Embers of Childhood: Growing Up a Whitney

November 30, 2020
Embers of Childhood: Growing Up a Whitney

A Look into the Privileged World of the AmericanAristocracy of the Early Twentieth CenturyFlora Miller Biddle was born a blue-blood. The granddaughter ofthe Whitney museum founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, herchildhood played out in a sort of Wharton landscape as she wasshielded from the woes of the world.But money itself is not the source of happiness. Glimpses intothe elegance of a Vanderbilt ball thrown by her great-grandparentsand the yearly production of traveling from her childhood home onLong Island to their summer home in Aiken, South Carolina, aremeasured against memoires of strict governesses with stricter rulesin a childhood separate from her parents, despite being in the samehouse, and the ever-present pressure to measure up in her studiesand lessons. As Flora steps back in time to trace the origins ofher family's fortune and where it stands today, she takes adiscerning look at how wealth and excess shaped her life, forbetter and for worse.In this wonderfully evocative memoir, Flora Miller Biddleexamines, critiques, and pays homage to the people and places ofher childhood that shaped her life.