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Guide to the Brooke Astor Papers
1884-2007
 MS 3157

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Eri Matsuda and Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 01, 2022 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Astor, Brooke
Title: Brooke Astor papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1884-2007
Abstract: The collection includes personal papers and photographs of the socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor, as well as some documents concerning her parents, other family members, and her husbands, especially Vincent Astor. Correspondence and photographs, mostly from the 1970s-2002, reflect Brooke Astor's social and philanthropic connections. The collection also holds some of Brooke's diaries and other writings, and family photographs, including an album dating from Brooke's father's tenure as a U.S. Marine in Hawaii and in China. Her father's time as American High Commissioner in Haiti in the 1920s is represented by a set of letters written by Brooke's mother from Port-au-Prince.
Quantity: 8 Linear feet in 7 boxes + 1 oversize folder
Location: Materials in this collection are stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: MS 3157

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Biographical / Historical

Brooke Astor (then Roberta Brooke Russell) was born in 1902 in New Hampshire to John Henry Russell Jr. (1872-1947) and Mabel Cecile Hornby Howard Russell (1879–1967). John Russell joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1894 and certain of his career postings pertain to documents in the collection and to Brooke's life. In particular, John Russell was stationed (with his family) in Honolulu, Hawaii, during Brooke's early childhood; in China during Brooke's early teenage years; and in Haiti during the U.S. occupation of that country, where the adult Brooke apparently visited. Brooke would document her recollections of her early years in a 1962 book "Patchwork Child."

Brooke married at the age of 17, in 1919, to John Dryden Kuser (who went by the call name "Dryden"), the son of a wealthy New Jersey businessman. They had one son, Anthony, but the marriage was an unhappy one, ending in divorce in 1930. Brooke married a second time, in 1932, to Charles "Buddy" Marshall. It was a happy marriage and Brooke Marshall's son by Dryden Kuser, Anthony, eventually took Marshall as his surname. During this marriage, in the 1940s, Brooke worked as an editor for House & Garden magazine. Marshall died in 1952 and Brooke married a third time, in 1953, to William Vincent Astor, taking the name Brooke Astor. Brooke recounted these marriages and more of her life in her 1980 memoir "Footprints."

Vincent Astor (he seems generally not to have used William) was a member of the wealthy Astor family. His father, John Jacob Astor IV, died in 1912 on the Titanic, leaving a fortune to Vincent, who left Harvard to pursue business and philanthropic interests with his riches. Vincent served with the Navy in both World War I and World War II, and even his yachts were re-purposed by the Coast Guard for military duty. Brooke was Vincent's third wife, and perhaps anticipating that his life would be short, engaged her in his philanthropic endeavors through the Vincent Astor Foundation. Vincent died in 1959, leaving the substance of his estate to Brooke, who also controlled the Foundation. For the last decades of her life, Brooke Astor pursued her philanthropic interests, among them the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Zoological Society, and others. Brooke Astor died in 2007 at the age of 105.

(The above note was based on various on-line sources, including Wikipedia.)

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Scope and Contents

The collection includes personal papers and photographs of the socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor, as well as some documents concerning her parents, other family members, and her husbands. Papers related specifically to Brooke include correspondence, mostly from the 1970s-2002, reflecting her social connections with the extended Astor family, leaders of cultural and religious institutions in New York City, and other prominent people. Much of this correspondence is social in nature, with pleasantries, courtesies, invitations, acknowledgements of gifts, and other such matters. There are many photographs in the collection, also from the 1970s-early 2000s, that similarly reflect Astor's social and philanthropic circles.

Brooke Astor's literary and artistic aspirations reaching back to her youth are documented in the collection with short essays, poetry and fiction, as well as photograph transparencies of drawings. Diary entries from 1915-17, when Brooke Russell was a teenager, and transcripts of interviews from the 1990s with the elderly Brooke Astor, bookend the writings by and about her. A dinner party record from 1937-41 and photographs from the first half of the twentieth century give glimpses into Brooke's life during that time, including photos of her second husband, Charles Marshall, and third husband, Vincent Astor. Glimpses into Vincent's life and career are also represented in the collection with documents recognizing his contributions with the U.S. Navy in World War II, a detailed appraisal of his country estate Ferncliff, his probated will, and some photographs and other documents.

The collection also holds several documents relating to Brooke's parents and grandparents. Among these are a bound volume of letters written by Brooke's mother, Mabel Russell, from Haiti in 1923-27 where she lived during the tenure of her husband, John H. Russell Jr., as American High Commissioner. A photograph album dating from about 1912 includes photographs from Honolulu and China, where John Russell was stationed at the time, and several of these photographs depict Brooke and her family. Family history papers in the collection also include several letters from the 19th century authors Robert Traill Spence Lowell and Mary Lowell Putnam to Brooke's maternal grandparents.

