I don’t know about you, but visiting historical homes is one of my favorite things to do while on vacation. There’s something about being in the place where people lived and loved, the rooms where they paced anxiously, shed tears, and celebrated achievements, that really makes me feel connected to the past and to a man’s personal history in a way that fascinates and inspires me. If you can’t crisscross the globe this summer, come along with us for a tour through 15 rooms where famous men, both past and present, hatched and penned their influential words and ideas.
Rudyard Kipling’s Study
When Rudyard Kipling came upon the secluded, 17th century Bateman’s House in Sussex, he was immediately smitten. He wrote:
“We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself] said ‘That’s her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her–quick!’ We entered and felt her Spirit–her Feng Shui–to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the ‘new’ end of her was three hundred years old…”
The Feng Shui of Bateman’s was good to Kipling indeed. It was here in his study that he penned that manliest of manly poems–“If.”
William F. Buckley’s Study
If you were looking for William F. Buckley during his life, the first place to check was his study, which he converted from a garage. It was here, surrounded by mementos, books, and paintings (some of which he did himself), that he would toil on his columns and novels, and it was here that he was found dead when he passed away in 2008.
William Randolph Hearst’s Library & Study
The Library. Hearst was such a prolific collector of art, books, and antiques, that his castle was really built around how to display the collection that had formerly been sitting in warehouses, rather than the other way around. All of his books still couldn’t be fit into the castle’s two libraries however, leading him to stick them in odd places, such as in bookcases that lined the walls of his movie theater room.
Built in San Simeon, California by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Casa Grande, or Hearst Castle as it is now known, boasted 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a movie theater, tennis courts, an airfield, and the world’s largest private zoo. Hearst himself lived in the castle’s third floor Gothic Suite. The floor’s library (seen above) housed more than 4,000 books, along with 150 vases from ancient Greece.
The Gothic Study. It held Hearst’s most prized books and manuscripts.
3,000 more books could be found in Hearst’s Gothic Study. The room served as a private library and office from which Hearst controlled his media empire and as an executive boardroom for discussing matters with his cohorts as well.