Gilded Age Bibliography

1890 to 1904

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

One of the biggest problems with this period is that all the photography is black and white, so that after several hundred photos you start to get the subconscious image that the world was grey, and everything drab. Be sure and look at fashion journals with coloured plates and the painters of the period to see how colourful everything still was.

Be sure and catch the Atlas of Civilisation series, in this case the WWI and before chapters of The Cultural Atlas of France, The Cultural Atlas of Russia, etc., depending on your locale.


Illustrated Guide to New York. Compliments of Hotel Jefferson, New York, 102-104-106 East Fifteenth Street, one door east of Union Square. John E. Chatfield, proprietor ***
1895: [New York]
Handy little ephemera. T3
Boxing; a guide to the manly art of self defense (1900): New York, American Sports Publishing Co
Pictorial guide to Boston and the country around (1902): Boston: G.W. Armstrong Dining Room & News Co.
Rand, McNally Boston Guide to the City and Environs, with Maps and Illustrations ... (1900): New York, Chicago, Rand, McNally & company
Where and How to Dine in New York; the Principal Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés of Various Kinds and Nationalities Which Have Added to the Gastronomic Fame of New York and Its Suburbs (1903): New York, Lewis, Scribner & co.

Abelson, Elaine S.

When Ladies Go A-Thieving: Middle-Class Shoplifters in the Victorian Department Store *****!
Oxford University Press, 1989; 292 pg, index, sources in Notes
While ostensibly an investigation into the invention of the kleptomaniac, it is most valuable for its detailed presentation of life before department stores, what the early ones were like, how they developed, and how they became part of middle-class women's lives. Not at all dry, despite the scholarly research. T3

A Practice Guide to Whist by the Latest Scientific Methods. With the Laws of the Game (1891): Ames, Fisher: New York, C. Scribner's son

Appelbaum, Stanley, editor

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record ****
Dover Publications, Inc. NY; 116 pg, text
128 photos of the Beaux Arts buildings and such novelties as the Ferris Wheel. T3

Arnold, James

All Drawn By Horses *****!
Newton Abbott, Long & NY; David & Charles, 1979
Good text with line drawings by the author, and an invaluable 2-page glossary of coach terms. Freight wagons as well as phaetons; in fact, heavier on the wagons, which do all the duty of trucks, while on the streets of old only the richest had the carriages equivalent to cars. T2

Ball, Edward

Slaves in the Family ***
Ball tracked down the descendents of his ancestors' slaves, and gives a chronicle of the lives they led. An insight into African-American life through ten generations. T2

Constables' guide; containing a full exposition of their rights, privileges, duties and liabilities, giving the statutes, both civil and criminal of the state of New York, with annotations, decisions, explanatory notes, forms, and a digest of their fees (1904): Bender, Melvin (Melvin Thomas); Hinman, Harold Jay: Albany, N.Y., M. Bender

Blum, Stella, editor

Paris Fashions of the 1890's: A Picture Sourcebook with 350 Designs, including 24 in Full Color *****!
Dover, NY; 88 pg
Young women's and children's fashions in England, with a French bent, from The Young Ladies' Journal. T1

Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898 *****!
Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 320 pg, 1000+ illos
Stellar costume book, detailing materials and colours as well as styles, but most valuable for its illustrations of how women did their hair in the period. T1

Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ***
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary
Strong in this period, well illustrated, with photos of surviving garments when possible. T1

Bray, Peter, editor

Transport Through the Ages **
Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc., NY, 1971; illos by Barbara Brown
Covers a bit of everything, from dugout canoes on. Emphasis on later periods. T2

Brett, Gerard

Dinner is Served ***
Archon Books, Hamden, CN, 1968
British meals of the day and their conduct; Part Two covers 1660 to 1900. Do remember how much Eastern Society follows Britain. T3

Brockett, Oscar G.

History of the Theatre ***
Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1977
Good university-level text on staging conventions, acting forms, audience behavior, etc. T3

Burton, Jean

Lydia Pinkham is Her Name ****
Farrar, Straus, & Co., NY, 1949; 279 pg, no index, no bibliography
The story of Mrs. Pinkham and her Vegetable Compound, the vicissitudes of the company's control by her descendents, changes in advertising, and the post-War vindication of it containing estrogenic compounds. T3

Byron, Joseph

New York Life at the Turn of the Century in Photographs ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY; intro and notes by Albert K. Baragwanath
120 shots from the Byron Collection, always a good source. T2

Photographs of New York Interiors at the Turn of the Century *****!
Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 176 pg
131 more photos, of bars, hotels, and lushly Edwardian homes, 1893-1915. T2

New York; A Guide in Comprehensive Chapters (1903): Childe, Cromwell: [Brooklyn] Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Cooke, Maud C.

