Talk:John Jacob Astor

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His demise[edit]

No mention of his death in the article.

dagger29 18:29, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

did he die on the titanic? What an intelligent question? Most Americans believe that everything is possible in America, but surely not that a man born 1763 lived until 1912. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:45, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Hmmm...I think he does according to the musical, but that wouldent be a reliable source. I'll look up some biographical stuff and post it on this article later. If anybody wants to help, please do so. 01:16, 23 October 2006 (UTC) Actually, after research, he did not die on the titanic. It was a latter descendant of his, though this is confusing at first since they share the same name... In fact, none of his children lived to see the "launching" of the Titanic.Ageofe 02:13, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Astor died in 1848. The Titanic sank in 1911 or 1912 or so. There was an Astor, and several other millionarires, on the Titanic--in fact, it was frequently called a Millionaire's Special. Two Guggenheims, Levi Strauss (who owned Macy's), and of course the unsinkable Molly Brown. N.B.--Elias Hasket Derby of Salem is usually referred to as America's first millionaire. Like Astor, he made his boodle in the China trade. Astor was, at the time of his death, undisputably the richest American. 03:09, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

John Jacob Astor IV (his Grandson) died on the Titanic not this one. John Jacob Astor IV was the´great-grandson of John Jacob Astor I. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

His "bad" side[edit]

I am from Washington State, and I remember from school that Astor was actually a pretty horrible guy. He wanted to (and attempted to) do some pretty wild stuff like generate unrest in the oregon territories so that he could set up his own kingdom (in what is now the pacific northwest) with himself as king.

Prior to that, he also had a dream to setup his own city-state in what is now niagra falls.

He never did anything charitable in his life (with one exception in the next paragraph), and indeed was known for being ruthless and essentially "greedy"

Ultimatly, when all his plans of domination didnt pan out, he did commission one "charitable" work, a library dedicated to himself and his works.

SO, this is what i remember reading about Astor, so if someone feels like digging for verifiable citations regarding this, go for it.

--JayTau 02:00, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Dear JayTau! I think you should sue your school in Washington State and the teacher who taught you that nonsense. Why don't you check up the facts. Astor tried to found a city in Wisconsin, not in the Niagra Falls area. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:52, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
The location of the city is rather aside the point. Me, I'm kind of impressed his whackadoodle prof even knew about Astor to make him a figure in his conspiracy theories. I'm also curious what he considered "evil" about trying to set up a government in the Oregon Territory; its domination by the US or UK wasn't divine fiat. — LlywelynII 17:47, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Newer ranking on Wealth[edit]

The newest Forbes rankings state he was the fourth wealthiest American ever. It was a minor change but I made, although I'm afraid the citation I made is sub-par. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:40, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Was Astor Jewish?[edit]

In an edit on 20 December 2007, 14:07 the claim of a Jewish origin for Astor was made. I couldn't verify this, but found an article which might settle this issue:

Maybe someone with access to JSTOR can check this? --S.K. (talk) 15:37, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

No, Astor was not Jewish. Please refer to Lucy Kavaler's, The Astor's: A Chronicle of Pomp and Power and Derek Wilson's, The Astor's: Landscape with Millionaires. His father was of Anglo-Saxon Christianity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:39, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Why not go to the sources - the Church Records? Johann Jacob Astor (1763-1848) was baptised in the Reformed Church of Walldorf in 1763, his father Johann Jacob Astor (1724-1816) war Reformed, his mother Maria Magdalena vom Berg was Lutheran, both married on April 15, 1749 in the Reformed Church in Walldorf. WieWa Nov. 8, 2010

Religion and Jewish People is not the same. And yes, he came from jewish People, like Johannes Gutenberg!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
That would need to be supported with a reliable source. So far, all reliable sources indicate he is of German descent. XXSNUGGUMSXX (talk) 00:27, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but ok, German Jews is correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
You still have not provided any reliable source about Jewish affiliations. XXSNUGGUMSXX (talk) 00:49, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Sorry I forgot this. Here it is: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Upon looking through the site, it doesn't exactly seem to be professional. A more reliable source would be needed. I doubt you'll find any reliable sources for it, though. Besides, you would have to include sources in the article itself. XXSNUGGUMSXX (talk) 01:04, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Did he steal his wealth from the Emerick's?[edit]


-Some distant grandson of John Nicholas Emerick.

