Flora Payne
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Flora Payne
Flora Payne
Born(1841-07-05)July 5, 1841
DiedFebruary 5, 1893(1893-02-05) (aged 51)
William Collins Whitney
(m. 1869; her death 1893)
Children5
Parent(s)Mary Perry Payne
Henry B. Payne
RelativesSee Whitney family

Flora Payne Whitney (January 25, 1842 - February 5, 1893)[1] was an American socialite and philanthropist, originally from Cleveland, Ohio who moved to New York City and married into the Whitney family. She was the daughter of Henry B. Payne, a U.S. Senator, and the wife of William Collins Whitney, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy.

Early life

Flora Payne was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 25, 1842. She was the eldest daughter of Mary (née Perry) Payne (1818-1895) and U.S. Senator Henry B. Payne of Ohio[2] Among her siblings was Nathan P. Payne, who became the mayor of Cleveland, Oliver Hazard Payne, who did not marry and later served as treasurer of the Standard Oil Company.[1]

She received an excellent education "in which artistic accomplishments were not lacking. Her love of music was instinctive and she developed talent in that direction of a high order."[1]

Society life

In 1892, Flora and her husband were included in Ward McAllister's "Four Hundred", purported to be an index of New York's best families led by Mrs. Astor, as published in The New York Times.[3] Conveniently, 400 was the number of people that could fit into Mrs. Astor's ballroom.[4][5] Reportedly, few women "in her station in life have enjoyed to so complete an extent the cordial, friendly esteem of all classes of people. By her gentle, womanly graces she endeared herself to every one who enjoyed the privilege of her acquaintance. She bore the responsibilities of social leadership with appropriate dignity, and yet with a tactfulness that was exquisite."[1]

While her husband was serving as the Secretary of the Navy, she became close friends with President Cleveland's wife, the former Frances Folsom. When Flora's "little girl was born" in 1887, "it was the gracious lady of the White House who suggested the name of Dorothy, which was bestowed upon the babe."[1] After they left Washington, the Whitney's split their time between New York City, Lenox, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island (where they bought the former residence of William R. Travers).[1]

Personal life

On October 13, 1869, she was married William Collins Whitney, a friend and Yale classmate of her brother Oliver. Whitney's parents were Brigadier General James Scollay Whitney and Laurinda (née Collins) Whitney, a descendant of Plymouth governor William Bradford. William's older brother was industrialist Henry Melville Whitney, president of the Metropolitan Steamship Company, and later founder of the Dominion Coal Company and Dominion Iron and Steel Company. His sister, Laurinda Collins "Lily" Whitney married Charles T. Barney, who became the president of the Knickerbocker Trust Company.[6] Another sister, Susan Collins Whitney, married prominent attorney Henry F. Dimock. Together, the Whitneys had five children who lived beyond infancy:

After a three week illness, Flora died on February 5, 1893, at age fifty-two, at her home in New York City (which had been purchased for her by her brother Oliver).[1] Upon her death, The New York Times wrote that "the grief of her death occasions is felt far beyond the circle of her personal friendships and acquaintance, and beyond the communities in which her social prominence in girlhood and married life had been attained."[15] After a funeral at St. Bartholomew's Church at Madison Avenue and 44th Street, she was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.[16] The pallbearers at her funeral were former (and future president) Grover Cleveland, Cornelius Vanderbilt, former Gov. George Peabody Wetmore, E. Randolph Robinson, Hamilton McKown Twombly, George H. Bend, George G. Haven, Thomas F. Cushing, Buchanan Winthrop, and Edward A. Wickes.[17] Flora's estate, valued at approximately $3,000,000, was left entirely to her husband through a will executed five days before her death.[18]

