The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America

VSNY is making plans for its annual “Emerging Scholars” event this fall.  To whet your appetites, we have posted previews of the lectures below.

The Emerging Scholars Program highlights recent scholarship about aspects of 19th-century and early-20th-century culture, including literature, architecture, theater, fine and decorative art, politics, manufacturing, education, gender roles, reform movements, fashion, and food. Recent topics for emerging scholars have included celluloid collar advertisements, New York brothel furniture, and a mining tycoon’s luxurious dinnerware. Several current university students or recent graduates will give 15-minute presentations.

Check back later for the new event date.




Emerging Scholars presentation preview by Cara Caputo, a fellow in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, explores how early 1900s women, “dressed to kill,” used hatpins to defend themselves from harassment on streets and public transit. Men in power responded with new legislation and patented hatpin tip covers, to curb women’s independence and weaponry arsenals.



In a prizewinning entry for VSNY’s Emerging Scholars call, Dakota Oliveira, a senior at Hunter College majoring in history, explores how early 20th century brothels afforded some agency, financial independence, and camaraderie to women owners and employees within the constraints of a hazardous profession.  You can read an excerpt form Dakota Oliveira’s paper here: Dakota Oliveira – Peep Show


In anticipation of VSNY’s Emerging Scholars lectures, enjoy a vicarious Victorian feast in lockdown with this video by Bard Graduate Center alumna/Metropolitan Museum of Art senior collections manager Leela Outcalt. She gives a taste of her research into how the author Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936) influenced culinary traditions and documented James McNeill Whistler’s party-throwing habits.


Reviving and Enlivening: How tableau vivants brought art into a social dialogue. Presented by Olivia Armandroff as a preview of her presentation for the Victorian Society New York’s Fall 2020 Emerging Scholars Event.


University of Delaware grad student Lea Stephenson’s Emerging Scholars presentation for VSNY will explore the New York collector Peter Marié’s 1890s commission of over 250 portrait miniatures of society “beauties,” from French and American artists including Fernand Paillet and Carl A. Weidner. Stephenson has uncovered how this orderly arrangement of representations of privileged, white women, which Marié exhibited at his brownstone’s gallery and the National Academy of Design, reflects Anglo-American ancestry as a kind of Gilded Age racial capital.




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