Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jackie and Nick Drexel

Jacqueline Astor and John R. Drexel IV are the most direct ancestors of the original “Four Hundred.” Jackie’s great-grandmother was the Mrs. Astor. Her grandfather Col. J. J. Astor is now part of American folklore: He went down on the Titanic in 1912 after making sure his young wife, who was carrying their unborn son (later Jackie’s father John Jacob Astor VI), was safely in a lifeboat.

The first Drexels emigrated from Austria and settled in Philadelphia, where they went into banking. In 1871, A.J. Drexel admitted to his firm a young banker named J. Pierpont Morgan, creating Drexel, Morgan. Mr. Drexel died in 1893, and the firm became known as JP Morgan & Company or the House of Morgan.

Today’s Drexels, like their contemporaries, are a professional couple. She is a real estate broker for Stribling Associates here in Manhattan, and he is an investment banker. While they still have direct connections to Newport and Palm Beach which both their families have been visiting for more than a century, neither have an avid interest in the social life of those two resorts, other than their associations with old friends and family members.