Class and Leisureat America's First ResortNewport, Rhode Island1870-1914


Newport History

[1] Antoinette Downing and Vincent Scully Jr., The Architectural Heritage of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640-1915 2nd ed. rev. (New York: C. N. Potter, 1967), 11-15.

[2] Richard C. Youngken, African Americans in Newport (Newport, RI: Newport Historical Society, 1998), 7.

[3] Downing, 117-18; Archibald C. Sherman, Newport and the Savings Bank (Newport, RI: Savings Bank of Newport, 1944).

[4] John B. Bachelder, Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them 3rd ed. rev. (Boston: John B. Bachelder, Publisher, 1875), 104.

[5] Richard O'Connor, The Golden Summers: An Antic History of Newport (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974), 30.

[6] Newport attracted people primarily from the East Coast. The 1880 Newport City Directory, for example, listed 142 cottage renters and 225 villa owners. Of the villa owners, 57 percent were from New York, 18 percent were from Boston, 9 percent were from Philadelphia, and 9 percent were from Providence. The remaining owners were from Baltimore (4 percent), Hartford (2 percent), Cambridge (1 percent), and Chicago (1 percent). Newport City Directory, 1880. Collections of the Newport Historical Society.

[7] "Historic Newport, from the Philadelphia Ledger," Newport Mercury, 22 September 1888.

[8] W. C. Brownell, "Newport" Scribner's 16 (August 1894): 151.

Class

[1] This project's definitions of "class" are as follows: Upper class—colonial gentry, intellectual elite, and industrial elite; middle class—salaried employees (business managers, physicians, lawyers, teachers, and so on) and their families; working class—skilled or semi-skilled laborers and their families.

[2] Recent scholarship on Newport's other classes includes Richard C. Youngken's African Americans in Newport (Newport, RI: Newport Historical Society, 1998) and Myra B. Young Armstead's "Lord, Please Don't Take Me in August": African Americans in Newport and Saratoga Springs , 1870-1930 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999). In addition, the Preservation Society of Newport County has undertaken an oral history project on domestic workers in Newport.

Upper-Class Newport

[1] Antoinette Downing and Vincent Scully Jr., The Architectural Heritage of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640-1915 2nd ed. rev. (New York: C. N. Potter, 1967), 43-85.

[2] Richard O'Connor, The Golden Summers: An Antic History of Newport (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974), 24.

[3] Ibid., 37-48; Jerry E. Patterson, The First Four Hundred: Mrs. Astor's New York in the Gilded Age (New York: Rizzoli, 2000), 75.

[4] Preservation Society of Newport County, A Guidebook to Newport Mansions of the Preservation Society of Newport County (Newport, RI: Preservation Society of Newport County, 1984), 36, 46, 60, 70.

[5] $11 million in 1890 would be about $214 million in 2001. Source: EH.Net.

[6] Montgomery Schuyler, "A Newport Palace" Cosmopolitan 29 (August 1900): 371.

[7] Paul Bourget, Outre-Mer: Impressions of America (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895), 50, 54.

Middle-Class Newport

[1] Antoinette Downing and Vincent Scully Jr., The Architectural Heritage of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640-1915 2nd ed. rev. (New York: C. N. Potter, 1967), 43-85.

[2] Eileen Warburton, In Living Memory: A Chronicle of Newport, Rhode Island, 1888-1988 (Newport, RI: Newport Savings and Loan Association/Island Trust Company, 1988), 4, 23, 34.

[3] Ibid., 24.

[4] Richard C. Youngken, African Americans in Newport (Newport, RI: Newport Historical Society, 1998), 42, 52-53, 57; Newport Pathfinder (1909), 41.

[5] Warburton, 4, 23, 34.

[6] Ibid., 21-22.

[7] Richard O'Connor, The Golden Summers: An Antic History of Newport (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974), 152, 158.

Working-Class Newport

[1] Eileen G. Slocum, "Memories of Bellevue Avenue: The Story of a Newport Family" Newport History 67 (1995): 43.

[2] Ibid., 43.

