Eleanor Spaak Collection, 1965-2011 | Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database
This collection documents the journalistic career of Boston native Eleanor Spaak, who wrote a design and society column for Home Furnishings Daily from 1965-1968 and also published articles in Newsday and Ladies Home Journal. In her column, Spaak reported on the latest trends in fashion, design, art, and architecture. Moreover, she also reported on the lives of actors, artists, members of European royalty, and other well-known personages. In addition, the collection also documents the twelve year run (1980-1992) of Society Rag, a magazine created by Spaak that highlighted philanthropic Bostonians who were active in the city’s art and cultural institutions. Among the subjects covered are fundraising benefits, architecture, cultural and social events and trends in fashion and design.
From 1963-1968, Spaak was based in New York City and covered a gamut of social, cultural, and design events in her column “With Eleanor” for Home Furnishings Daily. For example, she reported on the opening of the Museum of Modern Art’s 20th century furniture wing, explained to her readers what “fusion” meant in the fashion world, and provided glimpses into the homes of such notables Mayor John Lindsey, and interviewed Bette Davis. Gene Moore, Salvatore Dali, and Cecil Beaton were among the many designers, actors, and artists who were featured in her column during this time were. Interviews with museum directors such as Thomas Hoving and Lloyd Goodrich allowed her to report not only on their plans for future exhibits, but also on new trends in the art world. Her columns also carried stories about members of European and Swedish royalty, among them the Duchess of Windsor, Baron de Rothschild, and the Borghese family as well as their palace. In addition to Manhattan’s social scene, events that took place in Newport, Rhode Island and Southampton, New York appeared in Spaak’s columns as well.
In 1980, Spaak returned to Boston where she began her magazine Society Rag. The mission of the magazine was “to promote that which [was] good about the City of Boston, in a light-hearted, but at the same time, meaningful way. Society Rag, focused on Boston’s cultural and artistic institutions, and highlighted members of Beacon Hill society and local celebrities. Fundraising events for Boston Public Library, the Boys and Girls Club, the Guild of Boston Artists, and Ellis Memorial Hospital were among the many chronicled in the magazine. Other regular columns and features included those on design, architecture, theater, and fashion. News of royals such as Princess Chantal of France, Princess Diana, and Princess Yasmin also appeared. In addition, it carried news about Newport, New York and London society. Society Rag ceased publication in 1992.
From 1990-2004, Spaak wrote reviews of gallery shows, dance, music, theater, and film for the Newbury Street and Back Bay Guide. In addition, she revived her “With Eleanor” column for the Guide and covered the social scene throughout Boston. Also during this period, she wrote several columns for Design Times, a magazine that focused exclusively on home and building design. Eleanor Spaak retired in 2004.