This lot consists of 8 fine photograph albums containing approximately 1175 photographs covering approximately 20 years of the travels of the family of Cortlandt Field Bishop (November 24, 1870 – March 30, 1935). Bishop was an American pioneer aviator, balloonist, automobile enthusiast, book and art collector, realtor, businessman, and world traveler. He earned an A.B. from Columbia University in 1891, an A.M. in 1892, a Ph.D. in 1893, and an LL.B. in 1894. In 1893, he published a book on American colonial voting practices.

Bishop was married in 1899 to Amy Bend who was the daughter of stock broker George H. Bend.  Before finally deciding to marry Cortlandt, she had reportedly been engaged 25 times.  In 1902 their only child, Beatrice was born.

Both Cortlandt and his wife had impressive social pedigrees.  He was the son of David Wolfe Bishop (1833-1900) (who had inherited the bulk of the estate of the massively wealthy Catharine Lorillard Wolfe) and the former Florence Van Cortlandt Field (1851-1922).  His mother’s parents were Benjamin Hazard Field and Catharine Van Cortlandt de Peyster.

Cortlandt Field Bishop and his wife lived at No. 11 Madison Avenue in NYC.  November 4, 1902 was an election day and New Yorkers took their excitement over the election of William R. Hearst to Congress to the streets. The following day The New York Times reported “The multitude, delirious with election-night excitement, was carrying on a riotous carnival of pleasure in Madison Avenue.” But “a very disastrous premature explosion of fireworks took place” which resulted in 12 deaths and at least 100 injured. The blast was significant enough to prompt the Bishops to move.

On March 25, 1903 the New-York Tribune reported “Cortlandt F. Bishop, whose house, No. 11 Madison Ave., was slightly damaged by the explosion of bombs on election night in Madison Square, has bought…No. 15 East Sixty-seventh-st., a four-story and basement brownstone front house.”  Decidedly out of style by now, the article noted “The house will be torn down and a new one erected on the site.” The purchase price was $235,000.

Here is a history of the building: The 30-foot wide brownstone-faced house at No. 15 East 67th Street, built in 1879, was home to prominent banker Robert W. Donnell, the senior partner in Donnell, Lawson & Simpson.  On the morning of January 4, 1894 he felt unwell and, according to The Press, rose early with “the intention of testing the benefits of an early morning dip.”  His wife and the cook heard a loud thump.  Running to the bathroom they found Donnell on the floor in his bathrobe, gasping for breath.  “Mrs. Donnell fainted away at the sight.”  He died soon afterward.

The following year the Lawson family moved into the house. William T. Lawson was a member of the E. S. Higgins Carpet Company. The family summered in Essex County, New York where J. M. Lawson was the president of the Adirondack Preserve Association.

The Bishops commissioned architect Ernest Flagg to design the mansion. Completed four years later, Flagg had created a Parisian-inspired Beaux Arts townhouse that reflected the owners’ wealth and social position. The offset entrance sat above a short stoop. Hefty brackets upheld the full-width balcony at the second floor fronting three sets of French doors. The rusticated limestone of the second through fourth floors was decorated with panels of swags and intricate carved garlands drooped from below the fourth floor openings. The fifth floor took the form of a full-height mansard protected by a tall iron railing.

A month before purchasing the former Lawson house Bishop was embroiled in a heated battle over his father’s estate. On February 18, 1903 The Evening World reported “An order for the arrest of Cortlandt F. Bishop will be issued unless he consents to appear before Robert Mazet, the official appraiser, appointed to investigate the personal estate of his father, David Wolfe Bishop. The elder Bishop died two years ago, leaving several millions of dollars, upon which the State Comptroller seeks to collect taxes.”  But Bishop and his brother, David, insisted that their father was a legal resident of Lenox, Massachusetts, where the family’s estate, Interlaken, was located.

Cortlandt’s and Amy’s summer estate, The Maples, was also in Lenox. His mother’s shockingly quick marriage to lawyer John Edward Parsons within a year of David Wolfe Bishop’s death did not seem to affect their relationship and the families remained close.

