I mean really Old Money. What families are still living off what their robber baron ancestor stole generations ago?\
Not Johnny come lately trash like the Kennedys or the Trumps or the Bushes, I''m talking fortunes that pre-date the Civil War and are still more or less in tact. And I''m not talking about someone who is worth a few million because they never sold the family farm (or plantation), I''m talking steel, railroads, and timber--Ben Cartwright for openers.\
There''s the DuPonts and the Astors, but I''m coming up with a pretty short list. Who else is out there? Or have time, taxation, poor breeding and divorces taken their toll on even the richest old families?
the Grimaldis, Borgheses, Windsors, Rothschilds, Bourbons, Viscontis, etc., etc., etc.
When I think of robber barons, I think of the post-Civil-War era, which would give you the Mellons, among others.
There''s a saying: Old money is no money.\
Old money families don''t work or have careers obviously, and families do get larger through the generations. The money dissipates and runs out.\
The whole "old money/new money" distinction is often about this very thing. "Old money" is often jealous of the liquid and accessible viability of "new money," so distinctions of how and where and when the money was made--along with distinctions in class and taste--are highlighted. \
The truth is that "old money" and the cat lady are often one and the same.\
Horses are bred. People are not. A truly revolting phrase when applied to people in this context.
There are old money families with names no one would recognize because that is the way the families want it. Public family names might be Johnson of J&J. But if you really know the inside influential lines of heritage you would know they are not looking to be known.
I know a guy from old money, and while his family is rich by most peoples standards, they are jealous of the new money folks...Bill Gates or the hedge fund guys. They are rich...but have no where near the wealth of new money types.\
It tends to dwindle after so many generations.
That''s true, R3. A lot of old money families in the UK have castles and land they can barely maintain anymore.
Seems like there''s a good-looking Teddy Roosevelt V running around Manhattan. Bet he''s not hurting for cash.
Old money does not last because it gets divided up among the many descendants.
It''s true, as R3 and R6 say. There''s a hint of "Grey Gardens" to some of these people. \
What takes the most toll is the simple fact that the heirs to a fortune do not grow up psychologically hungry -- you know, motivated to get scrappy enough to make money from a small start. New money becomes old money becomes gone money, in this way. \
I work for an institution that was founded on old money, and the founder''s descendants today can only make piddling gifts; the place is surviving due to an influx of new-money donors who care about its survival.
Cleveland Amory wrote "Who Killed Society?" - which goes into the FFVs (First Families of Virginia), Mayflower descendants and the lot. Lots of what others have said here, he also says, he includes some very obscure names. Money and power gets diluted - people no longer have "power marriages" as they once did.
Where the Lowells talk only to the Cabots. And the Cabots talk only to God.
The Rockefeller Brothers Trust kept the boys and their families in the green far longer than most fortunes. %0D\
Of course, the boys did pretty well for themselves, so I imagine that fortune is still fairly large.
No one has mentioned Vanderbilts?
From the Wikipedia page on the Vanderbilt Family:
"Present-day economist John Kenneth Galbraith said that several generations of Vanderbilts showed both the talent for acquiring money and the dispensing of it in unmatched volume, adding that they dispensed their wealth for self-gratification and very often did it foolhardily.
Confirmation as to the validity of Galbraith's views is that only forty-eight years after the death of Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of his direct descendants died penniless. Within seventy years of his passing, the last of the ten great Vanderbilt Fifth Avenue mansions in New York City had been torn down. In 1973, the first Vanderbilt family reunion took place at Vanderbilt University.
The family's modern legacy includes Vanderbilt University as well as Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, which runs alongside Grand Central Terminal, the New York City rail hub built by the Vanderbilt family.
Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt written by distant cousin Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, was published in 1989."
I worked with this wacky woman who was descended from John Smith. She was completely bonkers. She tried to way too hard to be ''hip'' and had an eating disorder.\
She did her "I''m a artist in NYC" thing for about 10 years, couldn''t make it here, then moved back home to marry some other wealthy Wasp.
The DuPonts were still so rich in 1990 that they and their inlaws were 32 of the Forbes 400. This notion that old money dissipates is not too bright. It is more likely to die out from lack of issue than dissipate from too much issue.%0D\
Where now the Girards, Biddles, etc. etc. etc. More of them died out than crapped out.
Very insular community. Private clubs, not mixing with "the masses."%0D\
They will always live "above the masses" although not in the Mega Mansions with 5 expensive cars in the driveway.%0D\
They want people to know they have $$$, just not how much.%0D\
The Vanderbilt Hotel on the west side of Park Avenue from 33rd-34th Streets is now a co-op, minus awnings.
R14, you mean John Smith from the Jamestown days? I don''t think he was ever "old money"...or do you mean Joseph Smith of the Mormon Cult?%0D\
I think also that once a family fortune starts to move down to the next generation, some of it goes with the females, who marry into other family lines. When you get enough generations going forward where the term "Old Money" would apply, it wouldn''t any longer apply to a specific surname any longer, but many.
Plus, R16, some old money descendants hired smart investors, and kept the money going, regardless of the fact that these descendants were dandies.
[quote]Old money families don''t work or have careers obviously\
Actually, they almost invariably do.\
You''ve been watching way too much television.\
People from "old money" view those of similar backgrounds as ne''er-do-wells and lazy sods if they do not work.
As industrialists and financiers, the DuPonts would not really be considered "Old Money" in the sense I think the OP means, r16.\
And even so.. an example of one family which remained wealthy doesn''t really disprove the rule that money tends to dissipate.
"As industrialists and financiers, the DuPonts would not really be considered "Old Money"..."\
Uh, the DuPonts epitomize Industrialists from gunpowder to paints to publishing. Better check your history books.
Once in business with one of them....
Oh yes, and the DuPonts came here around 1800 after much 18th-century and earlier success in Europe.
WEHT to the Du Pont fellow that shot a wrestler that was living at his compound?\
Is he still around? Did he do any time?
[quote]it wouldn''t any longer apply to a specific surname any longer, but many.%0D\
If I got the money then it applies to my name! Like my ancestors, I am not to particular where it comes from, as long as I have it now.
The Harriman family is still going strong.
"This notion that old money dissipates is not too bright."%0D\
You''re the one who isn''t too bright.
