Meet Susan and Elan; Your Hosts at Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast

Leith Hall’s Hosts

Susan and Elan Zingman-Leith are your hosts at Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast. Susan is a world traveler who originally hails from Winnetka, Illinois. She spent part of her childhood in the Philippines and sailed around the world as a young girl. Specializing in Art History at Barnard College, Columbia University, in New York City, she went on to work in


publishing, film production, and systems programming. Her interests in art history, Victoriana, antiques, and world travel have made Leith Hall a repository of Victorian exotica. “Art history may not provide you with a job but it’s the best background for vacation,” she says.

Elan in the Front Hall at Christmas

Elan is a New Yorker who studied history as an undergraduate and at the City University Graduate Center doctoral program. He became an Historic Preservationist at Columbia University (where he met Susan) and worked for the National Register of Historic Places,  the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, and New York Preservation Specialists.  Elan wrote the National Register nomination for the South Beach Deco district and worked in the Greenwich Village, Brooklyn Heights, and Upper East Side NYC historic districts, and consulted on landmarks as varied as the Brooklyn Bridge and Victorian row-houses. He was also the curator of the Emlen Physick Estate museum in Cape May. “Before I met Suzie, I’d never been further from home than Atlantic City, now we spend our winter vacations overseas,” says Elan.  My interest in pastry (eating and making), history and architecture are the perfect background for hosting a bed and breakfast in Cape May.”

Moving to Cape May to start Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast, Elan and Susan have created something unique – a B&B where the house is restored by preservationists to a late Victorian interior. At Leith Hall, the furniture, the wallpapers,  the objects and the pictures recreate the atmosphere of Cape May Seaside Resort in Cape May bed and breakfastits golden age.  Together Elan and Susan have written two books on Victoriana,  “The Secret Life of Victorian Houses” and “Creating Authentic Victorian Rooms”. Elan has given talks on Victorian life which include topics like séances and spiritualism, clothes and fashions, patent medicine and drugs. Susan has a large collection of Victorian jewelry and chatelaines.

A Cloister Garden by Michelangelo in Santa Maria dei Martiri

The Secret Streets of Rome is our latest book. It is a book of eleven self-guided walking tours of Rome emphasizing architecture, history, cafés and bakeries.We have published it as an Amazon ebook where you can see it and buy it.




The Secret Life of Victorian Houses is a social history of how people used to live in housesThe Secret Life of Victorian Houses like Leith Hall, and how this way of life can be revealed by looking carefully at the house. The book is organized like a house with each room a different topic. Sex and sin is the subject of the bedroom. Heath and fitness in the bathroom. Servants and served in the dining room and the Role of Women in the parlor.


Creating Authentic Victorian Rooms is a how-to book about creating period rooms in each of thirteen different VictorianCreating Authentic Vict. Rooms styles. What kind of lamp was invented when, what kind of carpeting, what kind of wallpaper – and how each material was used decade-by-decade through the whole nineteenth century. It is meant to be used by  homeowners who want to make informed decisions about furnishing their historic houses, and by museum professionals who want to recreate a particular period room.

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