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Series III. Writings by and about Brooke Astor, 1915-2005, inclusive


1 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series primarily includes writings by Brooke Astor, ranging from typescripts of short essays, poetry and fiction, which may or may not have been published, to works in their published form, such as her autobiography "Footprints." The series also holds some of Astor's personal writings including diaries of 1915-17, a record of dinner parties for 1937-41, and journal entries for travel in 1962 (a cruise along the Italian coast) and 1995 (brief entries for a trip in Europe). Transcripts of some of Astor's public remarks and interviews of her are in the series. The series closes with some articles and other printed/published works about Brooke Astor. The container list provides more details about the content.


The series is arranged with writings by Brooke Astor followed by interview transcripts and articles written about her. The writings by Astor are arranged in rough chronological order.

Diaries, 1915-1917(?), inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 48 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

3 typescripts of diary entries. One typescript of 13 pages dates from 1915 and a second typescript of 36 pages dates from 1917 (though one of the 1917 references is altered to read 1918 casting some doubt as to the actual year). The 1915 entries seems to refer to events in or around Washington, D.C. and the 1917/18 entries to Santiago. The entries center on personal and social concerns. The third diary entry dates from 1916, but is a typescript version from 2000. The entry centers on Brooke Russell kissing a boy and her thoughts about that, at the time and with a 2000 introductory comment about the difference in "falling in love" between 1916 and 2000.

Fiction writings?, 1930s?, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 49 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

2 pieces that seem to be works of fiction, titled "Crepescule" and "An Emotional Experience." Authorship noted as Brooke Marshall.

Drawings by Brooke Russell, 1930s?, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 6, Folder: 3 (Material Type: Graphic Materials)

Scope and Contents

Two sheets of drawings: "Seen on the stage," a series of drawings of performers, initialed R.B.R, noted on back as Chap. 6; "Types of Greenwich Village," a series of captioned portraits, none initialed, noted on back as Ch. 11 or 12.

"Scratch a Russian", circa 1940

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 50 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Authored by Brooke Marshall, the piece can be dated by its opening which refers to Germany and Russia as allies. The piece, though, primarily tells a story in the first person dating from Peking (Beijing) in 1913-14; the context indicates that person cannot be Brooke and so may be fictional.

"The Joy of Living", 1930s?, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 51 (Material Type: Text)

Food-related, 1930s-1940s?, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 52 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

2 versions of an essay on buffet suppers, one titled "Design for Dining" and another "Food for Thought" with recipes.

"Dinner party record", 1937-1941, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 53 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Scope and Contents

Gift to Brooke from "Bud" (Charles Marshall) at Christmas 1936. Volume for recording dinner events, with plan of table, guests, menu, etc. Most pages have entries. Two loose sheets with seafood recipes are at the front of the volume.

"Values", 1960s?

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 54 (Material Type: Text)

Poetry and anecdote, undated, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 55 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Several short poems, one handwritten. Two printed poems are noted as having been written at ages 14 and 15. Also one fictional anecdote titled "A Bridge Game," with a mix of bridge references and African-American vernacular.

Reminiscences, undated, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 56 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

3 pieces of personal memories (1 delivered as public remarks), one brief paragraph about Ronald Reagan, and one piece about Winterthur and Harry Dupont.

"D.S. Marandis" (original journal), 1962 July, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 6, Folder: 6 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Scope and Contents

Handwritten journal of travel from Venice, along Italian coast, ending at Monte Carlo, on board chartered ship Marandis. Inscribed by the ship's commanding officer. Guest signatures at front of volume, including Prince and Princess of Monaco.

"D.S. Marandis" (typescript), 1962 July

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 57 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Typescript of the original travel journal.

"The Cult of Ugliness", 1967 November

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 58 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Original title "Who killed beauty, and why?"

Speeches, 1973, 1976, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 59 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Scope and Contents

Program, remarks introducing Astor, and Astor's remarks on the occasion of her receiving the Lotus Club's Medal of Merit (1973). 4th draft of a speech for the China Institute.

Toasts to/from Vartan Gregorian, 1983, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 60 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Astor's toast to Gregorian on his second anniversary at New York Public Library, with an ode by Gregorian in response, signed by him. Also, a short paragraph, possibly for a public remark, about the founding of the library by John Jacob Astor.