I have a friend with a name that many of you would know. It''s been several generations, so certainly his share is nowhere near what previous generations had. I don''t exactly how much he has, but I know that it''s enough that he could have a fairly lavish life without having to work.%0D\
He does work, though. And while he has a very nice life, it''s not over the top at all. Most wouldn''t necessarily guess that there''s any money besides the money he earns. His attitude is that he enjoys working and he''d rather give his children the security of never having to worrry.%0D\
His brother is the exact opposite and has really fucked up his life. Partying, drugs, absurd spending, dropped out, the whole thing. My friend said that at this rate he will use up all his share pretty quickly. I don''t know his sister, but from what I understand, she''s pretty similar to my friend, living a relatively modest life with a husband who works and a few kids. %0D\
R30, I bet I know who that loser brother will turn to when he runs out of cash...
This is funny to me. I am-- by some standards anyway-- 'old money.' My last name is 'Busch' and I am a direct descendant of the beer empire Busches.
The money is pretty much gone within the family. It was stolen, squandered, and snorted. The family has a rich legacy of divorces, lawsuits, suicides, and murders. My grandmother was married six times.
My mother still throws the name around, even though I wish she wouldn't. It's definitely a recognized name in St. Louis. My own immediate family has very little money, mainly because my parents spent their lifetimes determined to have everyone think we were vastly better off than we really were. It was a mess.
As for me, I've never returned to St. Louis since leaving for boarding school in Connecticut many years ago (another insane family indulgence required for social appearances). Today I am an anonymous lower middle manager in a huge California company. I live in a cozy two-bedroom condo that has no view to speak of but which I adore anyway. And my guess is that I'm one of the few happy Busches of the last fifty years or so.
Are you also related to Charles Busch, R32?
always wanted to know if there was a connection
[quote]My last name is ''Busch'' and I am a direct descendant of the beer empire Busches.%0D\
Back in the late 40s, my grandparents were friends with an August Busch from your family. I think he was in his 40s at the time. %0D
There is no such thing as "Old Money" in America,dear
Some of the Busches still have money. August IV, who was CEO when the company got bought out by InBev, is still rolling in it. I have to think there''s more to his story. Supposedly the biggest pussyhound in the world, late 40s, married only briefly, no kids.
Well you''d be wrong R35, there is plenty of old money in the US, including Habsburgs. %0D\
The DuPonts, whose 2000 members still control many billions, were forced to divest their gunpowder companies in 1912 and their controlling interest in General Motors in 1957 but don''t weep for them: they were allowed to steal many German patents after World War I and World War II.%0D
[quote]Back in the late 40s, my grandparents were friends with an August Busch from your family. I think he was in his 40s at the time. %0D\
My partner''s grandparents knew Auggie/Gussie Busch.
When I was going to university in Montreal I met this cute super nice guy.%0D
No one really knew what he did for work but he was always traveling, wearing the best clothes and enjoying the finest things at 25yrs old.%0D
He belonged to a few private clubs and had many wealthy friends and they didn%E2%80%99t even seem to know how he earned his way.%0D
After a year I was invited for dinner at his place. He lived in a so so area in a condo, when I walked into his place I was floored.%0D
The place dripped money, art and furnishing. I swear he must have had at least 100 paintings in his place.%0D
When I pressed him about his wealth he mumbled that he had been lucky to have been born rich and made good investments.%0D
The thing that impressed me the most about him was that he was a really polite, kind, sweet guy that never put on any airs or was disrespectful to anyone, he was a real class act.%0D
Once it was my mom%E2%80%99s birthday and I was having a hard time finding her a gift and money was tight.%0D
He called me and asked if I minded if he stopped by. He arrived at my place with this gift basket and told that he had received the basket and was going out of town for a few days. He said the stuff was going to go to waste, would I mind taking and using it or giving to someone. It was like I was doing him a favor.%0D
I was suspicious that the story wasn%E2%80%99t true and he had gotten the basket because he knew my situation. A day later when my mom was opening it she remarked how nice it was that I had gotten all her favorite items.%0D
I knew then he had the basket put together especially for my mom and it wasn%E2%80%99t something someone gave him. %0D
He would have made a good boyfriend but he was already with a guy.%0D
I believe part of the reasons the DuPonts are still going strong is that there''s a built in safeguard to the family trust. I you are a Dupont and you gain from the family trust, you''re children won''t Similarly, if your parents collected, you won''t. The wealth skips a generation, giving it time to "regenerate" as it were. IIRC, one of the DuPonts who was skipped was a big S.F. socialite who made sure to marry wealthy men. It''s said with her last husband (some dairy king), she made sure she and her sons got the largest part of his estate. Meanwhile, one of the man''s own sons wound up with nothing.
Many "old money" families do not lose their wealth. It just gets spread out over more and more individuals as the family tree expands.\
While not technically "old money," the Rockefeller family fortune is estimated to be as high as $100 billion.\
The trust from 1934 expires when the last of the fourth generation of J.D. Rockefeller''s descendants, know as "the Cousins," kicks the bucket. There are 24, and 20 or so are still alive.\
There is another trust established in the 50s.\
There are apparently something like 150 blood relatives of J.D. Rockefeller excluding the recent batches of new arrivals.\
In many other parts of the world, primogeniture helps to conserve family wealth. The oldest son, or sons in some cases, inherit the fortunes (as well as the titles, if any).\
Of course then it only takes one bad egg to destroy the fortune, but otherwise the wealth is preserved and hopefully expanded as it passes from one generation to the next.
[quote]Horses are bred. People are not. A truly revolting phrase when applied to people in this context.\
I know a woman (machine tool fortune) who admitted one night that she never loved her husband (mineral fortune) when she married him back in the 1940''s, but it was such a good match and both families were so in favor of it, that she went along with it. The combined fortune was 100 million plus, and the point of her story was that she had grown quite fond of him, even learned to love him, over the years. (Yes, she was pretty drunk when she spilled it to me.)\
Sorry, but if "breeding" doesn''t fit that situation I don''t know what else you would call it.
You need look no further than Anderson Cooper to see how far the Vanderbilts have fallen.
What''s wrong with Anderson Cooper? I''d be proud of him, if he were in my family.
