With the passing of William Muir Manger (1920 - 2024)

The Manger Family of Pelham

Last week, with the passing of William Muir Manger (August 13, 1920 - February 28, 2024), the New York Athletic Club lost its most senior member, the country lost a leading physician and one of the few living veterans of WWII, and Pelham lost a native son.

He was the son of Julius and Lillian Manger, who resided at 831 Wolfs Lane, a 9-acre estate with a magnificent home they purchased shortly after their son William was born. The home had been built by the Secor Family, early residents in the new "Pelham Manor" community.  But if you go looking for the house today, you won't find it -- except in a photo in the Pelham Town Historian Collection. 

The Manger Family in Pelham (left to right:  Julius Sr., Lillian, Julius Jr., Isabelle, William and Lillian) 

The Manger Family were among the most prominent in Pelham. Julius and his brother and business partner, William, were born in Boonville, Missouri, the sons of a German immigrant. They started out in construction in Galveston, Texas before moving to New York where they reportedly built some 500 homes in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  They then leveraged into the hotel business becoming, over the next two decades, the most famous hotel owners and operators in Manhattan.

The June,1925 census lists Julius Manger living in Pelham with his wife, Lillian, and children Julius Jr. (age 9, who would later run the Manger Hotel Collection), Isabelle (age 8), Lillian (age 7), William (age 4), and Marjorie (an infant, mistakenly listed as "Margaret") plus seven servants (a chef, a chambermaid, a laundresss, two governesses, a nurse, and a chauffeur). The census shows Julius' brother William (who never married) residing with them as well. 

The family was active in all aspects of Pelham:  members of the Pelham Country Club and Huguenot Church, and Mrs. Manger in the Manor Club.  Mr. Manger was particularly beloved because of a display of such hospitality to his Pelham neighbors as might be expected by guests who paid handsomely to stay in one of his hotels.  While other Pelham estate owners were fastidious in keeping up their lawns, a local newspaper reported under a headline of "Boy's Friend" that:

"Mr. Manger has thrown open the lawn of many acres at his home ... to football, baseball or whatever the boys feel inclined to play ... the owner of many hotels evidently believes good healthy play should be considered first of all. The property used by the boys is large enough for several football gridirons. The Pelham [Memorial] High School football squads have availed themselves of the field and of Mr. Manger's kindness."

Another news article reported that the boys had worn in the outlines of a baseball diamond and erected football goal posts, all with the blessing of Mr. Manger.

The Manger Brothers built an empire of hotels, including some of the most prominent in New York.  At the time of William's death in 1927, they owned at least 10 hotels (including the Netherland (now the Sherry-Netherland) and the Hotel Gotham (now the Peninsula)) and were the operators for five others, including the St. Regis (today still in operation under the same name and in the same location).  Julius expanded the list to at least 18, reaching beyond New York and including the 17-story, 500-room Hotel Manger in Boston (demolished in 1983) and the Hay-Adams in Washington, D.C. where he died suddenly while on business there in 1937.

Left:  Julius Manger, Sr. with his children, including William (the youngest) at their Pelham home.

When it came time for Mrs. Manger to sell the family estate after the war, the community and the Manger Family sought to make the estate into recreation fields and the home into a community center.  It would have been a fitting memorial to Julius Manger. Sadly, other interests won out, the house was demolished in 1950, and the property subdivided to become what is now "Manger Circle."

While Julius Jr. took over from his father the day-to-day running of their chain of hotels, William Muir Manger graduated from St. Albans, Yale, and Columbia's medical school.  The Pelham Sun reported on him as an exceptional tennis player as a young man, he played tennis at Washington & Lee (before transferring to Yale), and he won the NYAC Squash tournament in 1949 and 1950.

After serving as a Naval Officer in WWII (1942-49), he was a fellow at the Mayo Clinic where he earned a PhD. He had an exceptional career as a physician, winning in 2009 the prestigious Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Humanitarian Award.

His passing marks the last of the Manger Family who once called Pelham home.

The full obituary of William M. Manger

Arthur L. Scinta, Town Historian

Mailing Address:
Pelham Town Hall, 34 Fifth Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803
Office Address:

Daronco Town House, 20 Fifth Avenue
Pelham, NY 10803, US

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