Episode 134: Gilded Age Servants and Heiresses

Consuelo Vanderbilt, the Duchess of Marlboro, one of the women we cover in this episode.

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!”


Episode 8 “The Mrs. Astor”

Caroline, who was  often called Lina, was born in  September 22, 1830 to a very prominent wealthy family. She was the youngest of 10 children, and very much the family pet.

Her father Abraham was not only well thought of in New York business, but he and his wife, Helen White Schermerhorn, were established  in high society when Lina was born.

Caroline was, naturally, raised in that New York society. She enjoyed the life a life of privilege- doted on by nannies, servants, and tutors. We talk about her early life, and what proper bred young ladies learned, and their lives in New York, and Paris. And how academics took a backseat…waaay in the back.

Can’t talk about Caroline without a chat about the Gilded Age!  The  rapid economic and population growth had creation of a whole lot of social conflict. This period of time  is called the Gilded Age because it looks golden, but looks are deceiving. Mark Twain and his co-writer Charles Dudley Warner, get credit for labeling the period in his book: The Gilded Age, a Tale of Today.
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