My now dead ex of 20 years was a descendant of both Boston Brahmans and Dutch New Yorkers on his mother''s side of the family. She replenished the family fortune by marrying the chairman of the board of a major corporation. You probably wouldn''t recognize his last name. My ex taught history at a university in Boston. He belonged to a few expensive private Boston clubs created as a refuge for his sort. His friends had similar backgrounds They were insular and provincial.
What''s interesting is that we keep circling the DuPonts and a few others, and we''re not talking about all the families who have vast real estate holdings. Maybe we''re not talking about them because they don''t exist.\
When I was a kid, there was a family everyone knew was wealthy, and the local shorthand to describe their wealth was "they even own the downtown Woolworth building in Kansas City." I haven''t been to Kansas City lately, but I''m willing to bet that statement isn''t nearly as impressive today as it was in 1955.\
Just think of the fortunes lost on commercial buildings in places like Buffalo, Detroit and Pittsburgh in the last century. In fact, outside of maybe NY, Chicago, LA, and a handful of others, commercial real estate has been a great way to make quick money and a damned poor way of keeping it long term.
R46, some of the largest fortunes in and around NYC are those families (most of them Jewish) in commercial real estate. That''s where they make their millions/billions, then they diversify into other businesses.
Let''s talk about the evil ways these fuckers got their money. Financing world wars, colonialism, ripping off employees and generally just being horrible fuckheads. I hope that''s why they seem to have more misfortune and misery per capita. They deserve it.
R47, many of those real estate people are really mob lawyers hiding behind the real estate investments.%0D
The theory of inherited wealth is that you live on the interest from your investments, don''t ever dip into the principle or sell off your assets if at all possible, marry strategically to bring more money into the family without lowering its social status, and educate your children carefully so that they follow the same path as you. Since this goes against pretty much every idea that contemporary Americans live by, you can see why we don''t have many old money families.%0D\
A friend of mine who''s a lifelong New Yorker says that the old money rich there are more or less invisible. They don''t flash their money around or do things that would get themselves mentioned in the media.
>if "breeding" doesn''t fit that situation I don''t know what else you would call it.\
That''s a business merger. \
Breeding would be picking a spouse for your child based on their superior physical characteristics, overall temperament and resistance to disease.
r50 also describes the decline of the British monarchy with William''s choice of Kate.
The most beautiful woman marries the richest man in the village. Her children will receive every advantage in life. %0D\
The richest, most successful men marries the prettiest girl in the village. His children will inherit her genes and, presumably, her looks. %0D\
This is breeding. This is how it works.
[quote]The theory of inherited wealth is that you live on the interest from your investments, don''t ever dip into the principle or sell off your assets if at all possible, marry strategically to bring more money into the family without lowering its social status, and educate your children carefully so that they follow the same path as you. \
If you had a great estate to keep up and to hand down to later generations like the great British noble families do, I can see why people would take this approach; but why else would you possibly do it? Just to keep up the prestige of the family name for generations after you''re dead?
Lesbians breed all the time. The sperm bank gives them a list of donors and they pick the thin tall blond athletic ones with good science skills and no family history of disease. Breeding is alive and well.%0D
[quote]A friend of mine who''s a lifelong New Yorker says that the old money rich there are more or less invisible. They don''t flash their money around or do things that would get themselves mentioned in the media.\
Ah yes: the hilarious Datalounge theory of the REALLY rich people: they somehow live completely invisibly, and they stay in fabulous hotels that are hidden in major cities that no one else in the world has ever heard of, and live in fabulous mansions no one''s ever seen, because they are so superexclusive. And they send their children to colleges no one has heard of but which would be as prestigious as Harvard or Yale if anyone had ever heard of them, but no one ever has.
"The richest, most successful men marries the prettiest girl in the village." \
But that doesn''t happen very often. Rupert Murdoch married Wendy Deng, and Bill Gates married Melinda Gates. Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles.
G Gordon Liddy picked his wife for her genes.
[quote]Breeding would be picking a spouse for your child based on their superior physical characteristics, overall temperament and resistance to disease.\
25,000 years ago Moog the caveman got the most fertile wife in the tribe because he was the best hunter and brought back the most meat. Today we use bank balances instead, but the concept is still the same. Women still seek out the male with the most potential to be a good provider for her pups.
Remember the Blue Book?
They''re just not flashy R56. Gawdy wealth is distasteful and trashy. No need for mansions and sports cars when you''re filthy rich. There''s nothing to prove.
[quote] Women still seek out the male with the most potential to be a good provider for her pups.%0D\
If only this were really true. We wouldn''t have so many welfare queens and fatherless brats running around.
You seldom see really really rich driving fancy expensive cars. Almost the opposite as a decoy.
[quote] Confirmation as to the validity of Galbraith's views is that only forty-eight years after the death of Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of his direct descendants died penniless.%0D
I wouldn't call that confirmation.%0D
Cornelius had a strong belief that a fortune should be left almost in entirety to one promising male heir. He basically cut out all of his many kids except his son William. William significantly increased the fortune and became the richest man in the world at that time. Cornelius' wishes set a pattern of having a designated son who was main heir apparent and head of family (Gloria is the only child of the last such designated son), although no one else was as totally unequal about it as the Commodore. From the start Cornelius left many direct descendants largely to their own devices, and even when he was alive he expected his wife and her big brood to earn their own keep running an inn when the children were young and Cornelius was already rich.%0D
There was also a Vanderbilt who was disinherited on account of an elopement and the family had a couple of always going broke gambling addicts.
Anybody know anything about the Wetherills? They''re my people. Family lore has it that my great grandmother was disowned when she married far beneith her station (my great grandfather). Maybe I''d be rich right now if she made a better match. I don''t have any idea if there''s any money left--never had the motivation to do any research. I just know they were and old colonial family in Philadelphia who eventually became prominent industrialists.
[quote] 25,000 years ago Moog the caveman got the most fertile wife in the tribe because he was the best hunter and brought back the most meat. Today we use bank balances instead, but the concept is still the same. Women still seek out the male with the most potential to be a good provider for her pups.\
I''m glad you''re backing this up with hard facts and scientific data the way you are. Your expertise as a geneticist and a sociologist both is invaluable here.
Why President Reagan, I thought you had died. So happy you''re still alive and providing us with your useful knowledge of the way the world works.