Cortlandt caused extreme upheaval within the cultured, tradition steeped community of Lenox.  He was fascinated with the recent advances in transportation–airplanes, balloons and automobiles–and was the first to obtain permission to operate a motor car within Central Park. Years later The New York Times would remember “In 1897 he brought to Lenox a gasoline-propelled tricycle, which the natives quickly christened ‘the holy terror.’ It was the first automobile to be seen in the Berkshires, and it aroused the local public to such an extent that the Town Council decreed that any vehicle ‘drawn otherwise than by a horse, man, dog, ox or goat must be kept one wheel in the gutter,’ and could not exceed six miles an hour. The ordinance was aimed solely at Mr. Bishop.”

In response Bishop tactfully set out to educate humans and horses. In 1902 the Horseless Era reported that he had started a “school for horses,” to accustom them to sharing the roadways with machines; and that same year he began giving driving lessons to Lenox cottagers.

The Bishops’s frequent international travels were quite often connected with his automobile or aeronautical interests.  As the president of the Aero Club of America, he traveled to Europe in October 1907 for the international balloon race for the Gordon Bennett Cup, which started in St. Louis on October 23 and ended in Europe.  In reporting on his trip The New York Times mentioned “Mr. Bishop saw the Wright Brothers, but he had no information to impart as to their success in selling their aeroplane invention to any of the European Governments.” There are many photographs in this collection showing the various balloon and automobile racing meets attended by Bishop. Bishop served on the Aviation Committee and the Judge Chairman of the First American Aviation Meet held in Los Angeles in January, 1910. The official program of the event is shown below which lists the officials of the Aviation Meet. Images of this event are also included in this collection.

In 1907, after the death of Matilda W. White (née Bishop), his aunt and the widow of Joseph Moss White who some said was deranged, Bishop was named trustee of her estate, valued at $3,546,558. Through the will of his aunt, he was conveyed certain real estate properties which he managed under Cortlandt Bishop, Inc. In 1925, the company leased, from the estate of Frederick Heimsoth, the plot at the southwest corner of 56th Street and Sixth Avenue, giving him the entire block front from 55th to 56th on Sixth Avenue, upon which he planned and built a 15-story apartment building, completed in 1928.

In 1911, Bishop and his wife took an extensive automobile trip around Europe, traveling to the Tripolitan frontier, 480 kilometers from Tunis.

In 1922, after the death of his mother, Bishop razed his parents home, Interlaken, in Lenox and built Ananda Hall, which was torn down in 1940.

In 1929, Bishop sold two five-story tenement buildings at 986 and 988 Sixth Avenue to Herrman Friedman, president of Sofmar Realty Corporation, that had been owned by the Bishop family for over 40 years. In 1933, Bishop gave himself, as surviving trustee, a $225,000 mortgage through Cortlandt Bishop, Inc. on 1305 6th Avenue. He also owned a three-story residence on East 35th Street which was bought in 1939 and torn down, together with 31-33 East Street, so a new Georgian structure could be built.

Cortlandt’s automobile-related troubles were not confined to Lenox.  On July 11, 1912 The New York Times reported that he had been arrested in the Balkans.  “Mr. Bishop was arrested on the complaint of the villagers of Pola, and taken before a Magistrate.  Villager after villager claimed damages for alleged injuries caused by Mr. Bishop’s car.”  In reality there was little evidence that Bishop was responsible for any damage to the roads and property in the little village; “but in order to dispose of the matter, Mr. Bishop paid $100 in settlement of all ‘claims.'”  Nevertheless, the anti-Bishop sentiment was such that “Police provided him with an escort of gendarmes to see him safely out of the village.”

With the outbreak of war in Europe, Amy joined the trend of wealthy socialites in providing support to victims.  On October 26, 1914, for instance, the New-York Tribune reported “Mr. and Mrs. Cortlandt F. Bishop went by automobile to-day over the Green Mountain trail [outside of Lenox].  Mrs. Bishop has organized a sewing class for the Belgian sufferers, which will hold its first meeting this week at The Maples.”

