Mabel Dodge Luhan was born on February 26, 1879, in Buffalo, New York, to Charles and Sara (Cook) Ganson. The Gansons were an affluent family living on inherited wealth. Both of Mabel's grandfathers had made fortunes in banking. Her father Charles was trained as a lawyer, but his weak, nervous disposition, coupled with violent and unpredictable temper tantrums, made him unfit for this or any other profession. When he was not shouting at his wife in jealous "fits, " he spent hours alone in his study doing absolutely nothing at all. He lavished affection on his dogs but had no interest in his only daughter. Mabel knew he did not love her. Her mother Sara was strong and decisive where her father was weak, but Sara was a cold woman, unfeeling and entirely self-centered. Bored with the endless routine of Victorian social life and finding few outlets for her abundant energy, Sara became indifferent to both her husband and child. Mabel could not remember her mother ever giving her a kiss or an affectionate look. In her nursery, Mabel kissed the Mother Goose figures on the walls.