Greedy Astor

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ETURNER

Guest
Ever since I first became intrested in the Titanic I have always liked Madeline Astor , so when I read Judith Gellers Excellent book "Women and Children First" I was disgusted to find that Madeline does not have a grave stone. In my opinion she did the right thing by leaving her money to her sons from her second marriage as her first son Astor hardley needed it with a yearly income of £6000 and he still wasn't happy that's just plain greed.
I think he was incredibly selfish . I feel very sorry for Madeline as she had a very unhappy life.
I would be intrested to now more about Madelines family , when did her parents and Sister die ?? did she only have one sibling ????
Best Wishes
Ed
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Dear Ed,

I thought I would offer some additional information about Madeleine Astor.

Judith Geller was correct in stating that "Madeleine was buried in an unmarked grave." Madeleine was buried with her mother in a small mausoleum on the opposite side of the Trinity Cemetery from where J.J. Astor was interred. Madeleine herself purchased the lot a few years before her death. She most certainly has a monument, but the mausoleum does not have a name on it. Judith Geller was indicating the mausoleum did not contain a name so a visitor to the cemetery would never know who was buried in the masuoleum unless they were to inquire at the office. I sent a photograph of Madeleine's mausoleum to Phil Hind so you should be seeing it on the ET pretty soon.

From memory, I can tell you the Madeleine's father, William H. Force, died in 1917. Madeleine's sister married into the Lorillard Spencer family but I do not have her date of death, or that of Madeleine's mother, available at the moment.

Michael Findlay
 
E

ETurner

Guest
Thanks for the info Mike , can anyone else tell me any more ?????
ED
 
May 12, 2005
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Ed,

Let me add to your disgust re: Mrs. Astor, insofar as the Geller book is concerned. I enjoyed her book and thought she did some wonderful research (although I know some of her info on Lady Duff Gordon was taken from my THS articles and yet my work was not credited which I find a bit shabby).

I digress... anyway, the photo on page 22 is NOT Madeleine Force Astor but the former Mrs. J.J. Astor, or Ava Willing Astor, who was later Lady Ribblesdale (photo c. 1909-10). She was a great society beauty, one of the so-called "Dollar Princesses" - American belles who married into the English nobility. So to an archivist who studies these things - and I do - she is very recognizeable. Madeleine Astor was much younger as we all know and was dark haired. I would suggest picture researchers check into the wonderful Corbis online archive to see their quite good selection of Astor pics (mostly news pics).

I also happen to have some pictures of Mrs. Astor (Madeleine) in my own collection but these were taken after the Titanic. They are paparazzi snaps of her at various events like the races etc.

Randy
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Dear Randy,

In all fairness to both Ms. Geller and you, I have read volumes about Lady Duff Gordon from many, many different sources over the years. I can tell you that none of your articles were used in the preparation of Ms. Geller's book since I assisted in the preparation of it. However, if you feel otherwise, I would suggest you contact Ms. Geller to let her know. I'm sure she will be more than happy to print an acknowledgment in her book.

You are correct in stating that the picture of Mrs. Astor in Ms. Geller's book was Ava Willing Astor, not Madeleine Force Astor. As with every Titanic book I've read, mistakes can and do occur. Please know that the next edition of Ms. Geller's book will contain a photograph of Madeleine.

Michael Findlay
 
May 12, 2005
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Michael Findlay,

In all fairness to you and Ms. Geller I want you to know that the information re: the Chalmers (Chrysler) info was not generally known in Titanic circles before I shared that and the info re: her Harper's Bazar articles was not either.

Yes, someone could have poked about like I did for years and uncovered lots of info but I don't think she did that. LDG's book doesn't mention Harper's Bazar or Chalmers. The It Girls mentions Bazar but incorrectly cites her articles as beginning to appear during the 1st WW, not before as I found.

And why wouldn't my articles have been used? I'm only one of 2 researchers Lady Duff Gordon's side of the family have ever dealt with (and even with us they were very reluctant to discuss the Titanic.) Not even my friend Don Lynch got much out of them. Andrew Duff Gordon, Sir Cosmo's nephew has in recent years cooperated with other researchers but his photos and private papers I have had access to only. So I don't see why my articles would NOT have been considered and used for data.

And for what it's worth I have no problem with Ms. Geller having used some of the info - I just don't think it's sound or ethical that I was not credited as a source.

If you feel I need to speak w/ Ms. Geller personally you may e-mail me as to how I may contact her. I have nothing at all against her personally, please know that. Nor you for that matter. But don't try to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. My information WAS used. I am sure of it. The trouble is that, as both of you know, one can't copyright information. So it's a free-for-all once it's out there and people who choose not to be fair and accountable to their sources as historians are supposed to do are thus able to get away with a species of theft.

I'm not accusing her of that but at the very least there was an oversight.

And as to your remark re: "reading volumes about Lady Duff Gordon from many, many sources over the years" - Well, so have I and I'm the one who has accumulated that data as a labor of love into a 660 page mss with 450+ photographs, interviewed all surviving members of her family, been in touch with every major museum & archive repository in the world that has even a morsel of anything associated with her, etc.

So you go on reading volumes - which will someday include mine.

Randy
 

Phillip Gowan

Member
Apr 10, 2001
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ED,
Here's a bit more information on Madeleine Astor's sister--somewhere I have her parents' obituaries but have failed to find them this afternoon (I've just moved and disarray prevails).

