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Gilded Age American Heiress Exhibition at Mapperton House

Sunday 5th May to Thursday 30th August, 2024

Alberta Sturges, 9th Countess of Sandwich

Alberta Montagu (née Sturges), the 9th Countess of Sandwich

The American Heiress collection comprises over 10,000 previously unseen diaries, journal and letters from 1888 – 1951 exchanged between Alberta, 9th Countess of Sandwich, her family and the peerage at large. To our knowledge, her letters are the largest unpublished private collection of correspondence from the period.

The letters are a remarkable assemblage that shed light on the triumphs and struggles of a “dollar bride” during the Gilded Age. Alberta was a fascinating woman who, despite being married for 46 years, held unconventional spiritual views for the era, being deeply devoted to Swami Vivekananda. This devotion shaped her life in regards to faith and service to others, which she clearly demonstrated during the First and Second World Wars when the Earl of Sandwich family seat at Hinchingbrooke House was requisitioned as a refugee camp and later as a Red Cross convalescent hospital.

Join us as we delve into Alberta’s formative years in America, exploring her upbringing in Chicago and New York. Discover the origins and significance of her inheritance, and unravel the captivating courtship between Alberta and the future 9th Earl of Sandwich, George Montagu, leading to their marriage in 1905 in London.

The narrative culminates with her relocation to Hinchingbrooke House in 1916 as the new Countess, a pivotal moment following the death of the 8th Earl of Sandwich. Additionally, explore the poignant letters she wrote detailing the aftermath of the First World War, as she traveled through Belgium and France.

Not to be missed is a glimpse into Alberta’s friendship with Ambrose McEvoy, whose painting of her from the 1920s still graces the staircase hall at Mapperton House.

Join us for an unforgettable exhibition, illuminating the life and legacy of Alberta, the 9th Countess of Sandwich, at Mapperton House.


The exhibition runs from Sunday 5th May – Thursday 30th August 2024.

If you purchase a house tour between Sunday 5th May and Thursday 30th August 2024, you can add entrance to this exhibition at the bottom of the ticket page, then check out as normal.

If you have already purchased a House & Garden Ticket and wish to add the exhibition to your visit, please contact us.

A guided tour of the exhibition begins immediately after the house tour.

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