The Last Mrs. Astor: A New York Story (2008)

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Publishing information: 
Author: Frances Kiernan New York & London: W.W. Norton. 2008. 318pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-393-33160-8

This biography of Brooke Astor, who died in August 2007, is based on eight years’ acquaintance plus interviews with the subject’s friends and contacts at the many New York cultural institutions that she supported. As President of the Vincent Astor Foundation, Mrs Astor used the $67 million left by her late husband to fund a variety of projects in the city with which her family name is so intimately connected, although she herself was born in New Hampshire. Her experience as a grant-maker did not just benefit her adopted city but also - by her own account – enabled her to come into her own. Although her life spanned almost the entire twentieth century, she became a full-time philanthropist relatively late in life, when her husband died in 1959. This book contextualizes her philanthropy within her long and fascinating life-story

  • History of philanthropy
  • Understanding philanthropy