marriage to Hank, Henry Luce

Dear William Grimes,
Corrections regarding your Leila Hadley obituary:

Mrs. Leila Luce's writing name was Leila Hadley, not Mrs. Leila
Hadley. She grew up in Old Westbury, not Greenvale, Long Island.

On a one year and a half year world trip in 1951, she was on the
schooner, California, as a paying passenger for two months and several

Her marriage to Yvor Smitter -not Smitten- did not end quickly in
divorce, it lasted twelve years.

None of Leila's children traveled with her in Europe.

Faith and Caroline Nicholson's lawsuits in 2003 stated that Leila and
Henry Luce III, who died ten days before being deposed, were
continuing a prior pattern of committing incest by sexually abusing
their granddaughter, Faith Nicholson, in the 1990's.

I did not invite Leila to India in 1978 nor do I know how to translate
Sanskrit into Tibetan.

It was a Luce Fund endowment by Henry Luce III, not Leila's money,
that went to Columbia University, to purchase a professorship in her

The relationship she had with Charles Addams lasted through her
marriages to her second and third husbands, over a period of at least
ten years.

I had no reconciliation with Leila after 1984.

Victoria C. Barlow

And another:

Here is the New York Times obituary of Leila's grandfather, who passed
on his business to his son, Frank V. Burton Jr., Leila's father,
stating the fact that he was a "leader in the cotton trade", not

Whatever, you prefer to pass on misinformation. It's your right.

If she, in fact, never traveled with children in Europe, you can ask
any of her children other than myself.

Her travel with children books were based on reading brochures. You
may well call her an expert in children. That is your privilege to
print your characterization. I doubt the New York Times would call Dr.
Ruth Westheimer a sex expert, ever. And I think they would be
ridiculed for doing so. The New York Times might write 'sex expert' or
sex therapist and have described her as "a cultural icon" the 1980s.

Fact: Leila was on the schooner, California, for two months from
Thailand to Ceylon. Only. This fact is in the book.

She left the schooner in Ceylon, traveled by plane to Bombay and then
by plane to Lebanon to meet the ship briefly in the harbor there,
where she traveled in the Mediterranean for several weeks,

She did not travel on the ship after Ceylon, after those first two
months. This is well documented in the book by a shipmate, William
Ward Vickers. And it was also told to me by my father, who was, in
fact, on the ship for three and a half years.

As for the "beaten path" topic. Yes, of course that's a matter of

Leila traveled East because Sid Perelman, who had himself just
traveled around the world, told her to as a cure for her ennui with
NYC in 1951. He did, however, actually go off the beaten path, as did
others, such as Karen Blixen, Alexandra David Neel and numerous other
Westerners who traveled to the East or other continents at that time.
Leila literally did not go out of any major city, stayed at the best
hotels, had maids and traveled in luxury, except for the two months
aboard the California. She was basically a rich tourist who did a
world tour.

Yes, travel to Europe was much rarer than it is today but even in the
1950's doing a year abroad, in Europe, was standard fare for many well-
to-do men and women in America or students before they went to

Naturally, it does not help if facts are not written but recycled
misinformation are glaring inaccuracies are.


But thanks for writing.


Victoria C. Barlow (not Victoria S. Barlow as you wrote in the obit)

and lastly:

Yup, I'm feeling pretty upset about the incorrect information in your
obituary, like the misspelling of my father name, Yvor Smitter, as it
went on to the New York Social Diary and is making its way all around
the web, is on Wikipedia.

You are incorrect that the New York Times did not state Ruth
Westheimer was a cultural icon in the 1980's. Here is the proof:
ART/ARCHITECTURE; Some Things Never Age. Just Ask Dr. Ruth. By JAMES
BARRON. Published: December 13, 1998

Facts do matter. Wrong initial for me of minor importance. However,
Leila's correct professional name, Leila Hadley, or Mrs. Leila Luce,
her correct married name at the time of her death in her obituary, is

If she had not married Henry Luce III, it is highly unlikely you would
have written an obituary at all. So I disagree with you that she was
known to the world as Leila Hadley and not as Mrs. Leila Luce.

Father's last name, important. Especially when Smitten lends itself to

I stated the things I did to you partly for your information, since
your paid profession is writing mini-biographies of people at their
death and I presume to think you like to know the facts. But I also
wrote what I did as a letter to the editor, one of those 150 word
statements, which included corrections for the record.

Everything I have said to you can be verified.

If the New York Times wrote their obituaries or other articles in
Victorian English, one could say that Leila's grandfather's and
father's business was linens, which would be misunderstood, quite
understandably, by 99.99% of the population who doesn't speak in the
jargon of that era. In contemporary English of 2009, they manufactured
cotton clothing, ladies petticoats and shirts for the police
department kind of thing.

Thanks for the apology. I appreciate that a lot. It's nice to know you
meant no harm.

Victoria Barlow

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