The following biographical information has been provided by Victor H. Bevilaqua, the great nephew of Madelaine S. Pereny.
Baroness Madelaine Stauffenberger Perényi de Pereny was born in Kecskemet, Hungary and her early education was in Luzern, Switzerland since it was the custom of the time. She and her sisters learned languages, music, and dancing at a very fashionable girl’s finishing school.
The family moved to Budapest, and all of the sisters received their college diplomas or teacher’s certificates in Budapest. At that time, college for women was called “high education for girls”. Madelaine, the oldest sister, studied at the Art Academy in Vienna. Yolanda matriculated from the Vienna Music Conservatory where she trained as a concert pianist. Margaret studied opera at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna. They spent many vacations in the Hungarian wine country near their family’s palace in Nagyszoloson.
Yolanda married Doctor Frank S. Horvath, M.D. in 1925, and they emigrated to the United States in 1930. As the Nazis gained power, Madelaine Stauffenberger Pereny also emigrated to the United States, because Madelaine married a Jewish architect. Margaret also emigrated to the United States in 1931.
Madelaine became a cartoonist for Walt Disney, and created several covers (5/24/30, 12/26/31, 3/19/32) and illustrations for The New Yorker magazine (10/14/33 and 3/25/39). She painted under the name Madelaine S. Pereny and one of her "modernist" works is still on exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art. Many of her paintings are still owned by the descendants of her sister Yolanda.
Madelaine also worked in New York, and her primary genre was as an illustrator and cartoonist. She is listed in Who Was Who in American Art, the Dictionary of Women Artists, and the International Dictionary of Women. Pereney’s work entitled "Chum" is a modernist composition with a dog in the interior inscribed with a verso on canvas, "To Therese, Summer 1941, Madelaine", sold at the Perls gallery. Madelaine had no children and passed away after a long retirement with her husband in La Jolla, California. Many of her works are preserved in the Art and Artists Files in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Baroness Madelaine S. Perényi de Pereny was the daughter of Baroness Iren Stauffenberger and Baron József Perényi de Pereny (1855, Aszód – 1914, Budapest). Baron József Perény was a professor, teacher, and zoologist. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the arts in 1881, and a teacher’s degree in 1884 at Budapest University. The Perényi family is one of the oldest and most famous families of Hungary whose roots go back before the eleventh century.
Baroness Madelaine Stauffenberger Perény’s mother was the Baroness Irene Stauffenberger whose family originated in Bavaria in the city of Stauffenberg. Madelaine is from the Austrian Horn branch of the Stauffenberger family descended from the second marriage of Baron Wilhelm Schenk von Stauffenberg. The Baron’s son, Baron Maximilian Albrecht Stauffenberg (1605-1656) purchased the town of Fischbachs in Austria. His descendants and Madelaine’s grandfather moved to Budapest and Baron István Stauffenberger’s (1796-1878) epigraph reads “constitutor of a charity-school for orphans”. This orphanage still exists thanks to his financial donation on Stauffenberger Street in Budapest.
The best known successor of the Stauffenberger line is Count Claus Stauffenberg (1907 - 1944) who was a German officer and resistance fighter who attempted to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Count Berthold Stauffenberg (1905-1944) was a German lawyer and also a resistance fighter. Other well known Stauffenberg include: Count Alexander Stauffenberg (1905-1964) who was a German historian; Countess Melitta Stauffenberg Schiller (1903-1945) who was a German aviator and engineer; Marquard Sebastian Stauffenberg (1644-1693) was the Bishop von Bamberg, and Johann Franz Stauffenberg was also a German bishop.