The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Astor, John Jacob (capitalist)
ASTOR, John Jacob, American capitalist and soldier, son of William B.: b. New York, 10 June 1822; d. 22 Feb. 1890. He was educated at Columbia University and at Göttingen; he then took the full course at the Harvard Law School, and practised law for a year, solely to qualify himself for assisting in the management of the immense estate, one half of which later descended to him. In the Civil War he served on McClellan's staff, with the rank of colonel; and was a devoted and hard-working military student. He always regarded this period as the best of his life, and attended the reunions of the Loyal Legion with zeal. Not only was he always a liberal giver to public institutions and charities, but he gave much personal time and devotion to them, especially to the Astor Library and Trinity Church; but he shrank from public notice. On his father's death in 1875 he received half of the estate, estimated at considerably over $100,000,000; all which, with accumulations believed to have swollen it to some $200,000,000, he left to his only son, William Waldorf Astor. His wife, Charlotte Augusta Gibbs, was an active assistant in his charitable work, taking part in personal service as “Sister Augusta,” incognito.