Confusing paragraph[edit]

One paragraph reads:

"In 1804, Astor purchased from Aaron Burr what remained of a 99-year lease on property in Manhattan. At the time, Burr was serving as vice president under Thomas Jefferson and desperately needed the purchase price of $62,500. The lease was to run until 1 May 1806. Astor began subdividing the land into nearly 250 lots and subleased them. His conditions were that the tenant could do whatever they wish with the lots for twenty-one years, after which they must renew the lease or Astor would take back the lot."

That confuses me. If the 99-year lease he purchased expired on May 1, 1806, how was he selling leases for 21 years starting in 1804? Did he renew the 99-year lease? Dewey Finn (talk) 00:00, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

OK, I found an article from the New York Times of October 16, 1911 that said the 99-year lease expired in 1866. I'll update the article. Dewey Finn (talk) 00:10, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Different Individuals[edit]

John Jacob Astor I and John Jacob Astor II both redirect to this page. The dates given at the top of the article match John Jacob Astor I. Clearly, this needs to be fixed. Someone with the proper resources needs to go through and verify content as to which John Jacob Astor it goes with, and split it properly between John Jacob Astor and John Jacob Astor II. If both were commonly referred to as John Jacob Astor then a note at the top directing to the entry for the son needs to be made.JohnBobMead (talk) 02:09, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Opium smuggling[edit]

I think the allegation of opium smuggling needs more support. Is it only Front Line? Well they must have their references, and it would be good to know those. One short paragraph on a web page seems insufficient. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 21:52, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

May as well remove "smuggling" from overview due to lack of support. After quickly searching him and opium, it doesn't seem to be so much of him "smuggling" as it was simply exchanging/selling it. XXSNUGGUMSXX (talk) 04:19, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Which was smuggling. It was illegal in Qing China. — LlywelynII 17:35, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Republican Party?[edit]

In the sidebar it states his political party affiliation as Republican, how is this possible seeing how he died in 1848, and the Republican party was not founded until 1854, 6 years after his death. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done removed. Fat&Happy (talk) 02:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

New Source[edit]

The German Historical Institute has published a short biographical article on John Jacob Astor that can be found here: Immigrantentrep (talk) 15:03, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm working on adding some material in from the GHI's page now. Let me know if I've done anything wrong, as this is my first edit. Thanks! Thellomerca (talk) 14:33, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

References in popular culture[edit]

In adding this section with just a single reference, I suggest that other contributors add other references they are aware of, as this greatly adds to the value of the entry. PaulJCompton (talk) 15:06, 8 September 2013 (UTC)PaulJCompton

Requesting protection[edit]

Since this article has experienced multiple instances of disruptive edits and vandalism, I am requesting that the page be protected. XXSNUGGUMSXX (talk) 19:16, 25 February 2014 (UTC)


The EB9 says dad was a peasant and he helped with farm; the EB11 says dad was butcher and he helped with shop. Which one's right? or neither? — LlywelynII 17:07, 1 August 2015 (UTC)


EB11 says he and his brother worked in London for his uncle's piano and flute company Astor & Broadwood. Astor family says (unsourced) that he and his brother worked as flautists under their own brand "George and John Astor". EB11 says he moved to New York and served as agent for A&B. This article says (unsourced) that he worked there as butcher with his brother. Astor family says (unsourced) that he moved to Baltimore to establish his own flute business. Any clarity to throw on this? (And kindly bring both this page and Astor family into agreement with cites.) — LlywelynII 17:34, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:John Jacob Astor/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

As a basic biography, it also need information such as:
  • his parents
  • his spouse (or some reference as "daughter of XXX and his wife YYY", or something to that order)

His personal life and career biographies should be separated or better integrated. Currently, it is a bit awkward. For the Anishinaabe project, there should be mention of his partnerships with Anishinaabe communities. In the American Fur Company article, this relationship could be discussed in more detail. Also, do anyone know why he bequeathed the majority of his wealth to his second son rather than his first son?

CJLippert 23:30, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 23:30, 23 October 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 20:14, 29 April 2016 (UTC)