Cortlandt F. Bishop
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Cortlandt F. Bishop
Cortlandt Field Bishop
Cortlandt F. Bishop circa 1900.
Born(1870-11-24)November 24, 1870
DiedMarch 30, 1935(1935-03-30) (aged 64)
EducationColumbia University
OccupationAviator, book collector
Amy Bend
(m. 1899; his death 1935)
ChildrenBeatrice Bishop Berle
Parent(s)David Wolfe Bishop
Florence Van Corltandt Field
RelativesBenjamin Hazard Field (grandfather)

Cortlandt Field Bishop (November 24, 1870 - March 30, 1935) was an American pioneer aviator, balloonist, autoist, book collector, and traveler.[1]

Early life

He was born on November 24, 1870 to David Wolfe Bishop (1833-1900) and Florence Van Corltandt Field (1851-1922).[2][3][4] His younger brother was David Wolfe Bishop Jr.[5] His father inherited the greater part of the wealth of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe.[2]

His maternal grandparents were Benjamin Hazard Field and Catharine Van Cortlandt de Peyster.[6] His paternal grandparents were Japhet Bishop and Harriet Matilda Wolfe.[3] After his father's death, his mother married John Edward Parsons, a distinguished lawyer in New York.[6][7][8]

He earned an A.B. from Columbia University in 1891, an A.M. in 1892, a Ph.D. in 1893, and an LL.B. in 1894.[1]


In 1893, he published a book on American colonial voting practices.[9]

In July 1902, he gave automobile lessons to the Cottagers of Lenox and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in response to criticism of the use of automobile.[10][11] In 1903, Cortlandt and his brother, David, were hurt in an automobile accident where they collided with a carriage while David was driving. Cortlandt was bruised and sustained a bad wound on his cheek while David was battered and bruised, while the car suffered only minor damage.[12]

In 1909, as president of the Aero Club of America, Bishop offered a $250 prize to the first four persons who could fly one kilometer.[13][1] During the International Aviation Meet in 1910, Bishop, Charles K. Hamilton, and Anthony J. Drexel, Jr. were all separately arrested for speeding in Jamaica, Queens.[14]

In 1911, Bishop and his wife took an extensive automobile trip around Europe, traveling to the Tripolitan frontier, 480 kilometers from Tunis.[15]

American Art Association

In 1923, Bishop bought America's premier auction house, American Art Association, from Thomas Kirby and installed Maj. Hiram Haney Parke and Otto Bernet as vice presidents and then proceeded to run his business from all over the world.[16] In 1929, The Association merged with the Anderson Auction Company to form the American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc.[17][18][19] In August 1938,[20] the firm was bought from Bishop's estate by Parke-Bernet Galleries, which had been formed a year earlier by Bishop's former auctioneers.[21][22] In 1964, Sotheby's purchased Parke-Bernet, then the largest auctioneer of fine art in the United States.[23]

Real estate

In 1903, he purchased land and the 1879 row house that occupied it at 15 East 67th Street in New York City for $235,000. He and his wife then hired noted architect, Ernest Flagg, who had designed the Singer Building and the Corcoran Gallery, to design their townhouse, which was built in 1904.[24]

In 1907, after the death of Matilda W. White (née Bishop),[25] his aunt and the widow of Joseph Moss White[26][27] who some said was deranged,[28] Bishop was named trustee of her estate, valued at $3,546,558.[29] Through the will of his aunt, he was conveyed certain real estate properties which he managed under Cortlandt Bishop, Inc.[29] In 1925, the company leased, from the estate of Frederick Heimsoth, the plot at the southwest corner of 56th Street and Sixth Avenue, giving him the entire block front from 55th to 56th on Sixth Avenue, upon which he planned to build a 15-story apartment building,[30] which was completed in 1928.[31]

In 1922, after the death of his mother, Bishop razed his parents home, Interlaken,[32] in Lenox and built Ananda Hall, which was torn down in 1940.[33]

In 1929, Bishop sold two five-story tenement buildings at 986 and 988 Sixth Avenue to Herrman Friedman, president of Sofmar Realty Corporation, that had been owned by the Bishop family for over 40 years.[31] In 1933, Bishop gave himself, as surviving trustee, a $225,000 mortgage through Cortlandt Bishop, Inc. on 1305 6th Avenue.[34] He also owned a three-story residence on East 35th Street which was bought in 1939 and torn down, together with 31-33 East Street, so a new Georgian structure could be built.[35][36]

Personal life

Marble sculpture titled The Rape of the Sabine Women
The Rape of the Sabine Women (1574-82), Florence

