William Waldorf Astor

William Waldorf Astor

Male 1848 - 1919  (71 years)    Has more than 100 ancestors and more than 100 descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name William Waldorf Astor 
    Relationshipwith Francis Fox
    Born 31 Mar 1848  New York City, NY, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Oct 1919 
    Person ID I158205  Geneagraphie
    Last Modified 26 Apr 2003 

    Father John Jacob Astor, III,   b. 10 Jun 1822,   d. 22 Feb 1890  (Age 67 years) 
    Mother Charlotte Augusta Gibbes,   d. 1887 
    Married 1846 
    Family ID F144252  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Dahlgren Paul,   b. 1858,   d. 22 Dec 1894  (Age 36 years) 
    Married 6 Jun 1878 
    Children 
     1. William Waldorf Astor, Jr.,   b. 19 May 1879,   d. 1952  (Age 72 years)
     2. Pauline Astor,   b. 1880,   d. 1972  (Age 92 years)
     3. John Rudolph Astor,   b. 1881,   d. 1881  (Age 0 years)
     4. Gwendolyn Enid Astor,   b. 1884,   d. 1902  (Age 18 years)
     5. Baron John Jacob Astor, V,   b. 20 May 1886,   d. 1971  (Age 84 years)
    Last Modified 21 Jan 2002 
    Family ID F63380  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map Click to display
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 31 Mar 1848 - New York City, NY, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
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  • Notes 
    • Named for his grandfather and the village of origin of the Astor family in Germany

      1st Viscount Astor in 1917
      American ambassador in Italy 1882-1885
      built Waldorf hotel in 1893
      bought Cliveden-on-Thames of the Duke of Westminster

      At the age of 29 he was elected to the New York State Legislature and this early success encouraged him to run for the US Congress. He failed twice, allegedly because of the popular rejection of his large fortune and the attacks upon the Astor tenement practices. This terminated William Waldorf Astors political career in America, although he later served as president Chester Arthur’s ambassador to Italy for a short time.
      Seeking other ways to distinguish himself, William Waldorf Astor built a luxurious hotel on his property on 5th Avenue and called it the Waldorf. William Waldorf Astor merely sought to leave his landmark in New York City and there was already an antecedent in the Astor Hotel, which was built by his great grandfather half a century earlier. The New York Society was appalled by this commercial building in an area which was primarily reserved to the mansions of the Upper Ten. Caroline Schermerhorn Astor was specially offended and the incident ended with her son John Jacob Astor IV, William Waldorfs cousin, building another elegant hotel next to the Waldorf and calling it the Astoria. The two establishments were run as one until 1929, when the Empire State Building was built on the lot. A new Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was built on Park Avenue, another Astor landmark in New York.
      The Astors tried themselves as Society leaders in New York, but failed there two, with Williams’ aunt Caroline Astor unwilling to leave her turf to her much younger niece-in-law.

      As a consequence of all these annoyances, William Waldorf Astor moved his family to England, bought Cliveden, the Italian style estate of the Duke of Westminster, England’s richest landlord and settled there to live as an English aristocrat. William Waldorf Astor then set out to influence the public opinion in England, buying first the Pall Mall Gazette and later the much more influential Sunday Observer. This started the Astors newspapers enterprises in England. In 1899, William Waldorf Astor relinquished his American citizenship and became a British subject. In 1903, Astor purchased Hever Castle, a 13th century moated manor house, once owned by Anne Boleyn’s father. The Astors also had a large house in London as well as hunting and fishing resorts in Northern England and Scotland.

      Through his ownership of the Observer and thanks to generous gifts to the Conservative Party, William Waldorf Astor soon became an influent member of the English Aristocracy, being made a Baronet in 1916 and a Viscount in 1917. This gave him access to the House of Lords, the Upper House of Parliament in England, which came closest to Astors ideal form of democratic representation, where the well born have their place by merit or inheritance, rather by the more ephemeral popular vote. There is no doubt that Viscount Astor felt more at home in Edwardian England than in America.
      When (Viscount) William Waldorf Astor died in 1919, he left an estate that was still in excess of 100'000'000 $, most of it in New York City real estate. Inheritance taxes, which were now also levied in America cut the inheritance of his children to less than half of this amount, but the English branch of Astor family was still wealthy, though its individual members were no longer counted among the croesuses. Viscount Astor left his title to his oldest son Waldorf Astor, who had already received the Cliveden estate as a wedding present. John Jacob Astor received Hever Castle and would gain a title of his own energies.

      Fortune:46,173,690 $ (1919)
      125,000,000 $ 1900
      Activity : Real Estate
      Main property: New York City real estate
      Other activities : Hotels, Banking
      Associated properties:Waldorf Astoria (New York), Bank of NewYork


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