In HBO’s The Gilded Age, a meeting with Mr. Ward McAllister was key to helping Mrs. Russell gain entry into New York Society. Who was Ward McAllister and why was he so influential in shaping New York’s Society during the Gilded Age?
Who was Ward McAllister?
Ward McAllister was Mrs. Astor’s social confidant and friend. He was influential in deciding who was or who was not part of New York Society. In fact, Ward McAllister and Mrs. Astor came up with a list of who was part of New York Society.
In 1892, Ward McAllister leaked to the press the names of the Four Hundred people who made up New York Society. This list became famous nationwide and was called the Astor 400 or McAllister 400.
Did Ward McAllister Come From Old Money?
Ward McAllister did not come from old money but he did have Southern gentry roots and social connections to wealthy New York Society. His father, Matthew Hall McAllister, was ex-mayor of Savannah, a judge, a lawyer and a member of the Georgia State Legislature.
His mother, Louisa Charlotte Cutler, had New York Society connections through her Newport relations. Ward McAllister’s uncle, Sam Ward (maternal side), married Emily Astor (William Astor’s daughter).
Was Ward McAllister Rich?
Ward McAllister was not rich. He was well-to-do and lived comfortably. He made a modest fortune during his years in California and he also married into money.
Who Did Ward McAllister Marry?
Ward McAllister married Sarah Taintor Gibbons in 1853. She had money and was described as “a Georgia heiress.” Her personality was the opposite from Ward McAllister’s flamboyant personality. She was mild mannered and bashful.
Did Ward McAllister Have Children?
Ward McAllister had one daughter and two sons with his wife, Sarah Taintor Gibbons.
Where Did Ward McAllister Live?
Ward McAllister lived most of his life in a house on East 19th Street in Manhattan. He spent summers entertaining at his home, “Bayside Farm,” in Newport, Rhode Island.
How Did Ward McAllister Meet Mrs. Astor?
Ward McAllister met Mrs. Astor through his subscription balls. He was 45 years old and she was 42 years old when they met. They became friends and had in common the view that “Society in America is in urgent need of Guidance.” According to McAllister, “Profiteers, boors, boorish people, people with only money must be kept out.” Thus both Ward McAllister and Mrs. Astor set out to shape New York Society.
How Did Ward McAllister Decide Who were Admitted into New York Society?
According to Ward McAllister, in order to be admitted into Society you must have the “the three Bs- Birth, Background and Breeding.” Although Ward McAllister did admit people who did not quite live up to those requirements.
Ward McAllister divided New York Society into two groups- the “Nobs” and the “Swells”. The “Nobs” were from the old families and were automatically admitted into Society (unless they were blacklisted for social wrongdoings). The “Swells” had to prove themselves. They were admitted into New York Society by proving that they had “proper clothes, dignified style of entertaining, conduct and acquaintances”
How Long Did It Take to Be Admitted to Ward McAllister’s New York Society?
It typically took 2 successful seasons in Newport to be admitted to Ward McAllister’s Society.
What is the McAllister 400?
The McAllister 400, also called the Astor 400, is an exclusive list of the crème de la crème of New York society. During the gilded age, Mrs. Astor and Ward McAllister had so much influence over New York society that they decided who was and who was not a member of New York’s elite society.
Who was included in the McAllister 400?
The McAllister 400 is an exclusive list of people admitted to New York Society. The list was released to the press by Mr. McAllister in 1892. The McAllister 400 comprised of a list of 319 names from 169 families. The list includes prominent old money families as well as new money with very little social credentials.
Some of the members of McAllister 400 old money families were the Van Cortlandts, Schuylers, Van Rensselaers, Beekmans, Schermerhorn, Suydams, de Peysters and Rhinelanders. New Money families, like the Vanderbilts made it to the McAllister 400.
Who was the Youngest Member of McAllister 400?
The youngest person on McAllister 400 was Julia Dent Grant. She was 16 years old when McAllister put her on the list. Although she was the granddaughter of President Ulysses S. Grant, her family was not wealthy or aristocratic. The inclusion of her name on McAllister’s list was surprising to many.
Julia Dent Grant later marries Prince Michael Michailovitch Cantacuzene of Russia and becomes Princess Cantacuzene.
Below is a list of the McAllister 400.