[3] Warburton, 12; Leonard J. Panaggio, Portrait of Newport II (Newport, RI: Bank of Newport, 1994), 45; Daniel Snydacker Jr., Richard W. Berry, and Edward W. Smith Jr, "Pride and Pleasure in the New England Steamship Company"Newport History (1989) 62, 180.

[4] Warburton, 26; Youngken, 23; Armstead, 67.

[5] Armstead, 50-56.

[6] Panaggio, 32; Warburton, 26.

[7] Carol Aronovici, The Newport Survey of Social Problems (Fall River, MA: Monroe Press, 1912), 41-43; $12 a week in 1912 would be about $218 a week in 2001. Source: EH.Net.

[8] Ibid., 43.

[9] Ibid., 57; Warburton, 37.

Conspicuous Consumption

[1] Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (New York: MacMillan, 1899; New York: Penguin Books, 1953), 37-38.

[2] Eileen Warburton, In Living Memory: A Chronicle of Newport, Rhode Island, 1888-1988 (Newport, RI: Newport Savings and Loan Association/Island Trust Company, 1988), 6; $2,000 to $4,000 a week in 1900 would be about $42,000 to $84,000 a week in 2001; a $70,000 event in 1900 would cost more than $1 million in 2001. Source: EH.Net.

[3] Richard O'Connor, The Golden Summers: An Antic History of Newport (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974), 53.

[4] Veblen, 95.

[5] Ibid., 60-66.

[6] Ibid., 126-127.

[7] Edge Kavanagh, "The Palace Cottages of Newport" Munsey's 17: 839.

Class Segregation

[1] Newport Mercury editorial, quoted in Richard O'Connor, The Golden Summers: An Antic History of Newport (New York: New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974), 22.

[2] Elizabeth Drexel Lehr, King Lehr and the Gilded Age; quoted in O'Connor, 123.

[3] Ibid.

[4] O'Connor, 136.

[5] "Newport Society Notes" New York Times 11 July 1897, 11.

[6] Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer, Newport: Our Social Capital (Philadelphia and London, 1905), 57; quoted in Larry Lowenthal, "The Cliff Walk at Newport" Newport History 61 (Fall 1988): 132.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Karl Baedecker, The United States (New York and Leipzig, 1893; New York: Da Capo Press, 1971), 70.

[9] "Newport's Social Season" New York Times 16 June 1889, 12.

[10] "Trolley Line to Newport: A Project to Enable Fall River Mill Hands to Visit the Home of Aristocracy on Sunday" New York Times 16 November 1897, 3.

[11] "Rival Beaches in Newport" New York Times 1 July 1894; "Newport Sees the Circus" New York Times 5 July 1896, 21; Lehr, 139, quoted in O'Connor, 262.

[12] Daniel Snydacker Jr., Michelle Christiansen, Deborah Walker, and Elliott Caldwell, "The Business of Leisure: The Gilded Age in Newport" Newport History 62 (1989): 116.

[13] Barbara A. Schreier and Michele Majer, "The Resort of Pure Fashion: Newport, Rhode Island, 1890-1914" Rhode Island History 47 (1989): 32.

[14] O'Connor, 145-148.

[15] "Reform Rule in Newport" New York Times 4 January 1898, 1; "Winter Life at Newport" New York Times 23 January 1898, 15.

Leisure

[1] "The People at Play," World's Work 4 (August 1902): 2373, 2377.

[2] Lawrence Perry, "The Business of Vacations" World's Work 6 (June 1903): 3506.

[3] Franklin Matthews, "Vacations for the Workers" World's Work 6 (June 1903): 3516-20.

[4] E. P. Powell, "A Simple Vacation" The Independent 1320.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Richard Butsch, "Introduction: Leisure and Hegemony in America" For Fun and Profit: The Transformation of Leisure into Consumption ed. Richard Butsch (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), 17.

Upper-Class Leisure

[1] Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (New York: MacMillan, 1899; New York: Penguin Books, 1953), 59.

[12] Daniel Snydacker Jr., Michelle Christiansen, Deborah Walker, and Elliott Caldwell, "The Business of Leisure: The Gilded Age in Newport." Newport History 62 (1989): 97-126.

Middle-Class Leisure

[1] "The Newport Water" New York Times 5 August 1887, 5.

