Saturday, May 24, 2014

Louise Warfield and Count Włodzimierz Ledóchowski (PAHA News, Spring 2014)


by Thomas Hollowak

Warfield and Count Ledochowski, with the family crest

Baltimore women are renowned for their beauty and two are remembered for their marriages to nobility – Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson married Joseph, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who later abandoned her and Wallis Warfield Simpson to England’s King Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor. Less known is the marriage of Wallis’ older cousin Louise Warfield, daughter of Edwin Warfield, Governor of Maryland (1904-1908) to Count Włodzimierz Ledóchowski.

The couple met at Peking, China, where her brother Edwin introduced them to each other at a foreign embassy entertainment. Since she didn’t speak Polish and he did not know English, they conversed in French. After a brief courtship they became engaged. When she returned home in December 1912 she was reticent to speak about the rumored engagement since her parents opposed the match because of the brevity of the courtship and her large fortune. She was able to convince her father it was a true “love” match and the wedding set for May.

Count Ledóchowski was a nephew of the late Cardinal Mieczysław Halka Ledóchowski, Primate of Poland and prefect of the Propaganda at the Vatican. The Ledóchowski family lineage began in 1457 in the Volhynian Voivodeship where the boyar knight Nestor Halka took the name of his estate, Ledóchow, as his own. It is believed that the dynastic family Halka dates to the time of the Kievan Rus in 971. The Halka family’s used the official Austrian title of Halka von Ledóchow Count Ledóchowski.

On May 8, 1913 the couple was married at the Warfield home in Baltimore by Rev. William A. Fletcher, rector of the Cathedral. Cardinal Gibbons witnessed the ceremony, and bestowed his blessing. It was a simple ceremony because the bride’s maternal grandmother had recently died. Only relatives and a few personal friends were invited. After a wedding breakfast the couple left for New York to take a steamship to return to Poland to reside at the family estate, located near the Austrian border, an eight-hour journey from Moscow and twelve-hours from Vienna and in the midst of the zone of war that erupted on July 28, 1914.

Warfield with her daughter.

On August 19, the Warfield family received a cablegram form Włodzimierz dated August 18,Ostropol, Russian Poland “Situation uncertain. Louise safe with cousins.” There was no news from her until October when the family received several letters appealing for medical and surgical supplies, as well as clothing and blankets. These appeals prompted the former Governor to establish the Russian Poland Red Cross Relief Fund Committee. The local Polish Community rallied to his support and by December the first of several boat loads of supplies were sent to Poland.

After the war he would be honored by Baltimore’s Polonia for his efforts. Although the couple would have three children, two daughters and a son the marriage was doomed and on November 25, 1922 they were divorced. She was given custody of the children and the following year she renounced her title to regain U.S. citizenship and took back the name Warfield.

Thomas L. Hollowak


Reprinted from PAHA Newsletter, Spring 2014. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this article. My grand mother was the daughter of Louis Warfield (THÉRESE LEDOCHOWSKA) the one you see in the picture. Actually that picture is in the living room of my mother house. Actually she pass away in 2013 at the age of 99 years...
    It would be grateful if you indicate where I can have more information about my family in the states.

    Best Regards,

    Alexander A.C. Brandenburg Dulong de Rosnay
    Grandson of Countess Thérese Lédochowska and Count Dulong de Rosnay
    Marbella -Spain