|Last Names of Astor 400||Names of Astor 400|
|Appleton||Mr. and Mrs. F. R.|
|Astor||Mr. and Mrs. John Jacob|
|Astor||Mr. and Mrs.William|
|Barclay||Mr. and Mrs. James|
|Baylies||Mr. and Mrs. Edmund L.|
|Bishop||Miss Mary Cunningham|
|Bronson||Mr. and Mrs. Frederic|
|Bryce||Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd|
|Burden||Miss Evelyn Moale|
|Burden||Mr. and Mrs. I. Townsend|
|Burnett||General and Mrs. Henry L.|
|Cameron||The Misses (Margaret, Isabel, Catherine N., Judah Howe Sears and Anne F. Cameron)|
|Cannon||Mr. and Mrs. Harry|
|Carroll||Mr. and Mrs. Charles|
|Cary||Mr. and Mrs. Clarence|
|Chanler||Mr.and Mrs. Winthrop|
|Chanler||The Misses (Elizabeth, Margaret and Alida)|
|Cooper||Mr. and Mrs. Edward|
|Crosby||Miss Angelica Schuyler|
|Crosby||Col. J. Schuyler|
|Cross||Mr. and Mrs. James|
|Cruger||Mr. and Mrs. S. Van Rensselaer|
|Cutting||Mr. and Mrs. W. Bayard|
|Cutting||Robert L. Jr.|
|Dana||Mr. and Mrs. Paul|
|De Forest||Mr. and Mrs. George B.|
|Delafield||Miss Elizabeth Ray|
|Delafield||Dr. and Mrs. Francis|
|Depew||Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey M.|
|De Peyster||Mr. and Mrs. Frederic J.|
|Dyer||Mr. and Mrs. Elisha, Jr.|
|Elliott||Mr. and Mrs. Duncan|
|Fish||Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Jr.|
|Fish||Mr. and Mrs. Stuyvesant|
|Forbes||H. De Courcey|
|Francklyn||Mr. and Mrs. C.G.|
|Goelet||Mr. and Mrs. Ogden|
|Goelet||Mr. and Mrs. Robert|
|Grant||Miss Julia Grant|
|Hadden||John A. Jr.|
|Hall||Miss Elizabeth Livingston|
|Hall||Mr. and Mrs. Valentine G.|
|Havemeyer||Mr. and Mrs. Charles F.|
|Hewitt||Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cooper|
|Hoffman||Mrs. Charles P.|
|Howard||Mr. and Mrs. Thomas|
|Irvin||Mr. and Mrs. Richard|
|Iselin||Mr. and Mrs. Columbus|
|Jay||Col. And Mrs. William|
|Jones||Mr. and Mrs. F. Rhinelander|
|Kane||Mr. and Mrs. De Lancey|
|Kernochan||Mr. and Mrs. Frederick|
|Kernochan||Mr. and Mrs. J. P.|
|Kip||Col. and Mrs. Lawrence|
|Kountze||Mr. and Mrs. Luther|
|Lanier||Mr. and Mrs. James|
|Leiter||Miss Mary Victoria|
|Livingston||Edward de Peyster|
|Livingston||Mr. and Mrs. Henry B.|
|Lusk||Miss Anna H.|
|Marshall||Mr. and Mrs. Charles H.|
|Martin||Mr. and Mrs. Bradley|
|McAllister||Miss Louise Ward|
|McVickar||Mr. and Mrs. H.W.|
|Mills||Mr. and Mrs. Ogden|
|Moore||Mr. and Mrs. Clement C.|
|Morris||Mr. and Mrs. A Newbold|
|Morris||Miss Eva C.|
|Mortimer||Mr. and Mrs. R.|
|Newbold||Mr. and Mrs. Thomas|
|Oelrichs||Mr. and Mrs. Charles M.|
|Pendleton||Mr. and Mrs. Francis Key|
|Perry||Mrs. William A.|
|Pierson||General and Mrs. J. Fred|
|Porter||Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin C.|
|Post||Mr. and Mrs. Charles A.|
|Port||Mr. and Mrs. George B.|
|Potter||Mr. and Mrs. H.N.|
|Ripley||Mr. and Mrs. S.D.|
|Rives||Mr. and Mrs. George L.|
|Robert||Mr. and Mrs. Christopher|
|Robins||Mr. and Mrs. H|
|Robinson||Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Jr.|
|Rogers||Miss Julia Fish|
|Roosevelt||Mr. and Mrs. James|
|Rutherfurd||Mr. and Mrs. Lewis|
|Sands||Miss Edith Cruger|
|Schuyler||Mr. and Mrs. Philip|
|Shepard||Mr. and Mrs. Edward|
|Sherman||Mr. and Mrs. William Watts|
|Sloane||Mr. and Mrs. William D.|
|Stevens||Mr. and Mrs. Byam K.|
|Stewart||Mr. and Mrs. William Rhinelander|
|Stokes||Miss Olivia Eggelston Phelps|
|Stokes||Mr. and Mrs. Anson Phelps|
|Sturgis||Mr. and Mrs. F.K.|
|Suydam||Mr. and Mrs. Walter Lispenard|
|Tailer||Miss Fannie Bogert|
|Tooker||Miss Emily M.|
|Twombly||Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton McKown|
|Vanderbilt||Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius|
|Van Rensselaer||Mrs. A.|
|Van Rensselaer||Miss Alice|
|Van Rensselaer||Miss Mabel|
|Waterbury||Mr. and Mrs. James M.|
|Webb||General and Mrs. Alexander S.|
|Webb||Mr. and Mrs. W. Seward|
|Welles||Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin|
|Wells||Mr. and Mrs. W. Storrs|
|Wetmore||Governor and Mrs.|
|Whitney||Mr. and Mrs. William C.|
|Wilmerding||Miss Georgiana L.|
|Wilson||Mr. and Mrs. Orme|
|Wilson||Richard T. Jr.|
|Winthrop||Miss Marie Austen|
|Winthrop||Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan|
|Wysong||Mr. and Mrs. J.J.|
The Gilded Age is Streaming on HBO, Mondays at 9pm
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