Gilded Age New York The Gilded Gentleman Women's History

Who was Mamie Fish? The story behind The Gilded Age’s wildest party hostess

Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, known to all as just Mamie Fish, was one of the more larger-than-life personalities of the Gilded Age, a hostess who thrived within the confines of high society.

Who was this enigma of the Newport set? Carl Raymond is joined by historian and writer Keith Taillon, a returning listener favorite, as well as actor Ashlie Atkinson who portrays Mamie Fish in HBO’s The Gilded Age for a look at this complicated but fascinating woman.

If you received an invitation to a party at Mamie Fish’s — you went. 

Mamie Fish was known as a “fun maker” with an iron-clad family pedigree and enough money to compete with other Gilded Age hostesses. If yoy attended a party by Mrs. Astor’s you may have cemented your role in society. If you attended a party Mamie’s, however, you were just looking for a really good time. 

Her parties bordered on the outrageous —  from inviting an elephant as a guest to co-hosting the famous dinner for dogs, some of them adorned with diamond collars. But just who was Mamie Fish – and why do we find her fascinating today? 

Historian Keith Taillon and actor Ashlie Atkinson offer deeply insightful perspectives on this woman who sought to break out of the role prescribed to her and shake up society. 

Mamie, when looked at through a modern lens, was challenging, complicated, conflicted and certainly controversial — but given the Gilded Age’s restrictions and gender rules and roles, it’s interesting to consider how much she can also be considered a rebel and revolutionary for her time. 

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