Madeleine Astor had been pregnant on the Titanic and gave birth on 14 August 1912. The following report of the birth appeared on newswires the following day
THE ASTOR BABY.
EXCITEMENT NEW YORK,
HEIR TO £600,000 "ONLY."
A MOTHER AND WIDOW AT 21.
The arrival of a son born to Mrs John Jacob Astor at 8.15 a.m. on Wednesday, says the New York correspondent of the "Daily Telegraph," excited sympathetic interest throughout the country.
Not since the money panic of 1907 have the New York newsboys been clamorous, and the congratulations received at the Astor mansion on Fifth-avenue by nine a.m., either by telegram or letter, numbered several hundred.
The newsboys were shouting all the early part the day, "Astor baby arrived; full details," and the special editions reported that mother and child were both doing well.
Public interest was keenly aroused when it was announced that two doctors and a staff of six nurses had taken up their quarters at the Astor House a week ago, and thenceforth there was always a CROWD OF THE CURIOUS at the door to watch the young widow, dressed in black, take her daily ride in a motor-car through the park. Latterly the crowd in front of the house was so big that Mrs Astor and her mother, Mrs William Force, and two nurses, always left by the servants' door at the rear, and entered a motor-car strategically posted in side street.
When the infant, who will be named John Jacob, arrived, the usual crowd was in front of the mansion. Their neighbourly interest was rewarded, because a servant came to the door to announce the birth. The news was corroborated later by a bulletin posted outside the house.
The child weighs 7¾lbs and is described as STRONG AND VIGOROUS. No capital ever awaited the birth of an heir to the throne with more interest than New Yorkers displayed last week, partly because of the social and financial prominence of the Astor family, and largely, possibly chiefly, because of the dramatic death of the child's father in the Titanic disaster. "You go in the lifeboat, Madeleine; don't worry about me," were the last recorded words of Colonel Astor, and they are recalled by people who applaud the dead man's coolness and bravery in the hour of peril and his devotion to his young wife.
After the sinking the Titanic Mrs Astor was dangerously ill, and recovered only after long struggle. Colonel Astor provided in his will that his posthumous child should inherit £600,000, or, if there were twins, £600,000 each. The mother came from the country two weeks ago, so that her son be born in the historic Astor House, New York.
TWO RATHER UNPLEASANT INCIDENTS, occurred there a few days ago. A motor-bus was wrecked in front of her windows, and the injured were taken into the Astor home be treated. The other exciting incident was a thiet chase, ended when the Astor servants aided the police. Happily these events did not, according to the physicians' reports, unduly excite the prospective mother.
MRS ASTOR IS 21 YEARS OLD, and at the time of his death Colonel Astor was 47 years. Miss Madeleine Force married Colonel Astor last summer. She first met him two years ago. She is a beautiful brunette and a fine tennis player.
Last August Mr William Force called the reporters into his little office on Front street, Brooklyn, and announced the engagement of his daughter to Colonel Astor. The news took the public by surprise. Mrs Astor was educated at a private school in Brooklyn, where her family lived until two years ago. To the society which had known Colonel Astor and the first Mrs she was a stranger. Not until the engagement was announced did she visit Newport with hor parents as the guest of Colonel Astor, it was then that she was introduced to some of Colonel Astor's friends of the Newport set. To a young girl, not then 21, the situation was not particularly easy, but the impression she made in Newport in the short time she spent there before her marriage was most pleasing.
In view of the Colonel's vast wealth, he was a millionaire many times over, some drastically criticised the provision of £600.000 for his posthumous child as ridiculously inadequate, and statements were also printed that the widow intended to institute proceedings to break the will. These assertions were quite unauthorised, and were not endorsed Mr and Mrs Force, the widow's parents.
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