Charles May Oelrichs
|Born||August 27, 1858|
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Died||January 15, 1932 (aged 73)|
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Children||4, including Blanche|
|Parent(s)||Henry Ferdinand Oelrichs|
Julia Matilda May
|Relatives||Diana Barrymore (granddaughter)|
Oelrichs was born on August 27, 1858, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the son of German-born Henry Ferdinand Oelrichs (1810–1875), a senior partner in the firm of Oelrichs & Lurman, and Julia Matilda (née May) Oelrichs (1819–1879), who was born in Washington, D.C. His siblings included Hermann Oelrichs, an agent of Norddeutsche Lloyd shipping who married Theresa Alice Fair, daughter of United States Senator and Comstock Lode millionaire James Graham Fair; and Henry Oelrichs (1856–1902). Upon his older brother's death in 1906, Charles inherited the bulk of his estate.
Oelrichs was the grandson of Gesche Catharina (née Holler) Oelrichs and Johann Gerhard Oelrichs, a German merchant in Bremen. The Oelrichs came to America from Bremen around 1830. His grandfather later married a daughter of statesman Harrison Gray Otis. His maternal grandparents were Julia Matilda (née Slacum) May and Frederick May, who was a member of the May family, prominent in Virginia and Maryland during the American Revolutionary War.
Oelrichs then entered business, becoming a member of the New York Stock Exchange with the firm E. C. Potter Co. The firm was later known as C. M. Oelrichs & Co., which was in business for sixteen years until his retirement in 1912.
In 1892, Oelrichs and his wife Blanche were included in Ward McAllister's "Four Hundred", purported to be an index of New York's best families, published in The New York Times. Conveniently, 400 was the number of people that could fit into Mrs. Astor's ballroom. Oelrichs was a member of the Union Club of the City of New York.
The family spent summers in Newport, Rhode Island at their residence on Kay Street, amidst the Astors, the Vanderbilts, and numerous other wealthy elites of American society during the Gilded Age. The Oelrichs' were known for their lavish entertaining, including costume balls and dressing up in the "full regalia, including war paint and tomahawk".
Oelrichs was married to Blanche de Loosey (1857–1932), the daughter of Chevalier Charles F. de Loosey, the Austrian Consul to New York. Blanche was also the sister of Emilie de Loosey, who was married to Theodore Havemeyer, a co-founder of the Newport Country Club. Together, the family lived in a town house on Madison Square and their summer cottage in Newport. Charles and Blanche were the parents of four children:
- Natalie "Lily" Oelrichs (1880–1931), who married polo player Peter D. Martin of San Francisco. After his death, she married Heinrich Borwin Duke of Mecklenburg (1885–1942), the son of Duke Paul Frederick of Mecklenburg and Princess Marie of Windisch-Graetz, in 1915. They divorced in 1921.
- Charles de Loosey Oelrichs (1882–1973), who married Marjorie Ramely Turnbull (1883–1952), sister of suffragist Alison Turnbull Hopkins.
- Henry Edmond Oelrichs (1883–1944), who married Esther Moreland (1890–1941).
- Blanche Marie Louise Oelrichs (1890–1950), the poet and playwright who married, and divorced, three times, to Leonard Moorhead Thomas, John Barrymore and Harrison Tweed. She also had a ten-year affair with Margaret Wise Brown.
Through his son Charles, he was the grandfather of socialite Marjorie Oelrichs (1908–1937), who was married to band leader Eddy Duchin. Marjorie died six days after the 1937 birth of the couple's son, pianist and band leader Peter Oelrichs Duchin.
Through his daughter Blanche, he was the grandfather of three, including Diana Blanche Barrymore (1921–1960), who married three times (including to actors Bramwell Fletcher and Robert Wilcox) before her death which was attributed to a drug overdose.
- "C. M. OELRICHS DIES AT 73 IN NEWPORT; Retired Broker, Long a Leader in Social Life, Belonged to a Notable Family. ONCE AN AMATEUR COWBOY In His Youth He Had Been Expert as a Horseman--Was the Father of Michael Strange, Playwright" (PDF). The New York Times. January 16, 1932. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "NOTHING FOR WIFE OF OELRICHS. Clubman's Will Says Her Fortune is Ample--Estate is for Brother and Sister". San Francisco Call. 11 September 1906. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- McAllister, Ward (16 February 1892). "THE ONLY FOUR HUNDRED | WARD M'ALLISTER GIVES OUT THE OFFICIAL LIST. HERE ARE THE NAMES, DON'T YOU KNOW, ON THE AUTHORITY OF THEIR GREAT LEADER, YOU UNDER- STAND, AND THEREFORE GENUINE, YOU SEE" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
- Patterson, Jerry E. (2000). The First Four Hundred: Mrs. Astor's New York in the Gilded Age. Random House Incorporated. p. 223. ISBN 9780847822089. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
- Keister, Lisa A. (2005). Getting Rich: America's New Rich and How They Got That Way. Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780521536677. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- Edward T. James; Janet Wilson James; Paul S. Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume 2. Boyer, Radcliffe College. p. 490.
- "MRS. C. M. OELRICHS DEAD IN NEWPORT; Succumbs in 76th Year, Surviving Her Husband by About Eleven Months. LONG ACTIVE IN SOCIETY At One Time Had Residence on Madison Square Here, but for 20 Years Lived In Rhode Island" (PDF). The New York Times. December 27, 1932. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "AMERICAN DUCHESS DIES OF PNEUMONIA'; Lily, Duchess of Mecklenburg, Former Natalie Oelrichs, Stricken in West" (PDF). The New York Times. February 24, 1931. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- Times, Special to The New York (23 July 1902). "MARTIN-OELRICHS WEDDING". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- "MRS. MARJORIE OELRICHS" (PDF). The New York Times. June 2, 1952. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "HENRY EDMOND OELRICHS" (PDF). The New York Times. May 12, 1944. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "GAS POISONING KILLS MRS. E.M. OELRICHS; Body of Banker's Sister found in Kitchenette of Home" (PDF). The New York Times. December 16, 1941. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "MICHAEL STRANGE, AUTHOR, 60, DEAD; Poet, Actress and Playwright, Ex-Wife of John Barrymore, Was Once Society Belle A Varied Career Followed Shaw's Advice Began Series of Readings" (PDF). The New York Times. November 6, 1950. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Michael Strange papers". archives.nypl.org. The New York Public Library. Archived from the original on 7 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "CHARLES D. MARTIN DISINHERITED IN WILL; The Duchess of Mecklenburg Schwerin, Nee Natalie Oelrichs, Left Estate to Parents" (PDF). The New York Times. November 24, 1931. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- Dictionary of American Biography. Page 188. 1959.
- Hamlin, Jesse (June 15, 1996). "'Chance' of Privilege / Peter Duchin's rich, hard life leads to memoir". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
- "Heart Attack On Train Fatal To Robert Wilcox". Sarasota Hearld-Tribune. June 12, 1955. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
- "Autopsy Fails to Show Cause of Diana Barrymore's Death". Lodi News-Sentinel. January 27, 1960.