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Guide to the John Hone Scrapbooks
circa 1887-1911
 MS 302

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 24, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

John Hone, also referred to in the scrapbooks as John Hone, Jr. though he would be more precisely rendered as John Hone IV, was born in 1844 in New York to John Hone (1819-1892) and Jane Perry Hone (circa 1817-1880). The senior John Hone was a New York lawyer early in his career before moving to Morristown, New Jersey, where he developed real estate and lived until the last few years of his life. Jane Perry Hone was the daughter of Commodore Matthew Perry, the naval officer who forced the opening of Japan to the West in 1854, and was the sister of Caroline Perry, who married the financier August Belmont. The Belmont family, Commodore Perry, and the Hone family's New Jersey connections all appear frequently in the scrapbooks. (An ancestor, Philip Hone, whose diaries are held by New-York Historical, was a brother of John Hone's great-grandfather. Typescript extracts from the diaries are found throughout the scrapbooks.)

The junior Hone briefly enrolled at Columbia College in 1861, leaving at the start of the Civil War to join the 7th Regiment of the New York State National Guard. He did not return to school, but decades later was granted an honorary B.A. degree by Columbia. Hone joined August Belmont's banking firm in 1864, leaving in 1869 to form his own brokerage firm, eventually know as John Hone & Co. He was a member of the New York Stock Exchange, serving as an officer, and a director of various financial and railroad interests. He retired from business in 1907.

Hone was active in Democratic Party politics, especially noticeable in these scrapbooks as a member of the political Manhattan Club, and as a supporter of Grover Cleveland in his presidential campaigns. Hone was a delegate from New Jersey to the Democratic National Convention in support of Cleveland. In that respect, Hone retained a residence in New Jersey and voted in that state throughout his life. Yet Hone's principal residence seems to have been 5 Gramercy Park. He was active in a lawsuit for the Gramercy Park property owners that resulted in a reduction of property taxes, another matter touched on in the scrapbooks.

Hone married Mary Ellen Crane (1849-1876) in 1869; Crane was literally the "girl next door," living in Acorn Hall in Morristown, NJ, next to the Hone residence. They had three children (including another John, Jr., who would be John Hone V) before Mary died of typhoid in 1876. Hone married again, in 1880 to Maria Cadwalader. They had one daughter, Hester Gouverneur Hone, who appears in the scrapbooks in the Honeses' travel itineraries and who would marry Henry G. Bartol in 1907. John Hone died in 1915 at his Gramercy Park home.

(The above note was based on various on-line sources, among them Hone's New York Times obituary of March 22, 1915, and various Wikipedia pages. References to Mary Crane can be found on Acorn Hall's website. There are also obituaries and, for Hone, a Who's Who entry in the scrapbooks.)