Females, including hot ones, are also drawn to bad boys with or without money. Guys like struggling troubled artists inspire romantic thoughts and maternal desires to care for them. Funny guys attract women too.%0D\
Women are not all about big material providers.
[quote]Remember the Blue Book?\
No. What''s the Blue Book?
Huget Clark was in the news a few months ago. She is the elderly woman living in a hospital with massive estates that have been empty for years.
"you mean John Smith from the Jamestown days? I don''t think he was ever "old money"...or do you mean Joseph Smith of the Mormon Cult?"\
John Smith from Jamestown. The way this woman mentioned his name to everyone, we assumed she dropped his name because there was a connection to old money and her superior status..\
Her parents were certainly very wealthy, they wanted her to stay in whatever state she came from instead of moving to Manhattan to pursue a career as a fashion designer. Eventually, they got their wish, she married a suitable very wealthy guy, then probably started pumping out babies, if she got her eating disorder under control, that is..
I''m a friend of one of the Auchinclosses, one of THE Auchinclosses. He''s very down-to-earth and fun, but it''s clear that there''s something "different". He''s not odd, but it''s clear that he''s had everything he ever wanted.
R74...is it Jamie?
another DC queen
Understated old wealth makes most DLers moister than L''il Debbie snack cakes!
tell me about your Gram''s cottage in Newport.... again!!!
One of the Vanderbilts was a teacher of mine in high school.\
He said he had enough money that he could live a middle class lifestyle without working but would never be rich.
I read an article several years ago about the teardowns in Greenwich CT. How the hedge fund banksters would knock down the old historic mansions (which were plenty big) and build gigantic monstrosities. %0D\
They interviewed one "old money" type who remarked that while she had money, these new guys had unbelievable amounts of wealth.
One of Karl Rove''s chief deputies was an old money snob.
Most of the old Boston Brahmins remain Upper-middle class to wealthy, but none seem to have the "Fuck you rich" billions like some of the oil families have. %0D\
Many try to have careers in public service becoming governors, senators and working in the Diplomatic corps. %0D\
[quote]by: Where the Lowells talk only to the Cabots. And the Cabots talk only to God.\\treply 10\\t\
I thought it was The Lodges, not The Lowells?
What constitutes "fuck you" money in this modern age?
[quote] What constitutes "fuck you" money in this modern age?%0D\
Ask Rupert Murdoch, the Bass Brothers, the Waltons, the Hunts, the Mellon-Scaifes, the Kochs, the people on this list:
R56 made me laugh.%0D\
Talking about rich people is funny. On one hand, we want to believe that money doesn''t buy happiness, and can cite example after example to that effect.%0D\
Nevertheless, a lot of us would be willing to take the chance that it might just work out differently for us. %0D\
Certainly there is a point at which the amount of wealth you have is irrelevant to your happiness. If you have 5 million and are miserable, then it''s unlikely that you''ll wake up and be happy when you have 500 million.%0D\
Why is someone with huge amounts of money treated like a god? The worst thing you can be in the US is unsuccessful, i.e., poor.
[quote]What takes the most toll is the simple fact that the heirs to a fortune do not grow up psychologically hungry -- you know, motivated to get scrappy enough to make money from a small start. New money becomes old money becomes gone money, in this way%0D\
Exactly. Why would you strive to be more comfortable when you''ve already hit the jackpot?
True R86, I remember watching a documentary some years ago about young "society" kids. Ivanka Trump was featured along with one of the J & J kids and a few others I can''t remember. One of them said he took a job after college like all of his friends (something in finance, I think) and was making decent money--$70k or whatever. But it got harder and harder to get up in the morning an go to that job knowing that his trust paid him 10 times that amount.%0D\
BTW, Ivanka Trump doesn''t qualify as old money, but she did grow up filthy rich and traveled in those circles. She came off really well in this documentary, unlike all the other spoiled brats. I recall being impressed that, for a young woman, she really seemed to have her head on straight and to have ambition. She made it clear that her dad had no plans of handing her anything. She would have to earn her own way.
But she was able to get off the work elevator at the top floor instead of starting on the lower floors, R87.
I agree R88. I''m not saying she hasn''t had every advantage, but she''s definitely made the most of what she''s been given. The other trust fund babies profiled seemed to be lanquishing in their wealth, with no real direction or ambition. A lot had drug problems too.
>>Family lore has it that my great grandmother was disowned when she married far beneith her station (my great grandfather). Maybe I''d be rich right now if she made a better match. \
No. if she''d married differently. you''d likely not exist, unless she married well but still got pregnant on the side to your great-grandfather.
Some of these posts about preserving the wealth are disturbing me. Shouldn''t it be given to charity?
We''re still Democrats, aren''t we?
No, no, you guys are really mis-informed. New Money is generally very flashy, and often have very trashy taste. It''s a rarity that you find a New Money family or individual that has some class.\
Old Money families have been around longer and know how to preserve wealth as well as remain tasteful and elegant. \
As for those who think the money runs out, most of the big businesses are still around and the families profit off of that. The Vanderbuilt''s have major stakes in Grand Central, the Whitney''s with the museum on the Upper East Side, and the Johnson''s and so on and so forth. \
As for the Rothschild''s, there are a lot of rumors about them, but a lot of people think they try to give off the illusion that they''ve lost a lot of money when the fact of the matter is they''re probably the wealthiest family in the world.
Leave my family outta this,bitches.
%EF%BF%BDleuth%EF%BF%BDre Ir%EF%BF%BDn%EF%BF%BDe du Pont de Nemours
[quote]Remember the Blue Book?\
It''s still around. Now it''s called The Social Register.
[quote]I'm talking steel, railroads, and timber--Ben Cartwright for openers.
Somehow I missed this thread the first time around. OP, are you not aware that the early Industrial Age fortunes have, with only a handful of exceptions, gone by the wayside? The American steel industry was slaughtered decades ago by cheap foreign imports. The railroads are owned by publicly traded conglomerates, not some American equivalent of the Onassis family. And timber? Really?