Arrangement

The collection is organized in 5 series:

Series I. Family Papers, 1884-2002

Series II. General Correspondence, 1953-2002, 2007

Series III. Writings by and about Brooke Astor, 1915-2005

Series IV. Photographs, circa 1885-2007

Series V. Memorabilia, 1956-2007, undated

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Astor, Vincent, 1891-1959
  • Lowell, Robert, 1816-1891
  • Putnam, M. L. (Mary Lowell), 1810-1898
  • Russell, John H. (John Henry), 1872-1947

Document Type

  • Diaries.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Manuscripts (documents)
  • Photograph albums.
  • Photographs.

Subject Topics

  • Associations, institutions, etc. -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Philanthropists.

Subject Places

  • Haiti -- Description and travel.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials in this collection are stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Brooke Astor papers, MS 3157, New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charlene Marshall, 2019

Processing Information

Initial processing of the collection, especially the correspondence (Series II) and writings (Series III), was done in February-March 2020 by New York University archival intern Eri Matsuda. Framed photographs in the collection were unframed at that time by N-YHS conservators. Processing work was interrupted in mid-March 2020 by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In June 2022, archivist Larry Weimer returned to the collection, refining the initial work done in 2020 and completing the processing and finding aid.

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Container List

Series I. Family Papers, 1884-2002. .75 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series holds documents that relate primarily to Brooke Astor's parents and other ancestors, family history, genealogy, her third husband, William Vincent Astor, and to a lesser extent, her second husband, Charles Marshall. The series includes letters from the 19th century authors Robert Traill Spence Lowell and Mary Lowell Putnam written to Brooke's maternal grandparents; letters written by Brooke's mother, Mabel Russell, from Haiti in 1923-27 where Mabel's husband, John Henry Russell Jr., was the American High Commissioner at the time during what is referred to as the United States' occupation of Haiti; and a 1942 appraisal of Vincent Astor's estate, Ferncliff, in New York State; among other documents. The container list below provides further details on the contents.

Arrangement

The series is arranged roughly by the family member that the documents principally relate to.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 1 Genealogical and family history notes

Scope and Contents

The principal document is a notebook prepared by Brooke Astor (then Brooke Marshall) for her son, Anthony Marshall, in 1943. Includes a family tree on Brooke's maternal side, with transcribed notes about ancestors, the Carroll family and Robert Traill Spence. Also undated notes on the origin of the name Astor prepared by genealogist Henry Dudley Teeter, and a booklet "The History of Astor on the St. Johns, Astor Park" compiled by A. Wass de Czege (1982).

1943, 1982, undated
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 2 Letters from Mary Lowell Putnam

Scope and Contents

8 letters to George Howard and 1 to his wife, Roberta, (Brooke Astor's maternal grandparents) from Mary Lowell Putnam. The letters principally refer to family genealogy, exchanges of photographs, health, and references to George and Roberta's children, including Mabel, Brooke's mother.

circa 1885-1890
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 3 Letters from Robert Traill Spence Lowell

Scope and Contents

8 letters to George H. Howard and 1 to George's wife, Roberta, or Bertie (Brooke Astor's maternal grandparents) from Robert Traill Spence Lowell (1816-1891). Subject matter includes references to the dedication of the Washington Monument, the incoming presidential administration, attempts to publish material, apparent distress over a marriage, death of Lowell's son, and other matters. One letter is dated 1844, but this seems clearly incorrect and is likely 1884.

1884-1889
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 4 Letters from other Lowells

Scope and Contents

2 letters from M.A. Lowell, one to George Howard, the other to his wife Roberta, or Bertie, with thanks for sending a poem and a card, travel plans or impediments on travel plans, health matters, and other family matters (1885-86). 1 letter from Rebecca R. Lowell to Roberta, declining Roberta's invitation to visit because of Rebecca's extensive travel conflicts.

1885-1886, 1893
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 5 Letter from Cousin Mary to Mabel [Howard/Russell]

Scope and Contents

1 letter (12 pages) to Brooke Astor's mother, referring to various children in the family.

1892
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 6 Scrapbook "Dog and his various uses"

Scope and Contents

Small scrapbook with a few pictures of dogs being helpful in some way, notably in connection with World War I. Likely compiled by Brooke Astor when a child.

circa 1914
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 7 Charles H. Marshall documents

Scope and Contents

Notice of Marshall's appointment as Secretary to the Special Commission for the Study and Review of Conditions in Haiti, confirmation of compensation, and authorization to proceed to Haiti (1930). Engrossed resolutions from the Board of Managers of the Seamen's Church Institute, with transmittal sympathy card, to Brooke at the death of Marshall (1952).

1930, 1952
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 8a Letters from Mabel Russell to Mary

Scope and Contents

One slip-cased volume of typed letters from Mabel (Brooke's mother) to a Mary. Most of the letters are written from Haiti, where Mabel's husband, John Henry Russell Jr., was the American High Commissioner to Haiti at the time during what is referred to as the United States' occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). Mabel's letters primarily relate to social engagements and social gossip among the Americans in Haiti, but also include references to travel around the country with positive comments on the economic development there; some Haitian politics; references to visits from family and friends (including Brooke and her first husband, Dryden Kuser); travels to Guantanamo, Cuba, and brief returns to the United States; etc. There are a small number of snapshots in the volume.

