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Topics in Chronicling America - Dollar Princesses

Europe is broke and America seeks social status. The solution? European nobility marries rich, beautiful American socialites looking for aristocracy. These Gilded Age heiresses married more than a third of the titles represented in the House of Lords, and announcements of these transatlantic marriages were pervasive in the newspapers of the day. American influence was carried overseas, with many brides literally changing the face of Europe, by renovating the stately estates of Edwardian England. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Picture of a dollar princess boarding an ocean liner

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • 1874. Daughter of New York financier, Miss Jeanette ‘Jennie’ Jerome, marries Lord Randolph Spencer Churchill.
  • 1878. Miss Mary ‘Minnie’ Stevens, daughter of Mr. Paran Stevens, a popular leader of New York society, marries British General Sir Arthur Henry Fitzroy Paget. For her social skills abroad, she’s deemed ‘the American queen of British society’ and plays the million dollar matchmaker to American girls and British men.
  • 1879. Nancy Langhorne, Virginia beauty, marries William Waldorf Astor. She later becomes the first woman to take a seat in the British parliament.
  • 1895. Miss Mary Leiter, the Marshall Field heiress, marries Lord Curzon. He is appointed Viceroy of India three years later, giving Mary the highest position an American woman has ever held in the British empire.
  • 1903. Miss Mary ‘May’ Goelet, of the prominent Goelet family of New York, marries the Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe.
  • 1910. Miss Margaretta Drexel, daughter of Anthony J. Drexel, a well-known Philadelphia banker, marries Guy Montague George Finch-Hatton aka Viscount Maidstone.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Dollar Princesses, titled husband, Consuelo Vanderbilt, The Dollar Princess operetta, heiress, The House of Lords, Jennie Jerome Churchill.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results. You’ll find most articles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  May 29, 2014
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