“Read all about it, read all about it,” the young newsboy hollered in the street. “Read about the fabulous home and fabulous family who lived there. In 1885, Joseph Baldwin purchased a luxury residence at the Sandanko at 72nd Street and Central Park West, on the fringes of the city. He took the top floor dwelling, five stories up, access made possible by a new type of lift, the elevator. A balcony overlooked a central courtyard and garden, tended by a gardener who loved color. The Baldwins were among the first families to accept the idea of living under a shared roof. Fourteen-foot ceilings, state-of-the-art kitchens, elevators, private courtyards, and servants’ quarters lured them there.
Allie Baldwin stood at the tall, silk-draped window, the latest furnishings imported from France and Italy, by the Herter Brothers, a popular decorating firm employed by the elite. She watched the fall’s colorful leaf dance from the tree branches in Central Park but saw nothing, upset by the latest discourse with her newspaper magnate father, Joseph Baldwin. Her column in The New York Sentinel on the women’s vote had riled the reading audience.
“Our readers want the latest weddings, baby showers, who’s getting married and travel to exotic places,” her father said.
“No one wants to hear about politics or attend political rallies.”
She planned on interviewing women at today’s rally for the women’s vote at City Hall, but her father wouldn’t give permission. “Papa, I am going regardless and will get those interviews.” She turned away with ‘today’ on her lips. She put her arms around him and planted a kiss on his cheek. “I’m sure you know that you have taught me to be outspoken and stand up for what I believe.”
Read all about it in my book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, set in the Gilded Age.
Gail Ingis is an artist, author, and designer. gailingis.com
She is currently working on her memoir about growing up in post-World War II Brooklyn.
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The Memorable Mrs. Dempsey and The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin.