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He was His death, at Lenox Hill Hospital, was caused by complications of a stroke, his son Andrew said. Auchincloss lived on the Upper East Side. Although he practiced law full time until , Mr. Auchincloss published more than 60 books of fiction, biography and literary criticism in a writing career of more than a half-century. This was the world he came from, and its customs and secrets were his subject from the beginning.
He persisted in writing about it, fondly but also trenchantly, long after that world had begun to vanish. Auchincloss had a beaky, patrician nose and spoke with a high-pitched Brahmin accent. He had elegant manners and suits to match, and he wrote in longhand in the living room of an antiques-filled apartment on Park Avenue. Admirers compared him to other novelists of society and manners like William Dean Howells, but Mr.
His grandmother had summered with Wharton in Newport, R. He almost felt he knew Wharton personally, Mr. Auchincloss once said. Like Wharton, Mr. Auchincloss was interested in class and morality and in the corrosive effects of money on both. His detractors complained that Mr.
Louis was the third of four children of Priscilla Stanton and Joseph Howland Auchincloss, who, like his father, was a Wall Street lawyer; he was also a third cousin of Franklin D. Louis was a cousin by marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who worked with him when she was a book editor later in life.
Yet as a child he thought of himself as neither rich nor aristocratic. This is because children always compare their families with wealthier ones, never with poorer. I thought I knew perfectly well what it meant to be rich in New York. If you were not rich you lived in a brownstone with Irish maids who never called you Master Louis and parents who hollered up and down the stairs instead of ringing bells. Unathletic and unpopular, he found Groton a difficult place at first with its punishments, its cold New England weather, its compulsory cold showers and its emphasis on sports.
Gradually, he earned his place. His first short stories were published in the school magazine, the Grotonian, of which he became editor. Enrolling at Yale in , he also wrote stories for its school magazine and yearned for a literary life.
Auchincloss enlisted in the Navy. He served in Naval intelligence, then commanded a craft that shuttled troops and the wounded across the English Channel during the Normandy invasion. After the invasion he was sent to the Pacific and while onboard a ship to Japan wrote another novel, only to throw it in the trash. But the novel received favorable reviews and encouraged him to keep writing while also practicing law. Anybody can do it.
His short stories were soon appearing under his own name in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Esquire and other magazines. A Lawyer and an Author. In Mr. He became a partner and remained at Hawkins, Delafield until he retired in He wrote that at some point he stopped thinking of himself as a lawyer or a writer. Many readers assumed Prescott to be Endicott Peabody, founder of the Groton School and a great educator of his day.
But Mr. Auchincloss said it was as much a portrait of the federal judge Learned Hand, whom Mr. Auchincloss regarded as the greatest man he had known. But in writing it he was also accused of disloyalty to his class by portraying its failings and decline through the story of a Wall Street embezzler of the s. Members of the Whitney family were said to have tried to dissuade him from publishing the book, which drew on the case of Richard Whitney, a president of the New York Stock Exchange who went to prison for misappropriating funds from, among other places, the New York Yacht Club.
There was an element of moral judgment in all of Mr. Auchincloss also published numerous collections of short stories and literary essays as well as biographies. Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt were subjects. Morgan: The Financier as Collector. Auchincloss was a man of the city he knew so intimately, serving as president and chairman of the Museum of the City of New York and chairman of the City Hall Restoration Committee.
He was a fixture at the Century Association and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, where he also served as president. In President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Arts.
Even near the end of his life, Mr. Auchincloss said the influence of his class had not waned. Born Into Money Mr.
A Lawyer and an Author In Mr. A Leader in Civic Life Mr. Home Page World U.
Louis Auchincloss, Chronicler of New York’s Upper Crust, Dies at 92
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