The Last Grande Dame: Brooke Astor

The unofficial first lady of New York City, Brooke Astor, who was 105 when she died Aug. 13, had taste, character and compassion. Always gracious and impeccably dressed, she presided over a vast social and cultural network but most enjoyed giving money away. When her foundation exhausted its resources, having spent $195 million to support institutions, programs and projects that benefited the public, Mrs. Astor celebrated that fact--and after that, she kept on contributing with her personal fortune. She had a sparkling sense of humor. She remembered names. And her intellect was lively: even at 100, she continued to write poems...

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