Mary Benedict Cushing

Mary Cushing Fosburgh
Born Mary Benedict Cushing
January 27, 1906(1906-01-27)
Died November 6, 1978(1978-11-06) (aged 72)
Parents Harvey Williams Cushing
Relatives William Harvey Cushing, brother
Henry Kirke Cushing, brother
Betsey Cushing, sister
Barbara Cushing, sister

Mary Cushing Fosburgh (January 27, 1906 - November 6, 1978) and known as "Minnie" was a socialite, the wife of William Vincent Astor, and the widow of the painter James Whitney Fosburgh.[1][2] She was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York City Center, and was on the board of the Yale Art Gallery. She was also major supporter of the American National Theater and Academy and the Henry Street Settlement. During World War II she was a leader in the Ship Service Committee and New York City War Fund.[2]


She was the daughter of Harvey Williams Cushing. Her two sisters, also prominent socialites, were Betsey Cushing and Barbara Cushing.[1][3] She also had two brothers, William Harvey Cushing, and Henry Kirke Cushing.

She was married twice, first to the multi-millionaire William Vincent Astor in 1940 as his second wife.[4][5] They were divorced in 1953.[2] She married her second husband, the painter James Whitney Fosburgh (1910-1978), that same year.[6] She died on November 6, 1978.[2]


As an art collector, she was known for her collection including Paul Cézanne, Winslow Homer, William Nicholson, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Walter Sickert, and Pavel Tchelitchew.


  1. ^ a b Elisabeth Bumiller (January 3, 1999). "Betsey Cushing Whitney; The Last Princess". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2010-06-06. "Mary (Minnie), the eldest sister, married Vincent Astor and then James Whitney Fosburgh, an artist. ..." 
  2. ^ a b c d "Mary Fosburgh, 72. One of Cushing Sisters And a Leader in Arts. Raised Funds During War". New York Times. November 8, 1978. Retrieved 2010-03-21. "Mary Gushing Fosburgh, the eldest of the socially prominent Cushing sisters and widow of the painter James Whitney Fosburgh, died Saturday at her home in Manhattan after a long illness. She was 72 years old and lived at 32 East 64th Street." 
  3. ^ "Betsey Cushing Roosevelt Whitney, 89, Socialite". New York Times in the Chicago Tribune. March 29, 1998. Retrieved 2010-06-06. "Her older sister, Mary "Minnie" Cushing, was married to Vincent Astor, the wealthy real estate owner, and after a divorce, to artist James Whitney Fosburgh. She died in 1978 at 72." 
  4. ^ "Vincent Astor Dies In His Home at 67". New York Times. February 4, 1959. Retrieved 2010-06-06. "Later that year he married Mary Benedict Cushing, daughter of Dr. Harvey Cushing, Boston brain specialist. That marriage ended in divorce in 1953." 
  5. ^ "Mary Cushing Wed to Vincent Astor. Daughter of Surgeon Becomes His Second Wife in Ceremony at Long Island Estate. No Advance Announcement Is Made and Few Are Present. Couple Sail on Yacht. Only Relatives at Wedding. Bride's Dress of Soft Wool". New York Times. September 28, 1940. Retrieved 2010-06-06. "Vincent Astor, head of the Astor family, and Miss Mary Benedict Cushing, daughter of the late Dr. Harvey W. Cushing, noted surgeon, and Mrs. Cushing, were married here today at noon at Heather Dune, the Summer home of the bride's mother." 
  6. ^ "Married". Time magazine. November 2, 1953.,9171,819102,00.html. Retrieved 2010-06-06. "Mary Cushing Astor, 47, eldest of the late Brain Surgeon Harvey Cushing's three beautiful, millions-marrying daughters (her sisters' husbands: CBS Board Chairman William Paley, Financier John Hay Whitney); and James Whitney Fosburgh, 43, Yale-educated Manhattan artist and World War II Army glider pilot; he for the first time, she for the second (her previous marriage, to Manhattan Millionheir William Vincent Astor, ended in divorce in September); in Manhasset, N.Y." 

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