Gilded: How Newport Became America's Richest Resort [NOOK Book]

Overview

Praise for Gilded

"Delightful . . . .With great wit & panache, Deborah Davis [brings] back to life a glamorous & important slice of American history."
Dana Thomas, author of Deluxe

"The rich are different and so is this book. Deborah Davis is a first-class social chronicler who always serves the good stuff."
Christopher Tennant, author of The Official Filthy Rich Handbook

"Light, entertaining ...

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Gilded: How Newport Became America's Richest Resort

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Overview

Praise for Gilded

"Delightful . . . .With great wit & panache, Deborah Davis [brings] back to life a glamorous & important slice of American history."
Dana Thomas, author of Deluxe

"The rich are different and so is this book. Deborah Davis is a first-class social chronicler who always serves the good stuff."
Christopher Tennant, author of The Official Filthy Rich Handbook

"Light, entertaining history."
Publishers Weekly

"Peopled by eccentrics who added color to the Newport scene and packed with lively anecdotes, Gilded is a witty and informative guide to this most extraordinary of summer colonies."
Country Life

Newport is the legendary and beautiful home of American aristocracy and the sheltered super-rich. Many of the country's most famous families—the closest thing we have to royalty—have lived and summered in Newport since the nineteenth century. The Astors, the Vanderbilts, Edith Wharton, John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, Doris Duke, and Claus and Sunny von Bulow are just a few of the many famous people who have called the city home. Through a narrative filled with engrossing characters and lively tales of untold extravagance, Gilded takes you along as you explore the fascinating heritage of the Newport elite, from its first colonists to the newest of its new millennium millionaires.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The grand mansions of Newport didn't just happen. Over several eventful decades, the seaside Rhode Island town gradually evolved from a relatively modest summer retreat into the most opulent resort of America's Gilded Age. In Gilded, Deborah Davis escorts us like a seasoned tour guide through the development of an affluent community where the Astors and the Vanderbilts mingled.
Publishers Weekly
As a child in Rhode Island, Davis viewed Newport as “an enchanted place.” Here she traces its growth as a popular resort—as far back as 1844—with the influx of tourists prompting “enormous hotels.” On the heels of developers came mansions and elaborate garden parties, along with the smart set, literati and social climbers. (Caroline Astor established Newport as the Gilded Age's blueblood summer resort.) Examining power, privilege and upstairs/downstairs protocols, Davis (Party of the Century) looks at the town's tastemakers, loveless marriages, outrageous costume balls and extravagant dinner parties, along with social humiliations. Bringing Newport up to recent years, Davis details exclusive clubs, feuding neighbors, ostentatious socialites, controversial figures (Claus von Bülow, Doris Duke) and such eccentrics as reclusive Beatrice Turner, who secretly painted hundreds of portraits of herself. Closing chapters recount the launch of the Newport Jazz Festival and the mission of the Preservation Society to maintain historic Newport even as a “younger and hipper” crowd made changes. This light, entertaining history also displays portraitist and fashion illustrator René Bouché's superb sketches for Vogue of iconic Newporters in their signature settings. 34 b&w photos. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
* As a child in Rhode Island, Davis viewed Newport as “an enchanted place.” Here she traces its growth as a popular resort—as far back as 1844—with the influx of tourists prompting “enormous hotels.” On the heels of developers came mansions and elaborate garden parties, along with the smart set, literati and social climbers. (Caroline Astor established Newport as the Gilded Age's blueblood summer resort.) Examining power, privilege and upstairs/downstairs protocols, Davis (Party of the Century) looks at the town's tastemakers, loveless marriages, outrageous costume balls and extravagant dinner parties, along with social humiliations. Bringing Newport up to recent years, Davis details exclusive clubs, feuding neighbors, ostentatious socialites, controversial figures (Claus von Bülow, Doris Duke) and such eccentrics as reclusive Beatrice Turner, who secretly painted hundreds of portraits of herself. Closing chapters recount the launch of the Newport Jazz Festival and the mission of the Preservation Society to maintain historic Newport even as a “younger and hipper” crowd made changes. This light, entertaining history also displays portraitist and fashion illustrator René Bouché's superb sketches for Vogue of iconic Newporters in their signature settings. 34 b&w photos. (Nov.) (Publishers Weekly, September 8, 2009)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470730249
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/25/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 255,170
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Deborah Davis is the author of the acclaimed Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball and Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X. She is a film executive who has worked as a story editor and a story analyst for several major film companies.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

1 The Season—1913.

2 The Isle of Peace.

3 Reversal of Fortune.

4 The New Newport.

"The" Mrs. Astor.

5 Calculated Moves.

Alva.

6 The Cottage Wars.

Mamie.

7 Upstairs and Downstairs.

Tessie.

8 Members Only.

9 Ladies First.

Edith.

10 Fast Times.

11 A Very Good Year.

Beatrice.

12 That Sinking Feeling.

13 The Binds That Tie.

Eileen.

14 There Goes the Neighborhood.

15 Enemies and Eyesores.

16 Fire Sale.

17 Self-Preservation.

18 All That Jazz.

Jackie.

19 What a Swell Party This Is.

20 The Changing of the Guard.

Minnie.

21 Anything Goes.

Doris.

22 Tourist Attractions.

23 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

24 Everything Old Is New Again.

25 The Season—2008.

Afterword.

Bibliography.

Photo Credits.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Behind the Gilt?

    Deborah Davis has written a highly readable, well-researched history of Newport and the wealthy citizens who have settled there over several generations. She feeds the popular fascination with great wealth and its expressions, and nowhere were those expressions more ostentatious. Still, a little more perspective would have been appropriate; there were many other places where the very rich lived quieter and more meaningful lives.

    The wealthy Newport folk tended to be beneficiaries of enormous and recent wealth, and they set out to live in a way that they determined was appropriate. Architects like Stanford White were commissioned to design mansions that exceeded human scale or human needs, the settings for highly elaborate social rituals: dinners, balls, and the like.

    What these people lacked was tradition. "Newport was ruled by its women," Davis writes. The women had little or no formal education; some could barely read and write. They knew little of literature, art or music (opera was a social event). The men were busy with banking, the law, or business interests, they did have a token education at an Ivy League college, they seldom participated in government or the military, and almost never in the arts.

    So, though these self-styled aristocrats set out to imitate European models, the result was oinly a superficial obsession with social customs. Footmen in livery--including powdered wigs--were a novelty, not part of a real culture. Behind the gilt was practically nothing.

    Now the great houses, once called "cottages" because their use was seasonal, are preserved as bizarre curiosities of an era when, at least in Newport, being rich knew no bounds.

    Edith Wharton, who had Newport connections but preferred to live in Europe, writes brilliantly about the era and its people and really gets inside them. She was an insider; Deborah Davis isn't one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    Newport is everyone's dream town.

    I was born and grew up in Rhodes Island. During my childhood I visited Newport many times with my parents. I loved to look at the beautiful Cottages And dream what it would be like to live there. No visit was complete without walking on the Cliff Walk. When I was an adult and the houses were open to the public is visited them several times. After reading "Gilded" I now understand what took place behind those fences and understand about the ruined houses and friends of my parents going to auctions there.
    I thought that the book was very factual and the chronology of the information is very good and easy to read.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Gilded

    This is a fantastic book! It takes four hundred years of Newport's history and nutshells it, including many anecdotes and explanations of how things happened and why they did. It covers several eras, well, and although each era could be expanded upon, it's almost just a taste to get you interested in reading about the different eras more in depth.

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    Posted October 1, 2011

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    Posted August 19, 2010

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    Posted December 5, 2011

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