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The Gilded Gentleman

History Podcasts

The Gilded Gentleman history podcast takes listeners on a cultural and social journey into the mansions, salons, dining rooms, libraries and theatres including the worlds above as well as below stairs of America's Gilded Age, France's Belle Epoque and late Victorian and Edwardian England.


United States


The Gilded Gentleman history podcast takes listeners on a cultural and social journey into the mansions, salons, dining rooms, libraries and theatres including the worlds above as well as below stairs of America's Gilded Age, France's Belle Epoque and late Victorian and Edwardian England.






The Edwardian Country House: Elegance and Eccentricity

Join Carl and British country house historian Curt DiCamillo for a look into the world of the Edwardian country house. Audiences became fascinated in these houses through the blockbuster Julian Fellowes series "Downton Abbey" and his earlier film "Gosford Park", with their colliding worlds of upstairs and downstairs and interlocking social dramas. Curt discusses this fascinating period in British history and how the country house in Edwardian times brought society closer to a modern age. Curt explains how country houses as estates for the British aristocracy evolved over centuries and how they reached their height in the reign of King Edward VII, who took the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria. The country house greatly expanded during this time and some interiors reflected influences from Britain's growing empire. Grand dinners, shooting parties, and elegant tea parties were all backdrops to great social intrigue and sometimes scandal. In this show, Curt shares several examples of great Edwardian country houses (including one current royal estate), what they looked like, how they operated, and how they can be visited today. The Edwardian period was a glittering one, much like America's Gilded Age, but a short one, which vanished from view as Britain and Western Europe entered a world-changing war. Related show with Curt DiCamillo: The British Crown Jewels: History and Mystery


Gilded Age Undergarments: What Did Mrs. Astor Wear (Under There)?

Fashion historian and author, Dr. Elizabeth L. Block returns to The Gilded Gentleman for a truly "undercover" investigation. This time, Liz joins Carl to discuss the world of corsets, bustles, straps and stockings, all of which comprised the undergarment engineering that helped make the glorious gowns by Worth and other designers appear as glamorous as they did. In addition to the architecture and the food, it is the fashion of the Gilded Age that always elicits comments and sighs at the very beauty and craftsmanship of the great gowns that swept by on ballroom floors. But the stunning and costly gowns, whether for a ball or for wear during the day, required a complex combination of undergarments to not only make the wearer feel comfortable, but also to give the outer clothing its required shape. Dr. Elizabeth Block joins Carl for a discussion that includes insight into not only what garments were required, but also just how they were made and how they were worn. You may be surprised at just how comfortable and wearable some undergarments actually were. Liz and Carl's discussion includes a look at such curious accessories as the "lobster bustle" and even a corset for men. Related episode: Gilded Age French Fashion: The House of Worth and Beyond Links Elizabeth Block -


The Hidden World of Gramercy Park: Unlocking History with Keith Taillon

The small two acre square known since the 1830's as Gramercy Park has also been called "America's Bloomsbury". Taking the reference from London's famous neighborhood once home to many great writers and artists, New York's Gramercy Park has similarly included noted cultural icons from architect Stanford White to actor Edwin Booth to the great politician Samual Tilden. Wandering along the park today it's easy to gain a view back into the past - many of the original Greek Revival brick townhouses and brownstone mansions remain, some still in private hands. The park in the center is one of the most unique in America - it is a private park, not a city property and it's upkeep has been managed since its inception in the early 19th century by the property owners around the park itself. Writer and historian Keith Taillon joins Carl for this episode to look back into this hidden pocket of New York City's past and unlock its history. The Gilded Gentleman website


The American Renaissance: Beaux-Arts Architecture in New York City

Carl is joined by noted architect, interior designer and author Phillip James Dodd for an in-depth discussion of the "look" of the Gilded Age - a style known as American Beaux-Arts. Architecture constructed during the height of America's Gilded Age most certainly had a distinctive look. It was a uniquely American combination of stylistic elements of classical antiquity, the Renaissance palaces of the Medici, as well as the more flamboyant styles of France's Belle Epoque. But just how does one define the eclectic style that came to be known as American Beaux-Arts and who were its most famous and influential practitioners? In this episode Carl and Phillip James Dodd discuss these concepts in general to arrive at a definition and understanding, but also take a look at major examples, such as the facade and Great Hall or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library and the Morgan Library, as well as the architects who created them: Richard Morris Hunt, Charles Follen McKim, and the architectural team of Carrè re and Hastings. After having listened to this unique episode, you'll look at the Gilded Age and New York City with whole new eyes.


