The Houghton-Weinberg web

By Laurie Bennett

October 7, 2010 at 8:08am

When Sidney Weinberg Jr. died this week, The New York Times described him as part of a family dynasty at Goldman Sachs.

Weinberg joined Goldman in 1965 and headed its investment banking section for a decade. His brother and father were also senior partners.

Yet, like many senior Goldman execs, his reach extended well beyond the office.

Weinberg was a member of two family dynasties in corporate America. His wife, Elizabeth, is a descendant of Amory Houghton Sr., the founder of Corning Inc., which was ruled by the Houghtons for generations.

Amory Houghton Jr.
Amory Houghton Jr.

Elizabeth Houghton Weinberg’s brother, Amory “Amo” Houghton Jr., headed Corning for nearly two decades before being elected to Congress. Another brother, James Houghton, was also chairman and CEO of the company and served on its board until reaching the mandatory retirement age this year.

James Houghton, known as “Jamie,” is probably the most connected member of the current generation. His many titles include chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and trustee of the Pierpont Morgan Library. He has also been a director of MetLife and Exxon Mobil, and a fellow of the Harvard Corporation.

The Houghton siblings’ father, Amory Houghton Sr., was U.S. ambassador to France during the Eisenhower administration.

Their grandfather, Alonson B. Houghton, was also a congressman and a diplomat, serving as ambassador to Germany and the United Kingdom.

Yet for all their laurels, none of the above reached the pinnacle of celebrity in the Houghton-Weinberg dynasty.

That honor goes to Katharine Hepburn, daughter of suffragette Katharine Martha Houghton. The actress’s mother was born in Corning, NY, daughter of Alfred A. Houghton and granddaughter of the first Amory Houghton Sr.

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