Guilded and Gracious

biltmorehouseMy husband and I went to tour The Biltmore House for our Valentine’s Day celebration. It was such a fun time and there was a special exhibit – the costumes of Downton Abbey were on display. Hubs bought me a Valentine’s gift too – a Downton necklace 😉

But among the beautiful costumes and fantastic information about the changes in styles from Edwardian to post World War 1, I found something else much more interesting. Actually…someONE more interesting.

Edith Stuyvesant Dresser Vanderbilt.

I’m fascinated by her – and George Vanderbilt. Though she married into the wealth and opulence of a millionaire’s world, she kept a gracious spirit, adventurer’s heart, and overcomer’s will. Her story needs to be told!

biltmorehouse1She’s inspired my writing. She created schools, supported literacy for adults, created a school for African American boys to have a free and quality education. She visited mountain women, far back in the woods and hollers of the Blue Ridge, and trained girls and boys in skills such as sewing, knitting, and carving.

She had a healthy curiosity for the workings of the Biltmore Estate as well as the people who lived there. She often visited the families of the estate, providing food or clothes as the need arose.

I want to know more!

As one of the first people in my Appalachian family history to attend college, I love that she celebrated education and teaching skills. I love that she was more than the millionaire’s bride, but a true ‘lady’.

A great inspiration for life…and story.

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