Madeleine's sister was Katherine Emmons Force and I believe she was born in 1895 although I've seen sources which state the year was 1901. She married Lorillard Spencer, Jr. in December of 1922 as his second wife. (He had been married previously to Mary Ridgeley Sands in 1905 and had one son, also named Lorillard). By Katherine Force there were three children, Katherine Talmage Lorillard Spencer, Stephen Wolcott Spencer, and William Hurlbut Force Spencer.

I'll send you the info from the obits as soon as I can put my hand on them.

Phillip
 
H

Harley

Guest
Hello, Was Madeleine Astor an attractive woman? I have seen photos of her ,But they Are'nt very clear, in other words I cant see them very well. Thank You.
 
May 12, 2005
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Harley,

Yes, Madeleine was attractive though not nearly so striking as the first Mrs. J.J. Astor. She looked somewhat like the actress, I believe it was Susan St. James, who played her in SOS Titanic. That's pretty close to how she looked. I will be sending Phil Hind some pics of her as well as one of Edith Rosenbaum (Russell) taken about 1912. So soon enough we can all see them added to this already fab site.

Randy
 

Dan Cherry

Active Member
Mar 3, 2000
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Randy,
Actually, if I may, Susan St. James played Lawrence Beesley's social companion Leigh Goodwin in that TV movie. An actress named Beverly Ross assumed the role of Madeline Astor. David Warner, who portrayed Beesley in that 1979 flick would go on to play manservant Lovejoy in the 1997 Titanic movie.

Looking forwad to your photo submissions.

Dan
 
May 12, 2005
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Dan,

Thank you for the correction. I couldn't remember who was who. It isn't a great favorite but I remember when it came out. I was about 10 years old - and I loved it then!

Randy
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Dear Randy,

Thank you for your e-mail. I do apologize if my posting "appeared" snide, and if I offended you in any way. I was merely pointing out that I helped Ms. Geller with her book, and was witness to the material she was using in its preparation. None of the sources consulted were authored by you, nor were you acknowledged in them. It is impossible to verify every bit of material that is used, and to double check if the research was properly credited to its original source. To be very honest, I didn't furnish Ms. Geller with most of my material on Lady Duff Gordon since my co-author, Robert Bracken, and I were planning to contact you to discuss her role in our upcoming book. I regret that this matter inconveniently originated prior to making our request known to you.

In my posting, I stated that if you felt an oversight had been made that it would be better to contact Ms. Geller to correct the mistake. She would be extremely accommodating and would make the update accordingly.

I hope that you will not carry this "grudge" any longer. For the record, I do respect your work, and have nothing but praise for your efforts.

Sincerely,

Michael Findlay
 
May 12, 2005
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Dear Michael Findlay,

You may rest assured I hold no "grudge."

Further, I must relieve your anxiety in promising that I have no intention of communicating with you or your colleague Ms. Geller in the future regarding any possible misuse of information in her book. What is done is done and there is no use squabbling over it. I will maintain, though, that I believe my THS articles were indeed consulted for the volume in question and feel therefore I ought to have been credited as a source. But I cannot prove this so I will not pursue the matter.

I also regret that I will be unable at this time to assist you and your writing partner Robert Bracken in any way with the project you are undertaking as my agent feels it would be a conflict of interest.

Should my work be published before yours I will be prepared at such time to consider consulting with the two of you and helping with documents and photographs pertaining to Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon.

I do hope you will understand. I wish you success in your research and proposed book.

Yours Respectfully,

Randy Bryan Bigham
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Dear Randy,

Thank you for your reply. I am glad that we were able to reach a friendly agreement regarding the issue at hand.

I am sorry that you will not be able to assist us with our project. I am fully aware of the conflict of interest issue, and respect your decision. Both Mr. Bracken and I also have been faced with the same dilemma regarding our own work - we are often asked for information on topics that we are not at liberty to share until our book is published. We are more than happy to share our research but if we were to give everything away, there would be no book to write.

Thank you again for your response. I wish you the same success in your future research endeavors.

Sincerely,

Michael Findlay
 

Phillip Gowan

Member
Apr 10, 2001
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Ed,
Long ago I promised to send you the info. on Madeleine Astor's sister. After finally sorting through all my files after my move, I found the information on her parents with no trouble but never could put my hand on the obituary on Katherine. So finally this afternoon I went out to Francis Marion University and made myself another copy. Here it is:

(Taken from the New York Times, Sunday September 9, 1956, page 84, column 4)

Mrs. Lorillard Spencer

Widow of New York Banker, a Resident of Newport, Dies

NEWPORT, R.I., Sept 8--

Mrs. Katherine Force Spencer of Chasteullux, Newport, died at her home this morning of a heart attack. She was 63 years old.

She was the widow of Lorillard Spencer, a New York banker who died in 1939. They were married in New York in 1922, at the home of the bride's sister, Mrs. William K. Dick, the former Mrs. John Jacob Astor.

Mrs. Spencer was born in Brooklyn, a daughter of William H. and Katherine Talmadge Force. In recent years she had been active in the Newport real estate field and had been a member of the Newport Zoning Commission.

She is survived by a daughter, Miss Katherine T. Spencer of Newport, and by two sons, Stephen W. Spencer of New York, and William F. Spencer of Westport, Conn.

I hope this helps.

Phillip

PS: Incidentally, Katherine Spencer was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Two of her children are still living.