Alexander Smith Cochran

Alexander Smith Cochran

Alexander Smith Cochran (1874 - 1929) was a wealthy manufacturer, sportsman and philathropist from Yonkers, New York. He was the son of Willam F. Cochran and grandson of Alexander Smith, founder of the Alexander Smith Carpet Company.

Cochran inherited his money from his parents and his maternal uncle Warren B. Smith who left Cochran the bulk of an estate estimated to be worth $40 million in 1902. [cite news
title=WILL OF WARREN B. SMITH DISPOSES OF $40,000,000.; Carpet Manufacturer's Nephew, Alexander Cochran, inherits Bulk of Vast Estate.
work=New York Times
] Cochran was the inheritor and principal owner of [ Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet mills] of Yonkers, which by 1929 was the largest carpet manufacturer in the world. [ [ The History Of Carpet ] ]

Cochran's properties included [ Glen Eyrie] in Colorado Springs.

Cochran graduated from Yale University in 1896. In 1911, he founded the library at the Elizabethan Club there by purchasing and donating a house on College Street, providing the club with an endowment of $100,000 and donating an outstanding collection of rare Elizabethan and Jacobean books. These include the four folios of Shakespeare, the 40 quartos acquired from the Huth Collection, the finest of the four known copies of "Venus and Adonis," and the unique copy of The Quenes Maiesties Passage, describing Queen Elizabeth I's first progress the day before her coronation. Cochran, who maintained contact with the club, occasionally made up shortfalls in the operating costs to prevent a member fee from being instituted.

Cochran donated an endowment and his collection of illuminated manuscripts of Persian poetry to the Department of Islamic Art of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1913. [ [ Alexander Visits the Sage Plato: Page from a dispersed manuscript of the Khamsa (Quintet) of Amir Khusrau Dihlavi, dated 1597–98; Mughal] ] [ [ Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami, 1510] ] [ [ Haft Paikar (Seven Portraits) of the Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami, ca. 1430] ] In 1907, he accompanied his friend the scholar A. V. Williams Jackson to Iran. This may have inspired Cochran's collecting; Jackson published a scholarly catalogue on these works in 1913.

Cochran was a member of the New York Yacht Club. Initially not a very enthusiastic yachtsman, he owned and raced the sloop "Avenger" in 1909 and had won the Astor Cup. He decided to build a schooner that could make the Atlantic crossing and compete well in Europe, and ordered the "Westward" built between 1909 and 1910 by Nathanael Herreshoff of the Herreschoff Manufacturing Company of Rhode Island. The "Westward" was a 96-foot-waterline steel schooner and was the largest sailboat the Herreshoff Company had made at the time. Cochran raced the yacht off England and Europe in 1910 with Charlie Barr as the skipper. [ New York Times Article, page 4, 4 July 1910] The season was a stunning success. "Westward" won every race in German waters and eight of nine in England. Cochran sold "Westward" to a German syndicate in 1911, having become interested in larger yachts. He was already having a large three-masted schooner called "Sett Call" designed for him by William Gardener. Cochran decided to become an America's Cup contender and asked Gardener to also work on an America's Cup prospect for him. "Vanitie" was the result. Both "Vanitie" and "Sett Call" were built by the George Lawley and Sons Corporation of Boston. [The Golden Age of Yachting by L. Francis Herreshoff Published by Sheriden House, Inc 2007 ISBN 1574092510 page 178]

In 1914, Cochran competed in his yacht "Vanitie" to be selected to defend the America's Cup against Sir Thomas Lipton's yacht. "Vanitie" lost to "Resolute" in the 1914 trials [ New York Times Article, page 9, 9 July 1914] but was able to try again in 1920, because the defense of the cup was put off during World War I. The 1920 campaign was not successful; "Vanitie" lost 7-4 in the final selection series.

Cochran became known as the "Richest Bachelor in New York," thanks to press coverage of his marriage to the actress and singer Ganna Walska, her third husband. [ [ MADID: Thumbnail View ] ] Cochran met Walska in 1919, married her in Paris and briefly lived with her in his Murray Hill home. In 1920, divorce proceedings were started. They were completed with a settlement that amounted to $US3 million, a substantial sum in 1920.

Cochran died in 1929, aged 55.


External links

*cite news
title=WILL OF WARREN B. SMITH DISPOSES OF $40,000,000.; Carpet Manufacturer's Nephew, Alexander Cochran, inherits Bulk of Vast Estate.
work=New York Times

* [ Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database Image No: 10668]
* [ Photograph of Alexander Smith Cochran]

NAME= Cochran, Alexander Smith
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Cochran, Alexander
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Manufacturer, sportsman and philanthropist

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