John Jacob Astor (7/1/1763 - 3/29/1848)

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Borrowing activity from 11/25/1799 to 12/30/1805.
John Jacob Astor, a fur trader, financier, real estate investor, and landlord, was born Johann Jakob Astor on July 17, 1763, in Walldorf, Germany (Madsen 9). He left Germany at seventeen for London where he worked with his brother in a musical instrument house founded by their uncle (Williams; Burrows and Wallace 273). At the end of the American Revolution, Astor left London for New York,arriving a few months after British troops departed from the city in 1784. He had an early association with merchant and fur dealer Robert Bowne, and by 1786 he started a business selling imported musical instruments on Queen Street (Madsen 17; Burrows and Wallace 273; Youngman 348-349). He bought furs in Manhattan and during trips to Albany and shipped them to London, earning enough to own a warehouse in Montreal, a center of the trade (Burrows and Wallace 273). By the early 1790s Astor was the leading American fur trader, and with the Jay Treaty in 1794, in which the British relinquished trading posts in the United States, Astor expanded into new territory in the west (Williams). By the mid-1790s he began to trade with China, and by the early 1800s he was building his own ships (Burrows and Wallace 337). When the state legislature chartered his American Fur Company in 1808, Astor was the city's first and only millionaire (Burrows and Wallace 337). He financed an expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River to open the Pacific Northwest to fur trading; he alsoestablished the settlement Astoria in Oregon, which was taken by the British in the War of 1812, and later memorialized in a book by Astor's friend Washington Irving (Williams). 

Beginning in 1789, he invested his profits in New York City real estate, buying land and property by the waterfront and in the northern limits of the city including Richmond Hill, where he purchased land from Aaron Burr, and in the village of Greenwich (Burrows and Wallace 337-338, 447). In 1836 he opened the Park Hotel, later the Astor House, and owned or invested in the Park Theater, Vauxhall Gardens, and the City Hotel (Burrows and Wallace 600).

He was a director of the Second Bank of the United States and the first president of its Manhattan branch, a director of the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad Company, a member of the Holland Lodge (Burrows and Wallace 380, 444). 

Astor's parents were Jacob Astor, a butcher, and Maria Magdalena Vorfelder. He married Sarah Todd in 1785; they had eight children (Williams).

Astor left money in his will for the establishment of a reference library in New York City and in 1849 the Astor Library opened. In 1895 the library combined with the Lenox Library and the Tilden Trust to form the New York Public Library ("History of the New York Public Library"). 

Astor died on March 28, 1848. He was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, and re-interred at Trinity Cemetery on June 20, 1851 ("Myth #3").
 Works Cited
John Jacob Astor Library Average
Circulation records from 1793-1799 are lost.
Books by subject area
As classified in the 1813 Library Catalog.

