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The season : a social history of the debutante

by Richardson, Kristen,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 7 Libraries 7 of 10 copies
Available (7)
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CLP - East Liberty New Books GT3430.R53 2020
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  New Books
Call Number  GT3430.R53 2020
CLP - Main Library First Floor - New Non-fiction GT3430.R53 2020
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - New Non-fiction
Call Number  GT3430.R53 2020
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection GT3430.R53 2020
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  GT3430.R53 2020
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 305.482 RICHARDSON
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  305.482 RICHARDSON
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 305.48 Ric
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  305.48 Ric
Sewickley Public Library Nonfiction 305.482 RIC 2020
Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  305.482 RIC 2020
South Park Library Nonfiction 305.48 RIC
Location  South Park Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  305.48 RIC
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Crafton Public Library Adult - Non-Fiction CHECKED OUT
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Kristen Richardson, from a family of debutantes, chose not to debut. But as her curiosity drove her to research this enduring custom, she learned that it, and debutantes, are not as simple as they seem.The story begins in England six hundred years ago when wealthy fathers needed an efficient way to find appropriate husbands for their daughters. Elizabeth I's exclusive presentations at her court expanded into London's full season of dances, dinners, and courting, extending eventually to the many corners of the British empire and beyond.Richardson traces the social seasons of young women on both sides of the Atlantic, from Georgian England to colonial Philadelphia, from the Antebellum South and Wharton's New York back to England, where debutante daughters of Gilded Age millionaires sought to marry British aristocrats. She delves into Jazz Age debuts, carnival balls in the American South, and the reimagined ritual of elite African American communities, which offers both social polish and academic scholarships.The Season shares the captivating stories of these young women, often through their words from diaries, letters, and interviews that Richardson conducted at contemporary balls. The debutantes give voice to an array of complex feelings about being put on display, about the young men they meet, and about what their future in society or as wives might be.While exploring why the debutante tradition persists--and why it has spread to Russia, China, and other nations--Richardson has uncovered its extensive cultural influence on the lives of daughters in Britain and the US and how they have come to marry.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Richardson's first book expands her popular 2013 Rookie article on the debutante ritual into an engaging exploration of the origins of presenting elite daughters to society and the tradition's evolution over the centuries. After England separated from the Catholic church, young women could no longer take refuge in convents, and society needed a way to handle the excess of daughters of marriageable age. To consolidate power during the tumultuous era that followed, Queen Elizabeth I began meeting with daughters of her favored courtiers in her withdrawing rooms, and such presentations soon became formal rituals. Once established in aristocratic society, debutante traditions moved to the British colonies. Richardson examines the fascinating history surrounding the coming-of-age ritual and the ways in which it reinforced family power, offered upward mobility, and entrenched class structures. She further explores the role of debutantes in African-American society and conducts in-person research on modern debutante practices in the U.S. The Season is a must for readers interested in social history, and all will appreciate Richardson's fluid, descriptive prose.--Laura Chanoux Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Richardson's immersive debut uncovers the surprisingly long history and stylized rituals of the debutante tradition. Instituted by Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century as a means "to form beneficial social and political alliances," the ceremonial presentation of aristocratic young ladies at court had morphed, by the mid-18th century, into weekly "assemblies" hosted by "lady patronesses" seeking to match their daughters and nieces with wealthy, socially connected bachelors. In America, Richardson writes, the debutante custom reached its apotheosis as the "defining ritual" of the merchant and professional classes. Drawing from the journals and letters of colonial, antebellum, and Gilded Age debutantes, Richardson portrays young women enjoying--or enduring--their "social seasons." In a diary account, Albany socialite Huybertie Pruyn recalls being "dragged" by her mother to the 1891 Patriarch Ball, where her escort was "her second cousin, at least 55 years old." Exploring 20th-century rituals, Richardson reports on Mardi Gras krewes, the relationship between debutante balls and elitism in the African-American community, and the publicity-generating International Ball, held annually at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. A few minor historical errors--Anne Boleyn wasn't pregnant when Henry VIII sought to annul his first marriage--don't distract from the fun. This entertaining, eye-opening portrait captures a tradition that is "long dead but will never die." (Nov.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Debutantes -- History.
Upper class women -- Social life and customs.
Debutante balls -- History.
Publisher New York, NY :2020
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 276 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 247-256) and index.
ISBN 9780393608731
Other Classic View