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To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl

To Marry an English Lord (original 1989; edition 2012)

by Gail MacColl, Carol McD. Wallace

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4052026,316 (3.82)32
Title:To Marry an English Lord
Authors:Gail MacColl
Other authors:Carol McD. Wallace
Info:Workman Publishing Company (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 403 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:read in 2012, non-fiction, history, england

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To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl (1989)



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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Confession: I am not nor have I been watching Downton Abbey.
I am a huge Masterpiece fan and have watched many many of them since the 70's. Some of my absolute favorite entertainment.
However, there have been too many other wonderful distractions, so doubt I'll ever catch up with this series.
Deciding to invest more time in reading is a trade-off and this book was extremely interesting in detailing facts that were surprising.
Perhaps Downton Abbey fans already have all this info - if not - Read it!
Background on NewYork and London society, the reasons for and the mechanics of sending daughters to London to marry a title. And the wisdom of the Brits in sharing their title for the tremendous new wealth of American daughters. What splendid arrangements.
The number of these Trans-Atlantic arrangements was astounding - would not have believed it without the summary lists included here.
One can only hope there was some true love amongh all the pairings for titles and monies. ( )
  CasaBooks | Mar 14, 2014 |
The best thing about this book is the many photographs included; too bad it wasn't just designed as a coffee table book. I was fairly engaged by the early chapters, which detailed the first wave of American heiresses going abroad (mainly to England) in search of titled husbands. But once I got past Jennie Jerome, Consuelo Vanderbilt and a few others, their stories became repetitive, and in fact, the remainder of the books became repetitive. It's not just that the women's stories were all similar; MacColl actually recaps the SAME stories two, three, even four times in subsequent chapters. Then there are all those horrendous alphabetical lists. The worst was the last, which seemed to go on forever, listing each heiress with her father, husband, and manor house--again with much repetition. Add to this the fact that the book is full of annoying typographical errors (such as Alva Vanderbilt being referred to, not once, but twice, as "Aha"). I can only recommend that you flip through it to look at the photos and find a better book on the subject (which indeed deserves much better). ( )
  Cariola | Feb 17, 2014 |
This book is a history of the 1870-1890s phenomenon of title-rich but money-poor English Lords marrying American heiresses, and their lives both before and after it became fashionable to do so. The stories are very interesting, as are the descriptions of English servants. I did not enjoy the various lists of houses, Lords, and various families. An interesting but not particularly outstanding read. ( )
1 vote Sucht | Feb 2, 2014 |
An interesting study of the curious period when American heiresses would 'cross the pond' to marry titled gentry in England. The book gives accounts of the societies on both sides and their upper class social structure, all the causes for such a pattern to occur, how each society viewed this change, how the marriages changed society, how the British Aristocracy (including the Royal house) embraced it (or didn't), and on an individual basis how the marriages succeeded (or didn't). There were lots of photographs which were helpful in illustrating some of the ways that things were changed, especially apparel and jewelry, and it was fun to see all the wonderful houses and beautiful people. This book was apparently the inspiration for the Downton Abbey program, of which I am a fan. ( )
1 vote whymaggiemay | Jan 30, 2014 |
This book, a cultural history of American heiress marrying English Lords, is just plain fun and fascinating. The Kindle version is currently on sale in the US, but To Marry an English Lord is so lavishly illustrated with photos and drawings on every page that I can’t imagine reading an ebook copy.

By the late 1800’s--early 1900’s there was a growing number of young ladies in the US who had lots of family money, but who couldn’t break into proper American “Society” because being nouveau riche they had no social status. At the same time across the Atlantic noble British families were having trouble paying for the upkeep and modernization of their estates--which is understandable since it wasn’t considered proper for the aristocracy to work--so marriage between the two groups made sense, but whoa! The culture shock! All of which is entertainingly recounted in this book.

After growing up in a fancy, almost palace-like mansion the American heiress often started married life in her British husband’s dark, deteriorating ancestral manor without indoor plumbing. The large (and very interesting) contrasts in attitudes about married life, gender roles, infidelity, money, servants, and politics further complicated her assimilation into her new life. There were a variety of ways to cope and the book delves into the personal stories of many of the women, including Jennie Jerome Churchill (mother of Winston) and Consuelo Vanderbilt.

To Marry an English Lord makes lively use of its rich historical material and is full of fruitful background information for further enjoying fiction and film. Edith Wharton and Henry James used the Victorian-Edwardian era tension between British and American customs in their novels and Julian Fellows, the creator of Downton Abbey, says this book inspired the Cora character in that series. ( )
  Jaylia3 | Jan 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
"Large fortunes were made in post-Civil War America. Young heiresses, cold-shouldered by an entrenched aristocracy that scorned new money, looked across the sea to find husbands among titled young Englishmen who were long on status but very short of cash. Nancy Astor and Jennie Churchill are the most famous of more than 100 of these trans-Atlantic brides. This light-hearted bit of social history is lavishly illustrated and bedecked with sidebars and boxes of charts, lively quotes, and other supplementary material. A full register of these enterprising young ladies and a "Walking Tour'' are included. Not only fun, but a definitive round-up of the players."
added by 2wonderY | editLibrary Journal

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gail MacCollprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wallace, Carol McD.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cain, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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There will always be an England, especially in America!
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TO MARRY AN ENGLISH LORD was co-written by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace.
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Book description
Wonderful book detailing the flight of "new money" American Heiresses overseas to England in search of impoverished titled Husbands in the late 19th Century.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0894809393, Paperback)

In 1895, nine American girls, including a Vanderbilt (railroads), LaRoche (pharmaceuticals), Rogers (oil) and Whitney (New York trolleys), married peers of the British new money, among them, a duke, an earl, three barons and a knight. It was the peak year of a social phenomenon that began when the entrenched members of old New York snubbed these "new money" families after the Civil War, sending them off to England in quest of class and bequeathing to us Anglomania, Preppy, the Jet Set, and even Princess Di.

Here is the American Heiress's story. Filled with tales of wealth and marriage, sex and snobbery -- and 100-year-old gossip that's still scorching -- To Marry an English Lord is a heavily illustrated and energetically presented popular history. A rich tapestry of essays, sidebars, fact-filled boxes, and lively anecdotesoXcombined with wealth of portraits, drawings, photographs, and other rare Victoriana -- it chronicles the era of Mrs. Astor, Edith Wharton, King Edward VII, and the Marlborough House Set. Over 100 heiresses swapped dollars for titles. To Marry an English Lord is the only book to tell how they did it. Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:53 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Read about a unique set of American women cutting a swath through stodgy 19th century British aristocracy. The book covers not just who they were but the lows and the triumphs of their inter-continental marriages. Also included are many fascinating details on how they dressed and what they had to go through.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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