August Heckscher II

August Heckscher II (September 16, 1913 – April 5, 1997) was an American public intellectual and author whose work explored the American liberalism of political leaders including Woodrow Wilson.[1]

August Heckscher II
Parks Commissioner of New York City
In office
Appointed byJohn V. Lindsay
Preceded byThomas Hoving
Succeeded byRichard M. Clurman
Personal details
Born(1913-09-16)September 16, 1913
Huntington New York, U.S.
DiedApril 5, 1997(1997-04-05) (aged 83)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Claude Chevreux
m. 1941; his death 1997)
ChildrenStephan A. Heckscher
Philip H. Heckscher
Charles C. Heckscher
ParentsGustave Maurice Heckscher
Frances Louise Vanderhoef
RelativesAugust Heckscher (grandfather)
EducationSt. Paul's School
Alma materYale College
Harvard University

Early lifeEdit

Heckscher was born in Huntington on Long Island on September 16, 1913. He was the son of Gustave Maurice Heckscher (1884–1967) and Frances Louise Vanderhoef.[2] His parents divorced in 1927 and his mother remarried to John M. P. Thatcher in 1931.[3] His brother was Gustave Maurice Heckscher, Jr.[4]

He was also the grandson of capitalist August Heckscher (1848–1941), who emigrated from Germany in 1867.[5][6] His maternal grandfather was Harmon B. Vanderhoef (d. 1941).[4][7]

He attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire.[8] He graduated from Yale in 1936 and later received a master's degree in government from Harvard University.[1]


During World War II, he worked for the Office of the Coordinator of Information in Washington as well as the Office of Strategic Services in North Africa. In addition, he worked with the United States at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in 1945.[1]

In 1962,[9] he began his service as the first White House Special Consultant on the Arts as the coordinator of cultural matters appointed by President John F. Kennedy.[10][11] He was in this role until 1963.[12]

In 1967, he was appointed by New York City Mayor John Lindsay as Parks Commissioner of New York City, succeeding Thomas Hoving, who left to become the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[13][14] His tenure as Commissioner was noted for the 1967 concert in the park by Barbra Streisand, which was attended by 250,000 people, the first New York City Marathon, which was held in Central Park in 1970, and a number of very large-scale antiwar demonstrations, in the park, for which permits were issued.[1] He resigned as Commissioner in 1972.[15][16]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1941,[8] Heckscher was married to Claude Chevreux (d. 2008).[17] Claude was the daughter of Charles Chevreux of Clermont-Ferrand, France, the Prefect of the Puy-de-Dôme at Clermont-Ferrand and formerly of the French legation in Algeria and French Morocco.[8] As her parents could not attend the wedding, she was given away by her cousin, Pierre Landrieu.[4] Together, they were the parents of:[1]

  • Stephan August Heckscher, who was a co-executor and co-trustee of his estate with Francis X. Morrissey Jr.. Morrissey was convicted of forgery in his work for Brooke Astor.[18] Stephan married Donna Elizabeth Hunt in 1966.[19]
  • Philip H. Heckscher
  • Charles C. Heckscher (b. 1949),[20] a professor in the Department of Labor Studies and Employment at Rutgers University.[21]

Heckscher died on April 5, 1997 at New York Hospital.[1] His widow, Claude, died in 2008.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Pace, Eric (April 7, 1997). "August Heckscher, 83, Dies; Advocate for Parks and Arts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-25. August Heckscher, a Parks Commissioner under Mayor John V. Lindsay who was long active in public affairs and as a writer, died on Saturday at New York Hospital. He was 83 and lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The cause was heart failure, which he suffered after being admitted to the hospital because he had been having chest pains, his family said.
  2. ^ "MISS VANDERHOEF WEDS G. MAURICE HECKSCHER; St. Bartholomew's Thronged with Guests for the Ceremony. COUPLE TO TRAVEL ABROAD". The New York Times. 7 February 1907. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  3. ^ "MRS. HECKSCHER IN SURPRISE BRIDAL; Daughter of Harman B. Vanderhoef Wed to John M.P. Thatcher at Her Home. THEIR TROTH UNANNOUNCED Bride Is Former Wife of G. Maurice Heckscher, Philanthropist's Son--Bridegroom Is a Lawyer". The New York Times. January 19, 1931. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "CLAUDE CHEVREUX BEGOMES A BRIDE; Daughter of French Official Wed at Union Seminary to August Heckscher 2d". The New York Times. 20 March 1941. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Heckscher Dies, Noted Financier. Came to U. S. as Immigrant. Worked First as Laborer. Became Philanthropist. Philanthropist Dies At 92. Was Long Ill". Associated Press in the Hartford Courant. April 27, 1941. Retrieved 2009-11-25. August Heckscher, 92-years-old New York capitalist and philanthropist, died at his Mountain Lake home here today after a long illness.
  6. ^ "August Heckscher Dies In Sleep At 92. Philanthropist, Real Estate and Steel Operator Was in Florida Home. Philanthropist Dead August Heckscher Dies In Sleep At 92". The New York Times. April 27, 1941. Retrieved 2009-11-28. August Heckscher, real estate and steel operator, banker and philanthropist, died at his Winter home at Mountain Lake, near here, at 2:40 P. M. today. Death came suddenly in his sleep. He was 92 years old. ... In July of 1930, at the age of 81, he married Mrs. Virginia Henry Curtiss, ...
  7. ^ "HARMAN B. VANDERHOEF". The New York Times. 1 September 1941. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "WEDDING MARCH 19 FOR MISS CHEVREUX; She Will Be Married in Chapel of the Union Seminary to August Heckscher 2d". The New York Times. 5 March 1941. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  9. ^ "White House Names Heckscher To Be Coordinator of Culture; WHITE HOUSE GETS AIDE FOR CULTURE". The New York Times. 22 February 1962. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  10. ^ "HECKSCHER GETS POST; Named by Kennedy as First Cultural Affairs Chief". The New York Times. 23 February 1962. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  11. ^ "HECKSCHER WARY OF MASS TASTES; Kennedy Arts Aide, at Yale, Warns on 'Debasement'". The New York Times. 28 May 1962. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  12. ^ "HECKSCHER PLANS TO QUIT ARTS POST; Successor Due Next Week --Council to Be Created Itinerant Artsman. Adviser to Lead Council". The New York Times. 6 June 1963. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Heckscher, New Parks Commissioner, Tells of Plans by the Mayor for Cultural Council". The New York Times. 24 March 1967. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Heckscher Pledges More and Better Parks as He Succeeds Hoving". The New York Times. 17 March 1967. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  15. ^ Schumach, Murray (10 November 1972). "Clurman Will Head Parks Department; Heckscher Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  16. ^ Schumach, Murray (10 November 1972). "Clurman Will Head Parks Department Heckscher Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Paid Notice: Deaths HECKSCHER, CLAUDE CHEVREUX". The New York Times. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  18. ^ Kovaleski, Serge F.; Moynihan, Colin (January 4, 2008). "Many Clients of Astor Lawyer Left Him Bequests in Their Wills". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Miss Donna Elizabeth Hunt Married; '63 Debutante Bride of Stephen August Heckscher on L.I." The New York Times. 12 June 1966. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Charles Heckscher". School of Management and Labor Relations. Rutgers University. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  21. ^ Schiavi, MaryLynn (March 5, 2017). "Imagine: How to retool, prepare workers for 21st century?". Retrieved 23 November 2017.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Hoving
Parks Commissioner of New York City
1967– 1972
Succeeded by
Richard M. Clurman