The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America

Please note this year lecture locations may vary.  Be sure to check the listing to see where the lecture will be held.

Also please be aware that due to increased costs, we are asking our members and non-members to pay a nominal fee for lectures.

Members are asked to pay $5 and non-members $10. 

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February 2019

Oscar Wilde’s Valentine for America & Summer School Presentations

February 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

The Victorian Society in America Presents A Summer Schools Evening* “Oscar Wilde's Valentine for America: 1882 Lecture Tour” A lecture by Richard Guy Wilson Director, VSA Newport Summer School and Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History, University of Virginia FREE Friday, February 15th, 6:00 PM The Bob and Sheila Hoerle Lecture Hall The New School University Center, UL105 63 Fifth Avenue New York *Learn about the VSA Summer Schools in Newport, London and Chicago before this year’s March 1st application deadline!…

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A Victorian Dog’s Life – American Kennel Club Museum Tour

February 23, 2019 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

The American Kennel Club has a new museum devoted to dogs. On our museum tour, we will learn how 19th-century artists immortalized humans’ best friends with portraiture and sculpture as well as what a dog’s life was like in Victorian times— how animals were bred, trained, housed and shown. We will also see how owners’ expectations have evolved. $25 FOR VSNY MEMBERS $35 FOR NONMEMBERS       Victorian Dog's Life Member $25.00 USD Non-member $35.00 USD

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March 2019

The Making of a Modern Museum: The Hewitt Sisters

March 7, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Bard Graduate Center, 38 West 86th St
New York, NY 10024 United States
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When New Yorkers utter the phrase “Cooper Hewitt,” it typically brings to mind the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, housed in Andrew Carnegie’s mansion on 91st Street and Fifth Avenue. Far less renowned are the institution’s 19th-century women patrons, who made their family names synonymous with achievements in art and design. Sue Shutte, the historian at Ringwood Manor in Ringwood, New Jersey (the Hewitt family’s longtime country home), will bring deserved attention back to three sisters, Amy, Sarah and Eleanor…

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Margot Gayle Fund Benefit

March 11, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Grolier Club, 49 East 60th Street
New York, New York
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To benefit the Margot Gayle Fund for the Preservation of Victorian Heritage, the Victorian art of wrapping rooms in spectacular panoramas will be the topic of scholar Nicole M. Mullen’s talk, “French Scenic Wallpaper.” Mullen, the curator of SFO Museum at the San Francisco International Airport, is working on a double-feature SFO exhibition of Zuber’s French panoramic wallpaper and late 19th-century Victorian wallpaper featuring the contemporary maker Bradbury & Bradbury, which opens July 2019. Her talk will explore how 19th-century…

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Queen Victoria’s High Tea

March 23, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Oscar Wilde Bar, 45 W 27th
New York, NY 10001 United States
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Anticipate the celebration of Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday with High Tea in a private room at the Oscar Wilde Bar, a renowned establishment that has been dubbed “the most elaborately decorated pub in New York City.”  Our High Tea begins with a glass of sherry or port. This will be followed by three courses: 1) scones with clotted cream, 2) a selection of four tea sandwiches, 3) four choices of petit-fours, tartlets, cookies. And pots of tea (four selections). A…

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April 2019

Born Too Soon, Born Too Late: Mabel Loomis Todd, Millicent Todd Bingham and Their Upside-Down Victorian Sensibilities

April 2, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen, 20 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036 United States
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This lecture is co-sponsored with and will be held at The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen.  20 WEST 44TH STREET, BETWEEN 5TH AND 6TH AVENUES RECEPTION AT 6:00 LECTURE AT 6:30 Julie Dobrow, a Tutts University professor, will speak about the mixed-up Victorian sensibilities and fascinating lives of Mabel Loomis Todd, Emily Dickinson’s first editor, and her daughter Millicent Todd Bingham. Todd lived the majority of her life in the 19th century but confided to her diary her belief…

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May 2019

Emerging Scholars

May 2, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Sotheby’s Institute, 570 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022 United States
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This lecture will be held at Sotheby’s Institute, 570 Lexington Avenue (51st Street). On May 2, at the Victorian Society New York's annual Emerging Scholars event, young historians will shed light on little-appreciated aspects of 19th-century culture. During the free lectures (6 to 8 pm with reception, Sotheby's Institute of Art, 570 Lexington Avenue at 51st Street), Christine Garnier will explore symbolism hidden in a mining tycoon's Tiffany silver dinnerware; Ayaka Sano will examine surprising connections between men's detachable shirt collars and anti-Chinese bigotry;…

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Preservation in the Hudson Highlands Tour

May 11, 2019 @ 9:00 am

The first stop on this bus tour will be Cold Spring, where an iron foundry operated from 1811-1911 supplying artillery to the West Point Military Academy across the Hudson River. A talk about the town's history will be followed by free time to explore its historic district before lunch at the Hudson House, an inn built in 1832. Afterwards, the bus will take us to Garrison to visit Boscobel. This 1804-08 house was demolished at its previous location  and then…

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Queen Victoria’s Birthday Celebration and Awards Ceremony

May 20, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Papillon Bar and Bistro, 22 East 54th Street
New York, NY 10022

The 52nd Annual Meeting this year will celebrate Queen Victoria's 200th Birthday with a lively celebration, while presenting our annual Victorian Society New York awards.  Please join us by RSVP via email @ The event is free to members, guests are welcome to attend for $40.  This admission price includes a one-year Victorian Society membership.

