We may be living in the Platinum Age of the Golden Age. Thats certainly how it feels with the baroque opulence of the era popping up everywhere from Hetty in CBSs Ghosts to HBOs sprawling The Gilded Age stories to Sothebys recent auction Belle Époque Splendor The Discerning Eye. of a Collector.
But just because were stuck waiting for the second season of Julian Fellowes latest hit starring a whos who of Broadway Alisters doesnt mean there arent plenty of other juicy stories from the era to dive into. Here are some recent offerings to help anyone who has spent the issue of Lily Barts intentions when she took that chloral hydrate. Miriam Leslie was many things in her long life. All the evidence points to both a hidden biracial heritage and a period in her teens as a sex worker. She traveled and performed with Lola Montes she lived in a menage a trois with a cuckolded husband and a rich publisher and ultimately she ran a publishing empire with an almost disturbing vision of what the public would read.
And she did it all by flattering male egos and beseeching women to aspire to the arts of feminine perfection all the while wielding more power than most men of her day. Her life story is fascinating theres also a shortlived marriage to Oscar Wildes brother and a bequest in her will that saved the suffrage movement and Prioleau navigates the storys wild tangents and abrupt changes of tone with aplomb. turning Leslie into a social climber. she a survivor a joke and an inspiration. Just as she was in life.
Who Killed Jane Stanford? A Golden Tale of Murder Hoaxes Spirits and the Birth of a University Perfect for the overlapping Venn diagram of Gilded Age buffs and truecrime obsessives a much larger overlap than one might think this new look at Jane Stanfords mysterious 1905 death in Hawaii has it. all. A robber baron who served simultaneously as Governor of California and President of the Central Pacific Railroad. A wealthy widow who turned to spiritualism to help her make decisions about the running of Stanford University. And a strychnine poisoning case that was somehow rigged to die of natural causes to avoid a scandal and keep Stanford going.
The only reason Jane Stanford had traveled to Hawaii was to escape a home so riddled with squabbles and rivalries not to mention campus politics that she had been poisoned with strychnine…and then a second poisoning was fatal. Historian White delves into the kaleidoscopic elements of the story from the long list of suspects to the sheer excesses and eccentricities of the time finally naming a possible killer and accomplice.
A Lynching in Port Jervis Career and Reckoning in the Gilded Age
As The Gilded Age makes clear life during the era wasnt just Astor and business tycoons. There was a whole world going on just outside the hall doors one that has sadly gone unexplored for far too long. Were finally getting corrections to that longrunning narrative including this new book about a lynching in upstate New York just weeks after the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo New York.
Although lynchings have come to be seen as a uniquely southern phenomenon that was not the case as historian Dray deftly and painfully shows in his indepth examination of the mob murder of black man Robert Lewis. The case and the outrage that no one was convicted of his murder inspired everyone from Ida B. Wells to Stephen Crane now Dray places the case in a context that is painfully still in progress.
The Scandalous Hamiltons A Gilded Age Hustler a Disgraced Descendant of the Founding Father and a Trial at the Dawn of Tabloid Journalism Heres another newly discovered true crime story to appease the content machine Alexander Hamiltons greatgrandson New York State Assemblyman Robert Ray Hamilton found himself at the center of just about every juicy scandal one could expect in 1889 Blackmail illegitimate children bigamy and attempted murder. He was later found dead in the Snake River during a hunting trip. Her shortlived marriage to Evangeline Mann after they met in a brothel was motivated by her insistence on having her daughter Beatrice. When Evangeline was tried for stabbing Beatrices nurse she exposed herself