Daring Dandies: Early 20th Century Men of Style and Scandal

In the previous episode "Dandies: Gentleman of Style from the 19th Century to Today", Carl was joined by cultural historian and maker of fine custom clothing, Nathaniel Lee Adams for a look at this most interesting breed of society's tastemaking men. In this new episode, Carl and Natty take the discussion further and focus on the early 20th century, when a new brand of dandy was emerging - one with style perhaps, but also often tinged by scandal. Being a "dandy" is generally thought to be more than just being a stylish dresser. There is attitude, perspective and perhaps even a sense of the revolutionary that ties many of history's so-called dandies together. In this episode, Carl and Natty start with the world of the dandy immediately following the death of Oscar Wilde and begin with a discussion of the British author and caricaturist Max Beerbohm and the American self-proclaimed inventor of the tuxedo, Evander Berry Wall. They then discuss the fascinating, complex black American boxer Jack Johnson, who in order to fight not only his opponents but the pervasive prejudice of his time, created a boundary-breaking persona of style laced with scandal. Returning to Europe the discussion continues Oscar Wilde's own nephew and writer (and also boxer), Arthur Cravan, the War Poets including Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon, the minimalist Austrian architect Adolf Loos and finally one of the most polarizing personalities of them all, the flamboyant Italian poet and would be revolutionary, Gabriele D'Anunzio.


The Sculptor and the Angel: The Untold Story of Emma Stebbins

In this episode, journalist and biographer Maria Teresa Cometto joins The Gilded Gentleman for a look into the life of New York-born 19th-century sculptor Emma Stebbins. Emma Stebbins is most noted for her iconic bronze statue, The Angel of the Waters, which was placed on Central Park's Bethesda Terrace in 1873. Maria Teresa Cometto is the author of the recently published "Emma and the Angel of Central Park", the first extensive biographical look at Stebbins' life. Many locals and visitors may be aware of parts of the story of Emma Stebbins - that her Angel was the first public statue in New York produced by a woman and that her life included a domestic partnership with another woman. But there is much more in the story. This is the story of a creative artistic woman whose life, which began in early 19th-century New York, expanded and flourished in a community of fellow artists and sculptors in mid-century Rome. This is a very Italian story in many ways, set against the backdrop of the ruins, museums, and palaces of classical Rome. Emma's story includes love, betrayal, inspiration, tragedy, and even a bit of mystery. Her most well known creation, the famed Angel of the Waters, while perhaps her most significant work, is indeed only part of the story.


The Real Mamie Fish with Ashlie Atkinson and Keith Taillon

Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, known to all as just Mamie, was another of the larger-than-life personalities during the Gilded Age. For this episode, Carl is joined by historian and writer Keith Taillon and actor Ashlie Atkinson, who portrays Mamie Fish in HBO's The Gilded Age, for a look at just who this complicated and fascinating woman really was. If you received an invitation to a party at Mamie Fish's - you went. Mamie Fish, who had an iron clad family pedigree and enough money to compete with other Gilded Age hostesses, was known as a "fun maker". While at Mrs. Astor's you may have cemented your role in society, at Mamie's, you just had a really good time. Her parties bordered on the outrageous, from inviting an elephant as a guest to co-hosting the famous dinner for dogs, some of them adorned with diamond collars. But who was Mamie Fish and why do we find her fascinating today? Historian Keith Taillon and actor Ashlie Atkinson offer deeply insightful perspectives on this woman who perhaps sought to break out of the role prescribed to her and shake up society. Mamie Fish, when looked at through a modern lens, was challenging, complicated, conflicted and certainly controversial. But given the Gilded Age's restrictions and gender rules, it's interesting to consider how much she could also be considered a rebel and revolutionary for her time.


Edith Wharton's "The Age of Innocence" with Dr. Emily Orlando

Edith Wharton published The Age of Innocence at a very important moment in her life. When the novel came out in 1920, she had been living in France full-time for nearly 10 years and had seen the devastating effects of World War I up close. Her response was to look back with a sense of nostalgia to the time of her childhood to recreate that staid, restrictive world of New York in the 1870s that, despite its often social cruelty and harsh judgements, seemed to have some kind of moral center. It was a world in which Wharton as a creative woman, however, could not live and work, and thus, she transferred her life in stages to France. In this episode, Dr. Emily Orlando, a noted Wharton scholar, joins Carl to delve into the background of this novel, take a deep dive into the personalities of the major characters, and discuss what Wharton wanted to say in her masterpiece. Related Episodes: A Sprig of Witch Hazel: Edith Wharon's Secret AffairEdith Wharton's Paris


Having a Ball: The Gilded Age's Most Outrageous Parties (ENCORE)

It's ball season! Time to call the carriage for your visit to the Gilded Age's greatest parties. Balls were the most lavish entertainment one could attend in the Gilded Age -- from Mrs. Astor's annual Opera Ball for around 400 guests to smaller affairs for only 200 or 300 hundred. But that ball was far more than an elegant night out. Being invited signaled that you were "in" society. Who you saw there often determined how you navigated society, and whom you could introduce your daughter to indicated possible prospects for the marriage market. Your every move was being watched, cataloged, and judged. Venture back to the Gilded Age to revisit ball season in this classic Gilded Gentleman episode - find out what you had to wear, how you had to behave, what you had to eat, and even how to interpret the secret language of a lady's fan. Visit the website for more images and information


The Roeblings: The Family Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge (Bowery Boys Archive)

Viewers were introduced to Emily Roebling on the second season of The Gilded Age. Now learn the entire story of the Roebling family -- father, son, wife -- the engineers responsible for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. As a special bonus episode to end the year, enjoy this 2023 show from the Bowery Boys podcast archives, looking at the extraordinary individuals responsible for this 19th century marvel. Greg and Tom walk through the history, then chat with Kriss Roebling, Washington and Emily Roebling's great-great grandson, who leads specialty tours of the bridge today. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was a technological wonder when it opened in 1883. The story of its construction, which took over 14 years, is an odyssey of passion, ingenuity and tragedy. In the end, it was Emily Roebling, wife of Washington Roebling who, in the face of her husband's debilitating illness, dedicated herself to completing the project in the male dominated world of engineers and contractors. Visit the Bowery Boys website for images and other information


Delmonico's: The Return of a Legend with Max Tucci

Delmonico's began as the dream of two Swiss immigrants in the 1820's and grew to be a social center of the Gilded Age. Prohibition shuttered Delmonico's along with other great New York restaurants. Italian immigrant Oscar Tucci looked at the closed great brownstone former restaurant at 56 Beaver St and decided to reopen it - first as a speakeasy, then as a full continental restaurant that went on to welcome the famous, not-so-famous, and never famous to dine side by side and celebrate tradition and connection. Max Tucci, Oscar Tucci's grandson, has returned as part of the team to reopen Delmonico's and carry on his family's traditions. Max's story, which he shares in today's show recorded at Delmonico's, is about great food, but also about something more: It's about honoring tradition and one's ancestors. Related episode: The Delmonico Way: A Conversation with Max Tucci


Simon Jones (Bannister on HBO's "The Gilded Age"): In Conversation

Carl is joined by actor Simon Jones, whose distinguished career has included King George V on "Downton Abbey", stage productions on Broadway and the West End, and his current role as Bannister on HBO's "The Gilded Age". Simon takes us backstage as he discusses his career from his earliest roles, including in the radio drama version of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and film version, his role as Brideshead in the iconic 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited", and his work with John Cleese and "the Pythons" among others. Simon also discusses his experiences with his many well-known co-stars and colleagues over the years, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith, Lauren Bacall, Penelope Keith and Angela Lansbury. In addition, Simon takes us behind the cameras and shares some fascinating insight on creating the role of Bannister on HBO's "The Gilded Age".


