Why Didi Lorillard? Why Newport?

If you’re wondering, who is Didi Lorillard and what does Newport have to do with manners, I’ll tell you.

Newport is one of the birthplaces of American culture. Newport’s historical and cultural background has made it a year-round tourism destination for people who are looking for cultural and historic enrichment, and not just their Colonial roots.

Newport was founded in 1639 to foster freedom of religion which gave the young Colonial city unusual demographics. Snuggled around the harbor, Quaker, Congregational, Episcopal and Jewish colonialists side-by-side erected clapboard houses and reinvented the way people behave. Side by side, they built the oldest synagogue in the nation, the oldest operating library, the nation’s oldest tavern. There are over four hundred eighteenth century buildings still in use. And all within a mile radius. These early settlers of many faiths learned to honor each other’s space and opinions and in doing so invented a way to behave and get along with people of unfamiliar cultures. In the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, robber barons vied for property (on this island the size of Manhattan) to build replicas of chateaux they had coveted in Europe to show off their new collections of art, antiques, and fancy horticulture. This culture of manners became a role model for everyday modern etiquette.

Didi Lorillard is a born and bred Newporter. While living in New York City for many years, she published two books, Guide New York, New York: A Counter Chic to Manhattan and Buy the Best. After raising two daughters, she moved back to Newport with her husband, the historian and author, Robert Cowley.

Read about Didi's contributon to the newly published The Water Cooler Diaries: Women Across America Share Their Day at Work by Joni B. Cole and B.K. Rakhra.
"Take one day—in this case, March 27, 2007—and ask 515 women to chronicle their thoughts and activities. This “day in the life” (third in a series from Cole and Rakhra) features what could be called “average” occupations— including stay-at-home mom, librarian, teacher—as well as the more glamorous work, from fashion designer and Lake Wobegon actor to a boxing promoter and, yes, the World’s Sexiest Magician." Booklist Review.