1923 November-1927 March
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 8b Note from Port-au-Prince

Scope and Contents

A 2 page typescript, which appears to have been typed in circa 1990s-2000s, dated October 28, 1924 from Port-au-Prince, of notes on social matters. The writer is likely Mabel.

1924
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 9 (William) Vincent Astor. Psalm book

Scope and Contents

A small book of psalms, in Latin, wth notation at front: "psalms learned by heart" (1902).

1902
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 10 (William) Vincent Astor. Certificates

Scope and Contents

2 certificates: Astor's Navy Department certificate of commission as "Lieutenant (jg) (Line Duties Only) for temporary service," signed by Acting Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt (1918); and certificate of appointment of Lieutenant USNRF 2 (1924).

1918, 1924
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 11 (William) Vincent Astor. Album

Scope and Contents

Album with documents recognizing Astor's service as Observation Craft Officer, Staff, Commander Eastern Sea Frontier, during World War II (photographs, letters, certificate, commendation).

1943-1945
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 12 (William) Vincent Astor. Property appraisal

Scope and Contents

Folder holds "Fire insurance valuation report on property of William Vincent Astor Estate, [Ferncliff], Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York." Prepared by Home Insurance Company for Edward M. Van Buren. Includes description of each building, approximate replacement value, 77 photos of the buildings, and diagrams. Because the snapshots of the buildings are glued into pages and can become disassociated with their typed captions on the book's page, the processing archivist numbered the captions in [brackets] and wrote the number in the margin of the corresponding photo.

1942
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 13 Letters from Vincent Astor to Brooke

Scope and Contents

6 letters and telegrams sent to Brooke while she was in Rome, the "only time we were separated in our brief marriage" as Brooke penned on the envelope enclosure. The letters touch on some business, but are principally expressions of affection and updates on domestic matters.

1958 October
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 14 Condolence letters re: Vincent Astor

Scope and Contents

Letters to Brooke Astor, including one from Clyde Tolson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Other condolence letters to Brooke can be found in various correspondence folders in Series II.

1959
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 15-17 Vincent Astor will (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

The folders hold a photocopy of Vincent Astor's probated will (1959); letters, especially from Earl Newson & Company, concerning press notices about the contested will (1959); and unexecuted copies of a release with related estate account report by Bankers Trust (1991).

1959, 1991
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 18 "Selected letters from Vincent to Brooke on the occasion of Brooke Astor's one hundredth birthday"

Scope and Contents

2 copies (of 200 printed) of a booklet published by The Frick Collection in 2002. In addition to the text of letters, there are facsimiles of letters at the front of the volumes. Letters provided for reproduction by Brooke Astor's son, Anthony D. Marshall.

2002

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Series II. General Correspondence, 1953-2002, 2007. .75 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series includes incoming and outgoing correspondence to/from Brooke Astor. Much of the correspondence consists of courtesies and pleasantries: proposals to meet for a lunch, dinner, or other visit; acknowledgements of pleasant visits; congratulations to Brooke for her book "Footprints"; compliments on some achievement; thanks to Brooke for financial donations; expressions of gratitude for Brooke's participation as a trustee or other supporter of an institution (usually cultural or religious); birthday and holiday greetings; and the like. Many of the letters reflect a closer relationship, such as that of family or friend, between Brooke and her correspondent, and those letters often include references to shared experiences or common acquaintances. There are some condolence letters referring to the deaths of various acquaintances, including some to Brooke on the occasion of her husband, Vincent's, death in 1959; similar letters found together are in Series I.

Arrangement

The series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. With some adjustments, this was the original order of the correspondence as received at N-YHS.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 1 A. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Joe Armstrong, Nane Annan, Renata Adler, Lee & Walter Annenberg, and various Astors from England (Annabel, Pauline, Gavin, William, Jacqueline).

1959-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 2 Ahern, Patrick (Bishop)
1980-1997
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 3 Andrew, John G.B. (Reverend)
1983-2001
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 4 Astor, David (Oxford, England)
1981-2000
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 5 Astor, Brooke (photocopies of outgoing letters)

Scope and Contents

Letters are to, among others, Joseph Alsop, Lady Wright (England), Edward M. Kennedy, James C.Y. Watt, Mrs. John Astor (England), Nigel Hawthorne (England), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Liz Smith, Vartan Gregorian, Winston Churchill (1997), U.S. President Bill Clinton (in support of the Municipal Art Society's proposal for use of the entire post office building for the proposed new Pennsylvania Station). Outgoing letters are also found in the various other correspondence files.

1979-1998
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 6 B. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Charles Baskerville, Mark Birley, Gioria Maroni Braga, and Mrs. William Francis (Pat) Buckley.

