Author: Arthur T. Vanderbilt
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 1991-02-20
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Vanderbilt: the very name signifies wealth. The family patriarch, "the Commodore," built up a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after the Commodore's death, one of his direct descendants died penniless, and no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Fortune's Children tells the dramatic story of all the amazingly colorful spenders who dissipated such a vast inheritance.
In this marvelous anecdotal history, Justin Kaplan––Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Mark Twain––vividly brings to life a glittering, bygone age. Endowed with the largest private fortunes of their day, cousins John Jacob Astor IV and William Waldorf Astor vied for primacy in New York society, producing the grandest hotels ever seen in a marriage of ostentation and efficiency that transformed American social behavior. Kaplan exposes it all in exquisite detail, taking readers from the 1890s to the Roaring Twenties in a combination of biography, history, architectural appreciation, and pure reading pleasure
Author: Arthur T. Vanderbilt
Release Date: 1999-01-01
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald's career itself is a metaphor for the vagaries of book publishing. If Fitzgerald would have had his way, we would today refer to The Great Gatsby as either Gold-Hatted Gatsby, Trimalchio in West Egg, or The High-Bouncing Lover. A few years before Gatsby, Fitzgerald had become a literary sensation at the age of 23; Helen Hooven Santmyer, a contemporary of Fitzgerald's, would not have a successful novel published until she was 88 and living in a nursing home. In this book, the author explores that mysterious place in publishing where art and commerce can either clash, mesh, or both. Along the way, a wide range of authors--from the literary greats to today's commercial superstars--editors, agents and publishers share their thoughts, insights and experiences: What inspires writers? (John Steinbeck, for example, wrote every novel as if it were his last, as if death were imminent.) Why are some books successful and appreciated, while others fall into oblivion? The answers are often elusive, never absolute, but the stories and anecdotes are always fascinating.
Author: Michael Gross
Publisher: Broadway Books
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Genre: Social Science
For seventy-five years, it’s been Manhattan’s richest apartment building, and one of the most lusted-after addresses in the world. One apartment had 37 rooms, 14 bathrooms, 43 closets, 11 working fireplaces, a private elevator, and his-and-hers saunas; another at one time had a live-in service staff of 16. To this day, it is steeped in the purest luxury, the kind most of us could only imagine, until now. The last great building to go up along New York’s Gold Coast, construction on 740 Park finished in 1930. Since then, 740 has been home to an ever-evolving cadre of our wealthiest and most powerful families, some of America’s (and the world’s) oldest money—the kind attached to names like Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Bouvier, Chrysler, Niarchos, Houghton, and Harkness—and some whose names evoke the excesses of today’s monied elite: Kravis, Koch, Bronfman, Perelman, Steinberg, and Schwarzman. All along, the building has housed titans of industry, political power brokers, international royalty, fabulous scam-artists, and even the lowest scoundrels. The book begins with the tumultuous story of the building’s construction. Conceived in the bubbling financial, artistic, and social cauldron of 1920’s Manhattan, 740 Park rose to its dizzying heights as the stock market plunged in 1929—the building was in dire financial straits before the first apartments were sold. The builders include the architectural genius Rosario Candela, the scheming businessman James T. Lee (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s grandfather), and a raft of financiers, many of whom were little more than white-collar crooks and grand-scale hustlers. Once finished, 740 became a magnet for the richest, oldest families in the country: the Brewsters, descendents of the leader of the Plymouth Colony; the socially-registered Bordens, Hoppins, Scovilles, Thornes, and Schermerhorns; and top executives of the Chase Bank, American Express, and U.S. Rubber. Outside the walls of 740 Park, these were the people shaping America culturally and economically. Within those walls, they were indulging in all of the Seven Deadly Sins. As the social climate evolved throughout the last century, so did 740 Park: after World War II, the building’s rulers eased their more restrictive policies and began allowing Jews (though not to this day African Americans) to reside within their hallowed walls. Nowadays, it is full to bursting with new money, people whose fortunes, though freshly-made, are large enough to buy their way in. At its core this book is a social history of the American rich, and how the locus of power and influence has shifted haltingly from old bloodlines to new money. But it’s also much more than that: filled with meaty, startling, often tragic stories of the people who lived behind 740’s walls, the book gives us an unprecedented access to worlds of wealth, privilege, and extraordinary folly that are usually hidden behind a scrim of money and influence. This is, truly, how the other half—or at least the other one hundredth of one percent—lives.