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June 2019

Hudson Valley House Delights Tour

June 1, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Departing by train from Grand Central Station, we will visit two prominent Victorian homes on the Hudson, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside and the Gould family’s Lyndhurst. is tour is walking intensive; we will walk from the Irvington station to Sunnyside and then Lyndhurst via the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. Walking shoes/sneakers required. Lunch can be brought from home, or purchased at Zarrilli’s Deli in Irvington. $75 FOR VSNY MEMBERS $90 FOR NONMEMBERS   Hudson Valley House Delights Member Pricing $75.00 USD…

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October 2019

Plants and Paintings in Philadelphia

October 12, 2019

Valley of Santa Ysabel by Frederic Edwin Church This tour will focus on accomplishments that preceded the Victorian era. In the morning we will explore Bartram’s Garden, the oldest surviving botanic garden in this country. It was begun in 1728 by John Bartram, a self-taught botanist who collected seeds and plants on travels that took him north to New England, south to Florida and west to Lake Ontario. Back in Philadelphia, he nurtured them in the garden surrounding his house…

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Sugar, Cigars and Revolution: The Making of Cuban New York

October 28, 2019 @ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
5 West 63rd Street, 5 West 63rd Street
New York, New York 10023 United States
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More than century before the Cuban Revolution of 1959 sparked an exodus that created today’s prominent Cuban American presence, Cubans were settling in New York in what became the largest community of Latin Americans in the 19th-century Northeast. Lisandro Pérez’s new book, Sugar, Cigars, and Revolution: The Making of Cuban New York (NYU Press), brings this community to vivid life, tracing how it was formed by both the sugar trade and the long struggle for independence from Spain. Professor Pérez…

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November 2019

The Bowery: New York City’s Oldest Street

November 2, 2019 @ 10:30 am

Native American footpath, Dutch farm road and site of the city’s first Free Black homesteads, the Bowery stretches 1.25 miles from Chatham Square to Cooper Square. An early social hub for the working class, gangs, gays and immigrant Irish, Italians, Chinese, Jews and Germans, it was “the most interesting place in New York” to author Stephen Crane. It has important links to Washington, Lincoln, baseball, streetcars, tap dance, tattoo, Yiddish theater, vaudeville, Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin, Harry Houdini and even…

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Considering Connecticut

November 16, 2019

We travel to Connecticut to visit the famed Florence Griswold Museum, which was the center of the Old Lyme Art Colony, the main center of development of American Impressionism. Henry Ward Ranger, Childe Hassam, and Willard Metcalf all spent considerable time at the Griswold house and literally left their mark on its doors with their paintings. The two-hour curator-led tour of the complex will provide us with insights into this exciting time in American art history. We then head to…

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Everybody’s Doin’ It: Sex, Music and Dance in Victorian New York

November 18, 2019 @ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
5 West 63rd Street, 5 West 63rd Street
New York, New York 10023 United States
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$5 – $10

Prostitution was big business in New York up to World War I, and where sex workers plied their trade, there was generally dancing and music. Musicologist and author Dale Cockrell’s lecture, based on his new book, Everybody’s Doin’ It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917 (W. W. Norton), will explore New York’s Victorian meeting places where sex, drink, music and dance mingled. Spirited live music, whether played by a single pianist or a small band, was enjoyed nightly in…

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December 2019

Holiday Open Houses North Of NYC

December 8, 2019
$155 – $185

Our bus tour to Newburgh will take us into 10 sites that will be decorated for the holidays. The first “open house” on our tour will be one we visited before—but in an undecorated state—the former David Crawford mansion. It is now a museum and the headquarters of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay & the Highlands. Our bus will then take us to nine privately owned sites. In the course of the afternoon we’ll see architectural gems, mansions and…

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A History of The Victorian Dolls’ House: Living Large in a Small Home

December 16, 2019 @ 6:15 pm - 6:30 pm
Svenska Kyrkan, 5 East 48th Street
New York, NY 10017
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This lecture on the history of antique dolls' houses and miniatures will follow the fascination of the small as a part of Victorian life from a candy container miniature or a fairing, to a small box of miniature toys a child might have to a large grand dolls' house. We will see a doll pantry, doll kitchens, dolls' houses large and small and different scales. We will explore the contents of each room of the Victorian dolls' house both upstairs…

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February 2020

Happy Birthday, John Ruskin! Ruskin’s Influence on American Architecture

February 6 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

A lecture by Richard Guy Wilson Organized by the Victorian Society In America Director, VSA Newport Summer School and Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History, University of Virginia Thursday, February 6th, 6:30pm The Bob and Sheila Hoerle Lecture Hall The New School University Center, UL 105 63 Fifth Avenue, New York RSVP by Tuesday, February 4 to   Discover more about the VSA Summer Programs in Newport, London, and Chicago before this year's March 2nd deadline! If you are already one of our alumni, we encourage you to bring a friend or…

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Young Victorians Historic Pub Crawl

February 8 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Dear Young Victorians, We’re pleased to invite you to our first ever historic pub crawl! An afternoon of merriment is guaranteed to all as we explore some of New York’s oldest institutions and drink like true Victorians. When: Saturday February 8th, 1pm - 4pm Where: Meet-up point to will be announced to those who RSVP. Who: Open to the public, invite your friends! How much: Free! Pay-as-you-go drinks. RSVP: Space is limited, reserve your spot on Eventbrite. Stops include Pete's…

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The Decorated Tenement

February 25 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen, 20 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036 United States
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$5 – $10

Zachary J. Violette focuses on what he calls the “decorated tenement,” a wave of new buildings constructed by immigrant builders and architects who remade the slum landscapes of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the North and West Ends of Boston in the late nineteenth century. Drawing on research and fieldwork of more than three thousand extant tenement buildings, Violette uses ornament as an entry point to reconsider the role of tenement architects and builders (many of whom had…

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