The Perils Of Immortality

For centuries the Newport rich have been commissioning portraits of themselves—and sometimes getting a surprise when they see the results

 

On a clement August evening in 1902, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt III stood on the lawn of her Newport, Rhode Island, estate, receiving two hundred guests and looking, her son later recalled, like a Gainsborough painting in her plumed picture hat, cabochon emeralds, and diamond stomacher.

 
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Growing Up In Newport

A Brush with the Law & OTHER OFF-SEASON ADVENTURES, or

When Winfield Townley Scott, the American poet, died in 1968, he left among his papers a warm and engaging account of his early boyhood in Newport, Rhode Island. The lavish world of Newport’s summer visitors with their fifty-five-room “cottages” meant little to him as a local boy—only providing background for a small child’s play and wonder. Mr.Read more »

Once More On To The Beach

Pilgrims and Puritans, naturally, hated the water, but by the turn of the century certain pleasures had been rediscovered

For some two hundred years the Europeans who planted themselves on our Atlantic shoreline turned their backs on the sea or merely farmed it. Those who did not head west for new lands remained to mow the salt hay, harvest the beach plums, fish for the sacred cod, or rake up oysters from East Jersey’s abundant beds. Beaches were simply convenient places for digging clams, drying fish, or landing cargoes without the inhibiting presence of customs officers. But the seashore was scarcely thought of as a pleasure ground. Read more »

Longfellow and The Jewish Cemetery at Newport

In the summer of 1852 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, vacationing with his family in Newport, Rhode Island, happened one day upon the old Jewish cemetery, established in 1677. Impressed by the quiet of the ancient burial ground amid the bustle of the busy seaport, he persuaded “Mr. Gould the Tailor, a polite old gentleman who keeps the key,” to admit him into its silent serenity. The now-famous poem at right resulted from his walk among the crumbling tombstones. Read more »