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Rich Kids

July 2024
1min read

For the children and grandchildren of a poor boy from Pennsylvania, childhood was magic

BORN IN 1839 TO AN EMIGRANT COBBLER and his wife, Henry Phipps, Jr., grew up near Pittsburgh. Determined to escape the “despised” cobbler’s bench, he succeeded, eventually becoming a partner of his boyhood neighbor, Andrew Carnegie. Phipps retired in 1900 with more than forty million dollars. Phipps had five children; Jay, his eldest son, built Westbury House on Long Island, which became the center of existence for three generations of Phippses.


In Halcyon Days, recently published by Harry N. Abrams, the life of the young Phippses growing up early in the century—which we sample on the following pages—shines forth like a paradisiacal vision.


The Westbury House and gardens are now open to the public. The book telling its story was put together by Peggie Phipps Boegner, who donated the property and contributes a warm reminiscence, and by Richard Gachot, who found in an attic of the mansion family letters and the photographs that illustrate this luminous volume.

—Barbara Klaw


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