'The Famous Gilded Age Balls that Forever Changed NYC' Webinar

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Can't make it live? Register and get access to the full replay for one week! New York Adventure Club | www.AdventureClub.com

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A dress threaded with lights at the dawn of electricity. Suits studded with diamond buttons. Costumes embroidered with jewels that had belonged to empresses. When NYC's top socialites from a century ago wanted to entertain, they didn't just pop some champagne and serve chips and guac — instead, they spent today's equivalent of millions of dollars on a single party to prove to NYC's movers and shakers that they belonged. It's time to go back in time to the Gilded Age and explore some of the most extravagant parties and balls that were ever thrown in New York City, and how their legacies still live on today.

Join New York Adventure Club as we explore a collection of some of the most famous (and infamous) Gilded Age balls ever hosted in New York City, and how the extreme amount of wealth flaunted at each either earned them great admiration or animosity from the public and press.

Led by Art Historian, Curator, and Art Advisor Kristen Oehlrich, MBA, Ph.D., our virtual exploration of these notorious Gilded Age extravaganzas will include:

  • The significance of a ball in NYC socialite circles, and how they differ from today's galas and parties
  • A look at some of NYC's most famous Gilded Age era balls, including Mrs. Vanderbilt's 1883 Fancy Dress Ball, the Bradley-Martin Ball of 1897, and the Hyde Ball of 1905
  • A discussion around the facts, figures, and drama surrounding each ball, from who attended and what they wore, to the fanciful decor and extravagant culinary dishes
  • Rare photos and illustrations depicting these epic evenings
  • The public reaction and reception of Gilded Age balls, including press reviews and critiques, photographs, and artist renderings

Afterward, we'll have a Q&A with Kristen — any and all questions about Gilded Age balls are welcomed and encouraged!

Can't make it live? Don't worry, you'll have access to the full replay for one week!

See you there, virtually!

*Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join this webinar

**For the best possible viewing experience, please ensure you're using the latest version of your internet browser — Google Chrome is the most compatible. Exact technical requirements and a webinar user guide will be shared in the automated confirmation email upon registration.

***A full replay of the experience will be available to all registered guests for up to a week


"Loved the images and loved the presenter's commentary. Great idea to focus on the balls as a window into the Gilded Age." -Carol

"I liked the details about what was going on socially and politically. How the speaker tried in the subject to a greater context and meaning." -Renee

"Extensive historic info and photos about fashions, how the balls were held and the sites of balls, reactions and criticism." -Fu Li

"This was a delightful and entertaining talk. I learned about the history of the Gilded Age, the influence of the wealthiest families, and particularly enjoyed hearing about and seeing images of the families, their homes, the balls and the costumes." -Phyllis

"Liked the historical background given by presenter. Also, the many photos of the hostesses/hosts & guests. It was great seeing a face to the names!" -Loretta

"Very interesting information and communicated in a way that a lay person could understand." -Stephanie

"The lecturer was very knowledgeable and engaging as she spoke. The wealth of information and the images were fantastic. I learned a lot and would definitely do this again!" -Judy

"I loved the topic and the way the content was delivered. I would love to hear more about the dresses, the dances, perceptions of women, and marriage during the gilded age. These were topics Kristen mentioned could have a lecture unto themselves." -Carolyn

"It was extremely in-depth and it was evident that the speaker was very knowledgable about the subject matter." -Kim

"Kristen Oehlrich is wonderfully informative and entertaining. She is clearly very well researched in and has great enthusiasm for this subject." -Anthony

"Great stories! So much detail. Scholarly. Fun. Glad it is now over tho' as it is so wasteful. (yes I do like parties & celebrations, but...oy vey!)" -Sharon

"The illustrations and photographs (esp the Worth gowns). Explanation of why they started, anecdotes about the society hostesses, information about food, massive champagne consumption. How wealth that funded these balls was made. Contrast to equivalent English balls of the age. Also being able to access lecture for a week. I’m in England and GMT means I don’t have to watch it at bedtime." -Mary-Jane

"I loved the family histories and pics of the inside of the homes" -Diane

"Excellent, thoughtful presentation- well researched and well organized. Vivid descriptions that bring,the world of the Gilded Age to life. Best NYAC webinar I have yet attended." -Eleanor

"I liked the detailed overview of the subject together with the specific anecdotal stories and illustrations." -Edric

"I found the whole talk fascinating. I didn’t realize how important the gilded balls were to society back then. It was an excellent adventure!" -Jade

"I love the old illustrations - the lecturer was fluid and engaging! Thank you!!!" -Lisa


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