The social prominence of the Bishops was evidenced in the guest list of the dinner party in the 67th Street house on February 2, 1914.  The New-York Tribune reported that among the guests were Count and Countess Stanislas de Castellane, the Ernesto Fabbris, the Theodore Havemeyers, Mr. and Mrs. William Starr Miller, Mr. and Mrs. M. Orme Wilson, Moncure Robinson, and Baron Buissierre; in short members of the highest echelon of society.

Following the declaration of peace the Bishops planned their first European trip in several years.  On November 16, 1919 The Sun reported “They will join Mrs. John E. Parsons in Paris…they will make a visit to the Belgian and French battle fronts and after some time in Paris will return to the Maples for Christmas.”  By now Beatrice was a young woman.  “Their daughter, Miss Beatrice Bishop, who is at Vassar, will have a party of her college friends there and the Maples will be gay during the holiday week.”

Keeping track of the movements of Cortlandt and Amy kept society journalists busy.  Following their six weeks in Europe they arrived at the Maples on Christmas Eve.  Three days later The Sun advised they would be there for two weeks and then, “They will be in New York for the opera for a month and then will go to Palm Beach, where they have taken an apartment at the Breakers for March.”

The winter break became a routine and on February 28, 1920 The Sun reported they “will begin their annual winter tour of Florida by automobile.”  Cortlandt’s motoring passion was reflected in his yuletide gifts that season.  “Mr. Bishop gave as Christmas gifts to friends his new automobile map between Lenox and New York,” said the article.

A man of broad interests, in 1923 Bishop purchased the American Art Association, perhaps the most esteemed auction house in America. He hired Hiram Haney Parke and Otto Bernet as his vice-presidents.   In 1929, The Association merged with the Anderson Auction Company to form the American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc. In August 1938, the firm was bought from Bishop’s estate by Parke-Bernet Galleries, which had been formed a year earlier by Bishop’s former auctioneers. In 1964, Sotheby’s purchased Parke-Bernet, then the largest auctioneer of fine art in the United States.

The following year Bishop dipped his toe into the field of journalism, purchasing The Paris Times, an afternoon English language newspaper. Given the number of English and American businessmen and tourists in Paris, it was a potentially lucrative endeavor. But two years later he confided to a friend, according to The New York Times, that “he was losing $50,000 a year on his journal, but optimistically expressed belief that it would at least break even in another year or two.” It did not. On November 16, 1929 The New York Times reported that he had suspended publication.

In the meantime, Beatrice had received a remarkable education. After graduating from the private Brearly School she received a degree from the Sorbonne in Paris, a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s from Columbia University. When her parents announced her engagement to Adolf A. Berle, Jr. on September 8, 1927 she was an editor of the Vassar Quarterly Review and was completing a course in social work. The wedding took place in Grace Church on December 17 that year.

Beatrice Bishop Berle (1902–1993), became an author and prominent doctor who after her marriage to Adolf A. Berle, Jr. (1895–1971) ended in his death, she married Dr. André Frédéric Cournand (1895–1988), a physician who was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1956.

Cortlandt and Amy returned from Paris on November 6, 1934.  They went immediately to Lenox where, according to The New York Times, heart disease “kept him in the house.” The 64-year-old died there on March 30, 1935. His estate was valued at $2,847,201 with a net value of $499,392, which accounted for debts, mortgages, administrative expenses and a $515,000 payment to his daughter in settlement of an action she brought for an accounting of Bishop’s trusteeship of a fund in which she had an interest. His principal beneficiary was his widow and a friend, Edith Nixon. Bishop was found to have improperly handled the estate of Matilda W. White, his aunt, who left an estate of $3,546,558.

