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

Friday, June 18, 2021

Black Iron Under a White Gilding

As part of the site's commemoration of Juneteenth, Staatsburgh's historic interpreter, Zachary Veith, is sharing his ongoing research into the people enslaved by Morgan Lewis. 

Mary. Stephen. Caesar. Belinda. Pompey. Plato. Peter Williams. 

"Anyone who calls themselves an explorer is an invader to someone else - someone is always paying for the gilding" - Alice Proctor [1]

Morgan Lewis, enslaver.

"Ruth's great-grandfather, Morgan Lewis, built Staatsburgh in 1795. He is remembered as the third Governor of New York, a general during the Revolutionary War, and an aide to George Washington. When the original house burnt in 1832, it was rebuilt." 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Edith Wharton's Re-imagining of Staatsburgh

Just as Staatsburgh is a time-capsule of the Gilded Age, the literature from the era provides a lasting insight into the period. In fact, the term 'Gilded Age' comes from the title of an 1873 Mark Twain novel of the same name. Beyond this literary association, the decades following the Civil War produced some of the most famous American authors, including Henry James, W.E.B. Du Bois, Hellen Keller, and Upton Sinclair. Works still widely read today, such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), White Fang (1906), Tarzan of the Apes (1912), and O Pioneers! (1913) were all written during the height of the Gilded Age. However, one author over all others truly captures of the essence of Gilded Age American society: Edith Wharton.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Indomitable Irish Survivors of the Titanic

April’s blog post commemorates the anniversary month of the loss of the Titanic, and also looks back at March, Irish Heritage month, with stories of plucky Irish women who survived the sinking.
The Titanic departing from Queenstown, Ireland

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Staatsburgh Quiz Night: Titanic-sized Edition

For over a century, the sinking of the RMS Titanic has captured the imagination of the public - but how much do you actually know about the disaster?

The histories of Staatsburgh and the Titanic intersect in several interesting ways, and the ship's story offers many insights into the Gilded Age. Each year, Staatsburgh commemorates the tragedy of the ship's sinking through various programs, informing people about different aspects of the ship and the period in our history so marked by the disaster. On April 9th and 15th, 2021, Staatsburgh staff hosted the newest installment of their long-running quiz series; Staatsburgh Quiz Night: Titanic-sized Edition! Covering three rounds of questions - "The Unsinkable Ship," "The Last Word in Luxury" and "The Most Famous Ship in the World" - guests learned about Titanic, its parallels with Staatsburgh and Hudson Valley connections, and why it still fascinates us today. 

If you missed this month's contest, or want to re-play, the questions and answers are below. For those who want to play along at home, a custom answer sheet can be downloaded, below:

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Groundbreaking Gilded Age Women in Politics

The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 gave some women the right to vote on a federal level, but certainly not all.  As two examples: Native Americans were not allowed to be citizens in 1920, so indigenous women did not gain suffrage as a result. Despite their very active role in fighting for women's suffrage, Black women's right to vote was less clearly secured by the passage of the Amendment, but that did not deter them from advocating consistently for their right and engaging in electoral politics. In some parts of the country, some women had been allowed to vote in local elections long before 1920, and many women ran for office!  Exactly 100 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified, the United States elected the first female vice-president.  Because of this groundbreaking election, and amidst the backdrop of much controversy regarding voting rights in our current day, we want to highlight other women who also achieved political firsts.

Women's Political Union Votes for Women Sash
Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution

This essay will explore the groundbreaking political campaigns of five different women during this era.  We will explore the first female to legitimately run for president as well as first woman elected to various offices including administrator of a statewide office, mayor, state senator, and US representative.