1975-2000
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 7 Birley, Rhoda
1959-1963
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 8 C. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Joan Ganz Cooney, Schuyler and Catia Chapin, Lord Carrington, U.S. Senator William S. Cohen, Helen Clay Chace, Cass Canfield, Douglass Campbell, Roland L. Redmond (on Carter, Ledyard & Milburn letterhead), Isaac Stern (on Carnegie Hall letterhead), Charles -- (Pierpont Morgan Library), and draft of letter for the Critical Choices Commission's Forty Under Forty conference.

1950s-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 9 Chase, Lynn
1992
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 10 Curley, Walter J.P.
1986-2001
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 11 Prince Charles

Scope and Contents

Holds a Christmas card with photo of Prince Charles and his sons on polo horses, and a handwritten letter expressing regret at not being able to meet with Brooke on her visit to England.

1992
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 12 Clatsop County (Oregon) Historical Society
1990-1991
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 13 D. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Douglas Dillon, David Dinkins (Mayor, New York) and Joyce B. Dinkins, Mary Dunn, John A. Drayton, Mrs. Angier Biddle (Robin) Duke, Ruth du Pont, Kate Davis, Jarmila Novotna Daubek, Frank L. Dent, and Eric Drake.

1959-1998
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 14 De la Renta, Annette
undated
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 15 E. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Charles Engelhard, and Archbishop Edward M. Egan.

1968-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 16 Elliott, Eleanor T. (Elly) & Jock
1980-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 17 F. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, -- Fasciani (transmitting to Brooke a photocopy of a 1939 letter from Vincent Astor to Peter Isola re: a birthday cake), Barbara Fleischman, Pamela Fiori, and Ellen Futter.

1986-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 18 G. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Frances Guthrie, Henry Grunwald, Barbara Goldsmith, Henry Gillespie, Clare Gregorian, Donna Hanover Giuliani, Donald R. Gardner, Robert Hixon Glore (transmitting a photograph of a car he purchased in 1989 that was formerly owned by Vincent Astor), and Georgia -- (London).

1953, 1980-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 19 Grein, Richard F. (Right Reverend, Bishop of New York)
1990-1999
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 20 H. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Barbara Harper, Conrad Harper, Eleanor Howard, Clifford Henderson, Emily Harding, Marilyn Hewitt, August Heckscher, Donna Hanover, Becky Hamilton, Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., Gerald Heard, Mrs. Leland Hayward, Barklie McKee Henry, and Henry -- (Philadelphia). Also, the program for the memorial service for Leland Hayward (1971).

1959-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 21 I and J. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Invalids-at-Home (England), Grace Bristed Jackson, Jayne --, Jimmie -- (England).

1970-1990
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 22 K. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Edward I. Koch (Mayor, New York), Alfred Kornfeld, Walter Kaiser, and Hans Kornberg.

1978-1995
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 23 Kissinger, Henry & Nancy
1987-1996
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 24 L. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Barry M. Landau, Gertie Legendre, Paul Le Clerc, Carl Little, Joshua Lederberg, Laeticia Debon Compagna, and Liz--.

1982-2001
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 25a M. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Clifford D. Mallory, Jr., Pauline Mallory, Judy Montague, Betsy F. Melcher, Mr. & Mrs. Gilbert Miller, Alma Morgan, Mab Molte, Mollie-- (Scotland), Rev. Paul Moore, Rev. Andrew C. Mead, Rev. James Parks Morton, Rev. Theodore E. McCarrick, Rev. Charles G. McDonagh, Municipal Art Society, and Museum of Modern Art.

1959-1997
Offsite-Box: 2 Offsite-Box : 25b Mary Rose Project (Society for the Archaeological Study of the Mary Rose)
1981-1982
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 26 McEwen, Romana
1983-1997
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 27a Metropolitan Museum of Art

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, John Pope-Hennessy, Douglas Dillon, Richard R. Morsches, Merribell Parsons, and Philippe de Montebello.

1978-2002
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 27b Middle East Trip

Scope and Contents

Holds itineraries, photographs with Omar Zawawi and Henry and Nancy Kissinger in Israel, thank you and related letters, and program.

1980-1981
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 28 N. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Richard Nixon (photocopy), Billy Norwid, Christian Norgren, Nin -- (London), New York University (James Hester), New York Public Library (Richard Couper), and New York Society Library (Spencer Byard).

1972-1988
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 29a New York Botanical Garden

Scope and Contents

Letters concerning Fordham University's intent to build a radio tower near NYBG: general letter from NYGB requesting support in opposing the tower and exchange between Brooke Astor and New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani regarding her opposition.

1994
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 29b New York Zoological Society
1970-1978
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 30 O and P. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Archbishop John Cardinal O'Connor, L. Jay Oliva (NYU), J.H. Plumb, Dave Peck, Mrs. Henry Parish II, Walter Persegati, and Peter Pierpont Adams.

1975-1992
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 31a R. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Jane Russell, Happy Rockefeller, Khalil Riad Rizk, Casey Ribicoff, Selwa Roosevelt, Dillon Ripley(?), Arthur Ross, Mike Ryan, John Richardson (House & Garden), Frederick P. Rose, Carola Rothschild, and Lydia and Roland Redmond.

