What does the Gilded Age have to do with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy?

What does the Gilded Age have to do with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy?

The Kiss (Lovers), oil and gold leaf on canvas, 1907–1908 Gustav Klimt (popular for its gilt)

The Gilded Age, circa 1870-1900, was a period of rapid economic and social growth characterized by the emergence of a wealthy middle class, excess and embellishment in architecture, art and fashion, fueled by mechanization, transportation, major inventions and the growth of cities. Under the surface however lay significant social tensions- corruption in politics, collusion in business and poverty among unskilled industrial workers, child labor and discrimination.The term “Gilded Age” comes from the satirical novel co-authored by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner and published in 1873 (the process of gilding, applied a thin veneer of gold to a baser material such as pewter or tin to make the artifact appear more valuable, had recently been introduced). Twain likened it to an era of serious social problems masked by thin gold gilding.

This era is also the time period of my upcoming novel THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN, Book 1 in the Baldwin Family Series. The series follows the lives and loves of the Baldwin siblings Adam, Allie, Mia, Emma and Ava. They are the children of a wealthy newspaper baron Joseph Baldwin and his charity-minded wife Clara who runs a children’s hospital in Manhattan. The series is pure romantic comedy in the vein of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. I love classic Hollywood comedies and in a way, they were part of another “gilded age” or rather, a “golden era” of film if you will. And I wanted to infuse that spirit into my books. Along with my love of design and architecture.

Washington Square, NY Childe Hassam, 1895

Madame X 1894 John Singer Sargent

For the purposes of this blog, I chose to point out the visual arts of the era when American painters emerged: Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sergeant, Childe Hassam and others. Art of the romanticized West by Albert Bierstadt, Charles Remington  et al. Are we in a new Gilded Age? Which artists, in any creative field, will become associated with this era? 

And I am so excited to be part of the organizing committee for a truly worthy cause.  in Norwalk, Connecticut will be having its annual fundraising gala on October 14, 2017. And this year’s theme is – you guessed it – the Gilded Age. For more information you can contact them directly. General Inquiries and Visitor Information T. (203) 838-9799 Email 

Gail Ingis is an author and artist based in Connecticut. This blog is all about her passions: history, architecture, and interior design and fiction. Her current historical romance is INDIGO SKY. Gail’s upcoming release is the first book in a new series: THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN.



Indigo Sky is available on Amazon.
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