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Arts / Museums

Coming Out From Hiding

A Heiress Emerges From Her Wyoming Escape — and a Bestseller May Follow

BY // 09.29.16

Neltje, daughter of publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday, is not a household name. But that may soon change. Watch the bestseller lists this fall, where we predict her first volume, North of Crazy: a Memoir (St. Martin’s Press, $25.99), will make an appearance. An unflinching look inside the world of East Coast privilege and the ultimate cautionary tale of dysfunctional families and bad marriages, the bold and the brave, very personal autobiography points the way to salvation through art, communion with nature, and, ultimately, pure grit.

Neltje forged nirvana and a remarkable life in the great American West — which I visited this summer. In the October issue of PaperCity, we break the story of the pilgrimage site (mountain home, gardens, and art studio) she has created and will gift for an art and nature center. If you took a vision as grand as Judd’s in Marfa and added a woman of steely determination who has a passion for the land, you’d be in Neltje’s oasis.

Neltje in front of her Moroccan Suite I, 2012, one of four 10 x 30-foot paintings, at her 2013 solo exhibition, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie
Neltje in front of her Moroccan Suite I, 2012, one of four 10 x 30 paintings, at her 2013 solo exhibition, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie (Photo courtesy Mary Jo Edwards)

But where does Round Top figure in? Neltje, who has faithfully been shopping the antiques fair for a decade for her own Wyoming-based warehouse-sized shop, Turned Antiques, selected Round Top and September’s fair as the place and time for the national debut of North of Crazy.

The artist-turned-author has over the years made many friendships with local proprietors, such as Blue Hills’ Mike Peters and Leftovers Antiques’ Michael Breddin and Ed Fulkerson. (The town even earns a mention in her book, on page 267.) Round Top and Brenham were the first stops for her American book tour, touches down weeks later in Houston.

Neltje will be signing books in Houston at Bayou Bend Visitor’s Center with PaperCity’s Curate Books on Tuesday, October 4, 6 to 8 pm (6:30 pm reading), then at Georgia Brown Home (books available at the event) on Wednesday, October 5, 10 to 11:30 am; these signings are free, but reservations are required through rsvp@papercitymag.com (please specify which signing you would like to attend). She will also sign books at Brazos Bookstore on Wednesday, October 5, 7 to 8:30 pm (no RSVP required).

Home, chic home.

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