Stanford White (1853-1906)

Stanford White, Architect, of McKim, Mead & White, New York

Associated Houses

Whitney Mansion

871 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan

The Manse

Old Westbury



Harbor Hill


Mills Mansion


Astor Courts


Joseph Pulitzer Mansion




He was born in New York City and graduated from the University of New York. He studied architecture in the offices of Charles D. Gambrill and H.H. Richardson. He became a senior partner in the celebrated architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White that designed so many of the most decadent Beaux-Arts mansions and public buildings during New York's Gilded Age. Among the partners, it was Stanford White who undertook the many domestic commissions from the wealthiest of Gilded Age America. He was considered to be the arbiter of good taste, but he was also the same man who is remembered for being the host at the infamous 'Pie Girl' event: "A huge pastry was brought in, the waiters chanted 'Six-a-song-of-Sixpence,' and at the punch line, the pie opened, a flock of canaries flew out, followed by a sixteen-year old girl, swathed in black veiling. The press castigated the evening as a bacchanalian revel".

In 1884, he married Bessie, daughter of John Lawrence Smith, of Smithtown, Long Island, Member of the New York Assembly. They had one son, Larry, and lived between 121 East 21st Street in New York City and "Box Hill" on Long Island. In 1906, in a scandal that shook Gilded Age society to its core, White was shot dead by a jealous husband, Harry Kendall Thaw (son of a Pittsburgh railroad baron) for seducing another sixteen-year old girl, Harry Thaw's showgirl wife. Thaw was acquitted on the grounds of insanity.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 02/10/2018 and last updated on 27/02/2024.
Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (2013), by Hugo Vickers