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John Jacob Astor Library Average
Full Title Author Volume Date Out Date In Rep. Fine Ledger
Transcribed: Klopstock's WorksFriedrich Gottlieb KlopstockVolume 111/25/179912/6/1799
Transcribed: History Five Indian NationsCadwallader Colden12/6/179912/14/1799
Transcribed: Bougainville's VoyageLouis Antoine de Bougainville12/6/179912/6/1799
Transcribed: Pindar's WorksPeter Pindar12/14/179912/21/1799
Transcribed: Pindar's WorksPeter Pindar12/14/179912/21/1799
Transcribed: Langhorne's PlutarchJohn Langhorne; William Langhorne; PlutarchVolume 112/21/17991/9/1800
Transcribed: "John Langhorne; William Langhorne; PlutarchVolume 31/9/18001/28/1800
Transcribed: "John Langhorne; William Langhorne; PlutarchVolume 41/28/18002/6/1800
Transcribed: "John Langhorne; William Langhorne; PlutarchVolume 62/7/18002/20/1800
Transcribed: Goldsmith's Abridged History of EnglandOliver Goldsmith2/20/18003/7/1800
Transcribed: Payne's Naval HistoryJohn PayneVolume 33/7/18003/21/1800
Transcribed: "John PayneVolume 43/21/18004/1/1800
Transcribed: Smollet's EnglandTobias SmollettVolume 84/1/18005/20/18006d
Transcribed: "John PayneVolume 54/1/18005/20/1800
Transcribed: ClarentineSarah Harriet BurneyVolume 15/20/18006/9/18006d
Transcribed: Lady and Gentleman's MagazineVolume 26/9/18006/10/1800
Transcribed: Lady and Gentleman's MagazineVolume 26/9/18006/10/1800
Transcribed: SpeculatistConcanenVolume 16/10/18006/12/1800
Transcribed: "George Alexander StevensVolume 26/12/18006/17/1800
Transcribed: Disappointed HeirA. GomersallVolume 16/17/18007/5/18004d
Transcribed: "A. GomersallVolume 27/5/18007/22/18003d
Transcribed: Laws of the United StatesUnited States.Volume 17/22/18008/8/1800
Transcribed: Columbian MagazineVolume 28/8/18009/5/18002d
Transcribed: Oeuvres De RousseauJean-Jacques RousseauVolume 28/8/18008/8/1800
Transcribed: Emily DundorneVolume 19/5/18009/25/18006d
Transcribed: "Volume 29/25/18009/26/1800
Transcribed: "Volume 39/26/180010/9/1800
Transcribed: Obedience RewardedMrs. Mary Pilkington10/9/180010/10/1800
Transcribed: GrandisonSamuel RichardsonVolume 110/10/180010/17/1800
Transcribed: Children AbbeyRegina Maria RocheVolume 110/17/180010/24/1800
Transcribed: Children AbbeyRegina Maria RocheVolume 210/24/180011/19/18001/
Transcribed: Hunter's TravelsWilliam Hunter11/19/180011/24/1800
Transcribed: Staunton's EmbassyGeorge Leonard StauntonVolume 111/24/180012/26/180022/10
Transcribed: Winterbotham's AmericaWilliam WinterbothamVolume 211/26/180012/26/1800
Transcribed: Winterbotham's AmericaWilliam WinterbothamVolume 211/26/18001/13/1801
Transcribed: Winterbotham's AmericaWilliam WinterbothamVolume 311/26/18001/13/1801
Transcribed: Winterbotham's AmericaWilliam WinterbothamVolume 411/26/18001/13/1801
Transcribed: Buffon's WorksGeorges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 31/13/18011/31/1801
Transcribed: "Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 21/31/18012/19/1801
Transcribed: "Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 31/31/18012/19/1801
Transcribed: "Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 41/31/18012/19/1801
Transcribed: "Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 51/31/18012/19/1801
Transcribed: "Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 61/31/18012/19/1801
Transcribed: "Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 71/31/18012/19/1801
Transcribed: "Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de BuffonVolume 11/31/18012/19/1801
Transcribed: Life of Catharine IIJ. CastéraVolume 12/19/18013/10/1801
Transcribed: "J. CastéraVolume 33/10/18013/14/1801
Transcribed: Gay's PlaysJohn Gay3/14/18013/19/1801
Transcribed: Peyrouse's VoyageJean-François de Galaup La Pérouse3/19/18014/10/1801
Transcribed: Gibbon's Roman EmpireEdward GibbonVolume 14/10/18014/29/1801
Transcribed: Johnson's PoetsSamuel JohnsonVolume 124/29/18015/21/18012d
Transcribed: Moore's F. RevolVolume 15/21/18015/21/1801
Transcribed: "Volume 15/21/18015/21/1801
