Mary Warburg

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Mary Whelan Warburg (née Prue; December 6, 1908 – March 8, 2009) was a philanthropist, member (by marriage) of the Warburg banking family,[1] and younger sister to Edwina d'Erlanger, wife of Baron Leo d'Erlanger (son of Rodolphe d'Erlanger).[2]

Born in Colorado City, Texas and raised on her father's sheep ranch near Hope, New Mexico in the last days of the New Mexico Territory and the early days of statehood, Mary Whelan Prue reportedly fired a shotgun at Pancho Villa as he raided the ranch, but missed him. She was 7 years old.

Early career and first marriage[edit]

She left school in her early teens and with her elder sister, Edwina, settled in New York City, where they worked as fashion models. Mary was later an assistant fashion editor at Vogue. An early marriage, to Boston artist Richard Currier, ended in divorce in 1936. Her only child from this marriage, Stephen Currier, disappeared with his wife, Audrey Bruce Currier in 1967 aboard a private plane flying over the Caribbean Sea. Their three children survived them.

Marriage into Warburg family[edit]

In 1939, she married Edward Mortimer Morris Warburg, a founder of the Jewish Museum; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); and the American Ballet, the precursor of the New York City Ballet. They had two children, Daphne and David. Mr. Warburg, an arts patron, was the son of Felix Warburg, of the Warburg banking family, and his wife Frieda Schiff, daughter of banker and philanthropist Jacob Henry Schiff.

Mary Warburg supported many charitable organizations, including the Henry Street Settlement, the United Negro College Fund, the Institute of International Education; the Association for Homemaker Service (a social welfare agency) and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, a network of camps for seriously ill children founded by Paul Newman. She was also long active in Democratic Party circles.[citation needed]

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Mary Warburg worked with the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.[citation needed]

Later years[edit]

Mary Warburg was widowed in 1992. Her elder sister, with whom she had decamped to New York so many years earlier, Edwina (the widow of Baron Leo d'Erlanger), had died in 1994.[3]


Mary Warburg died on March 8, 2009 at age 100 in Norwalk, Connecticut. She was survived by her two children: Daphne, Mrs. Michael Ramon Langhorne Astor of Hatley St George, England (daughter-in-law of Jakie Astor), and David Warburg, of Sebastopol, California, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lavinia Currier, director of Passion in the Desert is her grand-daughter from her first marriage.


  1. ^ Fox, Margalit (March 11, 2009). "Mary Warburg, a Noted Philanthropist, Dies at 100". New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Edwina d'Erlanger; Socialite Was 87".  External link in |website= (help);
  3. ^ Valynseele, Joseph; Mars, Henri-Claude (2004). Le Sang Des Rothschild. Paris: L'Intermediaire des chercheurs et curieux. p. 274. ISBN 2-908003-22-8.