The recorder of East Coast blue-blooded life talks about his life and times at 90. From a piece by Butterworth at Financial Times:
Louis Stanton Auchincloss was born in Lawrence, New York on September 27, 1917 and grew up in Manhattan. He owes his lineage, and the good fortune to be born into America’s upper class, to Hugh Auchincloss, a Scottish merchant who left Paisley in 1803 to set up a branch of his family’s dry goods business in New York. Through adroit marriages and hard work, Hugh and his progeny multiplied and prospered into a new old world of brownstone houses, summers in Bar Harbor, Maine and Southampton, Long Island, New England prep schools, the bluer-blooded Ivies, secret societies, gentlemen’s clubs, Park Avenue and Wall Street – all the contours and peaks and exclusive domains of American Waspdom.
Arguably, the most significant event in Auchincloss’s life was attending Groton, a preparatory school in Massachusetts founded in 1884 by the Reverend Endicott Peabody and endowed with the help of JP Morgan and Theodore Roosevelt. As with many who find themselves in the cloistered and intense schools of the elite, Auchincloss never fully left; and the inspirational and feared figure of Peabody and the stern Episcopalian values and hyper-athleticism permeate Auchincloss’s most lauded work, The Rector of Justin (1964), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
A piece on Auchincloss in New York Magazine noted:
Two things defined the Auchincloss family,” declares Louis Auchincloss—retired lawyer, ancient patrician, prolific novelist of manners—in a perfect mid-Atlantic accent. “One is that they ran to a very high degree in the male line. Most families disappear through the distaff side.”
The other signature Auchincloss trait is the family’s self-sufficiency. While the Scots are routinely credited these days with inventing America, this particular clan—descended from Paisley native Hugh Auchincloss, who emigrated in 1803—was carefully preoccupied with burnishing its own wealth and reputation. “There was no Auchincloss fortune,” says the writer dryly as we sit together on overstuffed sofas. “Each generation either made or married its own money. There isn’t a bum in the lot. They’ve always got an eye for the main chance. They’re not romantics; they don’t take chances.”