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 Mary Williamson <I>Averell</I> Harriman

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Mary Williamson Averell Harriman

  • Birth 22 Jul 1851 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Death 7 Nov 1932 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Burial Arden, Orange County, New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 51658998

h/o Edward Henry Harriman.

Birth: in New York City, New York.

Mary was known as a civic activist and there has been a biography written about her. Her obituary says they were married in Ogdensburg, NY. She was a noted philanthroper and benefactor of a number of very worthy causes, including the American Red Cross.

In 1885 her husband learned that the 7,863 acres (31.82 km2) Parrott family estate was for sale. He bought it for $52,500 and named it Arden (now a hamlet in Tuxedo, New York). Over the next several years he purchased an additional 20,000 acres (81 km2) almost forty different parcels of land, and built forty miles of bridle paths to connect them all. His master 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) home (Arden House) which sat high above the Palisades Parkway, was completed only seven months before he died. In the early 1900s, his sons W. Averell Harriman and E. Roland Harriman hired landscape architect Arthur P. Kroll to work closely with the head gardener and landscape those many acres. It was from this estate that his widow would donate ten thousand acres (40 km²) to New York state to start Harriman State Park in 1910.
In her married years Mary was a strong, silent, and supportive wife.

After her husband's death, she was to become a leader in American philanthropy, donating her personal and private resources to improve the world around her. But many today would regard it as a serious blot on her reputation that she heavily funded the Eugenics Record Office.

In 1913, she created the E.H. Harriman Award in her late husband's honor to recognize outstanding achievements in railway safety; the award was presented on an annual basis, however its being retired following ninety-eight (98) active years.

When her husband died, Mary was the sole beneficiary of his $100,000,000 estate, making her one of the richest women in the world at the time. She continued to have the family estate in Arden, NY as well as a home at 1 East 69th St. Her son Averell had the 150 room house on Ramapo Mountain. Her funeral was at St. John's church, Arden on 9 November 1932.

Death: in Arden, Orange county, New York.

Father: William John Averall b: 23 NOV 1821 Ogdensburg, Saint Lawrence county, New York.
Mother: Mary Laurence Williamson b: 22 FEB 1829 Elizabeth, Union county, New Jersey.

Marriage: Edward Henry Harriman b: 20 FEB 1848, Hempstead, Sussex county, New York.
Married: 10 AUG 1879 Jersey City, Hudson county, New Jersey.

Known Children

Mary Harriman b: 17 NOV 1881 New York.

Henry Neilson Harriman b: 28 May 1883 New York City, New York.

Cornelia Harriman b: 20 JUL 1884 New York.

Carol A Harriman b: 17 DEC 1889 Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.

William Averall Harriman b: 15 NOV 1891 New York City, New York.

Edward Roland Harriman b: 24 DEC 1895 New York City, New York.

Bio by: Bill

Family Members





  • Maintained by: NJBrewer
  • Originally Created by: Garver Graver
  • Added: 26 Apr 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 51658998
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Williamson Averell Harriman (22 Jul 1851–7 Nov 1932), Find A Grave Memorial no. 51658998, citing Saint Johns Episcopal Church Cemetery, Arden, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by NJBrewer (contributor 47097113) .