Lady Mary Curzon, the stately Vicereine of India from 1898 to 1905, was born in Chicago. She was the heiress of one partner in the Marshall Fields department store, and met her British husband, George Curzon, in Washington DC.
During her time in India, Lady Curzon was much more popular than her husband the viceroy. She set trends for Indian-made dresses and accessories among fashionable western women, which helped local artisans to preserve their crafts. Lady Curzon also pioneered conservationism in India, encouraging her husband to set aside the Kaziranga Forest Reserve (now Kaziranga National Park) as a refuge for the endangered Indian rhinoceros.
Tragically, Mary Curzon fell ill late in her husband's tenure as viceroy. She died on July 18, 1906 in London, at the age of 36. In her final delirium, she asked for a tomb like the Taj Mahal, but she is buried in a Gothic-style chapel instead.