Ep. 7 – 305.4821: Debutantes of the London Social Season

In this episode, Katie is bewitched with the debutantes of the London social season. 

Since the late 1700s, Britain’s most eligible young ladies have been presented to society during London’s social season. Providing the framework for our favorite novels like Pride and Prejudice, debutante society hides a deeply problematic world of sexism, racism, classism, and more. In this deep-dive into the beginnings and evolution of this bizarre ritual, we explore the realm of the ultra-exclusive debutante social scene. 

For more information, and a list of all our sources, visit our website. 

Titles recommended in this episode: 

The Season: A Social History of the Debutante by Kristen Richardson

The Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York by Anne de Courcy and Clare Corbett

Women of Means: The Fascinating Biographies of Royals, Heiresses, Eccentrics, and Other Poor Little Rich Girls by Margaret Wagman-Gellar

The Bridgertons Series by Julia Quinn

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

The Debutantes series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

If you’re interested in purchasing the books mentioned in this episode, visit our bookshop.org affiliate shop


The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Etiquette to Become a Lady in Regency England

Debutante balls and the persistent obsession with the purity of young women

Queer in the Regency: a Slice of Once-Hidden LGBT History

Gender roles in the 19th century

Love and Courtship in Regency England

The London Season

The Racist History of Prom

The Curious Plight of the Modern Debutante

The History of British Slave Ownership Has Been Buried

‘Princess Seraphina’ Steps Out at Vauxhill Gardens

A Survivor’s Guide to Georgian Marriage


The 10 dos and don’ts of etiquette to become a lady in Regency England. (2018, May 13). Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://historycollection.com/the-10-dos-and-donts-of-etiquette-to-become-a-lady-in-regency-england/

Austen, J. (1994). Pride and prejudice. London: Routledge.

Barnes, J. (2018). Debutantes series. Los Angeles: Freeform Books.

Birtwistle-Sawyer, L. (2020, May 27). Debutante balls and the persistent obsession with the purity of young women. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://medium.com/@lydiabirtwistlesawyer/debutante-balls-and-the-persistent-obsession-with-the-purity-of-young-women-6e57b2f25dc9

Brontë, C. (1991). Jane Eyre. New York: Knopf.

Brontë, E. (2008). Wuthering Heights. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

COURCY, A. D., & Corbett, C. (2018). HUSBAND HUNTERS: Social climbing in london and new york. WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON.

Eastwood, G. (2017, June 28). Queer in the REGENCY: A slice of Once-hidden LGBT history ” Risky regencies. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://riskyregencies.com/2017/06/28/queer-in-the-regency-a-slice-of-once-hidden-lgbt-history/

Fellowes, J. (2020). Belgravia. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Gender roles in the 19th century. (2014, February 13). Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gender-roles-in-the-19th-century#

Goodwin, D. (2015). The American heiress. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Hatch, D. (2017, February 09). Love and courtship in Regency England. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://donnahatch.com/love-and-courtship-in-regency-england/

Hoppe, M. J. (n.d.). The London season. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article024.html

Little, B. (2018, May 22). The racist history of prom. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.history.com/news/prom-racist-history-19th-century-origins

Morris Bob Morris is a T&C contributor and  the author of Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating With My Dad and Bobby Wonderful: An Imperfect Son Says Goodbye., B. (2017, November 28). The curious plight of the Modern Debutante. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.townandcountrymag.com/the-scene/parties/a13733980/modern-debutante-balls/

Olusoga, D. (2015, July 11). The history of British slave ownership has been buried: Now its scale can be revealed. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/12/british-history-slavery-buried-scale-revealed

‘Princess Seraphina’ steps out at Vauxhall Gardens. (2017, December 7). Retrieved March 01, 2021, from http://vauxhallhistory.org/princess-seraphina-at-vauxhall-gardens/

Quinn, J. (2020). The Bridgerton Series. Avon Books.

Richardson, K. (2020). The season: A history of the debutante. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

A survivor’s guide to Georgian marriage. (2021, January 05). Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.historyextra.com/period/georgian/a-survivors-guide-to-georgian-marriage/

Wagman-Geller, M. (2019). Women of means: Fascinating biographies of royals, heiresses, eccentrics, and other poor little rich girls. Coral Gables: Mango Publishing.

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