Social Etiquette, or Manners and customs of polite society: containing rules of etiquette for all occasions... *****!
London, Ont.: McDermid & Logan: 1896
All etiquette books have value for giving norms and showing what your lower class scum are watching from afar. T1

Farnsworth, Marjorie

The Ziegfield Follies ****
Bonanza Books, NY, 1956
A fascinating exploration of the one-man theatrical phenomenon, who created a lavish theatre tradition still surviving in the Folies Bergere and Las Vegas. A biography that delves deeply into the productions and the players. A list of the Follies from 1907 to '31 with theatre used, opening night, and featured players. Lavish with pictures, the beauties of their days. T2

Gernsheim, Alison

Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey, 1840-1914 *****!
Dover Publications; 240 pg, 235 photos (most two to the page, sideways)
The text is wonderfully researched, with period comments on fashion, cosmetics, emigrant kits, dyes and colour combinations -- priceless! Must read, even though very European. T2

Goodrum, Charles, and Helen Dalrymple

Advertising in America; the First 200 Years ****
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, NY, 1990; 288 pg, oversize, index, bibliography, heavily illustrated
The reproduced ads are illuminative of the difference in speech and attitudes between then and now. Also good for fashion for everyday people (rather than society frontrunners - ads tend to target the middle class), idealised beauty, and just what brands were available. T3

A Visitor's Guide to the Greater New York, Jersey City and suburbs; (1896): Gunnison, Herbert Foster,: [Brooklyn, N.Y., Eagle Press;

Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages ****
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available, and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes, done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part One. T1

Hogg, Ian V.

The History of Fortification ***
St. Martin's Press, NY, 1981
Clear, interesting and accurate overview from 7000 BC through the 1970's, well illustrated with photos and diagrams; bibliography and glossary. T3

Rand, McNally & Co.'s Handy Guide to the Country around New York, for the Wheelman, Driver, and Excursionist. With Original Maps and Illustrations (1897): Ingersole, Ernest: Chicago, New York, Rand McNally & Co.

Inglis, Brian

Trance: A Natural History of Altered States of Mind ****
Paladin/Grafton Books, London, 1990
A history of animal magnetism, mesmerism, hypnotism, and related phenomena, especially the parts that do not fit materialist scientism. Details the researchers and their studies through this century. T3

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-Cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Contemporary half will provide your world-wide naming needs, both individual and family names. There is a special chapter on Victorian-American individual names. T1

Jaynes & Co.

Price list of drug store goods: including an entirely new and second series of menus for one week of each season in the year 1898 ... compiled especially for them by Miss Fannie Merritt Farmer. *****!
1898: Jaynes & Co., Boston, Mass.
A different catalog, that not only details a drug store for you, but gives you the fast-food menu at the lunch counter. T3

Klein, Cora C.

Practical Etiquette *****!
Chicago, A. Flanagan, 1899
Any etiquette book larger than a pamplet is always an amazing portal to the era. T1

Kohler, Carl

A History of Costume ****
1930; New York, G. Howard Watt
Hand-sized, info-packed, based on surviving clothes first and artwork secondarily. Author's line drawings of construction and detail. Neophytes should use with a picture book, which it will greatly clarify. T2

Lightfoot, Frederick

Nineteenth Century New York in Rare Photographic Views ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 151 pg
A Victorian collection of photos originally for stereographs. T3

Maccannon, E. A: .

Commanders of the dining room; biographic sketches and portraits of successful head waiters ****
New York, Gwendolyn Pub. Co; 1904
Portraits of the best-known and highest class maitr d's. While NY based, this is a good guide for most other cities. T3

MacColl, Gail, and Carol McD. Wallace

To Marry an English Lord ****
1989; Sidgewick and Jackson, Ltd., London,
Whether the hunting of titles by rich young Yankee women (and some Western heirresses), or the hunting of heiresses by bankrupt (largely British) noblemen, the cross-Atlantic traffic forever changed both Society and possibly world affairs. These are the details from Mrs. Astor's Four Hundred to the weddings, the parties, life in England, and how to remarry or at least play around. Covers 1860 to about 1910. T2

Matthews, Frederick C.