1959, 1969-1999
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 31b Random House

Scope and Contents

Holds the orginal executed agreement for Brooke Astor's introduction to the Library of America's edition of "The House of Mirth."

1989
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 32 RMS Titanic, Inc.
1995
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 33 Rockefeller, David
1983-2000
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 34 Rockefeller, Laurance & Mary
1973-1975
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 35 Rohatyn, Elizabeth
1982-2001
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 36-37 S. General (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, in the first folder: Lady Salter, Whitney Straight, Smithsonian (Dillon Ripley, David Challinor), Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Martin E. Segal, Percy E. Sutton, John T. Sargent, Peggy Scholz, Stella Saltonstall, Lizzie --, Sullivan & Cromwell; in the second folder: Richard Salomon, Chauncey Stillman.

1958-1999
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 38 Marchioness of Salisbury (Marjorie "Mollie" Olein)
1988-2001
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 39 T. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Robert H. Thayer, Blaine Trump, and F. George Trescher, Jr.

1981-1996
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 40a Tree, Marietta

Scope and Contents

In addition to a letter and postcard from Tree, the folder holds Tree's obituary and an essay forwarded by Tree to Brooke: "Northeast Harbor, Maine" by Frances Fitzgerald.

1989-1991
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 40b U.S. Navy

Scope and Contents

Relates at least in part to the Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Award.

1974-2001
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 41 V. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Virginia House Settlement (restoration project), Peter F. Vallone, and Jean Vanderbilt.

1986-1992
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 42 W. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Earl of Warwick, Benjamin Welles, Kimba Wood, Shelby White, Jayne Wrightsman, James Watt, Phyllis C. Wagner, Jane Weinberger, Duke of Wellington, Paul Wright, Jerauld Wright, Torsten N. Wiesel, and Rev. James G. Wilders.

1959-1999
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 43 Walters, Barbara
1980-1999
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 44 Z. General

Scope and Contents

Correspondents include, among others, Paul Zahl and Qais Abdul Munim al Zawawi.

1983-1999
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 45 Zilkha, Cecile
1984
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 46 Unidentified correspondents
1976-1998
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 47 Condolence letters re: Brooke Astor

Scope and Contents

Letters of condolence to Brooke Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, from New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, and travel writer Leila Hadley Luce.

2007

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Series III. Writings by and about Brooke Astor, 1915-2005. 1 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series primarily includes writings by Brooke Astor, ranging from typescripts of short essays, poetry and fiction, which may or may not have been published, to works in their published form, such as her autobiography "Footprints." The series also holds some of Astor's personal writings including diaries of 1915-17, a record of dinner parties for 1937-41, and journal entries for travel in 1962 (a cruise along the Italian coast) and 1995 (brief entries for a trip in Europe). Transcripts of some of Astor's public remarks and interviews of her are in the series. The series closes with some articles and other printed/published works about Brooke Astor. The container list provides more details about the content.

Arrangement

The series is arranged with writings by Brooke Astor followed by interview transcripts and articles written about her. The writings by Astor are arranged in rough chronological order.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 48 Diaries

Scope and Contents

3 typescripts of diary entries. One typescript of 13 pages dates from 1915 and a second typescript of 36 pages dates from 1917 (though one of the 1917 references is altered to read 1918 casting some doubt as to the actual year). The 1915 entries seems to refer to events in or around Washington, D.C. and the 1917/18 entries to Santiago. The entries center on personal and social concerns. The third diary entry dates from 1916, but is a typescript version from 2000. The entry centers on Brooke Russell kissing a boy and her thoughts about that, at the time and with a 2000 introductory comment about the difference in "falling in love" between 1916 and 2000.

1915-1917(?)
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 49 Fiction writings?

Scope and Contents

2 pieces that seem to be works of fiction, titled "Crepescule" and "An Emotional Experience." Authorship noted as Brooke Marshall.

1930s?
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 3 Drawings by Brooke Russell

Scope and Contents

Two sheets of drawings: "Seen on the stage," a series of drawings of performers, initialed R.B.R, noted on back as Chap. 6; "Types of Greenwich Village," a series of captioned portraits, none initialed, noted on back as Ch. 11 or 12.

1930s?
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 50 "Scratch a Russian"

Scope and Contents

Authored by Brooke Marshall, the piece can be dated by its opening which refers to Germany and Russia as allies. The piece, though, primarily tells a story in the first person dating from Peking (Beijing) in 1913-14; the context indicates that person cannot be Brooke and so may be fictional.

circa 1940
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 51 "The Joy of Living"
1930s?
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 52 Food-related

Scope and Contents

2 versions of an essay on buffet suppers, one titled "Design for Dining" and another "Food for Thought" with recipes.

1930s-1940s?
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 53 "Dinner party record"

Scope and Contents

Gift to Brooke from "Bud" (Charles Marshall) at Christmas 1936. Volume for recording dinner events, with plan of table, guests, menu, etc. Most pages have entries. Two loose sheets with seafood recipes are at the front of the volume.

