Who was Madame Sherri in Chesterfield NH?
Madame Antoinette Sherri summered in Chesterfield, New Hampshire
for thirty years beginning in the late 1920’s. Her lifestyle was
unlike anything the local residents of Brattleboro had seen before,
and she soon became an exotic and mysterious figure in the region.
Antoinette De Lilas was a music hall singer in Paris when she
married Andre Riela a/k/a/ Antony Maculusco, a silent film actor
and theatrical producer. A newspaper article appeared in the New
York World at the time reporting Andre Riela as the son of an
Italian Diplomat who, along with Andre’s mother and sister, was
living in New York City at the time. The article further stated
that the newlyweds arrived in New York City aboard the SS Oceanic
in 1911 and received a chilly reception from the groom’s parents.
This appears to have been a publicity stunt. Shortly thereafter,
the couple changed their name to Sherri. Using this newly acquired
name, the couple became theatrical costume designers and opened a
shop in New York City’s theater district. Antoinette (Madame)
Sherri first came to Chesterfield during the prohibition era to
visit her friend Jack Henderson, a Broadway actor who summered and
partied here. Andre had passed away in 1924. Madame Sherri, in her
50’s by this time, became fond of Chesterfield and bought a farm on
the Gulf Road, as a place to build her summer home. Her entourage
of beautiful young girls and handsome young men from New York, her
1927 cream colored Packard touring car and the seemingly endless
supply of money fascinated the local residents. Her foreign accent,
extravagant dress and the stone “castle” that she had built added
to the growing legend. Madame Sherri passed away at the Maple Rest
Nursing Home in Brattleboro in October of 1965. Oddly, the sale of
the site of the “castle” -which had burned some years earlier - and
her farmhouse, was completed on the day of her death. It was later
learned that some of Madame Sherri’s money actually came to her
from Charles LeMaire, the Hollywood film costume designer. The
Sherris had befriended LeMaire when he first arrived in New York.
It was Andre and Antoinette who had taught him costume design.