William Backhouse Astor (1792-1875)

William Backhouse Astor Sr., "The Landlord of New York"

Associated Houses

Astor Mansion




William B. Astor House

Lafayette Place, New York City

His elder brother was not cut out for business which made William his father's protégé. He was sent to Germany for his education before entering the China trade. However, it was in real estate that his talents lay and he significantly expanded on the family's holdings in Manhattan, becoming known as "The Landlord of New York". He also married into New York aristocracy which immediately elevated the Astor family from the realms of upstarts to established members of New York society. In 1867, an article appeared in the Galaxy listing the ten wealthiest men in New York. He came top of the list with a fortune estimated at $16,114,000 which was over eight million more than the man who came in second (William C. Rhinelander).
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 01/10/2018 and last updated on 09/01/2023.
Image Courtesy of the National Trust at Cliveden, Public Domain.