Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Iconic Main Line Sportswoman
Perhaps you have seen the film "The Philadelphia Story." Perhaps you know that the heroine of the film, played by Katherine Hepburn, was based on Helen Hope Montgomery Scott. But do you know what a truly fascinating woman Mrs. Scott really was?
Vanity Fair magazine dubbed her: "the unofficial queen of Philadelphia's WASP oligarchy."
Educated at Foxcroft, the young Hope Montgomery was an accomplished equestrian. She was an avid foxhunter and later became director of the U.S. Equestrian Team and helped build The Devon Horse Show into the best show in the nation.
After her marriage to Edgar Scott,they lived in the 50 room mansion "Ardrossan." Mrs. Scott famously managed a prize winning herd of dairy cows on the estate.
As a young woman, Hope danced with the Duke of Windsor at El Morocco in New York and partied with Josephine Baker in Paris. She was elegant and at the same time down to earth.
I was lucky enough to train dogs on her estate one Autumn and met her at that time. She was clad in muddy boots and an old barn jacket and was disarmingly gracious and warm. She was in her early 80's at the time but had the spark and charm of someone much younger. We talked about dogs and livestock and the pheasant hunts that used to take place on her estate.
Her gracious nature was exemplified by her willingness to open her home for use as a venue for charity functions. Her tireless support and activity to build and improve the Devon Horse Show is another example of her philanthropic ideals.
When Mrs. Scott passed away in 1995 she took a bit of the "old" Main Line with her.