In 1899, Bishop married Amy Bend (1870-1957),[2][37][38] sister of Beatrice Bend (1874-1941), who married Henry Prather Fletcher,[39] both daughters of George H. Bend, a member of the New York Stock Exchange who had gone bankrupt. She was introduced into society in 1889 and was a close friend of Emily Vanderbilt Sloane.[40] Amy was rumored to have been close to marrying John Jacob Astor III, and later became engaged to A. Lanfear Norrie, which was announced at a grand ball on April 23, 1893, but which Amy broke off less than a month later. The broken engagement was followed by a brief courtship with William Kissam Vanderbilt, who at the time, was old enough to be her father.[41] After their marriage, Cortlandt and Amy had one child:[42]

He died on March 30, 1935 in Lenox, Massachusetts.[1] After his death, the Bishop's New York townhouse was sold Anna Erickson, widow of the chairman of McCann-Erickson in 1936 and,[45][46] today, is the home of the Regency Whist Club.[24] His estate was valued at $2,847,201 with a net value of $499,392, which accounted for debts, mortgages, administrative expenses and a $515,000 payment to his daughter in settlement of an action she brought for an accounting of Bishop's trusteeship of a fund in which she had an interest.[47] His principal beneficiary was his widow and a friend, Edith Nixon.[47] Bishop was found to have improperly handled the estate of Matilda W. White, his aunt, who left an estate of $3,546,558.[29]


In November 1935, his auction house, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, sold his paintings and furniture for $276,145.[48] The sale included two Hoppner portraits, a half-length portrait of Miss Rich, a young woman in a white gown, and the painter's study of the 2nd Earl of Chichester, painted about 1795. It also included a portrait of Lady Cholmondeley by Sir Joshua Reynolds, six Aubusson tapestries, Giovanni Da Bologna's Rape of a Sabine, a sculptured marble bas-relief of the Virgin and Child by Bernardo Rossellino, a Chippendale carved walnut scroll-top chest, among others.[48]

In 1938 and 1939,[49][50] Bishop's extensive stamp[51][52] and book collection was sold.[53][54][55][56][57][58][59]

In 1940, the auction sale of furnishings of Ananda Hall, Bishop's Lenox estate took place, which resulted in the sale of six Chippendale carved mahogany side chairs, an Oushak medallion,[60][61] a Louis XVI gold and enamel snuff box with miniature, a Spanish ten-doblas gold coin from 1398, a Venetian gold sixty-ducats coin, a World's Colombian Exposition gold medal of 1892,[62] and a Hepplewhite inlaid mahogany sideboard.[63]

