Philip Hone

Philip Hone

Hone, Philip, 1780-1851, American diarist and politician, b. New York City. With his brother he built up a successful auctioneering business, which he later abandoned for politics. He was mayor of New York City in 1825. His diary (1828-51), opinionated and shrewd, contains valuable records of life in New York and of the development of the Whig party during that period.

See selections from his diary (ed. by B. Tuckerman, 2 vol., 1889) and by A. Nevins (2 vol., 1927; repr. 1971).

Philip Hone (October 25, 1780May 5, 1851) was Mayor of New York from 1826 to 1827. He was most notable for a detailed diary he kept from 1828 until the time of his death in 1851. His recorded diary is said to be the most extensive and detailed of his time in 19th century America.

Son of a German immigrant carpenter, Hone became wealthy in the auction business. He was elected Mayor on the Whig ticket in 1826, but served only one term. A somewhat elitist Whig, Hone was increasingly out of touch with political power in the city, then (as now) mostly controlled by the Democratic Party. He became a man of great prominence in New York society, for his wealth, sophistication, extensive travel and good taste, and was good friends with most of the political, artistic and scientific leaders of his day. Most notable among them were: Washington Irving, Samuel Morse, Daniel Webster, John Jacob Astor and U.S. Presidents John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren.

Hone's diary records not only his society engagements and the major events and spectacles in the city in the first half of the century, but also his view of a changing city: his disapproval of Jacksonian Democracy; the disconcerting effects of the city's constant construction; and his utter disgust with most Irish immigrants.

He was a successful merchant and a founder of the Mercantile Library Association and he was the first President of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company in 1825 and 1826. Hone lived in an elegant town house at 235 Broadway, opposite City Hall Park. Today, Honesdale, Pennsylvania, is named in honor of Philip Hone.

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