Sunday, January 31, 2010

Trips all planned out.

I spent the last two days planning my trips. First to CA in March. Then to Biltmore, WA and FL by train in May. Bar Harbor and Newport, Ferncliff, a museum in Vermont, and maybe NY in August. All for research, looking for Astor. Then the Titanic trip in 2012. Whew! What a lot, but I will have looked as hard as I can, as wide as I can, and as much as possible for all the things related to Astor. I hope that this book will be considered the definitive work on him! And all this because I didn't like what I found in the books on him. I have such a totally different opinion about him, then when I started. I hope that if he read it, he would recognize himself in it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Titanic Memorial Cruise

I have just put down a deposit on a Memorial Titanic is the details if you want to go look...: &intPackageID=641">>&intPackageID=641

I'm excited and flustered and excited all at the same time. I can't wait!!

As I was talking to the travel agent, she told me that there were a lot of interest in the cruise, and that people had already snapped up a lot of the cabins. Writers, past-life people, and others were going to be there. I bet I will find a lot of kindred souls there.

I can't even begin to express how I to pay it all off.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vincent gets a new car.

Just a reading day. I am reading (and marking) pages from 1906. Two new things I learned today: 1. Astor was in another car accident that threw him out of the carriage and in the path of a truck. He managed to get out of the way before it could strike him. 2. Vincent won first prize in Mathematics at St. Georges with a 98 average. The highest ever. Dad was so proud, that he bought his son a 12,000 car to be ridden in over in Europe. He would have been 15 or 16 at the time. Nice gift....

Friday, January 22, 2010

I am not sure of the date on this photo...but it was the first 'candid' photo of John Jacob I ever purchased. (sorry about the watermark--I haven't scanned in my photo, and the mark is from where I purchased it.) I learned several things from this photo--one- he was nearly bald at 45 (or so.) Two--that he was far-sighted, see how he is holding the letter down a bit to read it. And Three--look at the cuff of his pants, one is rolled and the other unrolled, as if he had gotten interrupted in the task--maybe by the letter. Still a pretty cool photo.

Oh, I realized after I posted it, that my assumption about him dying his hair after he met Madeleine (or maybe before) was true as well. He is definitely a bit gray in this photo and looks older, yet older pictures of him -- he looks non-gray and a lot younger. Or maybe it was just getting rid of the first wife that did it!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New photo...

I ordered a magazine off of E-Bay that had a picture of Astor and fiancee in it. I ordered it sight unseen, because I didn't have time for the usual email back and forth about it. I knew it could have been the one of them in the car, together (I dislike that one) or better, it could have been the one I got outbid on in that other magazine.

So, the magazine gets here today and it turns out to be one I had never seen before in either magazine or newspaper! *Doing happy dance!*

She is in a white dress, and he is carrying her coat. Aw. I know, it would be more of an 'aw' for you if you could see the photo...but I haven't had time to scan it in. I haven't decided if I want to keep it in the Magazine or cut it out or scan it in, and keep the Magazine intact or what....

Decisions, decisions....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Minor Bump.

I am so close to being done with the newspaper printing close, and as Murphy's law dictates -- What could happen, did happen. First was that an on-line newspaper source just completely disappeared. Poof! Gone. No clue why. Okay, I'm cool with that, not happy, but cool. Then, when I am within a (print) year or so of finishing, my toner on my printer gives out! Argh!!!!!

*Sigh* Yes, I did order more toner which generally takes a week to get here...and luckily for me, I have plenty to do still at this stage that I can do to keep myself out of trouble. I will be reading all these pages that I have printed out. I end up discarding about 2/3 as duplicates or not relevant, so it is a worthwhile endeavor to go through them. Less to file, and less to have to input into the computer. Alright, I confess, the last set of papers, I just jammed them into the right folders without reading and kept on when I go back to these folders, I will be forced to read and willow them then. ....Yes, I am a lazy heifer at times.

Can you tell how much I want this stage to be over with? I would be within a week or so of finishing this part if my toner hadn't given out on me! Argh! I only change it a week ago! Stupid Printer...stupid obsession...nice Mr. Astor. Okay, I am better now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A clearer picture...

This is that picture from the Vouge Magazine that I bid on and lost. I really wanted it. I wanted to take a magnifying glass to it and see all the little details that can tell you so much. Alas, I didn't win, but I am keeping an eye out for another magazine of that issue...Any one happen to have this under their pillow? Or under their mouse pad, not doing anything and wouldn't mind donating to an Astor crazed...I mean Astor addicted..ah, Astorophile?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The rest of the New York Yacht Club photos...

I found this photo in a newspaper...and while it is not clear, I like how you can see Col. Astor smiling. They aren't touching but it clear that they are together and happy. :) Nice to know.

These two bottom ones are from LOC and are part of the set that were taken at the New York Yacht Club at Newport. I like when I find photos of the same day, you get different views and hints of things going on. I just noticed that Astor and Madeleine don't seem to be sitting quite so close. Mom is there in the big hat.I wonder who that is across from mom. No way to know...yet. I am looking for a magazine that published the first photo and it might give details I can't see here. I got outbid on E-bay. I never know if it is another Titanic fan or an Astor seeker, or if they bought the magazine for the hats? But I wish they would let me ask the other bidders on E-Bay on certain items...and if they had wanted just the hats, I would have gone halves in acquiring the photo, because that is all I wanted from the Magazine...*Sigh*

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Favorite Photos

These are the two photos that I like best of Astor. In both, we have his son, the one on the bottom, he's a bit younger and the one on top, obviously he's gotten his growth. Mind you, these are suppose to be two years apart but I bet that it is more like four, to account for the growth of his son.