Transcribed: "Volume 17/2/18017/14/1801
Transcribed: "Volume 27/2/18017/14/1801
Transcribed: Monthly ReviewVolume 327/14/18017/17/1801
Transcribed: Monthly MirrorVolume 37/17/18017/17/1801
Transcribed: Spirit ElbeVolume 28/22/18019/24/18013/2
Transcribed: Spirit ElbeVolume 18/22/18019/24/18013/2
Transcribed: Helen ClaireElizabeth Isabella SpenceVolume 29/24/18019/28/1801
Transcribed: Helen ClaireElizabeth Isabella SpenceVolume 19/24/18019/28/1801
Transcribed: Girl MountainEliza ParsonsVolume 29/28/180110/5/1801
Transcribed: Girl MountainEliza ParsonsVolume 19/28/180110/5/1801
Transcribed: Arthur MervynCharles Bockden BrownVolume 210/6/180110/15/1801
Transcribed: Arthur MervynCharles Bockden BrownVolume 110/6/180110/15/1801
Transcribed: Monthly MirrorVolume 810/15/180110/26/1801
Transcribed: Herman UnnaBenedikte NaubertVolume 210/26/180111/17/18012/
Transcribed: Herman UnnaBenedikte NaubertVolume 310/26/180111/17/18012/
Transcribed: Herman UnnaBenedikte NaubertVolume 110/26/180111/17/18012/
Transcribed: Juvenile IndescretionsAnna Maria BennettVolume 111/14/180112/8/18014d
Transcribed: Juvenile IndescretionsAnna Maria BennettVolume 211/14/180112/8/18014d
Transcribed: Tales of the CastleStéphanie Félicité, comtesse de GenlisVolume 112/8/180112/19/1801
Transcribed: Adam's AstronomyGeorge Adams12/28/18011/4/1802
Transcribed: Nichols ChemWilliam Nicholson12/28/180112/28/1801
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 19/9/180210/6/18024/4
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 29/9/180210/6/18024/4
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 39/9/180210/6/18024/4
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 49/9/180210/6/18024/4
Transcribed: Monthly MirrorVolume 1210/6/180210/18/1802
Transcribed: "Volume 1410/18/180211/20/18022d
Transcribed: "Volume 710/18/180210/18/1802
Transcribed: Baddely's MemoirsElizabeth SteeleVolume 111/20/180212/2/1802
Transcribed: Baddely's MemoirsElizabeth SteeleVolume 211/20/180212/2/1802
Transcribed: Baddely's MemoirsElizabeth SteeleVolume 311/20/180212/2/1802
Transcribed: Monthly MirrorVolume 912/2/180212/20/1802
Transcribed: "Volume 912/20/18021/3/1803
Transcribed: Anacharsis AbridgedJ.-J. (Jean-Jacques) Barthélemy1/3/18032/3/180310/
Transcribed: British TheatreJohn BellVolume 125/16/18035/24/1803
Transcribed: "John BellVolume 135/24/18036/4/1803
Transcribed: "John BellVolume 86/4/18037/7/18031/7
Transcribed: Monthly MirrorVolume 147/7/18037/16/1803
Transcribed: Old NickEdward Du BoisVolume 27/16/18037/20/1803
Transcribed: Old NickEdward Du BoisVolume 37/16/18037/20/1803
Transcribed: Old NickEdward Du BoisVolume 17/16/18037/20/1803
Transcribed: Voltaire FrenchVoltaireVolume 97/20/18038/4/1803
Transcribed: Voltaire FrenchVoltaireVolume 87/20/18038/4/1803
Transcribed: Smollet's WorksTobias SmollettVolume 68/4/18038/19/1803
Transcribed: Smith's New YorkWilliam Pitt Smith8/19/18038/27/1803
Transcribed: King of PrussiaFrederic IIVolume 18/28/18038/30/1803
Transcribed: Murphy's Life of GarrickArthur MurphyVolume 212/12/180312/15/1803
Transcribed: Murphy's Life of GarrickArthur MurphyVolume 112/12/180312/15/1803
Transcribed: River PoliceVolume 212/15/180312/19/1803
Transcribed: River PoliceVolume 112/15/180312/19/1803
Transcribed: Payne's EpitomeJohn PayneVolume 212/19/180312/22/1803
Transcribed: Payne's EpitomeJohn PayneVolume 112/19/180312/22/1803
Transcribed: Dallas' MaroonsRobert Charles DallasVolume 212/22/180312/24/1803
Transcribed: Dallas' MaroonsRobert Charles DallasVolume 112/22/180312/24/1803
Transcribed: Rousseau's HeloiseJean-Jacques RousseauVolume 212/24/180312/26/1803
Transcribed: Rousseau's HeloiseJean-Jacques RousseauVolume 312/24/180312/26/1803
Transcribed: Rousseau's HeloiseJean-Jacques RousseauVolume 112/24/180312/26/1803
Transcribed: Living AuthorsDavid RiversVolume 212/24/180312/27/1803
Transcribed: Living AuthorsDavid RiversVolume 112/24/180312/27/1803
Transcribed: Robertson's ScotlandWilliam RobertsonVolume 212/27/18031/3/1804
Transcribed: Robertson's ScotlandWilliam RobertsonVolume 112/27/18031/3/1804
