Ivan Sergeyevich Obolensky

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Prince Ivan Sergeyevich Obolensky (May 15, 1925 – January 29, 2019) was an American financial analyst and corporate officer. He was previously commissioned in the United States Navy, serving as a Flight Lieutenant, and has also been a publisher.[1] He died on January 29, 2019.[2]

Ivan Sergeyevich Obolensky
Prince Ivan (far left) addresses the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club, 2012
Born(1925-05-15)May 15, 1925
DiedJanuary 29, 2019(2019-01-29) (aged 93)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
EducationSt. George's School
Alma materYale University
Claire Elizabeth McGinnis
(m. 1949; div. 1956)

Mary Elizabeth Morris
(m. 1959; died 2006)
Parent(s)Sergei Platonovich Obolensky
Ava Alice Muriel Astor
RelativesSee Astor family

Early lifeEdit

Obolensky was born in London, Middlesex, on May 15, 1925, to Sergei Platonovich "Serge" Obolensky and Ava Alice Muriel Astor. Paternally, he belonged to the Obolensky family of Russian princes who trace their lineage to the Rurikid rulers of Russia who preceded the Romanov emperors. Through his mother, he was a great-great-great-grandson of John Jacob Astor and the elder grandson of John Jacob Astor IV, who died on the RMS Titanic.[1]

Obolensky was educated at St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island, and graduated from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1947. While at Yale, he was a member of St. Elmo, a senior secret society.


After Yale, Obolensky became a writer working for Telavid Inc. Imports, and went on to serve with the United States Navy as a pilot. In 1957, he formed a publishing firm McDowell, Obolensky Inc. with a partner, David McDowell. The firm published James Agee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Death in the Family (1957), and was the U.S. publisher for Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (1959). It was dissolved in 1960. Obolensky then formed a second publishing house, Ivan Obolensky, Inc. This firm continued through 1965, when he joined the investment banking firm of A. T. Brod & Company as a partner.[1] The publishing house continued until 1968 under the name Astor-Honor.

Throughout his main career on Wall Street as a financial analyst, Obolensky covered many prestigious accounts. He was Vice President of Moseley, Hallgarten, Estabrook & Weeden Inc., Stock brokers and Vice President of Shields & Company. Obolensky was an active member of the philanthropic community in New York. He was, for many years, an active supporter of the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club,[3] and New York's International Debutante Ball,[4] which benefits the club. He was also Treasurer of the Russian Nobility Association in America, Inc.,[5] and the US Prior of the Orthodox Order of St. John.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Obolensky first married in New York City on October 10, 1949 to Claire Elizabeth McGinnis (1929–2015).[7][8] Claire was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco, the Finch Junior College in Manhattan, and at Miss Burke's School in San Francisco. She was the daughter of Felix Signoret McGinnis (1883–1945), vice-president of the Southern Pacific Company, and Clara (née Leonhardt) McGinnis (1887–1984). Before their divorce in 1956,[9] Ivan and Claire were the parents of one daughter and two sons:

  • Princess Marina "Maria" Ivanovna Obolensky (b. 1951), who married N. Carlton. She later married William D. Folwick (1932–2017).[8][10]
  • Prince Ivan Ivanovich Obolensky (b. 1952), who married Mary Jo Smith without issue.
  • Prince David Ivanovich Obolensky (b. 1953), who married Mary Catherine Hicks (b. 1952) on March 21, 1981.[11]

After their divorce, Claire married designer and art advisor Garrick C. Stephenson (1927–2007).[12][13] On October 22, 1959, Obolensky married for the second time to Mary Elizabeth Morris (1934–2006).[14][15] Together, they were the parents of one son:

  • Prince Sergei Ivanovich Obolensky (b. 1960), who married Ceceila Justice (b. 1956) in 1986.[16]


Through his son David, he was the grandfather of Princess Natalya Elizabeth Davidovna Obolensky (b. 1984) and Princess Octavia Willing Davidovna Obolensky (b. 1989).

Through his son Serge, he was the grandfather of Prince Alexander Sergeivitch Vasily Obolensky (b. 1994) and Prince Christopher Sergeivitch Chapman Obolensky (b. 1999).


Prince Ivan died on January 29, 2019. His funeral was held at The Church of the Incarnation in New York City.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Edwin McDowell (October 9, 1989). "The Media Business: Financial Analyst of Publishing Companies Who's Done a Thing or Two". New York Times. Even if there were such a thing as a typical Wall Street investment banker, Ivan Obolensky, the senior vice president of research for Josephthal & Company, would not be it. That is, not unless the typical investment banker was also the London-born son of a Russian prince and a grandson of John Jacob Astor, who is said to have been the wealthiest man in America when he went down with the Titanic. Mr. Obolensky, 64 years old, is also a Yale graduate, novelist, former United States Navy pilot and one-time book publisher whose first list produced James Agee's Pulitzer Prize novel, A Death in the Family. .....
  2. ^ "Ivan Obolensky Obituary". Retrieved February 1, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "A Welcome Mat for Soldiers and Sailors". The Wall Street Journal. October 4, 2010.
  4. ^ "The Luckiest Girls in the World". The New York Observer. December 30, 2010.
  5. ^ "Officers". Russian Nobility Association Website. Archived from the original on January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Cardile, Paul. "Charity, Good Deeds, Culture: The Knights of the Orthodox Order of St. John, Russian Grand Priory". Social Register. Retrieved January 20, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Claire Obolensky Excommunicated After Wedding in Russian Church". New York Times. October 14, 1949. Retrieved October 26, 2010. The New York Roman Catholic Archdiocese announced yesterday the excommunication from the church of the former Miss Claire Elizabeth McGinnis, who was married here on Monday to Ivan Obolensky. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Staff (April 24, 2015). "Claire McGinnis Stephenson". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved April 23, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Loading". www.howardmcginnis.com. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Obituary for William D. Folwick". Star Tribune. May 14, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Mary Catherine Hicks Engaged". New York Times. February 1, 1981. Retrieved May 5, 2010. Mary Catherine Hicks and David Ivanovich Obolensky plan to be married March 21. Announcement of their engagement has been made by Mr. and Mrs. George Thomas Hicks of Nashville, parents of the future bride. Her fiance is the son of Mrs. Garrick C. Stephenson and Ivan Obolensky, both of New York, and a descendant of the original John Jacob Astor..... His father is a vice-president of Moseley, Hallgarten, Estabrook & Weeden Inc., stockbrokers. The future bridegroom is a grandson of Clara Leonhardt of San Francisco, the late Felix S. McGinnis, who was a vice president of the Southern Pacific Railroad; the late Ava Astor, and the late Serge Obolensky of New York, who ran his own public relations concern. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths STEPHENSON, GARRICK C." The New York Times. February 9, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Korb, Priscila (August 27, 2015). "Southampton Estate of Late Designer Garrick C. Stephenson Put on the Market". Southampton, NY Patch. Retrieved April 23, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths Obolensky, Mary Elizabeth Morris". New York Times. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Loading..." bellevueholidayrentals.com. Retrieved September 16, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Miss Justice Is Engaged". The New York Times. February 16, 1986. Retrieved April 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "In Memoriam: Ivan Sergeievich Obolensky". January 29, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Ivan Sergeyevich Obolensky at Wikimedia Commons