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The Boston Globe

Lifestyle

A glimpse downstairs at America’s Downton Abbey

NEWPORT, R.I. — If the Crawley family of ‘‘Downton Abbey’’ were American, they’d summer at Newport.

The wild stateside success of the British period drama about post-Edwardian aristocrats and their live-in help has piqued interest in the life of servants in the Gilded Age mansions of this seaside city. The nation’s wealthiest families built Newport ‘‘cottages’’ in the 19th and early 20th centuries and would move their households here from New York and elsewhere in the summer to enjoy the ocean breezes and society scene.

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