Arthur A. Houghton Jr.
10th President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
In office
Preceded byRoland L. Redmond
Succeeded byC. Douglas Dillon
Personal details
Arthur Amory Houghton Jr.

(1906-12-12)December 12, 1906
Corning, New York, U.S.
DiedApril 3, 1990(1990-04-03) (aged 83)
Venice, Florida, U.S.
  • Jane Olmsted
    (m. 1929; div. 1938)
  • Ellen Crenshaw
    (m. 1939; div. 1944)
  • Elizabeth Douglas McCall
    (m. 1944; div. 1972)
  • Nina Rodale
    (m. 1973; his death 1990)
RelativesSee Houghton family
EducationSt. Paul's School
Alma materHarvard University

Arthur Amory Houghton Jr. (December 12, 1906 – April 3, 1990)[1] was an American industrialist who served as the president of Steuben Glass Works, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Philharmonic.

Early life

Houghton was born in Corning, New York on December 12, 1906.[2] He was the son of Mahitbel "Mabel" (née Hollister) Houghton (1867–1938) and Arthur Amory Houghton Sr. (1866–1928), a former president of Corning Glass.[3] His parents lived in Corning and in New York City at 920 and 941 Park Avenue. He had two older sisters, Phoebe Hollister Houghton, who died young, and Gratia Buell Houghton, who married writer and playwright Alan Rinehart.[4]

His paternal grandparents were Amory Houghton Jr., a former president of Corning, and Ellen Ann (née Bigelow) Houghton. Arthur was nephew of Alanson Bigelow Houghton (a U.S. Representative and Ambassador to England and Germany)[3] and a great-grandson of Amory Houghton Sr., a founder of Corning Glass Works in 1851.[1] Among the many prominent family members of his generation were the U.S. Ambassador to France, Amory Houghton, and Alice Tully, who donated the funds for a chamber music hall at Lincoln Center named in her honor (Alice Tully Hall built in 1963).[5]

Like his father before him, Houghton attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire in 1925, and graduated from Harvard University in 1929.[1]


After his graduation from Harvard, Houghton joined the family business. In 1933, he began his forty-year service as president of Steuben Glass Works, a subsidiary of the Corning Company, where he is credited for a change of artistic direction toward more modern forms, which incorporated Art Deco and modernist themes. He hired renowned sculptors including Sidney Waugh, Massimo Vignelli.[1]

In 1940, while remaining in his role as president of Steuben but relinquishing day-to-day operations, he began to serve as the curator of rare books at the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C., under Archibald MacLeish, the Librarian of Congress. Houghton served in this role for two years until the outbreak of World War II, where he served as an officer in the Army Air Corps for three years, retiring in 1945 as a Lieutenant colonel.[6] He also served as a director of the USX Corporation (formerly U.S. Steel) and the New York Life Insurance Company as well as an honorary trustee of The United States Trust Company.[1]

In 1951, along with his cousin Amory Houghton, he co-founded the Corning Museum of Glass.[7]


In 1942, he endowed Houghton Library at Harvard as a repository for the university's collections of rare books and manuscripts, and, later, donated Wye River, his plantation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he bred Black Angus cattle, to the Aspen Institute, the international public policy organization, which is today the Aspen Institute Wye River Conference Centers.[8]

In 1952, he joined the board of the New York Philharmonic, serving as chairman from 1958 to 1963 and on the board itself until 1965.[1] While he was on the board, and during his presidency, the Philharmonic moved from Carnegie Hall to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, while he served, as vice-chairman, alongside John D. Rockefeller III, as chairman, of a committee to create Lincoln Center. He was also a vice president of the Pierpont Morgan Library, a president of the English-Speaking Union of the U.S., a trustee and chairman of the Cooper Union, a trustee and chairman of the Parsons School of Design, and chairman of the Institute of International Education.[1]

In September 1964, Houghton was elected to replace Roland L. Redmond as the 10th president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City,[9] and became chairman in 1969 (and serving until 1972). Houghton, who was a member of more than 100 education and arts organizations, served on the board of the Museum from 1952 to 1974. He was succeeded as president by C. Douglas Dillon, a former investment banker who had worked with the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson Administrations.[1]

Personal life

On June 12, 1929, Houghton married Jane Olmsted (1909–1982) at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Harrisburg.[10] Jane was the daughter of Gertrude (née Howard) McCormick and Marlin Edgar Olmsted, a Republican member of the U.S. Congress from Pennsylvania.[11][12] Before their divorce in July 1938, they were the parents of:

His first wife remarried to Hugh McMillan in 1947.[17] On June 7, 1939, he was married for the second time to Ellen Crenshaw (1906–1961) in Queenstown, Maryland. Ellen was a friend of Washington journalist Joseph Alsop.[18] Before their divorce in January 1944, they were the parents of one child:[19]

On January 15, 1944, he married for the third time to Elizabeth Douglas McCall (1919–1996), a daughter of Arthur May McCall.[22] They lived at 3 Sutton Place, a four-story brick townhouse that was built in 1921 for Anne Morgan, daughter of financier J.P. Morgan. In 1971, Mr. Houghton Jr donated it to the United Nations for use as the official residence of the Secretary-General in 1972[23]) and before their divorce in 1972, were the parents of one child:

