If social media is any indication, we are obsessed with the goings on of “high society”. This is not a new phenomenon. Since the early 19th century, newspapers have frequently reported on the lives and social gatherings of the rich and famous. By the 1880s, most newspapers in the United States had a society column with titles such as “Society,” “Society Notes,” and “Items of Interest,” During the social season, these columns became entire pages of the newspaper and often included a calendar of upcoming events.
In England, the lives of the beau monde were scrutinized and sometimes ridiculed. Full names were often redacted, but it wasn’t difficult for the public to decipher who the article was about. The Gentlewoman called their society column "The Social Peepshow"!
Women were the primary target audience of society columns, whether in the U.S. or England, fashion the common thread. Paragraphs were filled with where so-and-so went and what she wore.
ANOTHER AMERICAN COUNTESS IN THE MAKING
In November 1, 1905, The Tatler, a weekly publication that covered high society events and gossip, broke news of an engagement between an American heiress from New York and an English nobleman.