The Preservation Society of Newport County’s Summer Lecture Series, “Gilded Age Games,” is going live as well as virtual.

For the first time since February 2020, in-person illustrated lectures will be held at the Newport Mansions, starting July 1 and continuing through August 12. Each of the five presentations also will be viewable via Zoom Webinar.

Attendance is free for either live or virtual participation, but registration is required through www.newportmansions.org/learn/adult-programs.

“Gilded Age Games” examines the games and amusements enjoyed by Americans around the turn of the 20th century, whether played around a table, on a field, down a road or through the ocean waves. In addition, the series will include presentations by the Preservation Society’s four Research Fellows about the projects they are working on.

The lineup is as follows:

• Thursday, July 1, 6 p.m. EST at Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Ave.: “The Gritty, Grueling, and Wild World of Baseball in the Gilded Age” by Edward Achorn, historian, author and longtime editorial pages editor of The Providence Journal. Achorn will explore how baseball showed another side of the Gilded Age period, a game played barehanded by hard-drinking, ill-educated and combative athletes. He will look at Rhode Island’s incredible Providence Grays, who won baseball’s first World Series, and explore the role that immigrants and beer played in the game.

Edward Achorn

• Thursday, July 15, 6 p.m. EST at Rosecliff: “Coaching in the Gilded Age” (The David B. and Pamela Ford Lecture) by Mary Chris Foxworthy, historian and research writer for the Gloria Austin Collection of the Equine Heritage Institute. Today the word “coaching” means something quite different, but 100 or more years ago it referred to driving four horses put to a coach, known as a “a four-in-hand.” In the Gilded Age, this was a form of sport and pleasure for the extremely wealthy. This presentation will transport you to a time of elegant tailgates, exquisitely accoutered ladies, gentlemen and footmen, and magnificent horses.

Mary Chris Foxworthly

• Thursday, July 29, 6 p.m. EST at Rosecliff: The annual Research Fellows Presentations (The Eaddo and Peter Kiernan Lecture) by Preservation Society Fellows MaryKate Smolenski and Catherine Doucette. 

• Thursday, August 5, 6 p.m. EST at Rosecliff: The annual Research Fellows Presentations (The Jacalyn and William P. Egan Lecture) by Preservation Society Fellows Sébastien Dutton and Francis Mahon.

• Thursday, August 12, 6 p.m. EST at Marble House, 596 Bellevue Ave.: “The Golden Age of Newport Yachting” (The John G. Winslow Lecture) by Robert B. MacKay, historian and author. MacKay, a lifelong sailor, has been devoted to yachting history since 1968, when he was a member of Rudy Schaefer’s crew that sailed a replica of the schooner yacht America from Newport to England. He will share stories and images from the period of Newport’s zenith as America’s yachting capital between the world wars, an “age of extravagant magnificence” afloat.

Endeavour followed by T.O.M. Sopwith’s tender Vita III (ex-Argosy) off Bristol, Rhode Island, on August 15, 1934. (Robert MacKay collection)

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).