Welcome to Staatsburgh State Historic Site's blog! Learn more about the Gilded Age home of Ruth and Ogden Mills!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Gilded Age Gossip Columnist:
Maury Paul, The Man Behind Cholly Knickerbocker

Downton Abbey Spoiler Alert!  Do you remember the final  season of Downton Abbey when Lady Edith's magazine hired a new writer with the pen name of Cassandra Jones to write an advice column for women? Ms. Jones' column turned out to be very popular and when Lady Edith arranged a meeting with the author, she found out Cassandra Jones was none other than her grandmother's butler Septimus Spratt!

Maury Henry Biddle Paul took on a similar gender bending identity and pseudonym when he wrote for newspaper columns as Polly Stuyvesant and Cholly Knickerbocker while reporting on the activities of society's wealthy elite class.  He was born in 1890 so he missed much of the earlier years of the Gilded Age, but he started paying attention to society news at a young age.  Even though Ruth Mills died in 1920, he still included her in more than one column when he reported about the status of the Millses several homes.  The Gilded Age elite were not immune to the prying eye of the media just as celebrities today are constantly hounded by paparazzi.  The fact that salacious gossip sells is not a new concept!

Maury Paul aka Cholly Knickbocker (right in black bow tie) visiting a club, circa 1938.