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

Saturday, March 23, 2024

5 Love & Marriage Rules
According to HBO's The Gilded Age

At Staatsburgh, we enjoy watching television shows and movies that take place during the Gilded Age. It is enlightening to see the era come alive onscreen through the clothing, the setting, and even the etiquette! While not every attempt to portray the Gilded Age onscreen is completely accurate, most Gilded Age aficionados would agree that Julian Fellowes and HBO’s The Gilded Age do a very good job recreating the era! On top of visually reconstructing the era, Fellowes also fashions characters and behaviors that reflect 19th century social mores. And of course, a television show must have love stories and romance! Many of the plot points on the show regarding relationships reveal rules and etiquette common to the era. With that in mind, we created a list of five relationship rules according to HBO’s The Gilded Age.

(*Spoiler Alert* - If you haven’t watched both seasons of the show and plan to watch it, this essay may reveal some minor plot points.)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Gilded Age Opera Wars: The Academy of Music vs. The Metropolitan Opera

One of the major plot points running through the second season of HBO’s The Gilded Age was the clash between the Academy of Music and the Metropolitan Opera.  Although the battle between the two opera houses was historically documented, the conflict was amplified on the show for maximum drama.  The Academy of Music had been New York’s established opera house since the 1850s and only those with “old money” and connections had boxes.[1]  With the influx of “new money” into New York, many families were unable to get a box due to the academy’s exclusivity and lack of space.  As a result, families with “new money” decided to pool their resources and build a brand-new opera house, the Metropolitan Opera.  When the Metropolitan Opera opened its doors for the very first time in 1883, they did so on the same exact night as the opening for the Academy of Music.  This set up the two opera houses for a clash where only one would triumph in the end! But which opera house did Ruth & Ogden Mills choose?  Read on to find out!

Puck Magazine, a publication often using humor or satire to depict current events, showcased the clash in the October 31, 1883 edition, Artist Joseph Keppler, Library of Congress.