American Merchant Ships, 1850-1900 ****
Dover; 960 pg in 2 vol, 195 B&W illos
The builders, tonnage, voyages, cargoes, and stories aboard of 322 vessels. Surely one is the ship you're looking for! T3

Mayer, Grace M.

Once Upon a City;
1958; Macmillan Co, NY.
This is gigantic, based on the Byron family photographs (so it has photos on almost every page) and researched to the point that the author has picked up an authentic period "purple prose" style. Printed brown on ivory and, if you like this period, sitting and reading this, on a pillow to support it, will be hours of delight. T1

Meyer, Ethel S

A Practical Dictionary of Cookery: 1200 Tested Recipes ****
1898: London: J. Murray
One way to find out the when, how, and what of meals. T3

Miller, William H., Jr.

The First Great Ocean Liners in Photographs: 193 views, 1897-1927 ***
Dover; 149 pg, 190+ photos
Mostly exteriors (gad, another black thing with chimneys!), but the interiors are informative, especially the few not in first class. T3

Mills, Betty J.

Calico Chronicle: Texas Women and Their Fasions, 1830-1910 *****!
1985; Texas Tech Press; 191 pg, 104 photos
Frontier, pioneer, and other plain, common, unfashionable folk, with whom the country is filled. What they wore and even how they took care of it. T2

Nock, O .S., editor

Encyclopedia of Railroads ****
Galahad Books, NY, 1977; 480 pg, index
History of railroads and equipment over the entire world, including Africa, Asia, and south America. Sections on equipment and operation, also the great luxury trains, past and present. Gorgeous colour layout, oversize. One lap-breaker worth the effort of lifting. T2

The Greater New York Guide Book (1897): Ober, Corolyn Faville: New York, Boston [etc.] The Morse Co.

Oppel, Frank, editor

Early Flight: From Balloons to Biplanes *****!
Castle, a division of Book Sales, Inc., Seacaucus, NJ, 1987
Great compilation of period aeronautical articles, from 1869 to 1912, though mostly from 1908 on. We sometimes forget how many questions people had about flight, and what strange byways it took. Eight articles on ballooning, seven on airships, the rest on planes. T2

Oppenheim, Janet

"Shattered Nerves": Doctors, Patients, and Depression in Victorian England ***
Oxford University Press, 1991; 389 pg, index, bibliography hidden in the Notes
Interesting history of the development of psychiatry in England, with occasional flashes of influential development in France and America. Some case histories, more histories of the doctors, good definitions in text, but retains that dry, scholarly air even at its best. Vital if you are going to have anyone go off their head or consult a mad-doctor. T3

Pinkerton, Allan

Thirty years a detective: a thorough and comprehensive exposé of criminal practices of all grades and classes, containing numerous episodes of personal experience in the detection of criminals, and covering a period of thirty years' active detective life ****
1884: New York: G. W. Carleton
Allan Pinkerton made his name synonymous with "private eye" (his trademark was "The Eye that Never Sleeps"), besides running counterintelligence for the Union in the War Between the States. There's hundreds of plots hiding in here. T2

Piper, Leonard

Murder by Gaslight ****
Michael O'Mara Books, London; Gallery Books, W.H. Smith Publishers, Inc., NY, 1991; 219 pg, no index, no bibliography
True crime. Ten English murder cases, often multiple murder, from the 1890's through 1910 or so. These may be in the news, then again, they may just give you an insight into the mind of period criminals, who did not have to worry about fingerprints, blood-typing, and the rest, and period detectives, who had to find other ways to nail murderers. T2

Price, Julius M.

Dame Fashion: Paris-London, 1786 - 1912 ****
London: S. Low, Marston; 1913.
Right up to date. T1

Riis, Jacob August

How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York *****!
1890, C. Scribner's Sons, NY
Historically, a groundbreaking book on the ral life of the lower classes, worth reading for itself. For the histfi writer, just invaluable. Must-read, if you are walking by a slum or just on the streets of any large city. T1

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
The institution of the real physical exam for the military kept most women out of the military in combat roles, but it should be noted that one of the top French pilots of WW1 was Lt. Helene Dutreaux, who is usually hidden from impressionable females. In any place where total war sweeps, some women become combatants because non-combatants are only easy victims, not safe. There are still lots of entries. T2

Scheffel, Richard L., project editor

Discovering America's Past **
Reader's Digest Books, Pleasantville, NY; 1993; 400 pg, index, no bibliography
An omnium gatherum of inventions, customs, practices and lifestyles, divided into 11 chapters by topic, such as "Educating America" which follows educational development as a series of short articles (half to full page) on unusual (to us) practices or noteworthy developments. Heavily illustrated, flashes of information, one of which may suit you. Best for the pages in the back listing Living History sites you can visit. T2

Sears, Roebuck, Inc., edited by Fred L. Israel

1897 Sears, Roebuck Catalogue *****!
1897; reprint from Chelsea House.
Simply everything the ordinary person could want, from house goods to horse goods, bicycles to medicines, with ordinary prices. T2

Sedgwick, Michael

Antique Cars *****!
Exeter Books, NY, 1981; illus. by Mike Atkinson; 93 pg, index, technical information table.
Shows the 81 early autos -- 1860 to 1918, gas or steam, all sorts of configurations and drives -- in the usual photos, but also in colour paintings that remind you how cheerfully bright, like coaches, these cars often were. Even an otherwise all black one will have red spokes on the wheels, or brightly coloured leather seats. T1

Severa, Joan L.; Forewords by Nancy Rexford and Claudia Brush Kidwell

Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900 ****
Kent State University Press; January 1995; Hardcover, 540pp.
Expensive, but revelatory. Gives the clues for telling a lower class person dressed in their best from the true upper class look. Look for at library! T2

Stephens, Autumn

Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era ****
Conari Press, Berkley, CA, 1992; 249 pg, no index, bibliography
150 mini-biographies (none over two pages) of unconventional women. Good to whet the appetite for further research in the bibliography. Note the social hell these women caught, too, for their actions. T2

Guide to Greater New York (1900): Walker, George H. & co., pubs.: Boston, Mass., G. H. Walker & co.

Waugh, Norah

Corsets and Crinolines *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1954
Underpinnings, 1600's to 1925, in period art. T3

The Cut of Men's Clothes, 1600-1900 *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1964
The most fashionable men's dress, in period illustrations, with tailor's patterns, period comments on colours and fabrics, etc. Superb. T3

The Cut of Women's Clothes, 1600-1900 *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1968
The same for women. Both books show fastenings! T3

Wehman, Henry J.

The Mystery of Love, Courtship, and Marriage Explained ***
1890; NY; Wehman Bros
Of course it's coy and PG rated. Did you really expect differently? T2

Wilson, James S.

The Modern Art of Making Love: A Complete Manual of Etiquette, Love, Courtship and Matrimony ... ****
1900; Akron, Ohio: Saalfield
One must always remember that before the Atomic Age, "making love" rarely meant sex: it meant, wooing, courting, even if the person being wooed was a mistress. T2

Wise, David Burgess

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Automobiles ***
1979; Quarto Publishing, Ltd., Chartwell Books, Book Sales Inc, Secaucus NJ.
This is not organized by year, but by brand. This means you slog through the pages looking for period brands you never heard of, and early days of surviving flags. That can get you leads, because the treatment is pretty surface compared to my favorite Old Cars catalog. T3





American Memory ****!

For everything American, whether books, maps, pamphlets, or pictures. The Library of Congress might have up what you're looking for, as well as things you never imagined were available.

Dining Through the Decades *****!

An entertaining overview on popular trends in American cuisine from the 1900s through the 1990s. Includes recipes from each decade


Heraldica ****

Over 200 articles on the succession, courts, development of titles, lines of descent, legalities of claims to titles, etc. on the upper classes of Europe. Some refer back as far as this period. These are topics often covered nowhere at all. As well, portrait galleries of various families can be found.

H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient, Medieval, early Modern, Modern<yours>, and 20th C<also yours>), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.


Internet Modern History Sourcebook ****

Halsall, whom we know from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook, is responding to demand in the world by now compiling an onl-line library on modern subjects. As it grows, you never know what has been lately added.

Making of America****

Cornell is hosting a site heavier on periodicals than books.

Project Gutenberg ****

Since 1971 putting classic books into electronic form. We just read a translated German novel from 1904 postulating a very different Great War, thanks to these guys. However, any note of when a book was originally published is an accident. So you need to know what book you want when you go here.

Maps of Switzerland****

German language site provides them from 1549-1939


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