13 Madison Avenue

Manhattan, New York

Completed in 1850, it was partly built when it was purchased that year by John David Wolfe (1792-1872) who subsequently finished it. Having made a fortune in the hardware business, he retired here with his wife Dorothea Ann Lorillard (1798-1866), dividing their time between here and The Doric Mansion at Throgg's Neck. Their brownstone dominated the corner at East 24th Street and after Mrs Wolfe died here in 1866 John was joined here by his only surviving child, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, who acted both as his companion and helped him dispatch his liberal and generous charity....

This house is best associated with...

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, of 13 Madison Avenue: "Not Interested in Matrimony"


David Wolfe Bishop

David W. Bishop, of New York & "Interlaken" Lenox, Massachusetts


Florence (Field) Parsons

Mrs Florence Van Corltandt (Field) Bishop, Parsons


Cortlandt Field Bishop

C.F. Bishop, of New York City & Ananda Hall, Lenox, Massachusetts


Catharine inherited the house in 1872 and she continued her father's legacy of extraordinary philanthropy. She filled the house with many of the 140-paintings that she would famously donate to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Aside from paintings and art treasures from Europe, she ensured it was also filled both with guests and, "the most beautiful flowers all winter". She divided her time here, her parents' country home at Throgg's Neck and the house with which she is best associated at Newport, Vinland.

Catharine died in 1887 and left the house, fully furnished, to her first cousin and principal heir, David Wolfe Bishop (1834-1900), who moved in with his wife, Florence Van Cortlandt Field (1851-1922). After their son's, Cortlandt F. Bishop's marriage in 1899 to Amy Bend - who two years before had been engaged to the considerably older William Kissam Vanderbilt - he and his new wife moved next door to No. 11 but moved back into No. 13 when Cortlandt's father died the following year. His widowed mother, Florence, was remarried after just a year (1901) to John Edward Parsons, moving into his home at 30 East 36th Street. By 1903, Cortlandt and Amy had commissioned Ernest Flagg to build them a new home at 15 East 67th Street and No 13 was demolished.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 22/10/2021 and last updated on 22/11/2023.


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