Smithsonian Associates Presents “Anderson Cooper on the Astors: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune” in Person

July 20, 2023
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Publicity photo of Anderson Cooper wearing blue checked shirt

Photo by John Nowak

Smithsonian Associates presents an evening with journalist Anderson Cooper Saturday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the Natural History. Cooper, in conversation with Dana Bash, anchor and chief political correspondent at CNN, will discuss the riveting history of the legendary American family, the Astors, and how they built and lavished their fortune.

The story of the Astors is a quintessentially American story of ambition, invention, destruction and reinvention. From 1783, when German immigrant John Jacob Astor first arrived in the United States, until 2009, when Brooke Astor’s son, Anthony Marshall, was convicted of defrauding his elderly mother, the Astor name occupied a unique place in American society. The family fortune first made by a beaver-trapping business that grew into an empire, was amplified by holdings in Manhattan real estate. Over the ensuing generations, Astors ruled Gilded Age New York society and inserted themselves into political and cultural life, but also suffered the most famous loss on the Titanic, one of many shocking and unexpected twists in the family’s story.

In a new book, Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune (Harper), authors Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe chronicle the lives of the Astors and explore what their name has come to mean in America—offering a window on the making of America itself.

Tickets for the Smithsonian Associates’ program are $55 for general admission and $45 for Smithsonian Associates members. A pre-signed copy of Astor is included in the ticket price. Information is available on the Associates website or by phone at (202) 633-3030.

For over 55 years, Smithsonian Associates has produced vibrant educational and cultural programming that brings the Smithsonian to life. Inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections and exhibitions, nearly 1,000 public programs spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages each year.

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Lauren Lyons


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