Gilded Age

“The Almighty dollar,’ Washington Irving wrote, was the “great object of universal devotion” among Americans. Read more >>

For years it was seen as the worst of times: bloated, crass, witlessly extravagant. But now scholars are beginning to find some of the era’s unexpected virtues.

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century you could ride in a handsome coach-and-four from a fashionable hotel on Fifth Avenue to Tuxedo Park or even to Philadelphia. The fare was just three dollars, and your driver might be a Roosevelt or a Vanderbilt.

The annual report for the 1906 season of the New York-to-Ardsley run of the public coach Pioneer, operated by the Coaching Club of New York, was both dismal and disconcerting. Read more >>

In a day of rampant money-making, gentle Peter Cooper was not only a reformer but successful, widely loved, and rich.