That said, I do know a few folks who'd fit your definition. One is a descendant of the Carnegies (yes, *those* Carnegies, and he certainly knows how to get to Carnegie Hall) and can best be described as a playboy. Has a large, but not ridiculous, trust fund, and now nearing 40 without ever having held a real job or a girlfriend for more than a year. The Clay family in Kentucky -- descendants of Henry Clay, one of the earliest U.S. Speakers of the House and also later a U.S. Senator, all in the first half of the 19th century -- still has gobs of money and influence, and President Bush selected their current scion, Robert, to be American ambassador to the UK about ten years ago, arguably the most sought-after ambassadorial post. Assuming we're counting cattle barons along with robber barons, I know over half a dozen descendants of the King Ranch empire, including a few from heirs/heiresses who married into Texas oil fortunes in the early 20th century. A lot of that group migrated to Kentucky, believe it or not, so there's some "cross-breeding" there with the Clays and families of similar repute. The richest person I know personally, both of the aforementioned groups and in general, is in the top 75 of the Forbes 400.
Who cares about a bank that fails in Yonkers? So long as you have got a kiss that conquers! Why should I care, life is one long jubilee, as long as I care for you, and you care for me.
Judy at Carnegie
Pretty much every museum in NYC was funded by old money. In fact pretty much everything of cultural relevance was started with old money. %0D\
The Whitney (Vanderbilts), The Met & Cloisters (many benefactors of old money), MoMA (Rockefellers), Morgan Library (JP Morgan), Museum of Natural History (Teddy Roosevelt Sr - TR''s father, JP Morgan), etc etc.%0D\
A lot of them didn''t give it to the kids; they gave it to charity and to fund the arts and educational institutions. %0D\
Not like the greedy tacky rich fucks in NYC now, who vote Republican, who in turn vote to defund the arts and education instead of promote them.
My ex who died in the late '80's came from a family in the Social Register and whose father had been considered to be a comer for a Presidential nomination. One time my ex flew up to see his sister at her summer place and took a cab from the airport. The sister was annoyed that an outsider (the cab driver) would see this beach area where they lived. Yes, one did not show one's money. A Volvo was acceptable, not a flashy car. The family held to the old axiom that one only gets in the papers three times, at birth, at marriage and at death.
His sister married a guy who was also from the Blue Book. He had a MBA from Harvard, bought companies that were primed to grow, worked to develop them, sold and bought another company. I believe he thought of it as a form of Republican social responsibility.
One night the sister said if she had no money she would apply for job anywhere and take anything, then begin to work her way back up.
Horatio Alger in the female guise!
Their kids had good educations and grew up with the expectation that they would make their own way. One was a successful banker, the daughter, a research doctor. To not work was not an acceptable alternative.
The other side of the picture is alcoholism from generation to generation.
So the Blue Book is still around?\
I went to school with many kids from wealthy families and some worked way harder than the rest so as to prove their position was not an aberration.\
Others didn''t care.\
And I don''t think it is what it was before, but a blue blood from Montpelier was something else from a blue blood from Rockford, which was something else from a blue blood from Austin...\
I agree that there was a bit too much alcohol in the families I met, though.
Behind every great fortune is a crime...
Don''t be bitching about "new money," it keeps many of us in business.
The Social Register still exists. I was the personal assistant to someone in "the book." It''s a bit like one of those "Who''s Who in American High Schools" scams, wherein once you are granted admission, you pay an exorbitant amount to actually get the book. Essentially, you''re paying for inclusion -- and it isn''t easy to be included in the first place. It''s not exclusive to "old money" families anymore, either. When I had access to it, it included certain celebrities and corporate moguls.\
And yes, it''s absolutely hilarious.
The robber barons had fortunes that originated in particular industries. That those industries may have gone out of business or relocated has little bearing on the fortunes of the barons and their descendants. %0D
One of the great advances of capitalism in wealth creation was to make wealth fungible. The smart capitalists can see an industry in decline and transfer their investments into another. %0D
A really smart capitalist will see a new investment possibility and will manipulate his current interests into bankruptcy, make the government get the tax payers to buy him out, while at the same time build up his investments in another area.%0D
The Carnegie family (meaning the descendants of Thomas, Andrew dying childless) saw U.S. steel production go overseas. But that in no way means that the Carnegie's went broke. It does not mean that they gave up ownership of the production facilities overseas when the factories went overseas. %0D
They may have owned significant stake in foreign steel mills and made even more money from cheap labor abroad, where they can have the C.I.A. murder union workers and not have to do it themselves like they did at Homestead. %0D
Or the Carnegie descendants (actually their business managers) may have sold steel and bought railroads. %0D
Or do you think that with the collapse of Detroit, the Sloans, DuPonts, and the Fords were left penniless? I don't think you mean that, but it sounds that way. When a company goes bust, the workers go broke and small investors may lose some money, but for the extremely rich, it's just another day at the bank.%0D
It is hard to track the ownership of the productive wealth in this country because the capitalists don't like being talked about -- in the newspapers only three times. So they have Washington write laws protecting the ownership and control interconnections.%0D
As to saying that railroads are controlled by publicly traded conglomerates, do you claim that wealth has passed out of the hands of old money? Cause that is not what has happened.%0D
It makes no difference whether stock is bought on a public exchange or traded privately in terms of who can afford to own large blocks.%0D
Who owns enough stock in the conglomerates to be in a position to make decisions about conglomerate policy? Extremely wealthy people are the only ones with enough money to buy themselves onto the board of directors.%0D
As long as railroads are not nationalized, a small group of very wealthy people will own enough stock to control what the railroad does and control how government treats their business interests. %0D
The names change from time to time. Some very rich people lose money, over generations, some with famous names may actually go broke, but control never passes to ordinary people. That will never happen.%0D
It sounds as though you are pooh-poohing timber. The U.S. is the largest supplier of timber in the world hundreds of billions of dollars each year. %0D
Two of the major investors are the Koch brothers who have millions and millions of dollars at stake in timber, probably billions, and who fund essentially every repressive, regressive political trend today.%0D
Older people may remember when Reagan opened old growth redwood forests on the West Coast to logging. Timber is very big, old money.%0D
They only call it class warfare when we fight back.%0D
What about Walmart''s Waltons? I always wondered how old Lukas Walton is...
Railroads predated Carnegie''s steel fortune.%0D\
You mean from steel to oil and Carnegie didn''t make that leap, his lawyer Mr. Mellon did.%0D
In the 70''s I knew a woman who had been married to a DuPont. She spoke of how the family secured the future. Buying amounts of lands in Australia and Brazil that would be big growth areas in 50 and 100 years.