Author: Denise Kiernan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2017-09-26
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
New York Times Bestseller “A soaring and gorgeous American story” (Karen Abbott) from the author of the New York Times bestselling The Girls of Atomic City. The fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded Age mansion Biltmore—the largest, grandest residence ever built in the United States. The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. Orphaned at a young age, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best known families. She grew up in Newport and Paris, and her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most watched events of Gilded Age society. But none of this prepared her to be mistress of Biltmore House. Before their marriage, the wealthy and bookish Vanderbilt had dedicated his life to creating a spectacular European-style estate on 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness. He summoned the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to tame the grounds, collaborated with celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000-square-foot chateau, filled it with priceless art and antiques, and erected a charming village beyond the gates. Newlywed Edith was now mistress of an estate nearly three times the size of Washington, DC and benefactress of the village and surrounding rural area. When fortunes shifted and changing times threatened her family, her home, and her community, it was up to Edith to save Biltmore—and secure the future of the region and her husband’s legacy. The Last Castle is the unique American story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD In this groundbreaking biography, T.J. Stiles tells the dramatic story of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, the combative man and American icon who, through his genius and force of will, did more than perhaps any other individual to create modern capitalism. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, The First Tycoon describes an improbable life, from Vanderbilt’s humble birth during the presidency of George Washington to his death as one of the richest men in American history. In between we see how the Commodore helped to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation. Epic in its scope and success, the life of Vanderbilt is also the story of the rise of America itself. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Stephen Birmingham
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Release Date: 1996-04-01
This social history describes the lives of the rich and trendy who have lived at the Dakota, a New York apartment house daringly erected in 1884, too far up and on the wrong side of town. The book covers tenants such as the Gustav Schirmers, Boris Karloff, Judy Holliday and Lauren Bacall.
Author: Michael Gross
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2014-03-11
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
“Michael Gross’s new book…packs [in] almost as many stories as there are apartments in the building. The Jackie Collins of real estate likes to map expressions of power, money and ego… Even more crammed with billionaires and their exploits than 740 Park” (Penelope Green, The New York Times). With two concierge-staffed lobbies, a walnut-lined library, a lavish screening room, a private sixty-seat restaurant offering residents room service, a health club complete with a seventy-foot swimming pool, penthouses that cost almost $100 million, and a tenant roster that’s a roll call of business page heroes and villains, Fifteen Central Park West is the most outrageously successful, insanely expensive, titanically tycoon-stuffed real estate development of the twenty-first century. In this “stunning” (CNN) and “deliciously detailed” (Booklist, starred review) New York Times bestseller, journalist Michael Gross turns his gimlet eye on the new-money wonderland that’s sprung up on the southwest rim of Central Park. Mixing an absorbing business epic with hilarious social comedy, Gross “takes another gossip-laden bite out of the upper crust” (Sam Roberts, The New York Times), which includes Denzel Washington, Sting, Norman Lear, top executives, and Russian and Chinese oligarchs, to name a few. And he recounts the legendary building’s inspired genesis, costly construction, and the flashy international lifestyle it has brought to a once benighted and socially déclassé Manhattan neighborhood. More than just an apartment building, 15CPW represents a massive paradigm shift in the lifestyle of New York’s rich and famous—and is a bellwether of the city’s changing social and financial landscape.
Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage takes us behind the paneled doors of the Titanic’s elegant private suites to present compelling, memorable portraits of her most notable passengers. The intimate atmosphere onboard history’s most famous ship is recreated as never before. The Titanic has often been called “an exquisite microcosm of the Edwardian era,” but until now, her story has not been presented as such. In Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage, historian Hugh Brewster seamlessly interweaves personal narratives of the lost liner’s most fascinating people with a haunting account of the fateful maiden crossing. Employing scrupulous research and featuring 100 rarely-seen photographs, he accurately depicts the ship’s brief life and tragic denouement, presenting the very latest thinking on everything from when and how the lifeboats were loaded to the last tune played by the orchestra. Yet here too is a convincing evocation of the table talk at the famous Widener dinner party held in the Ritz Restaurant on the last night. And here we also experience the rustle of elegant undergarments as first-class ladies proceed down the grand staircase in their soigné evening gowns, some of them designed by Lady Duff Gordon, the celebrated couterière, who was also on board. Another well-known passenger was the artist Frank Millet, who led an astonishing life that seemed to encapsulate America’s Gilded Age—from serving as a drummer boy in the Civil War to being the man who made Chicago’s White City white for the 1893 World Exposition. His traveling companion Major Archibald Butt was President Taft’s closest aide and was returning home for a grueling fall election campaign that his boss was expected to lose. Today, both of these once-famous men are almost forgotten, but their ship-mate Margaret Tobin Brown lives on as “the Unsinkable Molly Brown,” a name that she was never called during her lifetime. Millionaires John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, writer Helen Churchill Candee, movie actress Dorothy Gibson, aristocrat Noelle, the Countess of Rothes, and a host of other travelers on this fateful crossing are also vividly brought to life within these pages. Through them, we gain insight into the arts, politics, culture, and sexual mores of a world both distant and near to our own. And with them, we gather on the Titanic’s sloping deck on that cold, starlit night and observe their all-too-human reactions as the disaster unfolds. More than ever, we ask ourselves, “What would we have done?”
