Friday, July 21, 2017

Amazon Purchases

I love Amazon gift cards.  I recently spent $100 on five books, and my gift card was used up in what seemed like the blink of an eye.  There are four more books I'll eventually get.

The books are for my upcoming presentation this Sunday at the assisted living facility about the Gilded Age.  It has been so fascinating to research, and now Newport, R.I. is on my bucket list, along with Martha's Vineyard.  Have you visited either of those two places?

So what books did I get?  The book on the right, Gilded, is full of references to tea.  Wealthy society fascinated the public so much that the New York Times had a gossip column called Some Tea Table Confidences, 'spilling the beans' on their lifestyles. After all, Henry Fielding's famous quote is, "Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea."  ;-)

John Jacob Astor was a Manhattan real estate mogul. When he died in 1848 at 84 years of age, he was the richest man in the United States.  His ambition was "to get all he could, and keep nearly all he got."  The roll-book of his possessions was his Bible. His love of accumulating increased with his age until it ruled him like a tyrant.  Too bad he died and left every bit of it behind, along with the legacy that he was 'a stone-hearted monster of greed'.

His grandson's wife, Caroline Schermerhorn Astor [married to Wm. Backhouse Astor, Jr.] had a Knickerbocker pedigree and was the undisputed queen who presided over New York society during the Gilded Age.  Even though the couple had five children, it was a loveless marriage.  William didn't get a son to carry on the Astor name [John Jacob IV] until the fifth, and last child was born - and he perished on the Titanic.  Having no interest in the high society activities that Caroline took pleasure in, William lived apart from her most of the time in either Europe, Florida or on his large yacht. He died unexpectedly in Paris.

~ Below is Caroline Astor in all her splendor. ~

The other three books I purchased.  

Alva Vanderbilt's creative, manipulative plan to gain admittance into New York Society was interesting to read about, and it was very successful.

Selecting a treat for the residents for this presentation was easy - 100 Grand chocolate bars!

Today I'll be playing with paper dolls.  You may recall my blog post a few weeks back when I purchased Tom Tierney's Newport Fashions of the Gilded Age paper dolls.  It's what actually gave me the idea to pursue this topic for a presentation.  I don't want to disassemble the book, so I'm making copies and cutting them out to take as visuals this Sunday.

Gilded Age aside, the most important book that arrived in the mail this week is a men's NIV [New International Version] Bible I purchased for my brother from Christian Book Distributors. He leaves next week for his new home in Georgia, and it's the best parting gift I could possibly give him. He's always loved sports and this Bible has notes throughout by Coach Joe Gibbs.  I pray it will be 'a lamp to his feet and a light to his path'.  

Below is my brother and his beautiful [inside and out] daughter, Pam, who he'll be living with in Georgia. The photo was taken before his recent stroke.


  1. Enjoy your books. They all look so exciting and interesting. Your niece is lovely.

  2. Lovely and perfect gift for your brother.

    That presentation sounds like a good one! Great materials to use, as well!

  3. What a great gift for your brother! And I also love reading about the Gilded Age. A friend recently went to Newport, RI on vacation and posted a photo of a tea house there on FB. Beautiful! Also wanted to let you know that I got interested in the Astors (the oldest ones) after learning about all the Astor connections from the Stuart House Museum on Mackinac Island. Love your 100 Grand Bars — brilliant idea for a treat! :)

  4. That Bible is probably the most important book you've bought recently. I pray your brother's health improves and that the Bible will be a blessing to him. All your Gilded Age information is fascinating, but I like the paper dolls the best! Your idea to make copies to cut is wonderful! I'm sure you will have another stellar presentation.


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