The Harriman family (of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame) still controlled enough Union Pacific Railroad stock through their bank, Brown Bros. Harriman, that the Union Pacific would send a private streamliner to carry them from San Francisco to Sun Valley for the annual meetings.\
Not only would they send a private train, the train would have a spare locomotive in case the lead engine was disabled or in an accident. That way they could de-couple the damaged locomotive and still get the Harrimans to their destination on time. \
This went on well into the 1960''s.
I was wondering the other day if the Blue Book was still around. We were in it while I was growing up.Later, my parents divorced, and that was that. I remember that I was referred to as "Miss" in the book, and my brother was "Master." We used to go to Cotillion and I was invited to debut (turned that invite down, tout de suite). \
That all seems like a million years ago.
I would think that being in the Social Register would now be a bore -- before, there were plenty of social constructs to keep away social climbers, but now with so few, I wouldn''t want my address in a book where people could just look it up and target me to fulfill their social (or criminal) aspirations.
To really get down to it we need to make a consensus as to what qualifies "old money". Is it people who's families can be traced back to the Revolution or before? Is it people who's families come from the "right" addresses like the Philadelphia's Mainline, Boston's Beacon Hill, New York's Upper East Side and the like? Does it include the robber barons of the late 19th Century like the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, DuPonts, Astors, Carnegies and Flaglers?
For me, personally, when you can trace your family's wealth back 100 years or more, you're old money.
I believe that once the Ivy League started looking less at legacies and bloodlines and more at academic achievement, the walls of the Old Guard started to crumble. Once they let women, Jews and blacks in it was the nail in the coffin to a lot of these Old Boy's Network types.
People often overlook this as one of the pivotal moments in the overarching civil rights movement in America because it meant that the younger generations of the nation's elite were now being exposed to people outside of their very small circles and opened their minds to a more liberal outlook on life.
lots of people
The Four Hundred would surely be Old Money. However, I imagine anybody with legitimate membership in the DAR would call them arriviste.
[They only call it class warfare when we fight back.]
Very nice to see you back, Roland...you've been missed
If 100 years of passed in wealth is the requirement for old money - then there is very little old money in the US.
Membership in the DAR only requires that you prove you had a direct ancestor who served in the American revolution. There are millions who fulfill this, myself included (both sides of the family).
I grew up outside Boston and knew several who were descended from Brahmin stock, their great-grandparents and up had owned entire industries (shoes, textiles). With the loss of the mills & shift in manufacturing overseas they'd been reduced to middle class like the rest of us. Some still had connections to the Ivies that helped them (a couple of kids we all thought to be average idiots got into Harvard and Brown for ex) but other than that they had to work delivering pizzas like the rest of us during the summer.
Old Money. Nice man.
There are still many aristocratic families who do have quite a lot of money, certainly it is more so here in Europe than with you in the US, but most presidents of the US have been related and many rich and influential people in the US are WASPs. And I think that for example the Bushes and Tom Cruise are related to former (Cruise) or present British Royals.
Here in Germany there are still several Aristocrats with a (for German standards) big fortune, the head of the Guttenberg family (his former politician son emigrated recently to the US) supposedly around 400 million EURO, the Bismarcks, supposedly a couple of billion dollars.
Several rich German entertainers, actors and TV hosts come from old houses or influential lineages, in the US it might be even more so. Richard Gere, the Bushes, Christopher Reeve, the Baldwins, Bogart etc. are Mayflower descendants.
the duPonts are stil collectively the wealthiest family in the US
You have to go all the way to Boston, the home of the bean and the cod. Where the CABOTs speak only to LOWELLs, and LOWELLs speak only to God.
What does the West Coast have for visible old money families? Are there still Huntingtons, Stanfords, and the like? Any fortunes from the old Spanish land grants still around?
I know the Irvine Company in Orange County is still private, but for all the Wealth in California I can't come up with many names.
The duPonts are huge in number, and there are some very rich duPonts and some duPonts in name only who descended from the wrong branches (more than a few tend to live like well-off old hippies, with a few trappings of luxury taste and vestiges of dissipated fortune.)
An important factor that's been very much in their favor is a widespread ethic of not being too very showy. The archetypal duPont inherits his money, his house, his 18th Century Philadelphia furniture, his hobbies, his job (if he has one), and his mate (the family is large enough that there's no shortage of very distant cousins or allied families), and maybe even his beat-up General Motors car. Driving an ancient, low-end General Motors car was for years an inside joke for the family: the worse the car, the bigger the fortune, and a nod to their role in 20th Century antitrust law. Cavorting with film stars and celebrities, being photographed, jet-setting to flashy watering holes, landing in the newspapers, being seen to spend money, even being seen at all outside a few small circles were all seen as very bad form.
The now antiquated notion of living off interest on capital, of handing down houses, of shunning attention at every opportunity, and of careful stewardship served them very well as a whole. Being a family that seemingly had nothing to prove went a long way and a long time to holding a huge fortune together even as it was split among a couple thousand people.
[quote}"You seldom see really really rich driving fancy expensive cars. Almost the opposite as a decoy."
I've noticed this. A friend of mine is the heir to an old money fortune and he just inherited. They made it in railroads, real estate, mining, sugar, etc. When it was time, the family had a powwow with their lawyers who explained to them how to preserve their money by using the interest from the investments. He took his old RAV4 down to the garage and had them make it like new. I'm a "car guy" and I just couldn't understand this. On the other hand, he thinks nothing of spending major $$ on good food (his passion). He's very generous (thanks!) and the least pretentious, though wealthiest, person I know. But there's a sadness and an anger running through the family. I don't understand why there seems to be such a Faustian bargain when it comes to great wealth.
r 114----I'm in SAR. Mom & sisters in DAR. We certainly are NOT "Old Money". More like NO money!
To be in DAR / SAR you have to prove that you are descended from someone who served in The American Revolution. My ancestors were farmers in VA ( in what is now WVA )
My first ancestor came from England in 1633 and settled in Massachusetts. Just because your family may have been here in the US for almost 400 years, doesn't mean that your wealthy.
I work with very rich old money in Chicago and they have no shortage of very nice cars, clothes and tastes. I hate when people say rich people don't spend because they do. They just don't have a lot.
