Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Monday, October 10, 2011

Entering the Gilded Age

The Gold Room at the Marble House

 I've been a busy little bee, working at plotting out not one but two novels.

I'm very excited about #4, set in the Gilded Age of America. This time period was roughly 1870 to 1914.

It was a time of excess the likes of which had never been seen in America. On one side you have the moneyed and revered patrician stock - the Astors, the Stuyvesants, the Van Renssalaers, and the Roosevelts.

The Breakers, New port, RI
And on the other side, the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, and the Carnegies, who wanted to enter the highest echelons of society - Mrs. Astor's famous Four Hundred.

TheVanderbilts were nouveau riche. After the Civil War, immense fortunes were made in the railroad industry, coal, mining, manufacturing, etc. The wives of these newly rich magnates were social climbers of the first rank. Mrs. Astor didn't want to receive "those people" into her revered circle of society.

But clever Alva Vanderbilt finally broke into that circle and soon the nouveau riche built ostentatious mansions on Fifth Avenue in New York City, spent spring in Paris, and moved on to London before coming home to summer in their "cottages" along the Atlantic in Rhode Island right along with the old guard.

The Marble House, Newport, RI
In the fall, they moved back to New York for the "season" and started all over again.

Alva Vanderbilt's summer "cottage," Marble House, is pictured here, as well as the Gold Room in the cottage.

Another stunning mansion is the Breakers, the summer home of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt.

I'm researching the Gilded Age and it's fabulous and fascinating.

I think I'm going to have to make a trip to Newport!


  1. When your done, tell me what the best research books/sites are!

  2. I kind of love the Gilded Age. Granted, that could be because I am 100% obsessed with Theodore Roosevelt (I just typed Theodora--*sigh*). It's definitely a fun, and underexplored, era in history!

  3. *you're

    Sheesh, you're probably wondering if you really want to take grammatical criticism from me anymore.


I'd love to hear from you and I promise to write back!