ARTIFACT OF THE MONTH
Winthrop Chanler Rutherfurd
Born February 4, 1862, Winthrop Chanler Rutherfurd was the last of the seven children of Lewis Morris and Margaret Chanler Rutherfurd. An avid sportsman of impeccable breeding, Winthrop was considered the most eligible bachelor in New York society. For Edith Wharton, a Newport, Rhode Island neighbor, he was “the prototype of my first novels.” For Consuelo Vanderbilt, he was Rosenkavalier, the Mr. X of her autobiography The Glitter and the Gold. (Winthrop and Consuelo were secretly engaged before her ambitious mother, Alva, intervened demanding Consuelo marry the 9th Duke of Marborough. “Winty was outclassed. Six feet two in his golf stockings, he was no match for five feet six in a coronet.”) After graduating from Columbia College in 1884, Winthrop went on to study law. In the early 1890s with his brother Lewis they established the L&W Realty Company. The company’s main occupation was managing older brother Rutherfurd Stuyvesant’s growing real estate empire. By this time Lewis and Winthrop had begun another enterprise which would bring them great satisfaction, the breeding of smooth fox terriers. (Winthrop’s prize terrier Warren Remedy would become the only dog in Westminster Kennel Club history to be awarded Best in Show three times: 1907, 1908, 1909.)
On February 18, 1902, Winthrop married Alice Morton, daughter of Levi P. Morton and Anna Livingston Street Morton. Their union produced six children: Lewis Morton (1903-1920); Winthrop Jr. (1904-1988); John Phillip (1910-1987); Hugo (1911-2006); Alice (1913-1953); and Guy Gerard (1915-2012). Shortly after their marriage they contracted famed New York City architect Whitney Warren to design for them a Tudor-style mansion, Rutherfurd House, to be located alongside the Rutherfurd Stuyvesant property in Allamuchy, New Jersey. Allamuchy Farms’ 1,000 acres became well known for its Holstein cows, Dorset sheep as well as the already-established Warren Kennels. With his devoted estate manager, Arthur Danks, Winthrop became an unlikely gentleman farmer of great renown.
With Alice’s death in 1917, Winthrop was left not only with a devastating emotional emptiness but with six children ranging in age from 2 to 14 years. It is believed that through the efforts of Alice’s sister, Edith Eustis, a prominent Washington, D.C. socialite, Winthrop made the acquaintance of Lucy Page Mercer. By February of 1920 the two were married. With the addition of their daughter Barbara Mercer Rutherfurd in 1922, Lucy brought to the lively Rutherfurd clan a sense of serenity, grace, and affection which they all so desperately needed.
Winthrop Chanler Rutherfurd died on March 19, 1944 at the family’s winter residence, Ridgeley Hall, in Aiken, South Carolina.