New money = 700 BMW. Old money = 1 BMW
You can only drive one at a time.
* you're * wealthy, before the grammar trolls "Oh DEAR" me :)
Do those descended from the Hessians left behind after the Revolution count as DAR / SAR?
r129--- If you can prove Revolutionary War service through approved documentation
( pension files, muster rolls, local history books that have been verified, birth / marriage / death records, wills, etc) then you could be eligible for SAR / DAR. It helps if you have relatives who already do / have belonged. Then all you have to do is "piggyback" on their application papers.
SAR will accept a DAR record copy as proof, but DAR will not accept SAR papers. If you have a female relative who was in DAR, you can contact DAR and get a copy of her application papers. Then all you have to do is "link" to your generation via birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc.
My mother's family can be traced through a pirate fortune (QEI employed pirates with fancy titles) through the royal houses of most if Europe all the way back to Charlemagne's great grandfather, or whichever of them overthrew the Merovingians.
By the mid 17th century they were in Virginia marrying FFVs. The descendants were lawyers and political types with farms and they moved west and started distilleries and horse farms.
My day's side were from cadet lines of Hanoverians going back to the Prussian dukes and once they arrived here they bought big tracts of land over the next hill to the west every chance they got.
They all had 13 kids each and more than one wife, and every dime (but not all the land) was gone by the 1890s depression. Still, everyone acts like giving the appearance of interest in making money is beneath them. Fortunately my dad moved us 4000 miles away from the area they all lived in since the late 18th century before I was born.
My uncle gave the last significant piece of land to the state for a wildlife refuge before he died. I never saw a nickel.
I worked in the 80's in NYC as an assistant in the fundraising dept of Union Theological Seminary. One job was to send out fundraising letters, help plan Board lunches, etc. We staff noticed with some amusement that the board members - generally perceived to be Old Money - would wear very plain clothes at the lunches/meetings, VERY casually dressed. And a couple of them were seen to take leftovers (the lunches weren't fancy) with them; I remember hearing that Laurance Rockefeller, for example, usually left with a couple of sandwiches stuffed in his pants' pockets!
Hee-hee! I always thought that was sort of near, thrift-wise.
"The rich are different from you and me" (I forget who said that?)
What about old Southern money? The big tobacco families? I know the RJ Reynolds family are big political donors and still run the DC society magazine Washington Life.
[quote]"The rich are different from you and me" (I forget who said that?)
Yesterday was the birthday of the poet James Merrill, born in New York City (1926). His father was the co-founder of Merrill Lynch. With an ample trust fund, James never had to worry about money, so he was free to devote himself to poetry. But even though he was wealthy himself, he was sensitive to the fact that most artists weren't, so he created the Ingram Merrill Foundation in 1956, with a permanent endowment for writers and painters. His several collections of poetry include The Changing Light at Sandover (1982), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
[quote]G Gordon Liddy picked his wife for her genes.
But obviously not her judgment.
[quote]The most beautiful woman marries the richest man in the village. Her children will receive every advantage in life. The richest, most successful men marries the prettiest girl in the village. His children will inherit her genes and, presumably, her looks. This is breeding. This is how it works.
That is not how it works. A Society woman can marry slightly down if her husband is successful, smart and can fit in. Society will raise him up. A Society man who marries down to a pretty girl, unless she is accomplished in some way, is doomed to be viewed as diluting the genes. As Mrs. John King Van Renssalear wrote in the Social Ladder, the family always settles at the wife's level.
[quote]What about old Southern money? The big tobacco families? I know the RJ Reynolds family are big political donors and still run the DC society magazine Washington Life.
I used to house sit for a family who made their fortune in timber and lumberyards, mostly in the South. They once showed me a photo album with all the depressing mill towns (and entire counties) that were named after their family. It was very Gone With the Wind, with photos of the convicts and the "Darkies" lined up to get their photos taken in front of giant steam powered saws and stacks of clear cut timber. I guarantee you that every nickel they made came at a terrific cost in human and environmental damage.
Anyway, they're 2 generations removed from it, and the money (about 50 million judging from the statements they left out on the desk when I house sat) is now in stocks, bonds, and CD's, all professionally managed by the best firms in the business.
He spends his days thinking of ducks. He raises them, hunts them, collects duck decoys, shotguns, duck art, and if it's not a duck then it's raising and training the dogs he hunts with.
The richest man in the village marries "appropriately" and fools around with the prettiest girl if he can get into her pants. The approriate wife fools around with the tennis pro and and gets quietly drunk.
From one of Jamie Johnson's documentaries, one of the advisors quoted said they work to get a family through their 5th generation of wealth which would be on the fast side of 100 years.
I worked as a gardener for one wealthy family. I attended school with the children of some famous and some wealthy families. I can vouch that the old rich don't flaunt it, and look down on those who do. Not that they always do without, but they absolutely do not flaunt it. One family gave new meaning to the term tightwad! It was shocking to see this, but also inspiring.
I can also say that they tended to live out of the public eye, for the most part. They, too, did not want "outsiders" to see where and how they lived. Of course, they lived in very nice parts of the state. Their gardens and homes may have been more spartan than you think, but they were still very nice. Especially the gardens. I know, I took care of them!
My parent's best friends in college were a wealthy-but-plain socialite with NY connections and a horse farm in KY and her cute, but poor law student boyfriend. Her family stayed in KY because her father lived a quiet, and mildly shocking gay life in the 1950s, and her mother drank herself to death. The socialite got knocked up and they married. He became a respected small town lawyer in KY and they have the big old mansion on Main Street. Their money is intact. BUT, they let their big hounds piss and shit on the expensive antique rugs and don't notice it when you come to call.
That's the way it is now.
r141 again. As for gardeners, one gardener of a family whose name you know was a muscle hunk and gay. He'd get cuttings and seeds of all sorts of rare and exotic plants for the rest of us. We had wonderful collections of great plants!
I had a fraternity brother in college who you would have never guessed had any money. He was polite, funny, down-to-earth but well-mannered and maddingly thrifty. He drove a 10 year old car but never drove it, claiming he it was always out of gas, and lived in a very average apartment. There was something about him, though, that conveyed good breeding - I guess the way he carried himself.