1937-1941
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 54 "Values"
1960s?
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 55 Poetry and anecdote

Scope and Contents

Several short poems, one handwritten. Two printed poems are noted as having been written at ages 14 and 15. Also one fictional anecdote titled "A Bridge Game," with a mix of bridge references and African-American vernacular.

undated
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 56 Reminiscences

Scope and Contents

3 pieces of personal memories (1 delivered as public remarks), one brief paragraph about Ronald Reagan, and one piece about Winterthur and Harry Dupont.

undated
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 6 "D.S. Marandis" (original journal)

Scope and Contents

Handwritten journal of travel from Venice, along Italian coast, ending at Monte Carlo, on board chartered ship Marandis. Inscribed by the ship's commanding officer. Guest signatures at front of volume, including Prince and Princess of Monaco.

1962 July
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 57 "D.S. Marandis" (typescript)

Scope and Contents

Typescript of the original travel journal.

1962 July
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 58 "The Cult of Ugliness"

Scope and Contents

Original title "Who killed beauty, and why?"

1967 November
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 59 Speeches

Scope and Contents

Program, remarks introducing Astor, and Astor's remarks on the occasion of her receiving the Lotus Club's Medal of Merit (1973). 4th draft of a speech for the China Institute.

1973, 1976
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 60 Toasts to/from Vartan Gregorian

Scope and Contents

Astor's toast to Gregorian on his second anniversary at New York Public Library, with an ode by Gregorian in response, signed by him. Also, a short paragraph, possibly for a public remark, about the founding of the library by John Jacob Astor.

1983
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 61 Dogs

Scope and Contents

Drafts of an article about Brooke Astor's 1930s dog, Fafner, with the final form as published in Home & Garden (1991). Also short pieces on the Kissinger's dog (Tyler), Bill Blass's dogs (Kate and Bruce), Barbara Walters's dog (Sale Goose), and Annette Reed's dog (Pickle).

1980s-1991
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 62 Remarks at the Seraphic Society Luncheon
1986 May 3
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 63 Writings

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: An introduction for Thames and Hudson's publication of illustrations from "Bon Ton"; "The Re-Cycled Reader" for Home & Garden; and a paragraph "What a tree means to me" for Fairchild Publication's "W."

1987
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 64 Writings on etiquette

Scope and Contents

A set of writings that seem to be intended for a small work on etiquette. Topics are: "Behavior at a dinner," "How men have changed," "Trustees," "Introducing people," Walking on a street," and "Don't get beyond yourself."

1988
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 65 Writings

Scope and Contents

4 pieces: Statement in her capacity as president of the Vincent Astor Foundation in support of the landmark designation of City and Suburban York Avenue Estates; a comment on the New York Public Library's treasures for the New York Times Book Review; comments on "strapless formals" and comments on the seasons, likely for Home & Garden.

1988
Offsite-Box: 2 Folder : 66 Writings

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: "Weddings"; "Dr. Livingston, I presume" [concerning marital infidelity]; and "Why I love New York."

1989
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 1 Writings

Scope and Contents

2 pieces: An untitled item on the theme of personal discipline; and memories of the St. Regis Hotel, formerly owned by Vincent Astor.

1991
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 2 Writings

Scope and Contents

2 pieces: "Sex" or "Hello Sex, What are you doing today?" and "Benefits" or "Benefits: Do let's not spread them too far."

1994
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 3 Reminiscences

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: a reminiscence of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the catalogue of the exhibition "A tribute to Jackie"; a paragraph on Peggy Rockefeller for a book being prepared by the family; and a poem celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary of Anne and Brendan Gill.

1995, 1996, 1998
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 4 Writings

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: an untitled dialogue between two friends discussing the prior night's dinner party they attended; "Refined flirting"; and "Death or divorce."

1995, 1999, 2000
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 5 Diary

Scope and Contents

Includes just a few days from September to October. Starts in Baden-Baden and concludes in New York. Just a few of the pages have entries.

1995
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 6 "Footprints"

Scope and Contents

Brooke Astor's published autobiography.

1980
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 7 "Questions and Some Answers"

Scope and Contents

Slip-cased, printed volume of poetry by Brooke Astor.

undated
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 8 Published articles authored by Brooke Astor

Scope and Contents

Holds one "letter about books" printed in Vogue in 1927, plus several articles by Brooke Astor published in magazines in the 1980s-90s.

1927, 1980s-1990s
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 9 Transcript of "Mrs. Vincent Astor in conversation with The Reverend Jesse Jackson"
1992
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 10 "Transcript of interview with Brooke Russell Astor '19"

Scope and Contents

Interview conducted by Dr. Elisabeth Griffith in connection with the oral history program of the Kathleen Galvin Johnson '53 Archives, The Madeira School. Interview held on November 7, 1997. Folder also holds a letter from 2005 to Anthony Marshall inquiring about the possibility of Brooke attending the school's Centennial Parade.