I like the one on bottom, because it is the only one that you can get a clear view of his face. (He hated reporters and getting his photo taken.) And in it, you get a hint of his intelligence and humor. The upper one, there is an ease in his stance that I think is a direct result of divesting himself of a harpy wife. Sorry Ava, if you weren't, but most reports say you were a terrible wife to him in his later life.

I did newspaper research tonight on 1909...which he got his divorce and I got a hint that there was another woman involved, they spent a lot of time being driven in his red automobile -- she a twice divorced woman, and he, well, a man with a reputation of being a rake. Later, she had rubies and diamonds that a 'Colonel' had given her that were much more expensive than she could afford...that got 'lost' and the 'Colonel' advertised and got back for $25,000 dollars. Mmmmm, that's a lot to offer for jewels that had to be worth much more than $25,000 (Half a million in today's money.) Not many people could afford to pay this once, let alone twice. There were other women mentioned, but no names published. In other papers, they said the particular woman was only there to fulfil the legal requirement of adultery -- the appearance-- and not necessarily the actual act. So a divorce could happen.

I do think he played around, but I don't fault him for this. Ava had a talent for cutting him down and they fought quite a bit before they separated for good. It's said that Ava did not want to marry him, but was pressured into it by her parents. I don't think that is a good enough reason to make your husband's life miserable. And for so long. She wasn't very kind to her son, either. Ah, off of this, I think I said all of this in another post.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I saw a newspaper after the divorce, Col. Astor was going on about how the sea air had gotten him well...'haven't had a headache, a weak stomach, or a dizzy spell in weeks'...

Mmm, I think Ava kept the old blood pressure up. And the divorce got rid of the main source of his misery--literally. It would explain why he looks so good in later photos. Healthy, happy, and positively glowing. I thought it was Madeleine, but maybe not being around someone who kept the stress up helped a lot. Maybe.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not Jack...

Have you seen this photo?
I have on various sites. It is supposed to be the last photo of John Jacob Astor (the old guy on the far left) before he got on the train to go to the Titanic. Yet, a couple of things argue against this being Jack. One is the appearance. Yes, it looks like him...but in a general sort of way. Like a family resemblance. Like Waldorf Astor would have had. Go ahead and compare him to the other photos of Jack here....Go ahead, I'll wait.
Now if that wasn't enough to convince you...that is a picture of the English train to the take passengers in England to Queensland. Awww. the plot gets thicker... John Jacob (Jack) Astor got on the ship in France. That's a might bit far to take a train...don't you think? I have seen the caption on this photo and it clearly stated that this was taken in England...
Lastly, Waldorf Astor went to the train station to see some friends off that *were* going back to New York via the Titanic. Now this, you'll have to take on my word. I saw the information on the send-off before I started to do this research and can't remember where I saw it. Dang! Sorry. Yet, just a general once over and a comparison of a known photo of Jack with this one and it is obvious (at least to me) that these are not the same person. Go find a Waldorf Astor photo and the resemblance will be uncanny . . . okay, I don't usually give homework...but if you do, you'll see what I mean...annnnd you've get that smug feeling deep down in your chest whenever you see this photo tagged wrong. :) That's worth the digging, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

JJ Astor and what the heart wants...

I thought it might be interesting to write about different unusual photos of Col. Astor that I have. This one I acquired from the Library of Congress...

Admittedly it isn't all that clear, but that is him on the dock on the right. Madeleine is probably the girl in the sailor suit in the middle of the group. That was a typical outfit for a teen-age girl in that period. It probably made it all the more obvious about the age difference. But as my husband has said, "The heart wants, what the heart wants..."

I have seen other couples with extreme age differences before and after the Astors. So I don't think the public 'outcry' was really about that...or that he was so rich and she so young. I read a theory that the newspaper reporters, stung over the fact that he cut them out of the divorce scandal very neatly and completely, used his engagement to this young girl to get back at him.

In a way, the newspapers did have a powerful influence over the minds of people -- so perhaps this idea has some merit. I heard one person say later that if the reporters hadn't caused the scandal to be so much more than it was, that the Astors wouldn't have even been on the Titanic at all. That they originally had no plans to get married so quick, that the hounding of the reporters quickened up everything. If they had not married that September, then no honeymoon to go on, and no Titanic ship to come back on the following April. I certainly wish that they could have gotten the time to know each other as they could have, to have the privacy to be happy together. Of course, the irony is that if they had had that privacy, I never would have know about them at all. I only learned about the Astors through reading about the Titanic disaster.

Still, I would trade all of this obsession, and 3 years work, for them to have the next twenty years together after the Titanic went down. For them to have been a "typical" family and had a chance to have a life together. I want that for them, even knowing how it all ends.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Back from Nebraska

I am back from Nebraska, bringing with me, a small cold. What a way to start the new year. I made a deal with my husband for him to take care of the house while I worked on my book. I hope to finish my book before the month is out. But I've got to get the research done. I am on the last leg of the vertical research. That I can get done in 12 days. After that, I will get the outline of 09 to 12 done, (not a deep one-just an outline with important dates and some friends identified) then I will correct my book as far as time line goes. You know I was going to stop for the day on the printing out but I think I will go ahead and the next year done. A few days concentrated and that will be done. Then I can do the outline...and then correct the outline...I could do what I said I would do. I could, couldn't I? I've got 10 days before my husband goes to school--why not use it well. It's not that much more.