My new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right To Vote, tells the fascinating story of more than two hundred New York social figures -- Astors, Belmonts, Harrimans, Vanderbilts and their circle -- who joined the women’s suffrage movement in the 1910s. Chronicled by a vibrant newspaper industry for their extravagant lifestyles, they became the media darlings of their day. And when these glamorous socialites embraced the suffrage campaign, they became the first celebrities to endorse a political cause in the twentieth century.…
Available September 2017
In writing about people, I delight in discovering aspects of their lives that illuminate their character. When I wrote the obituary of Ronald Reagan, I read that as he was leaving the presidency, a reporter asked Reagan what it had been like to be an actor in the White House, the first. He cocked his head, smiled and said, “There have been times in this office when I’ve wondered how you could do the job if you hadn’t been an actor.” To me, that anecdote told volumes about his values and his perspective on power and its uses.
What a remarkable week, a book tour to remember. Sunday October 1 I spoke at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, resting place of many of the women I profiled in Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote. Susan Olsen, the cemetery's director of historical services, did much to enrich the event. As the cemetery marks the observance of women's suffrage, she has invited descendants of the Gilded Suffragists, and is providing information about where they are … [Read More...]
Johanna Neuman, Susan Goodier, and Karen Pastorello discuss their new books and the centennial of woman suffrage in New York State in this episode of 1869, the Cornell University Press podcast … [Read More...]
Alva Vanderbilt Belmont -- inheritor of two great Gilded Age family fortunes -- was bored. In her youth, she had conquered High Society, marrying a Vanderbilt and throwing an extravagant costume party that forced the haughty Old Money clan of Astors to accept the nouveau riche Vanderbilts. Then she coerced her daughter Consuelo to marry the Duke of Marlborough, assuring Alva a role in the royal British family. But by the time she was in her early 50s, Alva was "worn … [Read More...]
To me, the four most powerful words in any language are, “Once upon a time.” Storytelling is inspiring, and at its heart is a focus on people. Stories, whether novels or histories, hold a mirror to our own lives, teaching us about ourselves and about our shared fears, observations and ambitions.
Women On the March
Former President Reagan Dies at 93
Meryl Streep’s ‘rebel and a slave’ flap is a matter of historical perspective, not insensitivity
Southern Lady, With Accent on Spy Career
What a remarkable week, a book tour to remember.
Sunday October 1 I spoke at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, resting place of many of the women I profiled in Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote. Susan Olsen, the cemetery’s director of historical services, did much to enrich the event. As the cemetery marks the observance of women’s suffrage, she has invited descendants of the Gilded Suffragists, and is providing information about where they are buried on the grounds. More magic, as Noelle Santos, who is crowd-funding to create a bookstore in the Bronx she calls The Lit Bar, handled sales of books that I signed, and we sold a record 51 copies.
Tuesday October 3 I spoke at the 92nd Street Y, that iconic venue for speechmaking, giving a talk about how cartoonists portrayed the Gilded Suffragists, to be followed by a conversation moderated by Jim O’Grady of WNYC.
And Saturday October 7 I spoke at Politics & Prose, that wonderful independent bookstore in Washington D.C. I plan to share some personal memories about the book’s genesis and evolution, and PBS News Hour’s Judy Woodruff will moderate a conversation. Many friends came to support me, and and of course I signed books there too.
In between were several book parties thrown by friends eager to celebrate the book and its author. Pictured here are scenes from the Greenwich Village party hosted by my friends Rea and Angela Hederman and the event thrown by Tim Albrecht at Consider It Done in Bethesda, a space of beautiful fine china and event planning.
Thank you to all who helped get me here — from the professors at American University who schooled me in the rigors of historic research to the editors and marketers at NYU Press who have made Gilded Suffragists such a standout that Publishers’ Weekly called it one of the top books for fall from independent publishers.
And thanks to all of you in New York and Washington D.C. who were able to attend the events, and to readers everywhere who love history, and whose enthusiasm encourages writers like me to keep writing.
Watch this space for more events this fall. Until then, onward.
Johanna Neuman, Susan Goodier, and Karen Pastorello discuss their new books and the centennial of woman suffrage in New York State in this episode of 1869, the Cornell University Press podcast