Astor, (Francis) David Langhorne, 1912–2001, newspaper editor and philanthropist

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Astor, (Francis) David Langhorne, 1912–2001, newspaper editor and philanthropist

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(Francis) David Langhorne Astor was born in London on 5 March 1912, the son of Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor, and his wife Nancy Witcher, née Langhorne.

As foreign editor and later editor of the Observer newspaper owned by his father, David Astor gave unwavering support to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and denounced British policy during the Suez crisis of 1956. His recruitment of writers such as Isaac Deutscher, Sebastian Haffner and George Orwell, changed the character of the newspaper from traditionally conservative to increasingly radical and socialist.

Following his retirement Astor remained active in support of philanthropic causes, giving support to groups such as Amnesty International and the Butler Trust for prison warders. He was appointed a Companion of Honour (CH) in 1994.

David Astor died in London on 7 December 2001.


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GB 193

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ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).


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Anthony Sampson, ‘Astor, (Francis) David Langhorne (1912–2001)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2005)

'Obituary: David Astor' in The Daily Telegraph (2001)

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