Dollar Princesses – American Heiress to Peeress in Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain

17 March – 28 October 2007

Recounting the triumphs and travails of American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy in the late 19th century, this exhibition provided a rare opportunity to see a treasure-trove of objects on loan from private collections. The Dollar Princesses – a contemporary term, one even adopted by the ladies themselves – had a considerable impact on European attitudes to America and also on the drawing room battles between ‘old’ and ‘new’ money back home.

Leading players in the exhibition included Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston), Mary Leiter (Lady Curzon, vicereine of India) and Consuelo Vanderbilt (Duchess of Marlborough). Part of the exhibition was devoted to the iconic depictions of Dollar Princesses in the writings of Henry James and Edith Wharton. This section was illustrated with costumes worn by Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman in film adaptations of these stories.