Two years later, William Whitney married Edith Sibyl Randolph (née May), the widow of Capt. Arthur Randolph. He acquired for her a residence at Fifth Avenue and 68th Street in New York City, and commissioned McKim, Mead & White to do a $3.5 million renovation of the house. Whitney, who at the time of his death was one of the largest landowners in the eastern United States,[19] died on February 2, 1904,[20] and was also interred at Woodlawn.[21]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "DEATH OF MRS. WHITNEY SHE PASSED AWAY AT 2:55 O'CLOCK THIS MORNING. THE WIFE OF THE EX-SECRETARY HAD BEEN ILL FOR THE LAST THERE WEEKS AND FINALLY SUCCUMBED TO HEART DISEASE AGGRAVATED BY A COMPLICATION OF TROUBLES -- THE RECORD OF HER LIFE" (PDF). The New York Times. February 5, 1893. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Newspaper Enterprise Association (1914). The World Almanac & Book of Facts. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 662. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ McAllister, Ward (16 February 1892). "THE ONLY FOUR HUNDRED | WARD M'ALLISTER GIVES OUT THE OFFICIAL LIST. HERE ARE THE NAMES, DON'T YOU KNOW, ON THE AUTHORITY OF THEIR GREAT LEADER, YOU UNDER- STAND, AND THEREFORE GENUINE, YOU SEE" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Keister, Lisa A. (2005). Getting Rich: America's New Rich and How They Got That Way. Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780521536677. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ Eric Homberger, Mrs. Astor's New York. Money and Social Power in a Gilded Age, pp. 218-219. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
  6. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. II, p. 407. New York: James T. White & Company, 1899. Reprint of 1891 edition.
  7. ^ Times Wide World (27 October 1930). "H.P. WHITNEY DIES AT 58 OF PNEUMONIA; ILL ONLY A FEW DAYS; Sportsman and Financier Succumbs Unexpectedly at His Fifth Avenue Home. CAUGHT COLD ON TUESDAY His Wife, the Former Gertrude Vanderbilt, and Their Three Children at Bedside. | HE INHERITED A FORTUNE | Built Up Vast Properties and Became One of Nation's Richest Men-- Famed for Racing Stables. One of America's Richest Men. H.P. WHITNEY DIES AT 58 OF PNEUMONIA Heir to Wealth and Prestige. Guggenheim Guided His Start. Known Also as Dog Fancier. Many Concerns Now Merged". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Mrs. H.P. Whitney, sculptor, Is Dead". The New York Times. April 18, 1942. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ "Mrs. Almeric H. Paget Dies. Former Miss Pauline Whitney of New York Expires at Esher, Eng.", The New York Times, November 23, 1916.
  10. ^ "PAYNE WHITNEY DIES SUDDENLY AT HOME | Financier, 51, Stricken With Indigestion in Tennis Game at Manhasset, L.I. | WIFE SPEEDS TO HIM IN VAIN | He Succumbs in 25 Minutes - Wealth Put at $100,000,000 -- Noted as Sportsman". The New York Times. 26 May 1927. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ "MRS. PAYNE WHITNEY DIES IN HOSPITAL, 68 | As Head of Greentree Stable Was Leading Woman Owner of the American Turf | WON DERBY IN 1931, 1942 | Former Helen Hay, Daughter Ex-Secretary of State - Husband Left $178,000,000". The New York Times. 25 September 1944. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ Times, Special To The New York (5 February 1902). "THE WHITNEY-HAY WEDDING". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "Oliver Whitney". www.thepeerage.com. The Peerage. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ "Dorothy Elmhirst, a Founder of New Republic, Dies". The New York Times. December 16, 1968. Retrieved 2008. London, Dec. 15--Mrs. Dorothy Payne Whitney Straight Elmhirst, philanthropist, pioneer in progressive education and suffragist, died last night at Dartington Hall near ...
  15. ^ "MRS. WHITNEY" (PDF). The New York Times. February 6, 1893. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ "MRS. WHITNEY'S FUNERAL. SERVICES TO BE HELD THIS MORNING IN ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S CHURCH" (PDF). The New York Times. February 7, 1893. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ "FUNERAL OF MRS. WHITNEY MANY SYMPATHETIC FRIENDS ATTENDED THE CEREMONY. FLORAL OFFERINGS IN GREAT PROFUSION AND OF THE RAREST BEAUTY -- TENNYSON'S "CROSSING THE BAR" SUNG -- THE BURIAL PLACE AT WOODLAWN MADE LOVELY" (PDF). The New York Times. February 8, 1893. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "MRS. WILLIAM C. WHITNEY'S WILL BY ITS PROVISIONS MR. WHITNEY RECEIVES HER ENTIRE ESTATE" (PDF). The New York Times. February 16, 1893. Retrieved 2019.
  19. ^ Klepper, Michael; Gunther, Michael (1996), The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates--A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Present, Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, p. xiii, ISBN 978-0-8065-1800-8, OCLC 33818143
  20. ^ "WILLIAM C. WHITNEY PASSES AWAY Most of His Family at His Deathbed. Peritonitis and Blood Poisoning Set in After a Severe Attack of Appendicitis -- He Will Be Buried from Grace Church" (PDF). The New York Times. February 3, 1904. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ "WILLIAM C. WHITNEY LAID IN HIS TOMB Great Throng of Distinguished Mourners at Grace Church. Bishop Doane Assists Rector, and ex-President Cleveland a Pall Bearer -- Wagon Loads of Flowers" (PDF). The New York Times. February 6, 1904. Retrieved 2019.

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