Abraham Kingsley Macomber (1874-1955)

A. Kingsley Macomber, F.R.G.S., American Racehorse Owner, of Poissy, France

Associated Houses

Rancho Cienega de Los Paicines


Chateau Vanderbilt


He was born at Morristown, New Jersey, and grew up in Pasadena, California. At the age of 20 in 1894, Macomber was invited to join an expedition led by the adventurer Frederick Russell Burnham to explore and map potential mining reserves in what would become Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). They got caught up in local hostilities and escaped a massacre before being surrounded at the Siege of Bulawayo. They held off their attackers for two months until they were rescued by the British Army. Leaving Africa for London, he was awarded as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He returned to the States in 1896 and in 1899 married the oil heiress Myrtle Harkness.

In 1902, he co-founded and was the first President of the Los Angeles Trust Company. Having earlier prospected and later held mining interests in New Mexico, he moved into real estate with Henry Huntington and William Staats, developing Oak Knoll between Pasadena and San Marino. In the following year (1906) he bought Rancho Paicines in California, and invested heavily in cattle breeding and thoroughbred racehorses.

In 1918, he and Myrtle moved their primary residence to France to continue their passion for thoroughbreds and racing, winning several major trophies. They lived between Paris and the Chateau Vanderbilt at Carrières-sous-Poissy. From 1926 to 1928, he was President of the American Hospital of Paris. In 1931, he commissioned the statue of Admiral Paul de Grasse at the Trocadero Palace in Paris, and he later sponsored the A. K. Macomber Tennis Tournament in Monte-Carlo. When "King" Macomber died at Cannes, Sports Illustrated, hailed him as, "the undisputed head of American society in Europe". He died without children and his widow remarried the colorful Ilhamy Hussein.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 23/05/2020 and last updated on 24/05/2020.