1997, 2005
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 11 "They rolled out the red carpet: Brooke Astor interviewed by Roxana Robinson"

Scope and Contents

Interview published in the Lincoln Center Theater Review, Fall 2000, number 26.

2000
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 12 "Brooke Astor, Laureate of the Library"

Scope and Contents

Typescript of remarks by Barbaralee Diamonstein.

circa 1990
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 13 "A birthday for Brooke"

Scope and Contents

3 copies (of 4000) of a booklet printed under the auspices of the Citizens Committee for New York City on the occasion of Brooke Astor's 90th birthday. Includes a biographical sketch by Brendan Gill and several photographs from across her lifetime.

1992
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 14 Magazine and other printed articles about Brooke Astor

Scope and Contents

In addtion to articles, holds a list of articles published about Brooke Astor from 1982 to 1993.

1966-1990s
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 5 New York Times Magazine article (2 copies).
1991 November 17

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Series IV. Photographs, circa 1885-2007. 3.75 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series holds 8 photograph albums and a variety of loose photographs. The albums are listed individually in the container list. The earliest dates from about 1912 to 1916 and includes photographs of Brooke and others in China and Honolulu when Brooke's father was stationed there. Most of the albums date from the 1970s-1990s, with photographs of various social settings, receptions, dinners, and other events.

The loose photographs range from the 1880s, depicting Brooke's grandparents, to the last years of Brooke's life in the 2000s. Some of these include her husbands Charles Marshall and Vincent Astor. Most are of social gatherings, receptions, events at New York Library and other institutions supported by Astor, and similar photographs.

Arrangement

The series is arranged with albums first, followed by general photographs arranged roughly by format, subject and chronologically. Most of the photographs were boxed loose with no arrangement when delivered to N-YHS. The sorting of these photographs into the various folders noted in the container list was done by the processing archivist and is not a reflection of any original order.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 5 Photograph album [1].

Scope and Contents

Album of photographs, primarily snapshots from China. Brooke (Russell) Astor and her parents appear in several. Some are captioned. At the back are some color transparencies of artworks/drawings, likely by Brooke.

circa 1912-1916
Offsite-Box: 5 Photograph album [2]. "Mrs. Vincent Astor Jewels"

Scope and Contents

A label in the album indicates it was compiled in 1927 so it is unclear which Mrs. Vincent Astor is being referred to.

1927
Offsite-Box: 5 Photograph album [3]. "Dedication of the bench in memory of Alexander Russell, Princeton University"

Scope and Contents

Photos by Cliff Moore. Includes photos of those gathered for the dedication, with a typescript of the benediction by Rev. Richard N. Chrisman.

1977 July 28
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 1 Photograph album [4]. Chinese Garden Court, Helmet Exchange

Scope and Contents

Photographs removed from an album. Photos are of the hard hat exchange and press conference at the construction site of the Astor Chinese Garden Court in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1980 January 10
Offsite-Box: 4 Photograph album [5]. Presidential Citizen's Award

Scope and Contents

Photographs from the presentation of the award to Brooke Astor by Ronald Reagan and from the following reception, at the White House.

1988
Offsite-Box: 4 Photograph album [6]

Scope and Contents

The contents are generally uncaptioned and undated, but dated items range from 1989-1992. Photos are primarily of Brooke Astor at various events, receptions, and social settings. Notable other people in the photos are Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Vartan Gregorian, Bob Hope, Barbara Bush, Edward Koch, and Norman Schwarzkopf, among many other unidentified individuals. There are photos from an Outward Bound outing; at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; with Marie Christopher when she was given the Brooke Russell Astor Award (1990); at the Seamen's Church Institute (groundbreaking/construction?); at the Arthur Ross birthday celebration (1991); a dog party; Morgan Library Christmas Party; etc. There is a thank you letter from Gregorian for Astor's endowment of the Bryant Park bookstack.

circa 1989-1992
Offsite-Box: 4 Photograph album [7]

Scope and Contents

The contents are generally uncaptioned and undated, but dated items range from 1993-1994. Photos are primarily of Brooke Astor at various events, receptions, and social settings. Notable other people in the photos are Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Vartan Gregorian, Mario Cuomo, Edward Koch, and Norman Schwarzkopf, among many other unidentified individuals. There are photos from the opening of the Bartow-Pell Carriage House (1993); at the Briarcliff Rotary Club; from various travels (Maine, Santo Domingo); and at the Hadrian Award Luncheon honoring David Rockefeller (1994); among others. Includes some letters of thanks and transmittals of photographs.

circa 1992-1995
Offsite-Box: 4 Photograph album [8]

Scope and Contents

The contents are generally uncaptioned and undated, but the bulk of the dated items range from 1994-1997. There are a small number of photos here that date from perhaps the 1970s. Photos are primarily of Brooke Astor at various events, receptions, and social settings. Notable other people in the photos are David Rockefeller and Felix Rohatyn, among many other unidentified individuals. There are photos from the Hadrian Award Luncheon honoring Lord Rothschild (1995) and The Aga Khan (1996), at the New York Public Library, with dogs and in gardens, among others. Includes some letters of thanks and transmittals of photographs.

circa 1970, 1995-1997
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 2-5 Early photographs (4 folders)

Scope and Contents

Photos of Brooke Astor as a child through early adulthood, her parents and grandparents, and others, mostly unidentified. There are many copy prints of photos from Haiti and from China (many from photo album [1]). There may be some photos of Charles Marshall here as well.

circa 1885-1930s?
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 6 Photographs. Charles Marshall

Scope and Contents

A small number of photos with Marshall. There may be others in the folders of early photographs.

