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  • Location: Newport, New York City, London

The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau

Why a Booktrail?

1895: A gilded cage is still a cage – The American aristocrats who came to England to marry money

  • ISBN: 978-1781315965
  • Genre: Historical, Non-Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

In 1895, there was a constant flow of rich American women who came to England in search of a husband.

They came with money but were in search of a husband and anything money can buy. This was the Gilded Age and they wanted to, had to ensure that they remained comfortable in their gilded cages. Their life and status depended on it.

And so the ships with these dollar princesses on board docked in harbours on the English coast – with one foot on dry English land, their journey to start their husband search had begun. Their money came in handy and changed the face of the British landscape in many ways.

But however advantageous these marriages seemed, inside, behind the grand facade of the stately homes where these women lived, the reality was a whole different scene…

 

 

Travel Guide

The Gilded Age.

New York

On 6 November 1895 Consuelo Vanderbilt married Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. This was said to be the perfect match according to the so called wedding brokers. Some of these marriages worked out but most of them did not – they brought money and fame but left loneliness, infidelity, bankruptcy and divorce.

The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau is the story of one year in the life of the English aristocracy. The names of these American ladies will be familiar –  Consuelo Vanderbilt, Washington society heiress Mary Leiter who married  Lord Curzon and became the Vicereine of India, Maud Burke, vivacious San Francisco belle with a questionable background.

Fifth Avenue and Washington Square were the main areas of the city flush with money and noted for being the places for these people to be seen. Newport on Rhode Island was the playground where these ladies would spend a lot of time. Bailey’s beach being the place to stroll after a leisurely morning in their Bellevue Avenue homes. Marble House is the rich home of the Vanderbilts  and is well worth an open mouthed visit. You might note that beside this beach there is a place called Reject’s Beach which is all rocky and stone covered. Might be quite apt for the precarious nature of these marriages.

England

“In England great wealth can , by using the appropriate methods, practically buy rank from those who bestow it” Of course this practice wasn’t acknowledged among the rich and certainly not outside of their circles To publicly name such powerful society members was to put your own position at stake.

There were many homes restored as a result of this practice – Blenheim Palace was desperate for a new roof for example and it was the Vanderbilt money which made this possible – exchange for marriage and a title. New marriages, new hope and new life for stately homes up and down the country, but inside the facade was crumbling.

Streetview Maps

A) London -Belgrave Square
D) NYC - New York - Delmonico's

Booktrail Boarding Pass: The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau

Author/Guide: Julie Ferry  Destination: New York, Newport, London  Departure Time: 1895

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