Daily Archives: May 21, 2021

Husband Hunters: Anne De Courcy

A delicious group biography of the young American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy at the turn of the twentieth century – the real women who inspired Downton Abbey.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world – the New World, to be precise. From 1874 – the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known ‘Dollar Princess’, married Randolph Churchill – to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age.

Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England – and what England thought of them.


Praise for The Husband Hunters:

Editor’s Choice, New York Times

“[The American heiresses] were just what was needed to shake the cocktail and bring some pizazz to the party. De Courcy conjures it all with skill.” ―New York Times Book Review

“A true account of the women who inspired Downton Abbey… [de Courcy explores] what life was like for them after their moves and the clash of cultures that ensued.”―Vanity Fair

“A highly readable social history that contains all the juicy drama of a primetime soap opera.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Vanderbilts, Astors, Churchills, Marlboroughs; diamonds, tiaras, yachts, mansions; all are documented in glorious detail and should satisfy those readers with insatiable thirst for all things peerage.”―Booklist

“Fascinating…enough glitz and glamour to enthrall those who couldn’t get enough of the recent royal nuptials.”―Publishers Weekly

“Witty and well researched, Anne de Courcy brings to colorful, dramatic life these dollar princesses whose vast fortunes propelled them to glittering trans-Atlantic marriages that captivated international society.”―Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter

“Anne de Courcy has a sharp instinct for absurdity and there is much of that in this entertaining book.” – Anne Sebba, Literary Review

About the Author

Anne de Courcy is the author of several widely acclaimed works of social history and biography, including THE HUSBAND HUNTERS, MARGOT AT WAR, THE FISHING FLEET, THE VICEROY’S DAUGHTERS and DEBS AT WAR. She lives in London and Gloucestershire.

  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 351 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1250164605
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1250164605
  • Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.38 x 0.88 x 8.25 inches

When Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan: Gallery: Programs: Japan Society

When Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan
On view through July 11

As its first exhibition upon reopening to the public, Japan Society is pleased to present When Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan. Opening on the tenth anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the exhibition celebrates the resilient spirit of Japanese architecture and craftsmanship through woodworking tools, architectural patterns, and models. Featuring a variety of hand tools and wooden models reflecting joinery techniques that have been used for hundreds of years to build Japan’s wooden architectural masterpieces (from temples and shrines to bridges), the exhibition unpacks the intangible qualities of craftsmanship, such as consummate experience, expertise, and the honed skills of master carpenters in Japanese architecture.

A diverse array of tools—planes, chisels, saws—have played an important role in the development of architecture in Japan, and this philosophy extends to Japan’s cultural heritage today. Integral to the processes of master carpenters (tōryō) is their extensive knowledge of the local environment and of wood as a material. Using natural resources and learning from their predecessors’ practices, they construct buildings using a refined methodology. Their philosophy of sustainability—for example, joinery can be restored or repaired as needed by future craftspeople—has been handed down over generations. The site-specific exhibition design, conceived by the esteemed architect Sou Fujimoto in collaboration with Brooklyn-based Popular Architecture, introduces major themes from the exhibition and is in dialogue with the gallery’s spaces, highlighting an enduring connection between traditional Japanese wooden construction and modern architecture.

View our visitor guidelines and safety protocols here.

Admission: $12/$10 students and seniors.