After the death of Cortlandt, the house was sold to Anna Erickson in 1936, widow of the chairman of McCann-Erickson.  Three months later Mrs. Erickson sold it to the 15-67 Corporation, which represented a group headed by Mrs. T. Charles Farrelly, who had been a hostess at the Crockford Club.  The new Regency Club opened its doors to Members for the first time in October 1936. The New York Post wrote “Around this time every year comes the announcement of the formation of some organization sponsored by a group of fashionables…The newest of these organizations, to be known as the Regency Club, draws its membership from among bridge enthusiasts and amateur exponents of other popular games, and has chosen for its headquarters the mansion at 15 East Sixty-seventh Street, one time the town resident of the late Cortlandt Field Bishop.”  The article noted that the club intended “to preserve as far as possible the atmosphere and feeling of the original interior, in keeping with the building’s architectural style. The beautiful marble staircase, which was always one of the principal features of the mansion, has been retained, as well as the paneling, lighting fixtures, etc.”

The club hired architect Nathan Ginsburg to do the renovations. They resulted in club rooms and a dining room on the first floor, club rooms on the upper floors and six servants’ bedrooms on the top floor.

In 1964 the Regency Club merged with the Whist Club, becoming the Regency Whist Club which remains in the building. Other than a misguided coat of paint over the limestone base, the Bishop mansion is nearly unchanged.

In November 1935, his auction house, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, sold his paintings and furniture for $276,145. The sale included two Hoppner portraits, a half-length portrait of Miss Rich, a young woman in a white gown, and the painter’s study of the 2nd Earl of Chichester, painted about 1795. It also included a portrait of Lady Cholmondeley by Sir Joshua Reynolds, six Aubusson tapestries, Giovanni Da Bologna’s Rape of a Sabine, a sculptured marble bas-relief of the Virgin and Child by Bernardo Rossellino, a Chippendale carved walnut scroll-top chest, among others. In 1938 and 1939, Bishop’s extensive stamp and book collection was sold.

In 1940, the auction sale of furnishings of Ananda Hall, Bishop’s Lenox estate took place, which resulted in the sale of six Chippendale carved mahogany side chairs, a Oushak medallion, a Louis XVI gold and enamel snuff box with miniature, a Spanish ten-doblas gold coin from 1398, a Venetian gold sixty-ducats coin, a World’s Colombian Exposition gold medal of 1892, and a Hepplewhite inlaid mahogany sideboard.

Bishop features prominently in the book The Elegant Auctioneers by Wesley Towner written in 1970, a novel about how Bishop bought America’s premier auction house, American Art Association, in 1923.

Brochure of the Los Angeles Aviation Meet, January 10-20, 1910:

*****To view the images:*****

    ******NOTE: In order to effectively view the photographs on each page please view the Albums in Full Screen.
In order to do that, click on the 3 dots at the bottom of the slideshow and select “Enter Full Screen.”
When finished with the Album, hit ESC so you can move on to the next Album.*******

Album 1: Ballooning, dirigibles, heavier than air meets and races: St. Cloud, July 5th, 1909;Longchamps, July 14th, 1909; Reims, 1909; St. Cloud, Sept. 1st, 1909; Reims, August, 1909; Brescia, Sept., 1909; Zurich, Oct. 3rd, 1909; Los Angeles, Jan. 19th, 1910; Mineola, April 3rd, 1910; Verona, May, 1910; Budapest, June 1910; Lucerne, August 9th, 1910; French Military Maneuvers, Sept., 1910; Arrival of Beaumont, Paris-Rome Race, May 31st, 1911; England, Gordon Bennett Cup, July 1st, 1911; Circuit-European, London, July, 1911; Vincennes, 1911. 147 images.

Album 2: 1904: Avignon; Marseilles; Algiers; Tizi-Ouzou; Kerrata; Biskra; Constantine; Elkantara; Tunis; El Djem; Souse; Kairouan; Temple of Segesta; Palermo; Girgenti; Near Catania; Taormina; Pompeii; Sicily; Villa Lante; Ninja; Olevano; San Gregorio; Viterbo; Rome; Vallombrosa; Pass di Rocca Trabazia; Urbino; Modena; Pesaro; Salzomaggiore; French Elimenatory Races; Homburg Coupe Internationale; Coupe Gordon Bennett; Mrs. Dinsmore’s Automobile; Chantilly Horse Races; Frankfurt Races; Trigastel; Lannion; Bozel. 203 images.

