News reached this city yesterday of the death in
Naples of Robert Goelet, real estate owner,
financier, and society leader. Mr. Goelet's legal
representative here, Mr. George De Witt, received
information that death was caused by heart failure.
This intelligence was a startling surprise to
Mr.Goelet's New York friends, who, when they saw him
in this city not long ago, formed the opinion that
he was in excellent health.
Robert Goelet was born at his father's house, 5
State Street, in this city, on September 29, 1841.
He was named for his father, who was a brother and
partner of Peter Goelet. His mother was a daughter
of Jonathan Ogden, of the old family of that name.
Peter and the elder Robert Goelet throughout their
lives continued the policy of their father in
investing in New York real estate, and at the time
the subject of this sketch attained his majority his
family owned one of the largest and most valuable
estates in New York. His father and uncle were
largely instrumental in founding the Chemical Bank.
Inheriting an inclination and rare capacity for
business, Robert Goelet devoted a large part of his
time and his energies to the care and development of
the extensive property interests left to himself and
his younger brother Ogden by his father and uncle.
Ogden Goelet died abroad about two years ago. Robert
studied under private tutors in his youth and was
graduated from Columbia College in 1860. He
subsequently studied law and was admitted to the
bar, but his legal knowledge was only made use of in
the care of his large estate. Mr. Goelet was
regarded as an uncommonly sagacious business man. He
was clear-headed and keen-witted, and his judgment
in financial and real estate matters invariably
commanded the respect of other business men.
A loyal New Yorker, Robert Goelet took particular
pride in promoting the growth and development of the
city with which his family had been so long
identified. He was a man of progressive ideas, and
throughout his business career pursued a policy of
improving his properties in a manner which would
beautify the city.
He is credited by business associates with having
displayed uncommon discernment and foresight in the
management of his real estate. Even when his brother
Ogden was living, Robert was the guiding influence
in the management of the large estates which they
had inherited. Friends of the family say that the
policy pursued by Robert Goelet will doubtless be
continued for some time to come in the
administration of his affairs. No immediate division
of his extensive estate, the value of which is
variously estimated at from $25,000,000 to
$40,000,000, is anticipated.
In 1879 Mr. Goelet married Henrietta Louise,
daughter of George Henry Warren, Sr., a lawyer of
this city. Two children blessed this union__Robert
Walton Goelet and Beatrix Goelet, both of whom are
living. Miss Beatrix unconsciously attained an
interesting fame as a child through the medium of
Sargent's portrait of her with her parrot. Robert
Goelet's city residence is at 591 Fifth Avenue. He
also owned and maintained handsome establishments in
Newport and at Tuxedo.
He was exceedingly public-spirited and wherever he
had any interests he was foremost in all movements
for the promotion of the common welfare. Although
unostentatious in his methods. it was his aim to aid
in every worthy effort to improve the condition of
the community in which he lived. He was liberal in
contributing in a quiet way to projects of a
semi-public character both here and in Newport.
Mr. Goelet was very fond of music, and he did much
to promote its study and to increase the public
facilities for hearing it. He was one of the
original stockholders of the metropolitan Opera
House, and one of the most earnest advocates of the
rebuilding of that structure after it had been
destroyed by fire. Mr. Goelet was also one of the
founders of the metropolitan Club in this city, and
was one of the financial pillars of that
institution. When in New York he was in the habit of
spending much of his time there. He was likewise a
liberal patron of the club at Newport, and of the
Casino at Tuxedo. Any project or suggestion for the
beautifying or betterment of those institutions
elicited prompt co-operation on his part.
In a conservative way Robert Goelet was fond of
sports. he knew and appreciated a good trotting
horse, and derived much pleasure from holding the
ribbons over some speedy animals. He was an
enthusiastic yachtsman, and took a healthful
interest in the various out-of-door sports which
from time to time engage the attention of
fashionable society. His steam yacht Nahma, which
was with him abroad, is one of the finest vessels of
the kind ever built. It is a twin-screw steamer, 306
feet long, with a tonnage of 1,739. This sumptuous
yacht was built at Glasgow from designs by G.L.
Watson, and, with its equipment and furnishings is
said to have cost about $1,000,000. The Nahma is
similar in character to the Mayflower, which was
owned by Ogden Goelet, and which was taken by the
United States Government as a cruiser at the
out-break of the war with Spain. Robert Goelet was
elected a member of the new York Yacht Club in May,