William Bayard Cutting Jr. (1878-1910)

W. Bayard Cutting Jr., Secretary to the U.S. Ambassador at London, England

Associated Houses

Ruth Brown House



Great River, Islip

He was born in New York City and grew up between his parents brownstone at 24 East 72nd Street (where Consuelo Vanderbilt's wedding reception was held in 1895) and their magnificent country estate on Long Island, Westbrook, today's Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park. He graduated from Harvard and became the, "quiet, clever, chronically unwell" secretary to the American Ambassador (Joseph Choate) at the Court of St. James in London. He was possessed of a, "ceaseless intellectual curiosity" and had a natural talent as a linguist. After his marriage to Lady Sybil Cuffe in 1901 (the first Englishwoman of title to marry an American) they travelled extensively before settling in St. Moritz, Switzerland (1905). A year or two afterwards they moved to Milan where Bayard was the Deputy U.S. Consul. A new posting took them to Tangier in Morocco in 1909 but he resigned within a year in favor of a lectureship on British Colonial Government at his alma mater, Harvard. While on research before returning to the United States he contracted pneumonia in Egypt and died within days.

His widow moved to Italy and bought the historic Villa Medici near Florence where she lived with their daughter who became a talented author. Whenever he came to stay in New York, he lived with his father at 24 East 72nd Street. His only child was the talented author, Iris Origo, heir to her grandfather's eccentric cousin, Bayard Brown, "the millionaire hermit of the Essex coast". 
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 24/01/2019 and last updated on 18/08/2022.
Edith Wharton (2013) by Hermione Lee