By Margaret A. Brucia
Julia Gardiner Gayley, fifty-five years old and divorced since 1910, married a second time on Thursday, August 26, 1920. Her unlikely husband, Gano Sillick Dunn, was 49. Julie met Gano (pronounced guh-NO) through her daughters. An older but eligible bachelor, he was part of their broader social circle and, through the years, called on each of them at home — first Mary, next Agnes, then Folly. A regular fixture at Washington Square, Gano in time realized that he was more interested in their dynamic mother than in any of the beautiful Gayley daughters, and he began escorting Julie to social events and intellectual gatherings.
This is the latest 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.
This is the first in a series of posts drawn from the authors'recent work
Never Built New York, published courtesy of Metropolis Books.
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