Nica de Koenigswarter
Born Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild, she was the daughter of Charles Rothschild and Rozsika Edle Rothschild (née von Wertheimstein). The name "pannonica" identifies several plants of the Pannonian plain that support butterflies, a great interest of her father's. Her brother was Victor Rothschild, 3rd Baron Rothschild and her sister Miriam Rothschild was a distinguished zoologist.
In 1935 she married French diplomat Jules de Koenigswarter, later a Resistance hero. Nica worked for Charles de Gaulle during World War II. They separated in 1951 and she moved to New York, renting a suite at the Hotel Stanhope on Fifth Avenue.
She became a friend and patron of many pioneer jazz musicians, hosting jam sessions in her suite and is sometimes referred to as the "bebop baroness" for her patronage of Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker died there in 1955. After Parker's death, the management of the building asked her to leave, and she moved to the Bolivar Hotel, a place commemorated in Thelonious Monk's 1954 track "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are".
She met Thelonious Monk in Paris while attending the "Salon du Jazz 1954", and championed his work in the USA. After Monk ended his public performances he retired to Nica's house in Weehawken, New Jersey and died there in 1982.
Gigi Gryce's "Nica's Tempo", Sonny Clark's "Nica", Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream", Kenny Dorham's "Tonica", Kenny Drew's "Blues for Nica", Freddy Redd's "Nica Steps Out", Barry Harris's "Inca", Tommy Flanagan's "Thelonica" and Thelonious Monk's "Pannonica" were all named after her. She was played by Diane Salinger in the 1988 Clint Eastwood film "Bird".
Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter died in 1990 at the age of 74. She had five children.
- Obituary, Daily Telegraph, 1990.