November 18 -- Carol Wallace, co-author of To Marry an English Lord was at the Gold Coast Public Library in Glen Head on Sunday afternoon to present a lecture on the subject of her 1989 book, which was an inspiration to Julian Fellowes, creator of the hit PBS television series Downton Abbey.
The book, which was co-authored with Gail MacColl, went out of print in 2003. However with the recent popularity of Downton Abbey, the publisher decided to re-release the book with a second printing and a new cover in 2012. The book tells the history of young American women of the late 19th century industrial aristocracy marrying into the older landed British aristocracy.
On Sunday, Ms. Wallace gave a slide show presentation and lectured on the fascinating history of gilded-age America in which rapid industrial growth gave rise to a new American aristocracy centered in New York City. Initially, the exclusivity of New York high society alienated some members of the newly rich, and drove their daughters to seek acceptance in the older, more rank conscious but less competitive British nobility. Focusing part of her talk on the story of Jenny Jerome who, after being shunned by Caroline Webster Astor's "Four Hundred", went to England and fell in love with and married Lord Randolph Churchill, Ms. Wallace's account traced the rise of American industrial wealth and the decline of the British landed aristocracy during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Following her presentation, Ms. Wallace spoke with audience members and signed copies of her book.
In addition to To Marry an English Lord, Ms. Wallace has authored 21 books, most recently the 2011 novel Leaving Van Gogh.