Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 23, 2022

Preview: Ventfort Hall, Tea & Talk Tuesday

Ventfort Hall, Lenox, MA
June 14, 2022

A Dirty Year 1872: Sex, Suffrage and Scandal in Gilded Age New York
Brooklyn storyteller and author Bill Greer will kick off Ventfort Hall’s 2022 Tuesday Summer Tea & Talk series on June 14 at 4:00 pm. He will talk about the city of his book A Dirty Year: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in Gilded Age New York. Tea will be served after his presentation.
The year is 1872, seven years after the Civil War. New York is convulsing with social upheaval and sexual revolution. In this illustrated talk, Bill Greer paints a picture of the city from the man’s world of Wall Street to the mansions of Fifth Avenue, from the smut dealers of Nassau Street to the limelights of Broadway, from pious Christians to free-loving iconoclasts. He highlights larger-than-life characters who fascinated the city – suffragist and presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull, vice hunter Anthony Comstock, celebrity preacher Henry Ward Beecher, and more – and the issues of the day that play out through their lives, issues that resonate today, from sexual impropriety and reproductive rights to attacks on the press and the chasm between rich and poor.

Through the lives of these larger-than life characters, the issues of the day play out – rigged elections, everyday shootings, attacks on the press, sexual impropriety, reproductive rights, the chasm between rich and poor – issues holding up a mirror to the country today.  Political parties split over a bitterly contested election, suffragist battles suffragist over bettering women’s place in society, pious saints fight soulless sinners, until at year-end, this jumble of conflicts explodes in the greatest sensation of the nineteenth century.
Greer has spent decades exploring New York, along with the world. As a travel writer and Internet entrepreneur, he built the early web’s leading community for outdoor adventure. His turn to telling New York’s stories began with his novel The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan, exploring the city’s founding as New Amsterdam.  focused on New York’s Gilded Age with his nonfiction narrative A Dirty Year: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in Gilded Age New York.
Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of. Reservations are required as seats are limited. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206.