• New York Socialite


Mary Benedict "Minnie" Cushing Astor Fosburgh was born 27 January 1906 in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, United States to Harvey Williams Cushing (1869-1939) and Katherine Stone Crowell (1869-1949) and died 6 November 1978 Manhattan, New York County, New York, United States of unspecified causes. She married William Vincent Astor (1891-1959) 28 September 1940 in Hamilton County, New York. She married Joseph Whitney Fosburgh (1910-1978) 23 October 1953 in Manhasset, Nassau County, New York.

Mary Benedict "Minnie" Cushing was an American socialite, philanthropist and art collector. Mary Benedict Cushing was the eldest daughter of Harvey Williams Cushing (1869–1939) and Katharine Stone Crowell. Her father, a pioneering neurosurgeon, was the first person to describe Cushing's disease, and who, along with Ernest Sachs, is known as the "father of neurosurgery."

Her two sisters, also prominent socialites, were Betsey Maria Cushing (1908–1998), who was married to James Roosevelt II and later to John Hay Whitney, and Barbara Cushing (1915–1978), who married Stanley Grafton Mortimer, Jr. and later William S. Paley. She also had two brothers, William Harvey Cushing and Henry Kirke Cushing.


Cushing was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York City Center, and was on the board of the Yale Art Gallery. She was also a major supporter of the American National Theater and Academy and the Henry Street Settlement. During World War II, she was a leader in the Ship Service Committee and New York City War Fund.

Personal life

Cushing lived at 32 East 64th Street in Manhattan. In 1940, she married for the first time to William Vincent Astor (1891–1959), son of Colonel John Jacob Astor IV and Ava Lowle Willing. It was Astor's second marriage, his first to Helen Dinsmore Huntington, ended in divorce, also in 1940. They were divorced in 1953.

Later in 1953, she married her second husband, the painter James Whitney Fosburgh (1910–1978). Together, they amassed a significant art collection known for its notable paintings, including works by Paul Cézanne, Winslow Homer, William Nicholson, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Walter Sickert, and Pavel Tchelitchew.

Mary died on November 6, 1978.



Offspring of Harvey Williams Cushing (1869-1939) and Katherine Stone Crowell (1869-1949)
Name Birth Death Joined with
William Harvey Cushing (1903-1926)
Mary Benedict Cushing (1906-1978) 27 January 1906 Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, United States 6 November 1978 Manhattan, New York County, New York, United States William Vincent Astor (1891-1959)
Joseph Whitney Fosburgh (1910-1978)
Betsey Maria Cushing (1908-1998)
Henry Kirke Cushing (1910-1963)
Barbara Cushing (1915-1978)


Vital Records

Cuyahoga Gravestone


Location: Lake View Cemetery, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

See Also


Footnotes (including sources)