"I dream't I dwelt in marble halls"
Devoted to the histories and current state of the great mansions of America's Gilded Age.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gilded Age Society

Here are a few of my favorite books about high society. The mansions of the gilded age weren't just built to be lived in,  but to be used as vehicles for social impression and standing. When Alva Vanderbilt wanted to break into the 400 of New York Society, she constructed her chateau at 660 Fifth Avenue. All of society was abuzz about it and legend has it, that Caroline Astor's daughter Carrie was practicing a dance to be preformed  at the housewarming party when Alva Vanderbilt, informed her that she wouldn't be able to attend, since her mother, The Mrs. Astor had never called upon Mrs. Vanderbilt. Carrie supposedly went home and cried to her mother that she couldn't miss the event of the season. Mrs.Astor, who still felt the Vanderbilt's were nouveau riche, decided that maybe the time had come for the Vanderbilts to enter the "400". Story has it that she got in her carriage and drove up Fifth Avenue and left her calling card for Mrs. Vanderbilt. One hour after , the last of the invitations to Alva's ball arrived at Mrs. Astors townhouse.This and many other of the great stories of the Gilded Age  are told in these wonderful books.

Click HERE to read the chapter on 66o Fifth Avenue from Great houses of New York  

Click HERE to read online.

Society As I Have Found It 

Click HERE to read online.

Peacocks On Parade
Click HERE to read on Google books.

Who Killed Society?
King Lehr and the Gilded Age
Click HERE to read about Harry & Elizabeth Lehr on The Down East Dilettante

Links to more Harry & Elizabeth Lehr

Harry Lehr
Elizabeth Lehr
Portrait of Lady Decies by Giovanni Boldini & Biography


Karena said...

Gary, this is the most fascinating to me; to step into the lives of these people who started the most fabulous of society in that age!

Art by Karena

Gary Lawrance said...

Thank you,
If the walls of these houses that remain could talk!

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Love that anecdote. And how far we've come. I wonder what Mrs. Astor AND Mrs. Vanderbilt would say about our new crop of celebrity-monied?

Have you read "When the Astors Owned New York"?

Gary Lawrance said...

Yes, That's a great book!
I am going to do a post about all the great Astor books.I am working on a bigger post about the Fifth Avenue mansion.Should be up soon!

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