Archives For Gilded Age Customs

Looking back at a Gilded Age’s worth of Fourth of July celebrations in Chicago, here are some of the best (and worst) moments between the Civil and First World Wars.

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How could a live-in servant system like what we see in Downton Abbey survive in such an individualistic, capitalistic, and optimistic nation?

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I came across a 1910 article from the New York Times while mining for information on an upcoming post about live-in servants (stay tuned!). This piece, a snarky catalogue of the Scrooge-like ways of big-name New Yorkers, wasn’t helpful to that end, but it made for an extremely amusing read.

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Dinner during the latter half of the 19th century was executed with all-out Victorian extravagance.

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Hard to believe, but the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas Day came along late. In its early years, the holiday included few, if any, gifts, and families who celebrated it were more focused on activities like dancing, singing, playing games, and eating together.

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Anyone who has been by Daley Plaza this month, where the Christkindlmarket showcases German wares and serves up hot, spiced Glühwein, can attest: We owe a lot to Germany for our holiday traditions.

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