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August Heckscher

august heckscher, august heckscher woodrow wilson
August Heckscher August 26, 1848 – April 26, 1941 was a German-born American capitalist and philanthropist


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 21 Philanthropy
  • 3 Personal life
    • 31 Descendants
  • 4 References

Early lifeedit

Heckscher was born in Hamburg, Germany He was the son of Johan Gustav Wilhelm Moritz Heckscher 1797-1865 and Marie Antoinette Brautigan


In 1867, Heckscher immigrated to the United States He initially worked in his cousin Richard Heckscher's coal mining operation as a laborer, studying English at night Several years later he formed a partnership with his cousin under the name of Richard Heckscher & Company The firm was eventually sold to the Reading Railroad Heckscher then turned to zinc mining and organized the Zinc and Iron Company, becoming vice-president and general manager In 1897, it was consolidated with other zinc and iron companies into the New Jersey Zinc Company with Heckscher serving as the general manager


Heckscher eventually became a multimillionaire and a philanthropist He started The Heckscher Foundation for Children and created playgrounds in lower Manhattan and in Central Park The Heckscher Playground in Central Park is the park's largest playground He created Heckscher Park in the town of Huntington and created the Heckscher Museum of Art The State of New York purchased nearly 1,500 acres in East Islip with money donated by Heckscher to create Heckscher State Park, made famous for hosting summer concerts for 35 years of the New York Philharmonic

Personal lifeedit

In 1881, he married Anna P Atkins 1859-19241 Together, they were the parents of:2

  • Gustave Maurice Heckscher 1884-1967, who became an aviation pioneer and California real estate investor in the early 1900s
  • Antoinette Heckscher 1888-1965, who married British aristocrat and architect Capt Oliver Sylvain Baliol Brett, 3rd Viscount Esher, FRIBA, FRSL, MBE, GBE, son of Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher

In 1930, he married Virginia Henry Curtiss ca 1885-1941 at Croton-on-Hudson She was the widow of Edwin Burr Curtiss, of A G Spalding Bros and was 27 years younger than Heckscher23

August Heckscher died on April 26, 1941 in Mountain Lake, Florida45 and left his widow $10,000 and all his real estate6 She died on July 11, 19412 No legatee could be found that was named in her will and the probate court declared an earlier copy of the will as valid7


His grandson August Heckscher II 1913–1997, served as President John F Kennedy's Special Consultant on the Arts, the first White House cultural adviser, 1962–63, as well New York City Mayor John Lindsay's Parks Commissioner, 1967, amongst other highlights in a wide-ranging career and life8


  1. ^ Yearbook of the Encyclopedia Americana Encyclopedia Americana 1942 He was twice married, to Anna Atkins in 1881, who died in 1924, and to Mrs Virginia Henry Curtiss in 1930  
  2. ^ a b c "Mrs A Heckscher, Philanthropist, 66 Widow of Real Estate Man Dies in Penthouse Home in Office Building" New York Times July 11, 1941 Retrieved 2009-11-27 
  3. ^ "Heckscher, 81, Weds Mrs V H Curtiss, 55 Philanthropist Quietly Married to Widow of E B Curtiss at Croton Last Wednesday Bride, a Close Friend of His First Wife, Has Been Associated With Him in Child Welfare Work Wed in Parsonage Born in Hamburg in 1848" New York Times July 8, 1930 Retrieved 2009-11-25 August Heckscher, millionaire real estate operator and philanthropist, and Mrs Virginia Henry Curtiss of New York and Greenwich, Conn, were married last Wednesday in Croton-on-Hudson, but their marriage did not become known to any but their closest friends until  
  4. ^ "Heckscher Dies, Noted Financier Came to U S as Immigrant Worked First as Laborer Became Philanthropist Philanthropist Dies At 92 Was Long Ill" Associated Press in the Hartford Courant April 27, 1941 Retrieved 2009-11-25 August Heckscher, 92-years-old New York capitalist and philanthropist, died at his Mountain Lake home here today after a long illness 
  5. ^ "August Heckscher Dies In Sleep At 92 Philanthropist, Real Estate and Steel Operator Was in Florida Home Philanthropist Dead August Heckscher Dies In Sleep At 92" New York Times April 27, 1941 Retrieved 2009-11-28 August Heckscher, real estate and steel operator, banker and philanthropist, died at his Winter home at Mountain Lake, near here, at 2:40 P M today Death came suddenly in his sleep He was 92 years old In July of 1930, at the age of 81, he married Mrs Virginia Henry Curtiss,  
  6. ^ "Heckscher Estate Is Left To Family; Widow Gets Realty, $10,000 Half Interest in Residue Shared With Son No Gifts Go To Charity Philanthropist Explains These Were Made During Life Cash Bequests $28,000" New York Times May 4, 1941 Retrieved 2009-11-28 Members of the family of August Heckscher, real estate operator and philanthropist, will receive the greater part of his estate, it became known yesterday when his will was filed in Surrogate's Court Mr Heckscher, who was 92 years old, died on April 26 at Mountain Lake, Fla 
  7. ^ "No Heckscher Kin Found Executor Seeks Earlier Will to Dispose of Estate Residue" New York Times July 19, 1941 Retrieved 2009-11-28 When the will of Mrs Virginia Henry Curtiss Heckscher, widow of August Heckscher, the philanthropist, was filed for probate in Surrogate's Court yesterday,  
  8. ^ Pace, Eric April 7, 1997 "August Heckscher, 83, Dies; Advocate for Parks and Arts" New York Times Retrieved 2009-11-25 August Heckscher, a Parks Commissioner under Mayor John V Lindsay who was long active in public affairs and as a writer, died on Saturday at New York Hospital He was 83 and lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan The cause was heart failure, which he suffered after being admitted to the hospital because he had been having chest pains, his family said 

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