Anthony Joseph Drexel Jr.

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Anthony Joseph Drexel Jr.
Anthony J. Drexel (1864-1934), portrait.jpg
Born(1864-09-09)September 9, 1864
DiedDecember 14, 1934(1934-12-14) (aged 70)
New York, New York
Margarita Armstrong
(m. 1886; div. 1917)
Parent(s)Anthony Joseph Drexel
Ellen B. Rozet
RelativesAlexander Van Rensselaer (brother-in-law)
Francis Anthony Drexel (uncle)
Joseph William Drexel (uncle)
Katharine Drexel (cousin)
Anthony Drexel Biddle Sr. (cousin)
Francis Martin Drexel (grandfather)
Signature of Anthony Joseph Drexel Jr (1864–1934).png

Anthony Joseph Drexel Jr. (September 9, 1864 – December 14, 1934) was an American banker and philanthropist who was a close friend of King Edward VII.[1]

Early life[edit]

Drexel was born on September 9, 1864, in Philadelphia to Anthony Joseph Drexel (1826–1893) and Ellen Rozet (1832–1891). He was one of nine children, including: Emilie Taylor Drexel,[2][3] Frances Katherine Drexel, Mae E. Drexel, Sarah Rozet "Sallie" Drexel (the wife of Alexander Van Rensselaer),[4] John Rozet Drexel, and George William Childs Drexel.[5]

His father was the founder of Drexel, Morgan & Co with John Pierpont Morgan in 1871 as his junior partner, who also founded Drexel University in 1891.[6] His maternal grandparents were John Roset and Mary Ann Laning. His paternal grandparents were Austrian-born American banker Francis Martin Drexel and Katherine Hookey.[7][8]


In 1878, Drexel began working for his father's firm, Drexel & Co. in Philadelphia, and was made a partner on January 1, 1890.[9] He was a partner at Drexel until October 21, 1893, when he resigned at age 29 after 16 years of working and just four months after his father's death, from Drexel & Co. of Philadelphia, Drexel, Morgan & Co. of New York, and Drexel, Harjes & Co. of Paris.[10]

At the time, a close friend of his exclaimed to The New York Times, "He does not care to assume the cares and responsibilities which are attached to the business. He is a young man who is very fond of life in the society. His pleasures would have to be curtailed immeasurably were he to continue closely identified with the business his father established, and he does not care for the confinement and close application to which he would be subjected. He prefers to be free footed, and will withdraw. That is all there is to his action. It is said it has no significant whatsoever."[10]

Shortly thereafter, he bought one of the most valuable residences in Philadelphia, the Wilstach mansion at the northeast corner of 18th and Walnut Streets, for $175,000.[11] In November of the same year, he also bought the steamer Avenel from W. P. Whitlock.[12]


After his father's death on June 30, 1893, Drexel decided to live in Europe. He lived in London on Grosvenor Square and Carlton House Terrace for several years.[13] While there, they were friends with Clyde Fitch, a successful and prolific dramatist.[14] From 1915 until his death, however, he resided at the 68 rue de Bellechasse in Paris as well as homes in the provinces, after his difficult divorce with his wife.[1] In addition to his reputation as a lavish entertainer, he was known as a keen yachtsman and owned several famous yachts including Sayonara and Aloma.[1]

He was a member of the Philadelphia Club, Rabbit Club, Racquet Club and Corinthian Club in Philadelphia and the Knickerbocker Club, Union Club, New York Yacht Club, and Turf and Field Club of New York.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Photograph of Drexel's wife, Rita Armstrong Drexel, by Lallie Charles

On September 14, 1886, he married Margarita "Rita" Armstrong (1867-1948),[15] a daughter of John Armstrong of the Baltimore Armstrongs.[16] Together, they had:

On May 25, 1917,[13] Anthony and Margarita divorced after several years of separation and a bitterly contested trial.[25]

