William Astor

William Waldorf Astor (1848 - 1919)

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Viscount William Waldorf Astor
Born in New York County, New York, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdommap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Apr 2014
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Categories: This Day In History March 31 | This Day In History October 18 | American Notables | British Notables.

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William Waldorf Astor was a wealthy American attorney, politician, businessman, and newspaper publisher. He moved with his family to England in 1891, became an English subject in 1899, and was made a peer in 1916 for his contributions to war charities. He was a prominent member of the Astor family.[1][2]

He practiced law but thought he had found his true calling in politics and in 1877, he set his eyes on the United States Congress, entering the New York City political arena as a Republican.[1]

He was elected as a member of the New York State Assembly (New York Co., 11th D.) in 1878; and of the New York State Senate (10th D.) in 1880 and 1881.[1]

In 1881, he was defeated by Roswell P. Flower as a candidate for the United States Congress. A second attempt at the seat also resulted in defeat. He could not compete with his Democratic opponent, Flower, and his shy nature could not handle the political attacks on his character. This was the end of his political career. The press used his political failures as fodder for more harsh criticisms. The press had already publicized his vast inheritance.[1]

The coverage of his political defeats weakened his desire to remain in the United States. In 1882, President Chester Alan Arthur appointed Astor Minister to Italy, a post he held until 1885. While he lived in Rome, he developed a passion for art and sculpture.[1]

His father died in February 1890, and his inheritance made him the richest man in America. That year, he began construction of the luxurious Waldorf Hotel, which was built on the site of his former residence. His cousin and rival Colonel John Jacob "Jack" Astor IV built the adjoining Astoria Hotel in 1897, and the complex became the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.[1]


William married Mary Dahlgreen Paul on 6 June 1878. They had five children.[1][3]


1891 England and Wales Census, St. Geroge Hanover Square, London[2]

  • William W Astor, male, age 45, married, Occupation: Living On My Own Means, born in 1846, born in the USA
  • Mary P, wife, female, age 29, born in the USA
  • "Walderf," son, male, age 11, born in the USA
  • Pauline, daughter, female, age 10, born in the USA
  • John J., son, male, age 4, born in the USA


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Wikipedia contributors, ‘William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 March 2016, 09:23 UTC, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Waldorf_Astor,_1st_Viscount_Astor> [accessed 5 March 2016]
  2. 2.0 2.1 "England and Wales Census, 1891," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:3YQ6-YT2 : accessed 9 November 2015), William W Astor, St George Hanover Square, London, England; from "1891 England, Scotland and Wales census," database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 12, London county, subdistrict, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.
  3. Charles Henry Jones, Genealogy of the Rodman Family (1620-1886); (Philadelphia, Alles, Lane and Scott, 1886) p. 154, 231. [Copy available at (https://archive.org/details/genealogyofrodma00jone).]

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No known carriers of William's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 2
William Astor, 1914
William Astor, 1914

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Waldorf Astoria Hotel

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On 21 Jun 2017 at 18:05 GMT James Stratman wrote:

Astor-32 and Astor-112 appear to represent the same person because: Clearly, the same person and should be merged. Same birth and death dates, and spouse.

On 6 Mar 2016 at 00:22 GMT Allison Mackler wrote:

Properly cited sources. Added additional source and census information.

William is 25 degrees from Rosa Parks, 21 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 8 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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