John Hay "Jock" Whitney

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Biographical Information

"John Hay Whitney, known as Jock to his friends, and his sister Joan Whitney Payson, were two of the most likeable and charming people on the international social scene from the late 1920s through the 1970s. Jock Whitney is remembered as one of the greatest gentlemen of his time – generous, bright, warm and friendly.

"After the Second World War, he started an investment fund, run by a friend he’d met in the War, to invest in new ideas of the men coming back from the War. He called it Adventure Capital and later dropped the “ad” to coin the now established term: venture capital. He was known for his ventures in Hollywood (“Gone With the Wind”), his industrious ventures, as well as being the last publisher of The New York Herald-Tribune.

"Like his grandfather, he was also the Ambassador to the Court of St. James (under Eisenhower). Married twice, first to a beauty who loved horses more, and finally to Betsey Cushing Roosevelt, daughter of the famous brain surgeon Harvey Cushing, first wife of FDR’s son’s James, to whom he remained married to the end of his life.

"Jock Whitney sold the house to the French government in 1949 when it became its cultural services offices. The Payne fortune, inherited by Payne Whitney, and then his children, grew far larger than the fortune left by William C. Whitney to his children. That was partly due to the fact that Harry Payne Whitney and Gertrude Vanderbilt produced more offspring who produced more offspring. Jock Whitney produced no off-spring, and his investments after the War catapulted him (and partially his sister) into the realm of what are now billions."[1]

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  1. newyorksocialdiary The Gilded Age Billionaires, Part II, organizational web page, accessed April 30, 2012.