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Author photo. Lady Helen Vincent about 1890.

Lady Helen Vincent about 1890.

viscountess Helen Venetia Duncombe Vincent D'Abernon (1866–1954)

Author of Red cross and Berlin embassy, 1915-1926, extracts from the diaries of Viscountess d'Abernon

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Lady Helen was born at the family estate of Duncombe Park near Helmsley, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, to an aristocratic English family. Her parents were William Dunscombe, 1st Earl of Feversham, and his wife Mabel Violet Graham. In 1890, she married Sir Edgar Vincent, a financier and diplomat who later was elected a Member of Parliament. In 1914, he became Baron D'Abernon, after which she was known as Baroness or Lady D'Albernon; in 1926, he was elevated to the rank of Viscount. Lady D'Abernon was renowned for her beauty, intelligence and charm, and was one of the most celebrated society hostesses of the era. She presided over a salon that attracted Arthur Balfour, George Curzon, Henry James, Edith Wharton, and others. Writers Max Beerbohm and Maurice Baring modeled characters in their fiction based on her. During World War I, she trained as a nurse anesthetist and served with the Red Cross in Europe, treating thousands of patients. In the 1920s, she accompanied her husband to Berlin when he served as the British Ambassador to the Weimar Republic. During this time, she kept a diary, and published parts of it in book form in 1946 as Red Cross and Berlin Embassy, 1915-1926: Extracts from the Diaries of Viscountess D'Abernon. See her lovely portrait by John Singer Sargent, painted in 1904, now in the permanent collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama.
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