Horace Havemeyer was the son of successful manufacturer Henry Osborne Havemeyer [1847-1907] and his wife, née Louisine Waldron Elder [1855-1929]. Henry Osborne Havemeyer improved and expanded sugar refining properties, a family business since their immigration to America from Germany in the early 1800s. The Havemeyers enjoyed a strong position in the industry, and considerable financial resources. Louisine Waldron Elder was born in New York City, the daughter of George W. Elder [1831-1873], also a sugar refiner, and his wife, née Mathilda Adelaide Waldron [1834-1907]. Louisine was educated at the fashionable Paris boarding school of Mme. Marie Del Sarte, where she met the American painter Mary Cassatt, who helped to introduce her to the avant-garde schools of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Soon afterward, Louisine became the first American patron of Degas. On 22 August 1883 Louisine married Henry Osborne Havemeyer, who had been divorced from her aunt, Mary Louise Elder [1847-1897]. Henry Osborne and Louisine had 3 children, Horace, Adaline [later Mrs. Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen, 1884-1963], and Electra [later Mrs. James Watson Webb, 1884-1960]. In 1899 the Havemeyers built a mansion on Fifth Avenue, the interior of which was designed by Louis C. Tiffany studios, where Mrs. Havemeyer entertained a diversified group of celebrities. The Havemeyers soon became dedicated and discerning art collectors, assembling a notable collection of paintings and other art, which Louisine bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Horace Havemeyer continued in the family sugar business, as President of Havemeyer's & Elder, ad well as holding offices in other refining, manufacturing, and banking enterprises. He married Doris Anna Dick [1890-1982], with whom he had four children: Doris [1912-1975], Adaline [b. 1913], Horace Jr. [b. 1914], and Harry Waldron [b. 1929].
Havemeyer, Louisine W. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961.
Weitzenhoffer, Frances. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986.