When the Astors owned New York : blue bloods and grand hotels in a gilded age

by Kaplan, Justin.

Format: Print Book 2006
Availability: Available at 7 Libraries 7 of 7 copies
Available (7)
Location Collection Call #
Bethel Park Public Library Biography 92 ASTOR Family
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  92 ASTOR Family
Brentwood Library Biography 920 Astor
Location  Brentwood Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  920 Astor
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 920 KAPLAN
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  920 KAPLAN
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 974.733 Kap
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  974.733 Kap
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 920.009 KAP
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  920.009 KAP
Sewickley Public Library Biography B ASTOR 2006
Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B ASTOR 2006
Shaler North Hills Library Biography 92 ASTOR
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  92 ASTOR
This newest book by Pulitzer Prize winner Justin Kaplan is a sparkling combination of biography, social history, architectural appreciation, and pure pleasure Endowed with the largest private fortunes of their day, two heirs of arch-capitalist John Jacob Astor battled with each other for social primacy. William Waldorf Astor (born 1848) and his cousin John Jacob Astor IV (born 1864) led incomparably privileged lives in the blaze of public attention. Novelist, sportsman, and inventor, John Jacob went down with the Titanic, after turbulent marital adventures and service in the Spanish-American War. Collector of art, antiquities, and stately homes, William Waldorf became a British subject and acquired the title of Viscount Astor.In New York during the 1890s and after, the two feuding Astors built monumental grand hotels, chief among them the original Waldorf-Astoria on lower Fifth Avenue. The Astor hotels transformed social behavior. Home of the chafing dish and the velvet rope, the Waldorf-Astoria drew the rich, famous, and fashionable. It was the setting for the most notorious society event of the era—a costume extravaganza put on by its hosts during a time of widespread need and unemployment. The celebrity-packed lobbies, public rooms, lavish suites, and exclusive restaurants of the grand hotels became distinctive theaters of modern life.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "When it opened on Broadway in 1836, John Jacob Astor's hotel Astor House was called a marvel of the age. However, it was nothing compared to the hotel built some 60 years later by Astor's great-grandsons, William Waldorf and John Jacob IV. Since the cousins could never agree on anything, the Waldorf-Astoria was actually two hotels, connected by corridors that could be sealed off. Henry James, back in the U.S. after an absence of 20 years, stayed there and described it as one of my few glimpses of perfect human felicity. Kaplan is well known as a biographer, but he presents an unconventional biography here, crafting a fascinating work of social history by focusing on the cousins' hotel-building mania. The Waldorf-Astoria and other Astor hotels served as the stage for the family drama, as well as for people anxious to show off their wealth, and also helped define a new standard of luxury for the aspiring middle class. --Mary Ellen Quinn Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This frothy look at several generations of Astors by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain is custom-made for the Waldorf gift shop. The tightwad founder of the Astor dynasty was a butcher's son from the German backwater of Waldorf. By the time John Jacob Astor died in 1848 at the age of 84, the richest man in America had turned a fur trade monopoly into a Manhattan real estate empire. Astor House, his "astonishing" luxury hotel adjacent to City Hall, cosseted the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Britain's future King Edward VII in its 80-year history. John Jacob's "phlegmatic and cautious" son, William, increased the family fortune, married a blueblood and sired sons who couldn't abide one another. "Imperious and somber" John Jacob III and playboy William, who was married to society queen Caroline Schermerhorn, passed on the family feud to their sons who managed to combine forces in 1897 to build the Waldorf-Astoria. Prickly and snobbish William Waldorf Astor failed in New York State politics, became a novelist and an art collector, and died a British viscount. John Jacob IV's military service and his death on the Titanic helped temper his reputation as a spoiled fool. B&w photos. (June 5) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Astor family.
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (New York, N.Y.) -- History.
Hotels -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
Publisher New York :Viking,2006
Language English
Description ix, 196 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 185-187) and index.
ISBN 0670037699
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