August Heckscher


Born in Hamburg, Germany, Heckscher emigrated to the United States in 1867. He initially worked in his cousin Richard Heckscher's coal mining operation as a laborer, studying English at night. Several years later he formed a partnership with his cousin under the name of Richard Heckscher & Company. The firm was eventually sold to the Reading Railroad. Heckscher then turned to zinc mining and organized the Zinc and Iron Company, becoming vice-president and general manager. In 1897, it was consolidated with other zinc and iron companies into the New Jersey Zinc Company
New Jersey Zinc Company
The Horsehead Corporation , formerly the New Jersey Zinc Company, is an American producer of zinc and related materials.The New Jersey Zinc Company was for many years the largest producer of zinc and zinc products in the United States. The company thrived in the period from 1897 to 1966, at which...

 with Heckscher serving as the general manager.

Heckscher eventually became a multimillionaire and a philanthropist. He started The Heckscher Foundation for Children
The Heckscher Foundation for Children
The Heckscher Foundation for Children is a New York City-focused private foundation that provides grants to underserved New York City youth. Most often, the Foundation’s grant giving takes the form of program support, capacity-building, capital projects and general operating support...

 and created playgrounds in lower Manhattan and in Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

. The Heckscher Playground in Central Park is the park's largest playground. He created Heckscher Park
Heckscher Park (Huntington, New York)
Heckscher Park is a local park and national historic district in Huntington, Suffolk County, New York. Often confused with Heckscher State Park in East Islip, New York it is bounded by Madison Street, Sabbath Day Path, Main Street & Prime Avenue, in Huntington. It is roughly triangular-shaped with...

 in the town of Huntington
Huntington, New York
The Town of Huntington is one of ten towns in Suffolk County, New York, USA. Founded in 1653, it is located on the north shore of Long Island in northwestern Suffolk County, with Long Island Sound to its north and Nassau County adjacent to the west. Huntington is part of the New York metropolitan...

 and created the Heckscher Museum of Art
Heckscher Museum of Art
The Heckscher Museum of Art is named after its benefactor, August Heckscher, who in 1920 donated 185 works of art to be housed in a new Beaux-Arts building located in Heckscher Park, in Huntington, New York...


He married Anna P. Atkins (?-1924) in 1881. In 1930 he married Virginia Henry Curtiss at Croton-on-Hudson. She was the widow of Edwin Burr Curtiss
Edwin Burr Curtiss
Edwin Burr Curtiss , was an attorney, and the president and a director of A. G. Spalding Bros.-Biography:He was born on July 14, 1852, and he had a brother, Julian Wheeler Curtiss. Edwin graduated from Columbia University and formed the firm of Cunningham, Curtiss & Welsh of San Francisco...

, of A. G. Spalding Bros. and she was 27 years younger than Heckscher. August Heckscher died on April 26, 1941 in Mountain Lake, Florida
Mountain Lake, Florida
Mountain Lake is a private community north of the City of Lake Wales, Florida, United States. It was founded in 1915. It contains a golf course designed in 1916 by Seth Raynor....

. August Heckscher died on April 27, 1941 and left his widow $10,000 and all his real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

. She died on July 11, 1941. No legatee
A legatee, in the law of wills, is any individual or organization bequeathed any portion of a testator's estate.-Usage:Depending upon local custom, legatees may be called "devisees." Traditionally, "legatees" took personal property under will and "devisees" took land under will. Brooker v....

 could be found that was named in her will and the probate court declared an earlier copy of the will as valid.


Hecksher's grandson August Heckscher II
August Heckscher II
August Heckscher II was an American public intellectual and author whose work explored the American liberalism of political leaders including Woodrow Wilson. He was the grandson of capitalist August Heckscher...

 (1913–1997), served as President John Kennedy's Special Consultant on the Arts, the first White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 cultural advisor, 1962–63, as well Mayor John Lindsay
John Lindsay
John Vliet Lindsay was an American politician, lawyer and broadcaster who was a U.S. Congressman, Mayor of New York City, candidate for U.S...

's Parks Commissioner, 1967, amongst other highlights in a wide-ranging career and life.
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