One summer, I went to his hometown for the weekend to visit and he told me to meet him where he was working for his summer job. I pulled up to a building with his last name emblazoned across the top next to a distribution center with his name on rows of 18 wheeler trucks. I couldn't believe it - he was working for his family's very successful 100 year old company but he'd never said a word about it. Come to find out, his family owned everything in town, had a school named after his parents and a building named after his grandparents at the local college. He downplayed it big time and was modest about everything. It really made me realize that many wealthy, old-money families are very quiet in their daily lives. Having inherited millions upon the death of his parents (split between 5 children), he still lives comfortably but modestly, rejecting all outward appearances of ostentation.
It's so funny about the car thing! Me ex's family is old, old South African diamond money. Sick money. They have estates all over the world, a family jet, at the family compound in Cape Town they hand a bag of black diamonds worth 75k to all guests (when he needed extra cash for whatever reason, he'd fly home and take a few).
And he drives Suburu Trooper.
Interestingly enough, my ex's mother worked with and was friends with a fellow named Charlie Hapsburg. She worked in international banking in Stockholm, as did he (Handelsbanken). He was indeed the scion of the Hapsburg family, and I met him on a few occasions with her for lunch. He was a very humble and charming man, who worked for a living and kept his head down regarding his ancestry. He did speak around 8 languages, as I recall, though he didn't volunteer the information.
^^^ I mean Habsburg, of course. He was also called Kalle.
[quote] Do those descended from the Hessians left behind after the Revolution count as DAR / SAR?
Yes, the only Hessians that stayed were the ones who defected to the American side and fought with us. The rest went back to Hesse.
The Social Register is not always blue. Depends on city. I've seen green.
Old money doesn't always drive cheap cars. I've seen small Mercedes used, in the 50s black Cadillacs, Chryslers. I will mention a particular grandmother who had a very old chaffeur who could barely see over the steering wheel but he and his wife (the cook, housekeeper) had been with her for decades - since the late 30s. They traveled with her among her homes and had a month off every summer when they went home to France. Obviously all have been dead for while now.
Old money kitchens are bare bones style-wise but with excellent (if plain) appliances. Dishwashers are not a must. They do not get redecorated ever. Huge adjacent butler's pantries with tons of counters and cabinets to hold all the dishes, servers, glassware, etc. with a round window in the swinging door to the dining room. The pantry is equally plain. LOL!
Contrary to McMansions and their grand foyers and prominent staircases, many old money stair cases that lead to the bedrooms are almost unobtrusively not prominently on view from the front door. One home I am reminded of had a large entry hall that went to the back of the house and the wide main staircase to the bedrooms faced the rear of the house - which nicely faced the lawn that lead down to the water.
Old money loves to travel.
Yes, r148 is right about the kitchens. I remember one family I worked for, richer than kings, did NOT have an automatic dishwasher.They were so frugal in every way, and never drew any attention to themselves.
[quote]I mean really Old Money. What families are still living off what their robber baron ancestor stole generations ago?
Where primogeniture still exists, such as England, family wealth can span centuries. e.g. of the 22 or so dukes, half are still immensely wealthy, which is some achievement given two world wars, socialist taxation, inflation, etc etc The richest of the lot, the Duke of Westminster is a billionaire several times over with several estates. The Duke of Buccleuch has four stately homes. The Duke of Wellington has an estate in England and one in Spain, given to the 1st duke after Waterloo. Even the Duke of Norfolk (created 1483) is hardly struggling.
And here's something that really separates such aristocratic families from the middle class: the long time span of their economic planning. This is often enforced by circumstance. Such as long leases. e.g. Princess Di's brother Earl Spencer still owns one of the great aristocratic palaces of London, Spencer House, diagonally opposite Buckingham Palace. But it's leased out for 100 years. Hardwood forestry planting takes 50 or more years to mature, ("Twees are a cwop" - the Duke of Norfolk) so only a descendent will reap the benefit. etc etc. (So wealth creation spreads across generations, including loans to buy assets that might be paid off over 100 years or more.
We used to have Pullmans (of the railroad car Pullmans) in the neighborhood, and they drove the civilian version of a Checker Cab. It was painted black and had a ton of chrome on it, although there was no disguising the fact that it was a taxi.
This was in the 70's, and I have no idea if it was a 1955, 65, or 75 model car since the body never changed. I suppose that was the whole point.
Regardless of what happens with the Vanderbilts, Mellons, or Rockefellers, there are many families that you never hear about that represent the best of Old Money. What's more, families are constantly, if slowly, becoming Old Money by virtue of their choices regarding spending, investments, education, and culture. Anybody can adopt the values, priorities, and habits of Old Money and benefit tremendously. It's simply a matter of getting off the consumer merry-go-round and spending your time and money more wisely.
It's kind of a funny life cycle.
One generation fights and scrambles to get money sacrificing the relationships with their family while simultaneously trying to raise the kids to worry about their family name.
The next generation is bitter, spiteful and if they have any business sense- they have no family skills.
The final generation is raised to be privileged, selfish, self-centered, spoiled dysfunctional twats who take the family resources for granted. And have little or no concern for how to take care a business. They're busy using the money to make up for what they lost as the child of the Big Name family.
By the 4th or 5th genration- that money is gone.
New money tend to be the snobs...especially when it comes to outsiders and domestic help.
They tend to treat them horribly. In general, they lack class.
Old money tend to be more acceptible of ones status and treat their domestics like family as opposed to servants.
I come from one of those families where the wealth goes to the oldest living male heir.
I have a friend who is a "new" money trust fund baby, and she always judges people by what they have, and shes always throwing her financial situation in peoples faces.
She has no clue as to what will fall into my lap one day. I live in a very modest condo, and you would think I didnt have 2 nickels to rub together...but I dont have the money yet...and it might not ever make it to me. I try to be nice to everyone, and very rarely will I mention my family, and 8 out of 10 times when I do, its to other family. I constantly laugh at her and tell her she has no clue what real money is, but she remains clueless. Im actually embarrassed by her actions sometimes. I dont fault her though, because when I was younger I too was very materialistic. I was in my mid 30's when I finally wised up and decided to live "below" my means. The main reason I chose to do so was because I woke up one day and realized people were only around me because of what I had and what I could give them (friendships and relationships) as opposed to being with me because of who I am. Im much happier now and I like that people think Im one of them.