Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society News     

Yorkshire Collections Lecture 2011

An American Duchess in Yorkshire: the Duke of Leeds and the Caton Sisters

This year the Yorkshire Archaeological Society has inaugurated the Yorkshire Collections Lecture to celebrate fantastic Yorkshire archive collections.

This first lecture on 1 October 2011 will show-case some of the YAHS's most important family and estate papers - the Duke of Leeds collection.

A short lecture will be given at 2pm by Jehanne Wake author of Sisters of Fortune: The First American Heiresses to take Europe by Storm, which has just been released in paperback. This will be followed by a chance to view some of the original letters used to tell their story. Signed copies of Sisters of Fortune will also be on sale.

Sisters of Fortune charts the dashing lives of Marianne, Louisa, Bess and Emily Caton, the American sisters who enthralled high society in the wake of Waterloo.

The four sisters were descended from the first settlers in Maryland, and brought up by their grandfather, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.

While Emily stayed in Baltimore building the family estates, her sisters travelled to Britain and were swept into the set of the Duke of Wellington. He loved the widowed Marianne until his death but she shocked the world by marrying his estranged brother the Marquess Wellesley. Louisa became a Duchess of Leeds through her marriage to Francis Osborne, Lord Carmarthen, and Bess shone on the stockmarket as queen of speculators.

This is an exciting opportunity to hear about the Caton sisters and see some of their letters.