Inside Newport: Objects and Observations with Ulysses Dietz

Ulysses Dietz, noted curator, author, and historian is the great-great grandson of President Ulysses S. Grant. In this unique and very special show, Ulysses takes us behind the doors of several of Newport's great mansions to understand how architecture, design and decorative arts all combine to tell the story of how this social community came to be and grew during the Gilded Age. Ulysses shares insight into some of the famous personalities of the Gilded Age, including Alva Vanderbilt, and the architects Richard Morris Hunt and Ogden Codman, Jr., as well offering a look at several mansions, including Chateau-sur-Mer, the Breakers and Marble House. Ulysses also discusses several objects he included in an exhibition he curated in Newport last year that tell the behind-the-scenes tale of aspects of the Gilded Age and its personalities that we perhaps never knew. Related shows: Architect of the Gilded Age: The Triumphant Tale of Richard Morris HuntSocial Climber: The Iron Will and Determined Rise of Alva Vanderbilt


Christmas in Victorian America: City House/Country House

Christmas traditions evolved over the 19th century, combining influences from the days of the Dutch settlers with British practices inspired by the work of Dickens, and along the way, they became something truly American. In this special holiday episode, the Gilded Gentleman visits with Ann Haddad, House Historian of New York's 1832 Merchant's House Museum, and takes a look at how the well-to-do Tredwell family and their servants would have celebrated the holiday around mid-century. We then travel outside the city up to the Hudson Valley for a visit with Maria Reynolds, curator of the Mills Mansion in Staatsburgh, New York, a grand Stanford White designed country house right out of the Gilded Age. For the Mills family, the holidays of 1899 and 1900 in the country included many outdoor winter activities, including sledding and skating and even, with a great greenhouse on the estate, some special items served on holiday tables. And through some unique archival material, we'll even get a sense of just who may have come to visit for a holiday dinner.


Jay Gould at Home: Life at Lyndhurst Mansion

Financier Jay Gould was one of the most famous — and infamous — of the Gilded Age robber barons. He was ruthless in his business dealings, tangled with the Vanderbilts for control of the railroads and fought battle after battle on Wall Street. But there was a less contentious side to him as well. Gould sought respite from New York City with his family at his country home, Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, a rolling estate where instead of Wall St. warrior he could be father and husband. Lyndhurst may be familiar to viewers of the HBO series The Gilded Age since a number of its rooms served as filming locations in the show. The mansion and estate are owned and managed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and visitors are welcomed year-round. In this unique episode, The Gilded Gentleman travels to Lyndhurst for a look inside both the Mansion and the life of Jay Gould. Howard Zar, executive director of Lyndhurst, joins Carl for a fascinating interview recorded in the picture gallery in Jay Gould's own mansion. Surrounded by Gould's precious hand-chosen art collection (still hung as Gould intended), Howard and Carl delve into what life was like at the Mansion and what visitors can see today. As a special treat, follow along with Howard and Carl on a tour through the Mansion visiting Gould's reception room, library, private office and dining room.


The Gilded Age Cookbook: A Conversation with Becky Libourel Diamond

The Gilded Age was a period of rapid industrialization and innovation - and that was abundantly true in terms of what was happening in the kitchen. New marvels like refrigeration, the availability of ingredients like baking powder, and new tools from egg beaters to meat slicers, all made creating over-the-top meals much easier than ever before. Becky Libourel Diamond, food historian and author of the just published Gilded Age Cookbook, shares some rich insights into a number of these kitchen innovations, along with stories of recipes and dishes that defined grand Gilded Age dining. In this season of holiday entertaining, Becky even shares some ideas from her book on how to create your own Gilded Age-inspired holiday dinner.


