A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors


 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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Chronicles of American Wealth / Nr 1 / May 2001
  Content : 

   1. A new look for “A Classification of American Wealth” 
   2. Introducing “Encyclopaedia of American Wealth”
   3. The Astors : A dynasty of New York City landlords 
1. A new look for “A Classification of American Wealth” 
To  improve  navigation  within   the   web   site  and  online  book,  “A Classification  of  American Wealth has  been
completely  redesigned  by  RAKEN  Services,  the webmaster of www.raken.com and our sponsor.  The work  has  been
structured along three relevant periods in the history of wealth accumulation in America : the  Colonial and Mercantile
periods (1650-1860), the Gilded Age (1865-1930)  and  the Twentieth Century (1930-2000).  Shorter  pages  allow  easier
reference while still letting you read the work as a book. Bibliographical information and links  are centralized for each
chapter and summarized for the whole work. These sections  are  still being worked on. Cross references  with  links  to
the Encyclopaedia part further deepen the content. RAKEN is allowed more banner space but  they will use part of this
to promote providers of related content, notably books, genealogy networks and vendors of collectibles. 
 2. Introducing “Encyclopaedia of American Wealth” 
“Encyclopaedia of American Wealth” is  a completely  new  part  of the website. It is RAKEN’s answer to my concern of
sharing my research on history and genealogy of  the  wealthy families in America and allow users a structured research
of  the subject. The  encyclopaedia  part is  set  to  contain  lists  of  wealthy  Americans for  every  generation  since  1675,
ordered  by  family, state  or  colony,  activity  or  fortune. It  also  contains  more  detailed  profiles of wealthy Americans,
including their families (parents, spouses, children),  their  activities  and  properties  as  well  as  a  biographical  sketch.
Emphasis is being put on the way they accumulated, administered  or  spent  their  wealth. As with the main text section
of “A Classification of American Wealth” the  encyclopaedia section  is  in  no ways finished, but  rather thought  as  an
evolutive  web site,  where  new  and  additional  information  is  being gathered. Thus the  presently  available  lists and
profiles will be completed and new content will be added regularly. Browse  through  the  lists  and  profiles of
“Encyclopedia of American Wealth” and learn more about the history and genealogy of the wealthy families of
America …
 3. The Astors : A dynasty of New York City landlords
When the first John Jacob Astor came to New York in 1784,  he was just  another  German  immigrant  and  all  he owned
was his suit, seven flutes and 5 pounds sterling. Nothing could  have hinted then, that this undersized man would once
own more of Manhattan’s valuable real estate than any  other man, nor that  the  dynasty  he  founded  would  once rule
New York’s High Society.  Yet when he died in 1848, no New Yorker was actually surprised that he was the richest man
in the city,  though the extent  of  his  fortune, 20’000’000 $, was  more  most  men could imagine. The Astor  fortune  was
administered  and  extended  by  his  able  second son William Backhouse Astor, who  handed it  down to his  two sons,
John Jacob Astor III and William Astor. The latter married Caroline Webster Schermerhorn, from an old
Dutch-American dynasty of ship chandlers, merchants  and realtors, who  as  Mrs Astor  ruled  New York and Newport
Society  for  30  years  during  the Gilded Age. In  the  fourth  generation  the  family  split, as William Waldorf Astor,  the
only son of the third John Jacob, removed  his  branch  of  the family  to England, where  they  ascended  to  nobility  and
influenced public opinion through their newspapers. The American branch of the Astor family was struck with tragedy
in 1912, when John Jacob Astor IV died on the Titanic, the worst sea  disaster ever  and  to  some, the end  of  the Gilded
Age. Other   Astors or  their  in-laws  figured  prominently  in  American  or  English  Society,  and   the  family  is  still
remembered for towering wealth nowadays, although the last of the rich Astors, Vincent Astor, died childless in 1959. 
Read the story of the Astors and other wealthy American families at “A Classification of American Wealth” … 

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