In popular culture

  • Bishop features prominently in, The Elegant Auctioneers by Wesley Towner, Hill & Wang, ISBN 0809041715, (1970), a novel about how Bishop bought America's premier auction house, American Art Association, in 1923.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cortlandt Bishop, Art Patron, Dead. Chief Owner of the American Anderson Galleries Here Stricken in Lenox". The New York Times. March 31, 1935. Retrieved . Cortlandt Field Bishop, principal owner and former president of the American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc. ...
  2. ^ a b c "AN ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCED". The New York Times. 11 September 1899. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ a b York, Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New (1905). The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York: History, Customs, Record of Events, Constitution, Certain Genealogies, and Other Matters of Interest. V. 1-. The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Times, Special To The New York (16 October 1922). "MRS. PARSONS DIES AT HER COUNTRY HOME; Widow of Noted Lawyer Passes Away After Several Weeks Illness in Pittsfield". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ "A DAY'S WEDDINGS.; Bishop -- Bend". The New York Times. 8 October 1899. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ a b Aitken, William Benford (1912). Distinguished Families in America, Descended from Wilhelmus Beekman and Jan Thomasse Van Dyke. Knickerbocker Press. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Hicks, Paul DeForest (September 27, 2016). John E. Parsons: An Eminent New Yorker in The Gilded Age. Easton Studio Press, LLC. ISBN 9781632260741. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Greene, Richard Henry; Stiles, Henry Reed; Dwight, Melatiah Everett; Morrison, George Austin; Mott, Hopper Striker; Totten, John Reynolds; Pitman, Harold Minot; Forest, Louis Effingham De; Ditmas, Charles Andrew; Mann, Conklin; Maynard, Arthur S. (1916). The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. p. 192. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Bishop CF (1893). History of Elections in the American Colonies. Franklin, Burt Publisher ISBN 0-8337-0296-3
  10. ^ Times, Special To The New York (24 July 1902). "GIVING AUTOMOBILE LESSONS.; Cortlandt Bishop Undertakes to Educate Cottagers and Horses". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ Bishop, Cortlandt F. (27 July 1902). "CORTLANDT BISHOP'S DENIAL". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ Times, Special To The New York (26 October 1903). "BISHOP BROTHERS ARE HURT.; Well-Known Young Men Thrown from a Ditched Automobile". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "AERO CLUB BALLOON FOUND.; One Heard from In Connecticut -- Ascension at West Point or Pittsfield". The New York Times. 8 February 1906. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ "DREXEL HELD FOR SPEEDING; Aviator's Brother Stopped in His Auto on the Way to Belmont Park". The New York Times. 27 October 1910. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ Times, Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph To The New York (23 April 1911). "AMERICANS IN PARIS.; Mrs. Bacon Resumes Her Weekly At-Homes at the Embassy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ a b Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (26 October 1970). "Books of The Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "ART DEALER HELD IN $65,000 LARCENY; Milton E. Logan, Ex-Head of Auction Galleries, Accused of Diverting Clients' Funds". The New York Times. 5 November 1939. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ Kirby, Thomas E. "American Art Association Records, 1877-1924". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ "ART AUCTION HOUSE SPLIT IN SHAKE-UP; Kennerley Back as Head of American-Anderson--Old Staff Forms New Firm". The New York Times. 13 November 1937. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ "ART AUCTION HOUSE SOLD TO SYNDICATE; | Cortlandt F. Bishop Estate Turns Over American Art Anderson Galleries | M. B. LOGAN NEW PRESIDENT | Ex-Secretary Heads Owners--Succeeds to Office of Mitchell Kennerley". The New York Times. 6 August 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "LOGAN DENIES PART IN $65,000 THEFTS; Testifies He Was Merely a Figurehead, Did Not See Art Galleries' Books TELLS OF LOAN TO GEERY Admits Latter Got Money From Bishop Estate Without Executors' Approval". The New York Times. 6 March 1941. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ "ART DEAL INVOLVES NOTED GALLERIES; Parke-Bernet Announces Lease of American Art Association Anderson Premises | OCCUPANCY BEGINS OCT. 1 | The New Arrangement Follows Many Management Changes of Older Concern". The New York Times. 5 August 1939. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ Sotheby's Timeline (Report). Sotheby's. Retrieved 2012.
  24. ^ a b "History". Regency Whist Club. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ "Obituary 1 -- WHITE". The New York Times. 3 March 1907. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ Social Register, New York, 1895 | Vol. IX, No. 1. New York: Social Register Association. November 1894. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ Times, Special To The New York (10 August 1902). "Comings and Goings of Many Well-Known Society People". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  28. ^ Gilder, Cornelia Brooke (July 30, 2008). Hawthorne's Lenox: The Tanglewood Circle. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781614231097. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ a b c "MRS. BERLE WINS $515,000 OF ESTATE; Bishop Accounting Bares the Settlement From $3,237,065 Holdings of Her Father WAS CUT OFF IN THE WILL Wife of Assistant Secretary of State Charged Parent Mismanaged Property". The New York Times. May 24, 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ "OBTAINS BLOCK FRONT BY LONG-TERM LEASE; Sixty-three-Year Contract Completes Site for Sixth Avenue Improvement". The New York Times. 31 May 1925. Retrieved 2017.
