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Caroline D. Phillips

Phillips, Caroline D. (1880-1965)

Caroline Astor Drayton was born on October 26, 1880 to Charlotte Astor Drayton and James Drayton. Her mother, Charlotte, was a member of New York’s affluent Astor family. When the Draytons divorced in 1885, Caroline went to live with her father. She spent her childhood moving between New Jersey, New York, and Sussex, England. She and her three younger siblings were educated by private tutors.

Caroline married diplomat William Phillips on February 2, 1910. The well-traveled, well-read Caroline supported her husband’s career and raised their six children. She kept diaries her whole life, and there she expressed her interest in politics, art, history, diplomacy, and religion. The family lived abroad in the Netherlands, Canada, and Italy, but they kept a house at Highover, their estate in North Beverly, Massachusetts. Their Italianate home at Highover was constructed from remains of a farmhouse built on land designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.

Caroline and William Phillips were close friends with influential members of high society, including Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Robert and Mildred Bliss. The Garden Archives collection contains correspondence from Caroline to Mildred Bliss that records her enjoyment of multiple visits to Dumbarton Oaks. Caroline Phillips is also responsible for suggesting the Dante inscription that was eventually placed under the Wisteria Arbor in the Arbor Terrace. An Armand Albert Rateau limestone bench near the Forsythia Dell is dedicated to Caroline and William Phillips.



“Moraine Farm: History.” Friends of the Olmstead Landscape at Moraine Farm. Last modified, 2012.

“William and Caroline Phillips Garden Bench, Fairview Hill.” Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Last modified January 11, 2012. 

Caroline Drayton Phillips Papers, 1897-1961; Biography, MC 560. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Accessed July 9, 2014.