By Margaret A. Brucia
On April 27, 1921, Julia Gardiner Gayley composed a letter to her daughter. With a mixture of excitement and astonishment, and while the details were still fresh in her mind, she described her evening at the Fabbri mansion the night before — from the moment she was “taken in to dinner” on the arm of the former ambassador to Germany to the after-dinner entertainment presented in the library of the Fabbris’ lavish renaissance-inspired palazzo at 7 East 95th Street. By 3:30 in the afternoon Julie’s letter was postmarked and on its way to Italy.
This is the second in a series of posts based on the letters of the New York socialite, Julia Gardiner Gayley (1864-1937), to her eldest daughter, Mary Gayley Senni (1884-1971), a countess who lived on the outskirts of Rome. In 2010, the author purchased a trove of the letters in a Roman flea market. This mother-daughter correspondence spanned the years 1902-1936 and provides an intimate and unfiltered view of life in New York during the early twentieth century. You can find the earlier posts on our homepage.
Clifton Hood's In Pursuit of Privilege: A History of New York City’s Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis
Sensibility and the Road: The Journal of Madame Knight and the Cultural Refinement of Eighteenth-Century New York
Re-Founding the New York Society Library: Cultural Institutions and the Contest for the National Capital
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