  31. ^ a b "BISHOP ESTATE SELLS SIXTH AVENUE PLOT; Investors Buy on Lexington Av. --Greenwich Village Flats Acquired by Bing & Bing". The New York Times. 5 February 1929. Retrieved 2017.
  32. ^ "Lenox Personals; Many Cottagers Leave for the Fashionable Seaside Resorts". The New York Times. August 3, 1902. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ Association, Lenox Library (December 12, 2016). Lenox. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781439659113. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ "MANHATTAN MORTGAGES". The New York Times. 19 January 1933. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ Cooper, Lee E. (15 June 1939). "18-Story House Is Planned on Park Avenue To Replace Old Homes at 37th St. Corner". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ "WIDE GAINS CITED BY 5TH AVE. GROUP; Building Operations in Last 2 Months Hit $8,000,000 Total for the Year So Far MODERNIZATION GOES ON Besides New Projects, Many Stores Are Planning Costly Renovation Programs Two Outstanding Projects WIDE GAINS CITED BY 5TH AVE. GROUP". The New York Times. 24 September 1939. Retrieved 2017.
  37. ^ Times, Special To The New York (12 September 1899). "Bishop-Bend Engagement Confirmed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  38. ^ "Ex libris: Amy Bend Bishop". Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  39. ^ "Mrs. Henry Prather Fletcher (Beatrice Bend, 1874-1941)". New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 2017.
  40. ^ Hoffman, Barbara (18 October 2013). "Exhibit shows the notorious faces of old New York". New York Post. Retrieved 2017.
  41. ^ Owens, Carole (July 25, 2009). "The debutante". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 2017.
  42. ^ "Archives Directory for the History of Collecting". Frick Collection. Retrieved 2017.
  43. ^ Kennedy, Shawn G. (14 June 1993). "Beatrice Berle, 90, A Doctor, Teacher And Medical Writer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  44. ^ Cantwell, Mary Cantwell;; By Mary Cantwell; Mary (5 February 1984). "DAUGHTER KNEW BEST". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  45. ^ "HEIRS SELL HOME OF ART COLLECTOR; Bishop Estate Disposes of Fine Town House in East 67th Street. DEAL NEAR FT. TRYON PARK Builders Buy Ft. Washington Av. Corner for Apartment to House Fifty Families". The New York Times. 7 March 1936. Retrieved 2017.
  46. ^ Times, Special To The New York (4 July 1936). "HOLIDAY THRONGS AT SOUTHAMPTON; Peconic Club Has Dinner Dance Attracting Many Summer Colonists. J.B. MURRAYS ARE HOSTS Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Johnson, the Fraser M. Horns and S.B. Woods Jr. Entertain". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  47. ^ a b "C.F. Bishop Left $499,392". The New York Times. 12 October 1939. Retrieved 2017.
  48. ^ a b "BISHOP COLLECTION SOLD FOR $276,145; Lots of Furniture and Art Objects Bring $77,332 at the Final Session". The New York Times. 24 November 1935. Retrieved 2017.
  49. ^ "$3,400 PAID AT SALE FOR BURNS'S 'POEMS'; Sum Given for Copy of First Edition, Printed in 1786$169,322 for 2 Days $2,700 FOR ITALIAN BOOK Another Once Owned by Grolier Goes for $1,550 at Auction of Bishop Collection". The New York Times. 7 April 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  50. ^ "Bishop Library Sale Dates Set". The New York Times. 6 October 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  51. ^ "STAMPS SOLD FOR $19,547; Bishop Collection Is Disposed Of at Auction Here". The New York Times. 11 May 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  52. ^ "$1,300 Paid for U. S. Revenue Stamp of 1871; Opening of Bishop Sale Brings $14,223". The New York Times. 10 May 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  53. ^ "MORE BISHOP BOOKS WILL GO ON SALE; Second Part of Collection Lists Notable Manuscripts and Old Bookbindings". The New York Times. 24 April 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  54. ^ "$18,000 PAID HERE FOR BOOK OF HOURS; Dr. Rosenbach Also Buys an Arthurian Ms. for $16,500 at Bishop Library Sale". The New York Times. 26 April 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  55. ^ "MORE BISHOP BOOKS TO GO; Hearst Collection and Elsie de Wolfe Items Up for Sale Hearst Collection to Go Elsie de Wolfe Items Listed". The New York Times. 13 November 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  56. ^ "$7,250 FOR IST FOLIO OF SHAKESPEARE; Gabriel Wells Buys Copy at the Bishop Auction". The New York Times. 15 November 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  57. ^ "C. F. BISHOP LIBRARY SOLD FOR $616,59; Final Session Brings $32,847--Collector Pays $6,100 for Unique Voltaire Volume 21 WATER-COLORS IN BOOK Drawings by Thackeray Yield $950-'Cries of London' by Wheatley Go for $3,000". The New York Times. 16 November 1938. Retrieved 2017.
  58. ^ Staff report (December 8, 1948). RARE BOOK OF 1501 SOLD FOR $24,000; Aesop 'Fables' of Collection of C.F. Bishop Brings High Price at Auction Here. The New York Times
  59. ^ Brooks, Philip (22 January 1939). "Notes on Rare Books". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  60. ^ "$24,075 for Bishop Furniture". The New York Times. 25 May 1940. Retrieved 2017.
  61. ^ "Furnishings Sold for $14,091". The New York Times. 10 May 1940. Retrieved 2017.
  62. ^ "ART SALE BRINGS $7,481; Old Gold Coins Among Bishop Properties Auctioned Here". The New York Times. 9 May 1940. Retrieved 2017.
  63. ^ "Final Bishop Auction Today". The New York Times. 24 May 1940. Retrieved 2017.

External links

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