1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Astor, William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount

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WILLIAM WALDORF ASTOR, 1st Viscount (1848-1919) [see 2.794], died at Brighton Oct. 18 1919. He was in 1916 raised to the peerage, and in 1917 was created a viscount.

His eldest son, Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor, born in New York May 19 1879, was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. In 1911 he successfully contested the Sutton division of Plymouth as a Unionist, but vacated his seat in 1919 on succeeding to his father's peerage. He was chairman of the Government Committee on tuberculosis and of the State Medical Research Committee. During the World War he was inspector of quartermaster-general services, and in 1918 became parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister. In Jan. 1919 he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Local Government Board, and retained the same position on the formation of the Ministry of Health in Aug. 1919. His wife, Nancy Witcher Astor, born in Virginia May 19 1879, was the daughter of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne, of an old Virginian family. She married in 1897 Robert Gould Shaw, of Boston, from whom she obtained a divorce in 1903, and in 1906 married Waldorf Astor. When her husband succeeded to the viscountcy, Lady Astor, who had taken much interest in the local affairs of her husband's former constituency in Plymouth, was adopted there as Coalition Unionist candidate for the vacant seat in Parliament. She was elected by a substantial majority Nov. 28 1919, thus becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.