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Three Sisters: The Story of the de Acosta Sisters

Three sisters is the story of three famous sisters - Mercedes de Acosta, Rita Lydig and Aida de Acosta..... One was a famous unabashed lesbian who had love affairs with the likes of Isadora Duncan, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. the other was a renowned socialite of the era - considered one of the most beautiful women of her era, and Aida flew before the Wright Brothers (all to be played by the same female actor - they were rarely together throughout their lives. I think that would give the movie depth).  There were actually four sisters in total - but Maria, unlike her other female siblings lived an uneventful life,married to an American composer - Theodore Chanler.   

Of the three Mercedes is my favorite - she lived her lesbianism out loud for all the world to see (be reminded that the great Irish poet and playwright, Ocsar Wilde was imprisoned in the UK in 1897 for 'gross indecency" - for being homosexual).  She wrote a beautiful poem to [a closeted] Greta Garbo - I'm paraphrasing it - "You belong to me, some things just belong to other things - let us then just say - for example -  the salt to the sea, a bird to the sky and you to me" or was it, "a bird to the sky, the salt to the sea and you to me"  - anyway, you get her meaning - ownership. 


Portrait of Rita Hernandez de Alba de Acosta Stokes Lydig by Giovanni Boldini - 1911

Rita de Acosta was married twice. Her first marriage was in 1895, when she was 20-year-old. She was the first wife of multimillionaire William Earl Dodge Stokes. The marriage was marred by violence - Stokes beat her repeatedly - when it was finally dissolved in 1900,she received a settlement of nearly two million dollars (the equivalent of $73,000,000 in 2022) a record divorce settlement of the time. She squandered nearly every penny of her fortune from her divorce proceeds on clothes, art and travelling around the world. 




Photo of Aida de Acosta

Aida was the first woman to pilot any kind of motorized aircraft, six months before the Wright Brothers flew in a heavier-than-air powered aircraft.


She was married to Oren Root III, son of Oren Root II and nephew of American statesman and Nobel Prize laureate Elihu Root, in 1908 - they divorced in 1922.  In 1927 she married Colonel Henry Breckinridge - they divorced in 1947.  He was attorney to Charles Lindbergh during the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case, he was also assistant secretary of war under President Woodrow Wilson.  In 1922, Aida was afflicted with glaucoma.  She eventually lost sight in one eye.  She became executive director of the Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration in New York, the first eye bank in the U.S.

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