The wealthy Havemeyer family were prosperous sugar refiners and distributors. William Havemeyer, founder of the New York Havemeyers, was born in Germany. Orphaned in childhood, he went to London where he learned the sugar refining trade, then emigrated to New York in 1799. His eldest son was three times elected mayor of New York, in 1845, 1848, and 1872 on his reputation as "a sound financial manager with integrity." One of William's grandsons formed the "Sugar Trust" which controlled half of the sugar consumed in the United States. The Havemeyers are probably best known today for the significant gift of European art assembled by that grandson and his second wife and donated to the Metropolitan Museum.
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