[2] Hartley Davis, "Magnificent Newport" Munsey's 23 (July 1900): 482.

[3] Karl Baedecker, The United States (New York and Leipzig, 1893; New York: Da Capo Press, 1971), 71.

[4] Baedecker, 68-70; Eileen Warburton, In Living Memory: A Chronicle of Newport, Rhode Island, 1888-1988 (Newport, RI: Newport Savings and Loan Association/Island Trust Company, 1988), 39.

[6] Archibald C. Sherman, Newport and the Savings Bank (Newport, RI: Savings Bank of Newport, 1944).

[7] Baedecker, 71.

Working-Class Leisure

[1] W. C. Brownell, "Newport" Scribner's 16 (August 1894): 151.

[2] Warburton, 49; Thomas J. Schlereth, Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life, 1876-1915. The Everyday Life in America Series. ed. Richard Balkan. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991), 230-31.

[3] Warburton, 51.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

Advertising Newport

[1] Guide Book for 1881; Guide Book for 1885; Newport Pathfinder, 1909, 1911.

[2] John B. Bachelder, Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them 3rd ed. rev. (Boston: John B. Bachelder, Publisher, 1875); Karl Baedecker, The United States (New York and Leipzig, 1893; New York: Da Capo Press, 1971).

[3] Baedecker, 68-71; 1893 currency translations to 2001 dollars (rounded): 5 cents (98 cents), 10 cents ($2), 25 cents ($5), 50 cents ($10), $1 ($20), $3 ($59), $4 ($79), $10 ($197). Source: EH.Net.

[4] Advertisement, New York World.

Fall River Line and Other Steamers

[1] John B. Bachelder, Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them 3rd ed. rev. (Boston: John B. Bachelder, Publisher, 1875), 98.

[2] Steamship Historical Society of America, Steamboats: The Fall River Line, Videocassette.

[3] Ibid.; Daniel Snydacker Jr., Richard W. Berry, and Edward W. Smith Jr., "Pride and Pleasure in the New England Steamship Company"Newport History.

[4] Bachelder, 105, 107.

[5] Advertisement, Fall River Daily Evening News, 20 September 1881.

[6] Fares of $2.25 to $3 in 1881 would be about $38 to $52 in 2001. Room rates of $1 to $5 in 1881 would be about $17 to $86 in 2001. Source: EH.Net.

[7] Marie-Claire LaJoie, Archivist, Fall River Historical Society, interview by author, 7 July 2001, telephone, Fall River, Massachusetts.

[8] Roger William McAdam, Floating Palaces: New England to New York on the Old Fall River Line (Providence, RI: Mowbray Company, 1972), 125.

[9] Ibid.

[10] George H. Foster and Peter C. Weiglin, Splendor Sailed the Sound: The New Haven Railroad and the Fall River Line (San Mateo, CA: Potentials Group, Inc., 1989), 107.M.

[11] Ibid., 107.

[12] Archibald C. Sherman, Newport and the Savings Bank (Newport, RI: Savings Bank of Newport, 1944); "The News of Newport," New York Times 30 January 1898, 15:3.

Newport's Nickel Trolleys

[1] J. Stedman Ward, "The Trolley Car Days of Newport, R.I."Newport History 47 (Spring 1974):129.

[2] Newport Mercury 31 August 1889, quoted in Ward, 135-36.

[3] Karl Baedecker, The United States (New York and Leipzig, 1893; New York: Da Capo Press, 1971), 68; Ward, 136; 5 cents in 1893 would be about 98 cents in 2001 dollars. Source: EH.Net.

[4] Ward, 137, 145, 147; 10 cents and 20 cents in 1904 would be about $1.99 and $3.97 in 2001. Source: EH.Net.

[5] Ward, 142, 149.

Biographies

Edith Wharton

[1] Sarah Bird Wright, Edith Wharton, A to Z (New York: Facts on File, 1998), 201.

[2] Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance (New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1934; Reprint, New York: Scribner, 1964), 79-80.

[3] Wright, 147-148.

[4] Wharton, 82-83.


Kay Davis, University of Virginia, © 2001