James "Diamond Jim" Buchanan Brady
James Buchanan Brady (1856-1917) has been immortalized in the folklore of the Gilded-Age for his meteoric rise to high society from New York’s poorest slum and especially for his collection of more than 2 million dollars’ worth of diamond adornments, which earned him the nickname “Diamond Jim.” Brady rejected the lure of the saloon that was customary to many New York Irishmen and made his fortune selling machine parts for Manning, Maxwell and Moore.
Like many of his contemporaries, Brady also collected art. Rose Lorenz ran auctions with a tyrant’s hand behind the scenes at AAA but was known to indulge certain elements that were considered riffraff. Diamond Jim, unlike his elitist friend Stanford White, would drop in at the auction house after making a lucrative $1,000,000 business deal or dining on one of his excessive meals at a neighboring restaurant. Brady’s taste in art bordered on vulgar with his collection of cattle paintings, as well as countless undraped females rendered in both paintings and sculptures.  Although their public personas were distinct, Stanford White and Diamond Jim shared a true friendship, an attraction to lavish parties, New York nightlife and showgirls. When Harry Thaw murdered White in a jealous rage over Evelyn Nesbit, Brady deeply mourned his loss while most of White’s friends avoided the scandal.
Ultimately, Brady died on April 13, 1917 from his extreme gastronomic lifestyle. He left a sizable amount of his fortune to Johns Hopkins Hospital where today a specialized medical division is named in his honor. Six months after his death, Brady’s estate was up for public auction. It contained thousands of items in 1748 groupings of object categories such as ivories, bronzes, marbles, porcelain, armor, prints, textiles and a curious collection of “miniatures of the world’s most famous actresses.” His diamonds were not included in the sale. Although certain pieces of Brady’s jewelry were part of his bequest, most of the collection was sold in bulk at low appraised prices.
 For a popular biography of James Buchanan Brady see, H. Paul Jeffers, Diamond Jim Brady: Price of the Gilded Age (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2001).
 Ibid., 28
 Towner, 136-137.
 Ibid., for an account of New York’s night life and Brady and White see Jeffers 152-155.
 Ibid., 286.
 “Diamond Jim Brady Dies While Asleep; Noted Figure of Broadway’s Night Life and Keen Steel Salesman,” New York Times, April 13, 1917, accessed October 22, 2013, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40E1FFC3E5E11738DDDAD0994DC405B878DF1D3
 Jeffers, 2
 Parker Morell, Diamond Jim: The Life and Times of James Buchanan Brady, (New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1934) 275-278.