Amory Houghton
Amory Houghton.png
United States Ambassador to France
In office
April 17, 1957 – January 19, 1961
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byC. Douglas Dillon
Succeeded byJames M. Gavin
President of the Boy Scouts of America
In office
Preceded byWalter W. Head
Succeeded byJohn M. Schiff
Personal details
Born(1899-07-27)July 27, 1899
Corning, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 21, 1981(1981-02-21) (aged 81)
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Laura DeKay Richardson
(m. 1921; his death 1981)
RelationsSee Houghton family
Children5, including Amory Jr., James
Parent(s)Alanson B. Houghton
Adelaide Louise Wellington
Alma materHarvard University
AwardsLegion of Honour

Amory Houghton (July 27, 1899 – February 21, 1981)[1] served as United States Ambassador to France from 1957 to 1961[2] and as national president of the Boy Scouts of America. He was chairman of the board of Corning Glass Works (1941–1961).[3] In 1959 he was elected as an honorary member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati.

Early life

Houghton was born on July 27, 1899 in Corning, New York. He was the only son of four children born to Adelaide Louise (née Wellington) Houghton and Alanson B. Houghton, who served as a United States representative from New York, as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Great Britain. His second cousin was actress Katharine Hepburn.

He was educated at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire and graduated from Harvard University in 1921.[4]


After graduating from Harvard, Houghton began work in the blowing room of B Factory at Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) in 1921. In 1926, he became assistant to the president and two years later was elected executive vice-president.[4]

In 1930, he became president and at the death of his father in 1941 chairman of the board. After leaving this position in 1961 he went on to serve as chairman of the executive committee from 1961 to 1964. He was then named chairman of the board again from 1964–1971.[4]

Houghton served as a director of the National City Bank of New York (now Citibank), the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (now MetLife), and the Erie Railroad.[4] He was also on the Harvard Board of Overseers, was a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, and was a trustee of Eisenhower College in Seneca Falls, New York.[1]

Public service

Houghton began his career in government as a dollar-a-year man in 1941 when he was appointed assistant deputy director of the materials division in the Office of Production Management.[5] An account cited that it was businessman Philip D. Reed who recruited him to the OPM.[6] In this position, Houghton served as the liaison between the government and American manufacturers. It was reported that he was responsible for surmounting almost half the burden of the then production crisis.[5]

In January 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt replaced the Office and Supply Priorities and Allocations Board with the War Production Board and Houghton was appointed deputy chief of the bureau of industry branches.[1] By August of the same year, he resigned and did not serve any government position after a Hartford-Empire, subsidiary of Corning, faced an antitrust suit.[5] He was also accused of monopolistic behavior and this particular case reached the Supreme Court.[7]

From 1943 to 1944, he was appointed as the chief mission officer for the Lend-Lease Administration,[1] a program by which the United States supplied the Allied nations with food, oil, warships, warplanes, and with other weaponry during World War II.[4] He was forced to resign in 1943 due to antitrust problems with a Corning subsidiary.[4]

On March 14, 1957, he was appointed the United States Ambassador to France by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He presented his credentials on April 17, 1957 and served until he left his post on January 19, 1961 shortly before President Kennedy took office.[8]


Houghton received the Silver Buffalo Award in 1945 and served as the National president of the Boy Scouts of America from 1946–1951. He served on the World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement from 1949–55. He was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1955.[9]

Personal life

In 1921, Houghton was married to Laura DeKay Richardson (d. 2003), the daughter of James Richardson of Providence, Rhode Island.[10] During his time as Ambassador, his wife was referred to L'Ambassadrice Souriante (the Smiling Ambassadress) by the Herald Tribune.[10] Together, they were the parents of five children, three sons and two daughters, including:[11]

Houghton died at the Medical University Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina on February 21, 1981.[1]


Through his daughter Elizabeth, he was the grandfather of Elizabeth Livingston Weinberg,[14][17] Sydney Houghton Weinberg, Peter Amory Weinberg (born 1957), the co-founder of Perella Weinberg Partners with merger specialist, Joseph Perella in 2006.[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Clark, Alfred E. (February 22, 1981). "AMORY HOUGHTON OF CORNING GLASS WORKS". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  2. ^ Dimitroff, Thomas P.; Janes (1991). History of the Corning Painted Post Area. Corning, New York: Bookmarks. p. 285. ISBN 0912939001.
  3. ^ Dyer, Davis; Gross (2001). The Generations of Corning. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195140958.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Ingham, John N. (1983). Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 625–628. ISBN 9780313213625. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Stapleton, Craig Roberts; McCready, Louise French (2010). Where Liberty Dwells, There Is My Country: The Story of Twentieth-Century American Ambassadors to France. Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7618-5143-1.
  6. ^ Dyer, Davis; Gross, Daniel (2001). The Generations of Corning: The Life and Times of a Global Corporation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-19-803231-1.
  7. ^ Clarke, Sally H.; Lamoreaux, Naomi R.; Usselman, Steven W. (2009). The Challenge of Remaining Innovative: Insights from Twentieth-century American Business. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-8047-5892-5.
  8. ^ "Amory Houghton - Department History". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  9. ^ John S. Wilson (1959), Scouting Round the World. First edition, Blandford Press. p. 25, 190, 202, 266, 271
  10. ^ a b "Paid Notice: Deaths HOUGHTON, LAURA RICHARDSON". The New York Times. 12 April 2003. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  11. ^ Who's Who in Commerce and Industry. Marquis Who's Who. 1965. p. 627. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  12. ^ "HOUGHTON--Rev. Alanson". The New York Times. January 27, 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  13. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (5 October 2010). "Sidney J. Weinberg Jr., Former Goldman Executive, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Elizabeth L. Weinberg Is Bride". The New York Times. 11 May 1980. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Miss Laura DeKay Houghton Engaged to David Wells Beer". The New York Times. January 22, 1962. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Laura DeKay Houghton Bride of David W. Beer". The New York Times. 29 April 1962. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Elizabeth Smith, Richard Cotton: Weddings". The New York Times. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  18. ^ Chrystia Freeland and Julie MacIntosh (June 26, 2009). "View from the Top - Peter Weinberg, co-founder of Perella Weinberg". Financial Times. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
Diplomatic posts Preceded byC. Douglas Dillon U.S. Ambassador to France 1957–1961 Succeeded byJames M. Gavin Boy Scouts of America Preceded byWalter W. Head National president 1946–1951 Succeeded byJohn M. Schiff