William Russell Grace

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William Russell Grace

Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: Cobh, Cork, Cork, Ireland
Death: March 21, 1904 (71)
New York, NY, USA
Place of Burial: New York, Kings County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Grace and Ellen Mary Grace
Husband of Lillius Grace
Father of Alice Gertrude d'Oench; Florence Ellen Grace; Agnes Isadora Grace; Mary Augusta Grace; Lillius Clementina Grace and 6 others
Brother of Alice Fellowes; Ellen Mary Grace; Sarah Matilda Grace; Morgan Stanislaus Grace; John W Grace and 1 other

Occupation: Mayor of New York
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Russell Grace


William Russell Grace (May 10, 1832 – March 21, 1904) was the first Roman Catholic mayor of New York City and the founder of W. R. Grace and Company.


He was born on May 10, 1832 in Ballylinan, County Laois, Ireland.

He began his business career in Peru, where he was a partner with the firm of John Bryce, ship chandlers, later to become Grace Brothers & Co. headquartered in London, England, and then W. R. Grace and Company.


William Russell Grace was a renowned philanthropist and humanitarian, at one point contributing a quarter of the aid delivered to Ireland aboard the steamship Constellation during the famine of the later 1870s. In 1897, he and his brother, Michael, founded the Grace Institute for the education of women, especially immigrants.

Reform politics

Opposing the famous Tammany Hall, Grace was elected as the first Irish American Catholic mayor of New York City in 1880. He conducted a reform administration attacking police scandals, patronage and organized vice; reduced the tax rate and broke up the Louisiana Lottery. Defeated the following year, he was re-elected in 1884 on an Independent ticket but lost again the following year[3]. During his second term, Grace received the Statue of Liberty as a gift from France.


His nephew Cecil Grace attempted a crossing of the English Channel in December 1910 in a aeroplane. He flew from Dover to Calais. However in coming back he became disoriented and over Dover flew northeast over the Goodwin Sands toward the North Sea and was lost.

See also, New York Times obituary March 22, 1904.

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William Russell Grace's Timeline

May 10, 1832
Cobh, Cork, Cork, Ireland
June 11, 1860
Age 28
September 20, 1861
Age 29
October 24, 1864
Age 32
Callao, Callao, Lima Region, Peru
April 14, 1867
Age 34
Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA
September 2, 1868
Age 36
Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA