Experience the Gilded Age at Oatlands!
This special Afternoon Tea will be held in the Drawing room at Oatlands’ Mansion, a room decorated in the style of Edith Eustis.
Enjoy a delicious menu, including champagne, and enjoy costumed interpreters who will make the event seem that much more authentic.
See a special exhibit of vintage clothing in the Carriage House.
Daughter of the Guilded Age
Edith Eustis’ early years
Edith Livingston Morton was born into a family of wealth and social prominence in 1874. She was well educated and expected to marry, have a family and take her place in society. Her mother raised her five daughters not only to enjoy and lead society, but also to “be responsible ….”
Anna Livingston Reade Street Morton with daughters including Edith shown holding a doll.
Edith’s father, Levi Parsons Morton, was wealthy and powerful. He was Vice-President of the United States and then Governor of New York during the Gilded Age.
Levi Parsons Morton, ca. 1876
The Gilded Age refers to the period after the Civil War to roughly the year 1900. The term was purportedly coined to refer to a metaphorical thin layer of gold that covered a society with many problems. It may also refer to the accumulation of immense wealth by a handful of families. The Morton family’s Rhinebeck, New York residence, Ellerslie, is where Edith spent part of her early years.
Ellerslie, Rhinebeck, N.Y.
Edith was educated in New York and France (1881-1885) when her father served as U.S. Minister to France.
Edith Morton is shown here at age 16 in 1890 with her diploma.
The opulence of the Gilded Age is the world that a young Edith Morton entered as she came out into society toward the turn of the 20th century.
Edith was accomplished in social skills but she also had interests of her own. She was described as a “brilliant pianist” in a Washington Post article. She wrote an article entitled “Why Should Girls Have Nothing to do?” for the journal Charities, and she later wrote a novel, Marion Manning.
Edith in 1895 at age 21.
Edith married William Corcoran Eustis on April 30, 1900 at Grace Church in New York City.
The Eustises lived at the Corcoran mansion on Lafayette Square across from the White House. There she carried out her social duties as a respected Washington Hostess. These social gatherings might be a tea or party at her house or being a guest of the French Ambassador and Mrs. Jusserand to honor the Russian Ambassador.
New York Times excerpt, 1900
In 1904 Edith and William Eustis purchased the run-down Oatlands Mansion and acres of land to use as a country home and horse property.
Edith wanted to restore the original home, not re-work it to suit any trendy fashions. She updated the overgrown walled garden to reflect a European pleasure garden while maintaining most of the original infrastructure of the garden. Read more about the garden.
Oatlands Mansion, 1904