After their divorce, Elizabeth remarried to prominent architect Walker O. Cain in 1973.[25] On May 22, 1973, he married for the fourth, and final time, to Nina (née Rodale) Horstmann (b. 1937) at Annapolis. Nina, the daughter of J. I. Rodale of Rodale, Inc. and sister of Robert Rodale, was previously married to Robert Horstmann.[26]

Houghton, who also had a home in Boca Grande, died at Venice Hospital in Venice, Florida on April 3, 1990.[1] He was buried at the Old Wye Episcopal Church Cemetery in Wye Mills, Maryland.[6]

In 1949, Houghton was awarded permanent, honorary membership at The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. The organization sought to recognize him for funding the Houghton Memorial Carillon, a 23-bell carillon located at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1933.[27]

In 1971, he was awarded the Skowhegan Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award by the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture for his outstanding efforts as "a patron of the arts."[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i James, George (4 April 1990). "Arthur Houghton Jr., 83, Dies; Led Steuben Glass". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  2. ^ Service, International Publications (1983). International Who's Who, 1983-84. Europa Publications Limited. p. 612. ISBN 9780905118864. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b "ARTHUR HOUGHTON DIES AT AGE OF 61; Glass Manufacturer, Brother of Ambassador to London, Had Long Been Ill. ACTIVE IN CIVIC AFFAIRS Was a Director in Several Banks and Head of a Coal Company-- Member of Many Clubs" (PDF). The New York Times. 20 April 1928. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  4. ^ "MRS. GRATIA RINEHART; Former Ambassador Houghton's Niece Made Debut in Berlin" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 May 1939. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  5. ^ Hellman, Peter (24 December 1990). "Patron Saint: Nearing 90, Alice Tully is ..." New York Magazine: 62–63. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Arthur Houghton dies; ex-Steuben Glass chief". Star-Gazette. April 4, 1990. p. 1. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Arthur Houghton dies; Shore philanthropist". The Baltimore Sun. April 4, 1990. p. 20. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  8. ^ Clark, Charles Branch (1950). The Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 11. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Metropolitan Elects New Museum Head". The New York Times. 16 September 1964. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  10. ^ "JANE OLMSTED WED TO A.A. HOUGHTON JR.; Mrs. Vance C. McCormick's Daughter Bride of Ex-Ambassador's Nephew" (PDF). The New York Times. 13 June 1929. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  11. ^ "MISS JANE OLMSTED ENGAGED TO MARRY; Daughter of Mrs. Vance C. McCormick to Wed Arthur Amory Houghton Jr. FIANCE A HARVARD SENIOR He Is Nephew of Ambassador Houghton--Miss Janett Thall Betrothed to L.G. Salomon". The New York Times. 10 November 1928. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  12. ^ "DOROTHY COLLINS TO WED ON JUNE 4; Attendants Chosen for Her Marriage to Willem van Tets in St. James's Church. JANE OLMSTED'S BRIDAL Daughter of Mrs. Vance C. McCormick to Marry A.A. Houghton Harrisburg, Pa., June 12. Olmsted--Houghton" (PDF). The New York Times. 11 May 1929. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  13. ^ FitzRoy, Charles (2015). The Rape of Europa: The Intriguing History of Titian's Masterpiece. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 191. ISBN 9781408192115. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  14. ^ "JANE O. HOUGHTON TO BE WED NOV. 30; St. James' Church to Be Scene of Marriage to Rollin Van Nostrand Hadley Jr". The New York Times. 9 November 1950. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Spring Nuptials For Jane Hadley, Paul W. Preziose". The New York Times. 9 January 1977. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Sylvia Houghton Engaged to Wed Richard Garrett; Bennett and Princeton Graduates to Marry Here on Feb. 1". The New York Times. 15 December 1963. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  17. ^ "MRS. HOUGHTON ENGAGED; Former Miss Jane Olmsted the Fiancee of Hugh McMillan" (PDF). The New York Times. 30 May 1947. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  18. ^ Hoffmann, Joyce (2008). On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam. Hachette Books. p. 21. ISBN 9780786721665. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  19. ^ Dyer, Davis; Gross, Daniel (2001). The Generations of Corning: The Life and Times of a Global Corporation. Oxford University Press. pp. 176-177. ISBN 9780198032311. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Miss Sherrill Jean Mulliken Married; Bride in Washington of Arthur Amory Houghton 3d". The New York Times. 23 August 1964. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Linda Davis Wed to A. A. Houghton 3d". The New York Times. 20 December 1987. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Elizabeth McCall Cain, Socialite, 76". The New York Times. 17 February 1996. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  23. ^ Teltsch, Kathleen. "Town House Offered to U. N.", The New York Times, July 15, 1972. Accessed December 27, 2007.
  24. ^ "Hollister Douglas Houghton Is a Bride; Married to William David Haggard 3d, an Equestrian" (PDF). The New York Times. 6 October 1968. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Mrs. Houghton Married Here" (PDF). The New York Times. 28 July 1973. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Wedding of Mrs. Horstmann To Arthur Houghton Jr. Held" (PDF). The New York Times. 8 June 1973. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  27. ^ Slater, James B. (2003). "A Register of Honorary Members, 1936–1996" (PDF). The Bulletin. The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. 52 (1): 26. OCLC 998832003. Retrieved 2021-06-06.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "Houghton Receives Skowhegan Award". The New York Times. 28 April 1971. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
Cultural offices Preceded byRoland L. Redmond President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 1964–1970 Succeeded byC. Douglas Dillon