There were indeed rich women who loved cats so much that they made hats out of them. Kate Fearing wore this cat-hat (I assume it came out of a taxidermist’s shop) to the Vanderbilt costume ball in March 1883.
Poverty was deep and pervasive and heartbreaking.*
Prostitution was another fact of life. It was illegal, but tolerated to the degree that women told the census taker what they did for a living.
For those of you who have read The Gilded Hour and were wondering about the Mezzanotte florist shop, here’s a postcard that gives you an idea of the kind of thing you would find in Manhattan:
I’ll be adding to this list now and then.
*Usually I keep notes about images I come across, but not in this case. If you recognize the photo, please let me know.