Black Gotham: Origins of Gilded Age New York's Black Elite

One of the most fascinating story lines in Season One of the HBO series "The Gilded Age" was that of the young black writer Peggy Scott and her Brooklyn family. Elements of Peggy's father's character were based on scholar Dr. Carla Peterson's own ancestral family. In her groundbreaking book, Black Gotham: A Family History of African-Americans in Nineteenth Century New York City, Dr. Peterson sheds light on how this community grew, how diverse the community actually was, and she provides insight into leading figures and their contributions often missing in standard accounts of the period. In this episode Dr. Peterson discusses the path of her own research, which ultimately revealed a richer, deeper sense of community and identity than many realized.


The Opening of the Metropolitan Opera 1883 (ENCORE)

Celebrate the opening of the opera season Gilded Age style! In this encore episode, Carl delves into how the Metropolitan Opera came to be and what it meant to those bejewelled Gilded Age audiences. Most of the drama took place in the audience - and not so much on the stage. On the night of October 22, 1883, the brand new Metropolitan Opera House opened its doors. The new theater was able to accommodate many more prime seats than the old Academy of Music, and as a result, "new money" socialites like Alva Vanderbuilt could finally get their dream - a private box at the opera. But most of these opera goers weren't there for the music. They were there to jockey for social position, play the game of "see and be seen" and hopefully get one's daughter married off to an appropriate fortune. This episode goes in to the drama -- on stage and off -- that accompanied that first opera season at the net Met - so put on your favorite gown from Paris, don your top hat and cane and join The Gilded Gentleman for a Gilded Age night at the opera. Visit the website for images related to this subject. And check out the whole list of episodes from the Gilded Gentleman here.


Ghosts of the Gilded Age

In this truly spooky episode. Greg and Tom from the Bowery Boys podcast travel to Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island to delve into four tales of the unexplained, the perhaps unforgotten and definitely the unsettling. Our stories include a massive elegant mansion that once graced the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx. Built by merchant and trader Benjamin Whitlock in 1850 and later owned by Cuban sugar importer Inocencio Casanova, the mansion is the site of numerous unexplained mysteries including an extensive system of vaults and secret rooms hidden well beneath the mansion's main floors. A stop on Manhattan's East 27th Street (near the Gilded Age's fashionable Madison Square) uncovers reports of a curious and very active poltergeist and a trip out to Queens explores two mysterious deaths at the location of a remote farmhouse, the site now part of Calvary Cemetery. Greg and Tom conclude their visits with a few of the ghosts of the Gilded Age with a stop at the Vanderbilt Mausoleum in Staten Island, the final resting place of Cornelius Vanderbilt as well as his son William H. Vanderbilt and grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II. And as with any visit with the Vanderbilts, one discovers a few secrets that may lurk beneath the surface. Visit the Bowery Boys website for images related to this show.


New York Real Estate: Mansions, Money and Madness

John Jacob Astor is considered to have been New York's first great real estate mogul, and indeed the Astor family has been said to have been "New York's landlords" for much of the 19th century. But other developers and builders were responsible for establishing desirable areas in which to build as well. In this episode guest historian Keith Taillon takes a look at five particular properties and mansions - all except for one can still be found today. With locations as diverse as today's midtown Manhattan to the Upper West Side and up into Harlem, Keith weaves the tales of how each area became fashionable, how desirability rose and fell, what styles of architecture prevailed, and just who some of the owners were. Our journey will include the homes of JP Morgan Jr and Andrew Carnegie as well as other lesser well-known Gilded Age luminaries such as Robert Davis and James Bailey, all with equally intriguing and drama filled stories to tell. If you liked this show, listen to Carl and Keith's last podcast together -- Chasing the Gold: A Gilded Age Tour Up Manhattan