Samuel Untermyer was born in 1858 in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of German immigrants. Untermyer was a New York lawyer who began practicing law at 18 and was admitted to the bar in New York in 1879. He established himself as a corporation attorney and became known for corporate mergers and arranging financing for industries and real estate developments. His most famous merger was with Utah Copper Co. and the Nevada Consolidated Companies which created Bethlehem Steel. Untermyer purchased Greystone in 1899 at an auction of the estate of Samuel J. Tilden.
The first owner of Greystone was John Waring, a hat manufacturer, from Yonkers, New York. The house was named Greystone for the grey granite that was quarried nearby and used to construct the house. John Davis Hatch designed the residence.
Samuel J. Tilden, a lawyer and former governor of New York (1874-1876) and unsuccessful Presidential candidate against Rutherford B. Hayes (1876) bought Greystone for a summer residence in 1879. Tilden constructed a large greenhouse complex including a Lord & Burnham greenhouse. Tilden died in 1886 leaving the bulk of his estate to what was later to become the New York Public Library. His two nephews contested the will, and it took ten years to resolve the estate.
Untermyer owned Greystone from 1899-1940. He hired the architect Joseph H. Freelander to remodel the mansion. The estate was 150 acres and famous for its Beaux-Arts gardens designed by William Welles Bosworth. Bosworth's gardens included the Greek Garden; a long staircase, known as the Vista, with a Hudson River view; a rock garden with an overlook called the Eagle's Nest; and an Italian-style vegetable garden constructed as five large terraces. At Untermyer's death in 1940, the estate was divided and sixteen acres donated to the city of Yonkers as "Samuel Untermyer Park and Gardens."
The Untermyer Family Slide Collection includes 119 glass 35mm slides documenting the grounds of Greystone, the Samuel Untermyer estate in Yonkers, New York. In addition to general garden views, the images depict architectural features, vistas from the property, and interior shots of Greystone's greenhouse. The slides are not captioned or dated. The photographer was Samuel Untermyer, II, the grandson of Samuel Untermyer.