Clarence Mackay

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Clarence Mackay
Clarence Mackay.jpg
Clarence Mackay
Born April 17, 1874
Died November 12, 1938
Nationality American
Parents John W. Mackay

Clarence Hungerford Mackay (April 17, 1874 – November 12, 1938) was an American financier, believed to inherit most of a $500 million estate in 1902. In 1926, his daughter Ellin married Irving Berlin against her father's wishes and he disinherited her.

Biography[edit]

He was the son of John William Mackay, a silver miner turned telegraph mogul. Clarence and his first wife, Katherine (née Duer) Mackay had a home in New York City, as well as the celebrated Harbor Hill in Roslyn, Long Island, designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead, and White. It was the largest home White ever designed.

Katherine Duer Mackay (1880–1930) was a beautiful debutante from an old, high society, New York family. Clarence met her on a steamship crossing between New York and England in about 1897. They fell in love and were married on May 17, 1898. Harbor Hill, the site of their future estate with the striking view of Hempstead Harbor, was Katherine's and Clarie's wedding present from the senior Mackays. Katherine oversaw much of the design and building of their mansion at Harbor Hill. Katherine was a suffragette and a champion of women's rights and became the first woman member of the Roslyn school board in 1905. Katherine left Clarence and her three children to run away with Clarence's doctor, Dr. Joseph Blake in 1910. The marriage officially ended in divorce in Paris in 1914. Katherine returned to New York in 1930, the same year she died from cancer.

Anna Case (1888–1984) of Clinton, New Jersey would become Mackay's second wife. She was a lyric soprano who sang with the Metropolitan Opera and as a concert soloist. "Her life changed dramatically following an engagement to sing at a private musicale given in the home of Clarence H. Mackay (c. 1916). Taken with her beauty, he sent a carload of flowers to her at her next Carnegie Hall recital, enclosing a small diamond band with an enamel bluebird in the center."[citation needed]

Because of religious convictions, Clarence Mackay would not remarry as long as his first wife, Katherine, lived. After Katherine's death in 1930, Clarence and Anna were married at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Roslyn, New York the following year. His wedding gift to Anna was an emerald and diamond, platinum-set necklace. The 167.97 carats (33.594 g) emerald was mined in Colombia and the necklace designed by Boucheron. Anna Case Mackay donated the piece to the Smithsonian Institution in 1984.

Clarence Mackay was a noted collector of medieval suits of armor, some of which he sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the early 1930s. An aviation trophy, administered by the United States National Aeronautic Association and awarded yearly by the United States Air Force for the "most meritorious flight of the year" by an Air Force person, persons, or organization, is named in Mackay's honor.

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