Drexel died of uremic poisoning in 1934, aged 70, while staying in New York at the Hotel Ambassador.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Anthony J. Drexel, Banker, dies at 70; Head of Famous Philadelphia Family Succumbs Here After Illness of Eight Months, Resided Long in England; Keen Yachtsman and Owner of Celebrated Craft -Had Been Host to Edward VII". The New York Times. December 15, 1934. p. 13. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Theater: New Plays in Manhattan". Time magazine. December 3, 1956. Archived from the original on February 8, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Dead. Ambassador to Spain Was 64. Envoy and Officer in World War II. Tributes Paid by Kennedy and Eisenhower". The New York Times. November 14, 1961. p. 39. Retrieved April 10, 2010. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, ambassador to Spain and for many years one of this country's most distinguished diplomats, died today at Walter Reed Army ...
  4. ^ "A. Van Rensselaer, Arts Patron, Dead | Philadelphia Philanthropist and Sportsman Succumbs to Long Illness at 82. | Princeton life trustee | President of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association From 1901 Till Recently" (PDF). The New York Times. July 19, 1933. p. 17. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "Anthony J. Drexel is Dead". The New York Times. Philadelphia. July 1, 1893. p. 1. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via News of His Death Sent by Cable from Carlsbad. He Went There in Poor Health to Spend the Summer. Last of the Sons of the Founder of His House. Known All Over the World as a Financier. A Philanthropist as Well. Connected with Many Gigantic Transactions.
  6. ^ Rottenberg (2001).
  7. ^ "Francis Drexel's Will". The New York Times. Philadelphia. February 23, 1885. p. 5. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  8. ^ McDonald, Edward D.; Edward M. Hinton (1942). Drexel Institute of Technology 1891–1941. Haddon Craftsmen, Inc. pp. 4–5. ISBN 1-4067-6374-8.
  9. ^ Rottenberg 2001
  10. ^ a b "Wants to Enjoy Himself.; Anthony J. Drexel, Jr., to Withdraw from Houses His Father Founded". The New York Times. Philadelphia. October 21, 1893. p. 9. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  11. ^ "Personal Gossip". The New York Times. October 29, 1893. p. 4. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  12. ^ "Yachting Odds and Ends". The New York Times. November 17, 1893. p. 3. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  13. ^ a b "Divorces A. J. Drexel.; Wife of Philadelphia Banker Obtains a Decree in London". The New York Times. London. May 26, 1917. p. 13. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  14. ^ Dearinger, Kevin Lane (July 29, 2016). Clyde Fitch and the American Theatre: An Olive in the Cocktail. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781611479485. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  15. ^ "Mrs. Brinsley Fitzgerald". The New York Times. February 13, 1948. p. 21. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  16. ^ "Mr. Drexel's Bride.; The Young Banker's Marriage to Miss Rita Armstrong". The New York Times. Elberon, New Jersey. September 15, 1886. p. 4. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  17. ^ "A.J. Drexel Dead; Retired Broker, 58; Great-Grandson of Founder of Philadelphia Banking House Prominent as Sportsman". The New York Times. February 26, 1946. p. 21. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  18. ^ "Marjorie Gould to Wed A.J. Drexel, Jr. Engagement of George Jay Gould's Eldest Daughters is Announced at a Dance". The New York Times. January 19, 1910. p. 1. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  19. ^ "Margaretta Armstrong Finch-Hatton (née Drexel), Countess of Winchilsea and Nottingham". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  20. ^ Times, Special Cable To The New York (February 11, 1939). "Earl of Winchilsea, 14th to Hold Title; Married A.J. Drexel's Daughter in Brilliant Ceremony in 1910". The New York Times. p. O19. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  21. ^ "Miss Drexel Weds Viscount Maidstone; St. Margaret's, Westminster, Thronged at Nuptials of Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Drexel. 8,000 Outside the Church; Many Americans Attend Ceremony--Ten Pretty Bridesmaids in Procession--Reception at Drexel Home". The New York Times. London. June 9, 1910. p. 7. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  22. ^ "Gladys Szechenyi Becomes Bride Of Viscount Maidstone in London; Nobility and Ambassadors of Many Countries Attend Brilliant Church Ceremony -- Both Are Members of Prominent European and American Families". The New York Times. July 12, 1935. p. 16. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  23. ^ "Events of the Month in Aeronautics". Popular Mechanics. 14: 505. October 1910.
  24. ^ "Drexel Flying for France.; Young Philadelphian in Lafayette Escadrille on West Front". The New York Times. May 15, 1917. p. 13. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via
  25. ^ "Mrs. Drexel Wins Her London Suit; Court Holds That Husband Must Pay Under Terms of the Separation Agreement. Has an English Domicile; Husband's Plea That He Is a Resident of France Thrown Out ;- He Is Suing in Paris for Divorce". The New York Times. London. December 17, 1915. p. 7. Retrieved February 15, 2022 – via

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