Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Singer Fortune...

Isaac Merritt Singer had 25 children, and the Singer Fortune was so vast, it took them five generations to fritter away the money.  It seems like no Singer heir ever worked for the company after Isaac was run out of the country.

However, the Clark family was a different story.  When Edward Clark died in 1882,  thanks to his business acumen and the colossal success of the Singer Sewing Machine Company -- he left a vast fortune of $25 million
Edward had only one child -- his son Alfred Corning Clark.
According Nicholas Fox Weber's THE CLARKS OF COOPERSTOWN Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Art Collections, Their Forty-Year Feud (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007): Weber suggests that Alfred [Corning Clark] led a dual life: a quiet family man in America and a gay aesthete in Europe, especially in France, which he declared “the Mecca of brotherly feeling.”



Could this story be any stranger???

He married and had as his children: Edward Severin Clark, Robert Sterling Clark, Frederick Ambrose Clark and Stephen Carlton Clark, Sr.

I could not find a picture of Alfred Corning Clark.  According to the book, he was a generous patron to male artists, and for 19 years his closest companion was a Norwegian tenor named Lorentz Severin Skougaard.

When his father’s death forced him to return to Manhattan, Alfred installed Skougaard down the block from the town house where he lived with his wife and children.

Although Alfred was not interested in the sewing machine business -- he loved art, and that was clearly the currency his sons valued.  They funded and supported many art collections in America,  started the Museum Of Modern Art,  donated dozens of works of priceless art -- worth many millions -- to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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