Gilded and Progressive?

The late nineteenth century, spanning the Gilded Age (1877-1893) and the Progressive Era (1890-1919), is a fascinating period of U.S. history.  I decided it was the perfect era for my Concordia Wells mystery series.

A satirical portrayal of what the world would be like if women got the vote. 1869 lithograph by Currier and Ives, NY, via wikimedia commons (CC).


It was a world of haves and have-nots, and the heightened social consciousness that went along with it.  A person of that time period would see strikes, rallies, and parades galore – for worker safety, fair wages, and women’s rights (especially suffrage); perhaps be among the many activists who worked to expose government corruption, or seek to reform laws that exploited children, immigrants, and the poor; attend temperance meetings or join “improvement” societies; or benefit from the formation of settlement houses and women’s colleges.

1885 advertisement, via wikimedia commons (CC)

It was also a world of brilliant inventors and con men; quack remedies and forward-thinking devices ranging from the humble zipper (1891) to the world-changing airplane (1903).

Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1877, via wikimedia commons (CC)

Entrepreneurs of the late nineteenth century harvested the fruits of the industrial age to become formidably wealthy and powerful.  This was the age of Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Morgan: men who controlled the banks, the railways, the steamers, and the steel mills.

So, feel free to explore the posts and pages of the site to learn more about this era.  You can find 19th century posts in the search bar (upper left).  Thanks for stopping by!


14 thoughts on “Gilded and Progressive?”

  1. Margot KinbergMargot Kinberg

    Kathy – This really is interesting!!! You’re right that this was a very interesting time. The Gilded Age, La Belle Epoch, whatever you want to call it, so many things were happening. I think the thing that sticks in my mind most is the strides forward of the women’s movement. People don’t really think today about how much we owe those people, some of whom gave their lives, so that women could vote.

  2. Paul OwenPaul Owen

    I think of Vanderbilt as the Bill Gates of the 19th century. He was to railroads what Gates was to the personal computer (more or less).

  3. Renee Schuls-JacobsonRenee Schuls-Jacobson

    I think I have a toothache again. May I have one of those extra special cough drops? What do you mean I’m talking very fast? 😉

    I love so much about this period. And I’m so glad to live in an area of the country so rich in women’s history. Or HERstory.

  4. Amy KennedyAmy Kennedy

    Love info pages! And you have very interesting ones! Thanks Kathy

  5. Perry Block (@PerryBlock)Perry Block (@PerryBlock)

    There is absolutely NO TRUTH WHATSOEVER to the rumor that that’s me in the cute little hat in Cocaine Toothache Drop advertisement!

    How could it be when it was me that was drawing the sketch?

    Back in those days we took lousy care of our teeth just to get toothaches …

  6. ElisElis

    The late nineteenth century indeed marks a pivotal and captivating period in U.S. history, characterized by rapid industrialization, social upheaval, and cultural transformation.

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