High Style in the Gilded Age:

Southampton 1870-1930


Rogers Mansion, 17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton

RECEPTION: Saturday, August 17, 4 to 6 pm

EXHIBIT: August 17, 2019 thru August 8, 2020


FEE:              RSVP by calling (631) 283-2494 or emailing ggangi@southamptonhistory.org

                      After reception, $5 adults, free for members and children 17 and under


With the arrival of the railroad in 1870, Southampton began its swift ascent to fashionable status. New Yorkers, spared a grueling journey by stagecoach or an overnight boat trip, could now make the trip in a few hours. While the early years of the Southampton summer colony were marked by a professed enthusiasm for the informal pleasures of country life, it was perhaps inevitable that the taste for Gilded Age excess, then sweeping over the city, would begin to assert itself among the colonists.  Afternoon teas, picnics and intimate soirees lost favor to be replaced by the formal balls and extravagant entertainments earlier arrivals had disdained. All pretense of rural simplicity was dropped when women began arriving with trunk loads of gowns and accessories and organizing a social agenda every bit as demanding and elaborately choreographed as the one they knew in the city. Then, with the arrival and progression of the new century, a younger generation began moving away from the excesses and formality characteristic of the Gilded Age at its opulent height. As it did elsewhere, the decade of the 1920s brought good times to Southampton, and with them the advent of the flapper, who had no use for styles that had kept women confined and corseted for too long. After that, there was no going back. The women here, in “High Style in the Gilded Age,” were among Southampton’s fashionable trend-setters, admired and envied by other women, and lavishly covered in the local and New York City society columns.


Cryder Triplets, 1900.

After their debut in 1900 the celebrated Cryder triplets became the talk of New York, appearing on magazine covers and inspiring rhapsodic copy in newspapers’ social columns. Their oceanfront summer residence in Southampton has not survived but their presence is memorialized by Cryder Lane.


Grace Clarke Newton in her book “Poems in Passing,” 1916

was an accomplished poet and a favorite of the East End equestrian set where her husband, Richard Newton Jr, was Master of the Suffolk Hounds. After her premature death, Richard, who was also a well known artist, illustrated “Poems in Passing,” a collection of her poetry.

Southampton Summer School of Art, 1905

Known for her artistic talent, her marvelous energy and exuberance, Janet “Nettie” Hoyt was credited in 1887 as the force responsible for “starting the fashion of cottage life at Southampton.” Among other triumphs, she succeeded in bringing the celebrated artist William Merritt Chase to Shinnecock Hills where his students set up their easels among the bayberry bushes.

Helen and Charles Barney, 1906

Helen Barney and her father Charles are in costume for a themed dinner party at the Barney townhouse on Fifth Avenue, just one of the many residences Helen’s hard-working socialite mother, Lily was expected to manage. Lily, a sister of William Collins Whitney, was constantly on the job in Southampton where the Barney house on Lake Agawam was one of the first to add a ballroom.

Ruth Wales du Pont and Henry Francis du Pont, 1916

As a young woman, Ruth Wales “kicked up her heels” in Southampton and other summer playgrounds before she fell in love with Henry Francis du Pont and became the mistress of Chestertown House in Southampton and Winterthur, the magnificent du Pont home in Delaware that became a world-renowned museum of American furniture. She and Henry, above, were married in June 1916.


Rogers Mansion, 17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton





AAQ Resource: Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects