Sally Quinn penned her last column in print for The Washington Post, about dueling weddings in the family of her husband, Ben Bradlee. Marcus Brauchli, who now occupies Mr. Bradlee’s old seat, has said that he would not have let the column go to print if he had seen it first.
Today Vanity Fair has released its profile of Ms. Quinn, and she has a chance to explain herself.
“The column actually was a very healthy thing to do,” Sally Quinn told contributing editor Evgenia Peretz. “I think it was like lancing a boil.”
Ms. Peretz’s piece is full of details about Ms. Quinn—the mother, the columnist and the Washington socialite.
Ms. Quinn set up her son Quinn (whose learning disabilities have been documented in a book, A Different Life) with Pary Williamson, a yoga teacher to David Gregory, Rahm Emanuel and Maureen Dowd. Their marriage created the controversy that Ms. Quinn explored in her final column.
Ms. Quinn’s interest in aligning her family with certain axes of Washington social power can also be seen in her passion for pedigreed real estate. Ms. Quinn convinced Mr. Bradlee to purchase Grey Gardens, which was long inhabited by cousins of Jackie Kennedy.
It was a raccoon-infested, beyond-decrepit wreck of a once glorious turn-of-the-century house that had belonged to Jackie Kennedy’s aunt “Big Edie” and cousin “Little Edie,” made famous by the Maysles brothers’ 1975 documentary bearing the house’s name. After visiting the place, Bradlee told Sally, “You’re out of your fff’ing mind.” Vile as it was, bananas as its most recent residents had been, it had a certain pedigree, and Sally rehabilitated it to its former grandeur.
“They were the last link to the Washington of old,” writes Ms. Peretz about the couple. Even as that Washington has faded, Ms. Quinn has not.
“To Sally, loyalty means going to war with someone on behalf of someone else,” said one journalist quoted anonymously in the profile.
That definition of loyalty certainly hasn’t changed for Ms. Quinn.
Just two weeks ago, Ms. Quinn stuck up for Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, one of her many friends.
“People want to see him come down because they’re jealous,” she said.
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