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Topic: Help please? - TransAtlantic Gilded Age marriages

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Subject: Help please? - TransAtlantic Gilded Age marriages
Date Posted: 10/1/2012 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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I know there are at least a couple of books published on the wave of marriages in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century between American heiresses and impoverished British aristocrats. Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie Jerome, and Consuelo Vanderbilt are the two who come to mind. I'm looking for books that don't just cover one of these cases, but discuss the whole trend, with lots of examples. I traded in my copy of the one I read years ago and can't remember any part of the title or author's name. Help, please?

Date Posted: 10/1/2012 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Margaret,  If you haven't already, you might want to ask this question in the Historical Fiction forum.    Those readers are more expert on this issue.

Subject: Thanks
Date Posted: 10/1/2012 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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What I'm really after is non-fiction books with lots of illustrations. I'll go try the Historical Fiction section, to see what they can suggest. Thanks for the help.

Date Posted: 10/1/2012 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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IN A GILDED CAGE: From Heiress to Duchess by Marian Fowler

"entertaining and lavishly illustrated."

Subject: Thanks!
Date Posted: 10/2/2012 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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Thanks, Anna. I think that's the one I read. In the Historical Fiction forum, I got a recommendation for an article on 'The American Heiress' that had a useful bibliography at the end. Now I can go look them up and see what's available.

Date Posted: 10/2/2012 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Margaret H.  Your post made me think immediately of Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers, about the five young daughters of "nouveau riche" American families of the late 19th century, one of whose governesses had the brainstorm to transplant them to England, where they married lords, dukes, and earls.  Wharton did not finish the novel, but it was completed by Marion Mainwaring.   Of course it was fiction, but Edith Wharton was renowned for her extra-sharp eye on the social hypocrisies of her day and age.

Another book you might want to look at is the non-fiction Lady Almira and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, by the Countess of Carnarvon.

And not to be ovedrlooked is To Marry an English Lord, by Gail McColl. 

To me, one of the most dramatic instances of the "trans-Atlantic" marriages was that of Lady Astor, née Nancy Witcher Langhorne.  There's a biography of the Viscountess by  Christopher Sykes.



Last Edited on: 10/2/12 4:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 10/3/2012 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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Thanks, Bonnie. That Edwardian Promenade article that Jerelyn recommended in the Historical Fiction forum had all kinds of good information in it, as well as an excellent bibliography. It seems as if the majority of the heiresses got quite a bad deal for their money. I'm hoping to get my hands on the Lady Almira book, partly because I think, from the dates, that she must still have been resident at Highclere Castle when Lord C. sponsored Howard Carter's expedition that discovered Tutankhamen's tomb - a little Egyptological excitment added.