Leila Griswold Webb

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Amelia Howard "Leila" Griswold Webb Codman (Nov. 12, 1856 - Jan. 21, 1910) was the daughter of millionaire John Augustus Griswold (who had personally paid for the construction of the USS Monitor during the Civil War) and Elizabeth Hart. She was friends with the Rockfellers and related by marriage to the Vanderbilts.[1]

In 1884 Leila Howard Griswold married H. Walter Webb (1852–1900), an American railway executive with the New York Central Railroad under Cornelius Vanderbilt and Chauncey Depew, and they had two sons: Henry Walter Webb, Jr. (c.1885–1919) and State Senator J. Griswold Webb (1890–1934).[2][3]

H. Walter Webb'a brother, William Seward Webb, married Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt, daughter of William Henry Vanderbilt. His new father-in-law asked him to manage the Wagner Palace Car Company, a manufacturer of railroad cars. In 1886 Webb offered his brother H. Walter Webb the position of Vice President of the Wagner Palace Car Company. At the time of his death, H. Walter Webb was vice president of the New York Central Railroad under Cornelius Vanderbilt.

When her husband died, Leila Webb, 44, inherited $3 million. On July 8, 1903, Leila’s new architect, Ogden Codman Jr., filed plans for a $42,000, six-story residence at No. 15 East 51st Street. Leila apparently was smitten by her architect, for on October 8, 1904, despite Codman being homosexual, she and Codman married. Following the marriage Codman left his home on East 79th Street, moving into the opulent home he had designed for Leila.[4]

Leila voluntered in the Stony Wold Sanitarium for women and girls afflicted with tuberculosis in Franklin, Franklin County, New York. Her house at E. 51st Street hosted sanitarium meetings such as in January 1907 when officers were elected.

In 1907 Codman and Leila planned a new home uptown, buying a plot at No. 7 East 96th Street. Leila did not see the new house cause, she died at 54 in the 51st Street mansion on January 21, 1910.

Leila’s sons inherited more than $150.000 while Ogden inherited the rest of her estate. The 51st Street mansion, at the time, was valued at $160,000. Codman sold No. 15 East 51st Street and moved into his new home at E. 96th Street.[5]

Although Leila's name is mentioned on the memorial stone at Lincoln Cemetery, MA, of her last husband, Ogden Codman Jr., she is actually buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, in Westchester County, NY.


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  1. ^ The House the Rockefellers Built: A Tale of Money, Taste, and Power in Twentieth-Century America, By Robert F. Dalzell, Lee Baldwin Dalzell, Henry Holt and Company, Aug 13, 2013
  2. ^ "Death of H. Walter Webb". New York Times. January 20, 1919. Retrieved 2013-11-24. Henry Walter Webb, son of the late Henry Walter Webb and Leila Howard Griswold Webb, is dead at his home, 840 Park Avenue, In his thirty-third year. Mr. Webb was graduated from Yale and was a member of the Yale Union and Racquet Clubs. He was married on Nov. 3, 1010 to Miss Constance Eastman, an actress. Mr. Webb was a kinsman of the Vanderbilt family. 
  3. ^ "J. Griswold Webb, Legislator, Dead. State Senator, 43, Succumbs at His Hyde Park Estate After a Long Illness.". New York Times. May 6, 1934. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  4. ^ "The John S. Rogers Mansion - No. 53 East 79th Street"
  5. ^ "The Lost Leila Howard Codman House -- No. 15 East 51st Street"