As we got excited about the upcoming Downton Abbey movie, we thought back to the Gilded Age heiresses who inspired both the original TV show AND our podcast. Julian Fellowes and Beckett Graham both read the same book which prompted each to pursue projects based on it. Mr. Fellowes* created Downton Abbey and Mrs. Graham thought, “I should make a women’s history podcast!”
Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, was one of those American heiresses who traded an influx of cash for a husband and a British title. Unlike a lot of these women, she was fortunate and her marriage was a love match (and is fictional, so…) Her story will continue into the 1920s in the upcoming movie but the show’s beginning was set in the Gilded Age.
Back in 2011, we went back to the Gilded Age with a series on some specific heiresses as well as the phenomenon in general where we looked at the lives of both these aristocratic women and the servants that made them look good. The lady’s maids, scullery maids, cooks, butlers…the whole crew who did all the work while the glitzy women got all the glory. We combined two of those episodes into this one, but there are deeper dives into the lives of The Mrs. Astor in episode 8, and Jennie Jerome Churchill in episode 10.
*That would be “Baron Fellowes of West Stafford.”
TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS
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End music: Daughters of History by Evening Sky, via MusicAlley.