Winthrop W. Aldrich

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His Excellency
Winthrop W. Aldrich
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
February 2, 1953 – February 1, 1957
Monarch Elizabeth II
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by Walter S. Gifford
Succeeded by John Hay Whitney
Personal details
Born November 2, 1885
Rhode Island, U.S.
Died February 25, 1974
Spouse(s) Harriet Alexander
Parents Nelson W. Aldrich
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Banker

Winthrop Williams Aldrich GBE (November 2, 1885 – February 25, 1974) was an American banker and financier, scion of a prominent political family, and US Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Early years[edit]

Aldrich was born in Rhode Island in 1885, the son of Nelson W. Aldrich. He attended Harvard University, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1907 and a J.D. degree in 1910.

During the First World War Aldrich had built, at his own expense, the patrol boat USS Herreshoff No. 309 which was leased by Aldrich to the U.S. Navy and patrolled the waters off of Rhode Island from 15 November 1917 to 31 December 1918 when it was returned to Aldrich.

Aldrich had been commissioned a lieutenant (junior grade) in the Naval Reserve and was called to active duty on April 8, 1917 and was assigned to the Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island. He transferred to the USS Niagara (SP-136) in September and was assigned as the ship's navigator. He was reassigned to the USS New Orleans (CL-22) in June 1918 and served on convoy duty. He was promoted to lieutenant on June 1 of the same year and, after the armistice, was released from active duty in December.[1]


Aldrich served as president and chairman of the board of Chase National Bank from 1930 to 1953. He served as commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1932 to 1934. During and after World War II, he was a leader in the organization of relief efforts and financial assistance to Europe. In 1947 he was invested by King George VI as an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire (GBE).

In 1953, he became US Ambassador to the UK under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and he remained in London until 1957. He belonged to and served on the boards of many charitable organizations.

Private life[edit]

In 1916 Aldrich married Harriet Alexander.[2] His sister Abby Aldrich was the wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr..

He was an amateur musician and an artist whose specialty was watercolor seascapes. As a yachtsman he was navigator, under skipper Harold S. Vanderbilt, of the 1930 America's Cup J Class defender Enterprise.[3]

He built a 40-room manor on 108 acres in Brookville on Long Island.[4]


In 1947, he was appointed an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire by King George VI.[3] This entitled him to use the postnominal letters GBE, but not to the prenominal title "Sir" and he was not a British subject.

He was a member of the exclusive and prestigious Pilgrims Society.


  1. ^ Harvard's Military Record in the World War. Harvard University Press. pg. 28.
  2. ^ Miss Alexander a Bride, The New York Times, December 8, 1916, p. 9
  3. ^ a b Time, 8 December 1952
  4. ^ Brookville homes start at $1M and continue to lure the affluent Retrieved 2014-09-05.

Further reading[edit]

Winthrop W. Aldrich: Lawyer, Banker, Diplomat by Arthur M. Johnson. 1968. Harvard University.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Albert H. Wiggin
Chase CEO
Succeeded by
John J. McCloy