The Peerage & The Stage

The other invasion Edwardian society dealt with was the Gaiety Girl. At least the American heiress could paper over her lackluster antecedents with her wealth, and her family stayed in the United States! The Gaiety Girl, as English (or Irish) as can be, with definite working- and lower-class roots, was a living embodiment of a …

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The Elkins-Abruzzi Affair

A few years before Anita Rhinelander Stewart nabbed a royal title, there was another American heiress who made an attempt to capture a gentleman born to the purple: Katherine Elkins, the daughter of West Virginia Senator Stephen Benton Elkins. Her suitor was the Duke of Abruzzi, the grandson of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy, …

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Divorce Colonies of Gilded Age America

If you’ve seen 1939’s The Women (and if you have not, what is stopping you!? *g* ), you’ll remember the section of the film where Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) travels to Reno to obtain a divorce from her cheating husband and discovers an entire colony of almost-divorcees. Not only was this not fictional, but by …

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