Dogs, 1980s-1991, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 61 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Drafts of an article about Brooke Astor's 1930s dog, Fafner, with the final form as published in Home & Garden (1991). Also short pieces on the Kissinger's dog (Tyler), Bill Blass's dogs (Kate and Bruce), Barbara Walters's dog (Sale Goose), and Annette Reed's dog (Pickle).

Remarks at the Seraphic Society Luncheon, 1986 May 3

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 62 (Material Type: Text)

Writings, 1987, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 63 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: An introduction for Thames and Hudson's publication of illustrations from "Bon Ton"; "The Re-Cycled Reader" for Home & Garden; and a paragraph "What a tree means to me" for Fairchild Publication's "W."

Writings on etiquette, 1988, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 64 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

A set of writings that seem to be intended for a small work on etiquette. Topics are: "Behavior at a dinner," "How men have changed," "Trustees," "Introducing people," Walking on a street," and "Don't get beyond yourself."

Writings, 1988, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 65 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

4 pieces: Statement in her capacity as president of the Vincent Astor Foundation in support of the landmark designation of City and Suburban York Avenue Estates; a comment on the New York Public Library's treasures for the New York Times Book Review; comments on "strapless formals" and comments on the seasons, likely for Home & Garden.

Writings, 1989, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 2, Folder: 66 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: "Weddings"; "Dr. Livingston, I presume" [concerning marital infidelity]; and "Why I love New York."

Writings, 1991, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 1 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

2 pieces: An untitled item on the theme of personal discipline; and memories of the St. Regis Hotel, formerly owned by Vincent Astor.

Writings, 1994, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 2 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

2 pieces: "Sex" or "Hello Sex, What are you doing today?" and "Benefits" or "Benefits: Do let's not spread them too far."

Reminiscences, 1995, 1996, 1998, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 3 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: a reminiscence of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the catalogue of the exhibition "A tribute to Jackie"; a paragraph on Peggy Rockefeller for a book being prepared by the family; and a poem celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary of Anne and Brendan Gill.

Writings, 1995, 1999, 2000, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 4 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

3 pieces: an untitled dialogue between two friends discussing the prior night's dinner party they attended; "Refined flirting"; and "Death or divorce."

Diary, 1995, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 5 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Scope and Contents

Includes just a few days from September to October. Starts in Baden-Baden and concludes in New York. Just a few of the pages have entries.

"Footprints", 1980

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 6 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Brooke Astor's published autobiography.

"Questions and Some Answers", undated

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 7 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Slip-cased, printed volume of poetry by Brooke Astor.

Published articles authored by Brooke Astor, 1927, 1980s-1990s, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 8 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Scope and Contents

Holds one "letter about books" printed in Vogue in 1927, plus several articles by Brooke Astor published in magazines in the 1980s-90s.

Transcript of "Mrs. Vincent Astor in conversation with The Reverend Jesse Jackson", 1992, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 9 (Material Type: Text)

"Transcript of interview with Brooke Russell Astor '19", 1997, 2005, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 10 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Interview conducted by Dr. Elisabeth Griffith in connection with the oral history program of the Kathleen Galvin Johnson '53 Archives, The Madeira School. Interview held on November 7, 1997. Folder also holds a letter from 2005 to Anthony Marshall inquiring about the possibility of Brooke attending the school's Centennial Parade.

"They rolled out the red carpet: Brooke Astor interviewed by Roxana Robinson", 2000

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 11 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Interview published in the Lincoln Center Theater Review, Fall 2000, number 26.

"Brooke Astor, Laureate of the Library", circa 1990

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 12 (Material Type: Text)

Scope and Contents

Typescript of remarks by Barbaralee Diamonstein.

"A birthday for Brooke", 1992, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 13 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Scope and Contents

3 copies (of 4000) of a booklet printed under the auspices of the Citizens Committee for New York City on the occasion of Brooke Astor's 90th birthday. Includes a biographical sketch by Brendan Gill and several photographs from across her lifetime.

Magazine and other printed articles about Brooke Astor, 1966-1990s, inclusive

Offsite-Box: 3, Folder: 14 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Scope and Contents

In addtion to articles, holds a list of articles published about Brooke Astor from 1982 to 1993.

New York Times Magazine article (2 copies)., 1991 November 17

Offsite-Box: 6, Folder: 5 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024