Album 3: 1906: Cluny; Bruges; Chartreuse; Modane; Ecouges; Divonne; Comte Laval; Fort de l’Ecluse; Savoie; Port St. Martin; Col Arabis; Col du Galibier; Lac St. Issarle; Auvergue; Albi; Conque; Viaduct de Viaur; Pyrenees; Lenox; Pittsfield (Ballooning); Long Island (Ballooning); St. Cloud (Ballooning). 128 images.

Album 4: 1905: Chioggia; Rieti; Tyrol; Oberammergau; Lindenhof; Rothenweil; La Boulie; Brennen Pass; Gordon Bennett Cup; Paris June 30th, 1905 (Ballooning); Pont de l’Abime Aix; Lautaret Pass; Petit St. Bernard; Grande chartreuse; Grand St. Bernard Pass; Hospice du Grand St. Bernard; near Grenable; Lac du Bourget; Col de Rousset; Combe Laval; Bamberg; Pourtalet Pass; Bareger; Atlantic; Kronprinz Wilhelm; Paris; Arles; Bergamio; Venice; Laggo St. Iseo; Patterson; 183 images.

Album 5: This album is not annotated but shows images of their new purchase at 15 E. 67 St. in NYC, early automobiles, country houses probably in Massachusetts, country roads and scenery,  and several balloon views. There are many empty pages. 60 images.

Album 6: 1901: Utzumomiya, Japan, October; Lake Chuzenzi; Yumoto; Tokio; Seven Province Pass, November; Lake Hakone; Kioto; Lake Biura; Nara; Nagasaki; Inland Sea; Shanghai; Canton; Hong Kong; Makao; Kjojo Karta; Java; Volcano Papandayaer; Bora Bora; Penang; Rangoon, Burmah; Darjeling, India, Jan., 1902; Benares; Agra; Jaipur Sikri; Delhi; Tomb of Akbar; Lahore. 201 images.

Album 7: Croton Dam, 1909; Vaux le Vicomte, July 11th, 1909; Cabourg, 1909; Isle of Jersey, July 22, 1909; Ponte de Chevre; Les Ecouvges; Chemin des Sangler; Col de la Charmette, August, 1909; St. Pancrasse, 1909; Galibrier Pass; Vernors; Les Grands Joulets, St. Gothard; Stelvio; Pordoi-Dolomites, Austria, 909; Falgerego; Pordoi Pass; Grand St. Bernard; Jacob’s Ladder, 1909; Heldeberg Mountains, Greylock; Savoy; Lost Angeles, 1909; St. Catalina; Riverside; St. Fe Railroad; Grand Canyon. 124 images.

Album 8: 1917-1918: Yosemite, Happy Islands; Bridal Veil; Mariposa Grove; Petrified Forest; Sanoma Mission, Bolinas Bay; Columbia River; Mont Diavola; Ferry between Portland & Seattle; Columbia Highway; White Pass, Alaska; Yukon Territory; White Horse; Yukon River; Taku Glacier; Taku Inlet; Sault St. Marie; Lake Superior; Lenox; Westover, Virginia; Charlottsville, Virginia, University of Charlottsville; Jametown; Royal Palus Park; Everglades; Mount Wilson; Squirrel Inn; Mr. Gillespie’s Place; Santa Cruz; Santa Barbara; Casitas Pass, Lake Tahoe. 129 images.

The collection of 8 photograph albums containing 1175 images is available for $5000.

Sources used for the information presented on this page:

1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Collection at California State University, Dominguez Hills, Archives and Special Collections

Daytonian in Manhattan, The Courtland Field Bishop House

Wikipedia