His benevolence is well known and his gifts to charities have amounted to very considerable sums. Among those charities benefited by his gifts are The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond street (to which he gave $250,000 in 1903); University College, London; The Cancer Research Fund; Oxford University; Cambridge University; The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; The British Red Cross Society; Gordon Memorial College, Khartum; The Soldier and Sailors' Families Association, and the Women's Memorial to Queen Victoria. His gifts to the war charities include $125,000 to the Prince of Wales's National Relief Fund; a similar amount to Princess Louise's Officers' Families Fund; $200,000 to the British Red Cross Society; $25,000 to Queen Mary's Employment Committee, and a similar sum to the Lord Mayor's National Bands Fund. He has given $5,000 to King Edward's Hospital Fund annually since 1897 when the fund was started. On 1 Jan. 1916, he was offered and accepted a peerage of the United Kingdom under the title of Baron Astor of Hever Castle in the County of Kent.
Hever Castle is well known as having been the residence of Anne Boleyn and the place at which her courtship by Henry VIII was carried on. It was purchased with the surrounding estate by Mr. Astor in 1903. On 3 June 1917 Baron Astor was elevated to the rank of Viscount.
Encyclopedia Americana, 1920