Transcribed: Robertson's ScotlandWilliam RobertsonVolume 312/27/18031/3/1804
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 21/3/18041/7/1804
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 11/3/18041/7/1804
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 31/3/18041/7/1804
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 41/3/18041/7/1804
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 11/7/18041/19/1804
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 21/7/18041/19/1804
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 31/7/18041/19/1804
Transcribed: ChrysalCharles JohnstoneVolume 41/7/18041/19/1804
Transcribed: Studies of NatureJacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-PierreVolume 52/11/18042/16/1804
Transcribed: ClaremontRegina Maria RocheVolume 22/16/18042/24/1804
Transcribed: ClaremontRegina Maria RocheVolume 12/16/18042/24/1804
Transcribed: Farmers InglewoodElizabeth HelmeVolume 22/24/18043/9/1804
Transcribed: Farmers InglewoodElizabeth HelmeVolume 12/24/18043/9/1804
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 23/9/18043/24/18041/4
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 13/9/18043/24/18041/4
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 33/9/18043/24/18041/4
Transcribed: Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 43/9/18043/24/18041/4
Transcribed: "Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 23/24/18044/10/1804
Transcribed: "Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 13/24/18044/10/1804
Transcribed: "Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 33/24/18044/10/1804
Transcribed: "Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 43/24/18044/10/1804
Transcribed: "Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraVolume 44/10/18045/2/18048d
Transcribed: Account Rendered8/23/180447/7
Transcribed: New York MagazineVolume 38/23/18049/5/1804
Transcribed: Bessetts Life BurkeRobert Bisset9/5/18049/15/1804
Transcribed: Burke on SublimeEdmund Burke9/15/180410/2/1804
Transcribed: Murphy's TacitusArthur MurphyVolume 110/2/180410/16/1804
Transcribed: "Arthur MurphyVolume 110/15/180410/20/1804
Transcribed: TelemachusFrançois de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon10/20/180410/27/1804
Transcribed: Zimmerman's National PrideJohann Georg Zimmermann; Samuel Hull Wilcocke10/27/180411/10/1804
Transcribed: Europ MagVolume 4010/27/180410/27/1804
Transcribed: Zimmerman on SolitudeJohann Georg Zimmermann11/10/180412/27/18044/4
Transcribed: Smith's Thucidydes12/27/18041/8/1805
Transcribed: Gil BlasAlain René Le SageVolume 12/5/18052/20/1805
Transcribed: Gil BlasAlain René Le SageVolume 22/5/18052/20/1805
Transcribed: "Alain René Le SageVolume 42/20/18053/9/18056d
Transcribed: "Alain René Le SageVolume 32/20/18053/9/18056d
Transcribed: Keate's P. IslandsGeorge Keate3/9/18053/18/1805
Transcribed: Anson's VoyageGeorge Anson; Richard Walter3/18/18053/30/1805
Transcribed: Hawkesworth's VoyagesJohn HawkesworthVolume 13/30/18054/23/18056d
Transcribed: "John HawkesworthVolume 24/23/18055/23/18051/6
Transcribed: Cook's VoyageJames CookVolume 15/23/18056/11/18058d
Transcribed: "James CookVolume 26/11/18057/6/18058d
Transcribed: Ortenburg's Family SufferingsAugust von Kotzebue7/6/18057/18/1805
Transcribed: from page 147/18/18057/26/1805
Transcribed: LexephaniesArchibald Campbell8/16/18058/18/18054/
Transcribed: Children AbbeyRegina Maria Roche8/16/18058/16/1805
Transcribed: CamillaFanny BurneyVolume 29/1/180512/17/18058/3
Transcribed: CamillaFanny BurneyVolume 39/1/180512/17/18058/3
Transcribed: CamillaFanny BurneyVolume 19/1/180512/17/18058/3
Transcribed: Revolut PlutarchStewartonVolume 112/18/180512/21/1805
Transcribed: Debates in CongressUnited States. CongressVolume 212/21/180512/23/1805
Transcribed: Europe MagazineVolume 4112/23/180512/28/1805
Transcribed: Europe MagazineVolume 2112/28/180512/30/1805
Transcribed: Saurin's SermonsVolume 112/30/1805
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