1930s-1950s?
Offsite-Box: 4 Folder : 7-8 Photographs. Vincent Astor (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

One framed photo of Vincent with a dog; a carte-de-visite labeled as Vincent's father (as a child); slides of Ferncliff; portrait of Vincent in military uniform; Brooke and Vincent; and a photo-illustration of a pavilion for "Captain & Mrs. Vincent Astor" (1948).

1940s?-1950s
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 15 Portrait photographs of Brooke Marshall/Brooke Astor
1940s-2007
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 16 Photographs. New York Zoological Society (Bronx Zoo)

Scope and Contents

Photos of elephants, including baby "Astor," gorillas, lions; Brooke Astor riding an elephant in the Asian section; and a group shot (of trustees?).

circa 1980s
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 17 Photographs. Various black and white

Scope and Contents

Dinners, social settings, celebratory events.

circa 1964-1990s?
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 18-19 Photographs. Various color (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Social settings, New York Public Library, interiors and exteriors of residences, dogs.

1960s-2000s?
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 20 Photographs. Ambassador James Clement Dunn presenting credentials in Madrid
1953
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 21 Photographs. Astor Court luncheon

Scope and Contents

Luncheon hosted by Brooke Astor for the Asian Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1991
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 22 Photographs of drawings of Brooke Astor
undated
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 23 Postcard. Brooke Astor with Lillian Gish at Merchant's House Museum
1982
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 24 Photographs. New York Public Library
1990s?
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 25 Transparencies of artworks (by Brooke Astor?)

Scope and Contents

See also the back of photo album [1] for additional transparencies.

undated
Offsite-Box: 6 Folder : 1-2 Oversize photographs

Scope and Contents

Holds: Copy print of a 1914 photograph of Mrs. John Astor (Vincent's mother) in Statue of Liberty costume at the Anglo-American Peace Centenary pageant at Albert Hall (contextual note with photo); Brooke Astor with Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson; "library at 120 East End Ave; Vincent Astor's favorite red leather chair" (1959); 3 photos on-board Vincent Astor's yacht Nourmahal (circa 1928?); photo of a painting by Betsy Flagg Melcher of Brooke Astor (1963); Vincent Astor by building models (1950s?).

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Series V. Memorabilia, 1956-2007, undated. 1.75 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series includes artifacts and other objects, mostly of a commemorative nature, related to the Astors or received by them. The container list provides an item level inventory.

Arrangement

The series is presented in rough chronological order.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 26 Match book covers, personalized with initials "VA" (Vincent Astor)

Scope and Contents

5 covers. Matches have been removed.

undated
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 27 "Friends and Fellow Citizens: Washington's Address to the People of the United States, 1796"

Scope and Contents

Reproduction published by the New York Public Library for members of the Citizens Advisory Committee. This copy presented to Vincent Astor, whose name is embossed on the cover. Contextual correspondence with book.

1956
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 28 Gag diploma

Scope and Contents

Diploma awarded by Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, to Brooke for graduating class in "Latin Dances," etc.

1957
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 29 Vatican City 1st Day Issue Stamps. "Sede Vacante MCMLVIII"
1958
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 30 "The Tall Ships Commemorative Postcard Collection; Cancelled in Moscow, July 4, 1976"
1976
Offsite-Box: 7 Carved box with plaque

Scope and Contents

Plaque reads: "Presented to Ambassador A.D. Marshall [Brooke's son], the American Ambassador to Kenya by RADM W.J. Crowe Jr, USN, Commander, Middle East Force, 9 Feb 1977"

1977
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 31 Invitation/Program from New York Foundling Hospital

Scope and Contents

Invitation and program to the dinner honoring Brooke Astor with the Elizabeth Seton Humanitarian Award.

1978
Folder: FF-1 Flag

Scope and Contents

Inscribed on edge: "Houseflag of the Black Ball Line flown at the mainmast of 'Wavertree' on the occasion of the Brooklyn Bridge centennial celebration, May 24, 1983, East River, Pier 15, New York." Wavertree is the name of a ship at the South Street Seaport Museum. Textile. Measures approx 60"x36". (Stored in flat file drawer)

1983
Offsite-Box: 3 Folder : 4 White House Christmas holiday print
1985
Offsite-Box: 1 Folder : 19 Brooke Astor funeral guest books (2)
2007

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