Pauline Payne Whitney

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Pauline Payne Whitney (March 21, 1874 – November 22, 1916), was an American heiress and a member of the prominent Whitney family.

Early life[edit]

She was born in New York City, New York, the daughter of William C. Whitney and Flora (née Payne) Whitney. Her father was corporation counsel for New York City from 1875 to 1882, United States Secretary of the Navy from 1885 to 1889, and a force in street-railway affairs until his retirement in 1902. Pauline Whitney had her social debut in 1892.

Move to England[edit]

Her husband, Almeric Hugh Paget, joined Henry Melville Whitney in establishing the Dominion Coal Company Ltd. in 1893 and the Dominion Iron and Steel Company, Ltd. in 1901 at Sydney, Nova Scotia. In 1901, the Pagets moved to England, ostensibly because of Pauline's ill health. Paget was elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom as the Unionist party candidate for Cambridge, serving from 1910 to 1917.

During the First World War, at the Summerdown convalescent camp in Eastbourne and at other facilities in England, she organized the Almeric Paget Massage Corps to provide physiotherapy to injured soldiers by trained masseuses. During this time, she became known as the "Angel of Summerdown". The corps started in late 1914 and continued to operate after her death.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

She married on November 12, 1895, British-born Almeric Hugh Paget (1861-1949),[3] who after her death was created Baron Queenborough. The marriage was solemnized at St. Thomas's Church, New York City, and among those attending it was President Grover Cleveland.

With Paget she had two daughters, but the marriage was not entirely happy.[4]

She received a large fortune from her uncle, Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne (1839-1917), one of the founders and original directors of the Standard Oil Company. Shortly before her death she divided $4,000,000 between her two daughters.[5]

Pauline Paget died after a three weeks' illness at Esher, Surrey, on November 22, 1916, at the age of forty-two.[6] She was buried at Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire.


  1. ^ Angel of Summerdown. Retrieved September 13, 2018
  2. ^ My Favorite Heiresses: the Perils of Pauline Payne Whitney.Retrieved September 13, 2018]
  3. ^ "Miss Whitney's Engagement. The Daughter of the ex-Secretary of the Navy to Marry Almeric H. Paget, Son of Lord Alfred Paget", The New York Times, July 25, 1895.
  4. ^ In fact, Paget's second wife, Edith Starr Miller, sued in New York City for legal separation on January 8, 1932, citing cruelty. "Separation Asked by Lady Paget Here", The New York Times, January 8, 1932; Cleveland Amory, Who Killed Society?, p. 503. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960.
  5. ^ "Lord Queenborough Weds Miss Miller. British Peer Quietly Marries Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Starr Miller", The New York Times, July 20, 1921.
  6. ^ "Mrs. Almeric H. Paget Dies. Former Miss Pauline Whitney of New York Expires at Esher, Eng.", The New York Times, November 23, 1916.