Author: Esther Crain
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Release Date: 2016-09-27
The drama, expansion, mansions and wealth of New York City's transformative Gilded Age era, from 1870 to 1910, captured in a magnificently illustrated hardcover. In forty short years, New York City suddenly became a city of skyscrapers, subways, streetlights, and Central Park, as well as sprawling bridges that connected the once-distant boroughs. In Manhattan, more than a million poor immigrants crammed into tenements, while the half of the millionaires in the entire country lined Fifth Avenue with their opulent mansions. The Gilded Age in New York captures what is was like to live in Gotham then, to be a daily witness to the city's rapid evolution. Newspapers, autobiographies, and personal diaries offer fascinating glimpses into daily life among the rich, the poor, and the surprisingly large middle class. The use of photography and illustrated periodicals provides astonishing images that document the bigness of New York: the construction of the Statue of Liberty; the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge; the shimmering lights of Luna Park in Coney Island; the mansions of Millionaire's Row. Sidebars detail smaller, fleeting moments: Alice Vanderbilt posing proudly in her "Electric Light" ball gown at a society-changing masquerade ball; immigrants stepping off the boat at Ellis Island; a young Theodore Roosevelt witnessing Abraham Lincoln's funeral. The Gilded Age in New York is a rare illustrated look at this amazing time in both the city and the country as a whole. Author Esther Crain, the go-to authority on the era, weaves first-hand accounts and fascinating details into a vivid tapestry of American society at the turn of the century. Praise for New-York Historical Society New York City in 3D In The Gilded Age, also by Esther Crain: "Vividly captures the transformation from cityscape of horse carriages and gas lamps 'bursting with beauty, power and possibilities' as it staggered into a skyscraping Imperial City." -Sam Roberts, The New York Times "Get a glimpse of Edith Wharton's world." - Entertainment Weekly Must List "What better way to revisit this rich period . . ?" - Library Journal
A cousin of Huguette Clark and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist trace the life of the reclusive American heiress against a backdrop of the now-infamous W. A. Clark family and include coverage of the internet sensation and elder-abuse investigation that occurred at the end of her life.
Author: Andrew Carnegie
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Business & Economics
In the essay, Carnegie argues that the accumulation of wealth is beneficial to society and the government should take no action to impede it. He wrote, "The man who dies rich dies disgraced." and practiced what he preached and spent his last years giving away his vast fortune.
Recounts how Texas oil transformed wealth and power in America through the stories of the state's four most influential oil families, tracing how they rose from modest backgrounds, shaped the government, and bankrolled the rise of modern conservatism.
What began as a tiny cluster of settlements established by Puritans fleeing the more restrictive towns to the north had evolved by the late 19th century into one of America's premier resort communities - the Hamptons. This text surveys more than 30 houses, and illustrates a priviledged society at the turn of the century.
Author: Bill Carey
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Business enterprises
A business history that is both accurate and interesting is a rare find. In this comprehensive volume, Bill Carey tells the inside stories of the most important businesses in Nashville history, mixing fascinating anecdotes with bottom-line analyses to give a perspective of Nashville that has never been captured before. It's a complete history of Genesco, an apparel giant led by Maxey Jarman that fell on hard times in the 1970s. Carey chronicles the National Life & Accident Insurance Co., a business so important that it helped Nashville become the home of country music and a major tourist destination. He also tells the bizarre saga of Minnie Pearl's Fried Chicken, a company founded by brothers John Jay and Henry Hooker that went from stock market darling to legendary failure in only a few months.