Stephen Birmingham, American author, Died at 86


Stephen Gardner Birmingham was born on May 28, 1929, and died on November 16, 2015 from lung cancer.

He was an American author. He is known for his non-fiction social histories of wealthy American families, often focusing on ethnicity – Jews (his “Jewish trilogy”: Our Crowd, The Grandees, The Rest of Us), African-Americans (Certain People), Irish (Real Lace), and the Anglo-Dutch (America’s Secret Aristocracy).

Stephen has also written several novels, also about rich people. Having written over thirty books, he is now retired.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1929 to Thomas Birmingham and Editha Gardner Birmingham, Stephen Birmingham received a BA from Williams College in 1953.

Stephen is a former teacher of writing at the University of Cincinnati and also studied for a time in England.

He married Janet Tillson in 1953 and they had three children, but later divorced.

Stephen has a great interest in the upper classes, and has written numerous books about the wealthy in the United States, generally focusing on their ethnicity, national origins, and geographic locale.

His biographies include those of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Wallis Warfield Windsor, and novelist John Marquand.

His study of the African-American upper class – Certain People – generated some controversy.

His trilogy of books on American Jews: Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York, The Grandees: America`s Sephardic Elite, and The Rest of Us: The Rise of America’s Eastern European Jews is perhaps his best known works.

Stephen passed away on November 16, 2015 at the age of 86 in New York City, from lung cancer.