Prescott Bush

Prescott Bush

Infobox Senator
name=Prescott Sheldon Bush
nationality=American


jr/sr=United States Senator
state=Connecticut
party=Republican
term_start=November 5, 1952
term_end=January 2, 1963
preceded=William A. Purtell
succeeded=Abraham A. Ribicoff
date of birth=birth date|1895|05|15|mf=y
place of birth=Columbus, Ohio
dead=dead
date of death=death date and age|1972|10|08|1895|05|15
place of death=New York City, New York
law school=none
spouse=Dorothy Walker Bush

Prescott Sheldon Bush (May 15, 1895October 8, 1972) was a United States Senator from Connecticut, a Wall Street executive banker, founding partner with Brown Brothers Harriman and a director of Union Banking Corp. His involvement with that bank, of which he owned exactly 1 share, [ http://www.mbpolitics.com/Bush2000/VestingDetail.htm ] did not, however, interfere with his bid to become a United States Senator in 1952, an office which he held until January 1963. He was the father of former President of the United States George H. W. Bush and the grandfather of President George W. Bush.

Early life

Bush was born in Columbus, Ohio to Samuel Prescott Bush and Flora (Sheldon) Bush. Samuel Bush was a railroad executive, then a steel company president, and during World War I, also a federal government official in charge of coordination and assistance to major weapons contractors.

Bush attended the Douglas School in Columbus and then St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island from 1908 to 1913. In 1913, he enrolled at Yale University. Three subsequent generations of the Bush family have been Yale alumni. Prescott Bush was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity while at Yale and Skull and Bones secret society. George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush were also members of that society.

Prescott Bush played varsity golf, football, and baseball, and was president of the Yale Glee Club.

Military service

After graduation, Bush served as a field artillery captain with the American Expeditionary Forces (1917–1919) during World War I. He received intelligence training at Verdun, France, and was briefly assigned to a staff of French officers. Alternating between intelligence and artillery, Bush came under fire in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In what became a controversy, Bush wrote home about receiving medals for heroic exploits, and his letters were later published in Columbus newspapers. However, Bush retracted statements made in his letters a few weeks later when it was revealed that he, in fact, had not received such medals. The retraction was made in a cable in which Bush stated that his earlier letter had been written "in a spirit of fun" and was not intended for publication. [As related in Tarpley, Webster and Anton Chaitkin, " [http://www.tarpley.net/bush1.htm "George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography] ," Flora Sheldon Bush, Bush's mother, wrote the "Ohio State Journal", "A cable received from my son, Prescott S. Bush, brings word that he has not been decorated, as published in the papers a month ago. He feels dreadfully troubled that a letter, written in a spirit of fun, should have been misinterpreted. He says he is no hero and asks me to make explanations. I will appreciate your kindness in publishing this letter.... This letter appeared in the "Ohio State Journal" on Sept. 6, 1918.]

Business career

After his discharge in 1919, Prescott Bush went to work for the Simmons Hardware Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Bushes moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 1923, where Prescott Bush went to work for the Hupp Products Company, where his business efforts generally failed. He left in November 1923 to become president of sales for Stedman Products in South Braintree, Massachusetts. It was during this time that he lived in a Victorian home at 173 Adams Street in Milton, Massachusetts, where his son, George H.W. Bush, was born.

In 1924, Bush had been made a vice-president of A. Harriman & Co. by his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker. Also employed by the company were E. Roland Harriman and Knight Woolley, Bush's Yale classmates and fellow Bonesmen. Seven years later, Bush became a founding partner of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. that was created through the 1931 merger of Brown Bros. & Co., a merchant bank founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1818 with Harriman Brothers & Co., established in New York City in 1927, and A. Harriman & Co.

In 1925, Bush joined the United States Rubber Company of New York City as manager of the foreign division, and moved to Greenwich, Connecticut.

From 1944 to 1956, Bush was a member of the Yale Corporation, the principal governing body of Yale University. Bush was on the board of directors of CBS, having been introduced to chairman William S. Paley around 1932 by his close friend and colleague William Averell Harriman, who became a major Democratic Party power-broker.

Political career

Bush was a typical New England Republican of his time; as a former banker, he was a pro-business conservative, but held many positions today considered socially moderate. He was involved with the American Birth Control League as early as 1942, and served as the treasurer of the first national capital campaign of Planned Parenthood in 1947. Bush was also an early supporter of the United Negro College Fund, serving as chairman of the Connecticut branch in 1951.

From 1947 to 1950, he served as Connecticut Republican finance chairman, and was the Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 1950. One of his opponents at the time, a Republican woman named Vivien Kellems, said that Bush's nomination was an inside job of political sabotage in favor of William Benton, the Democratic nominee. A columnist in Boston said that Bush "is coming on to be known as President Truman's Harry Hopkins. Nobody knows Mr. Bush and he hasn't a Chinaman's chance." ["Fair Enough" by Westbrook Pegler, "Burlington Daily News-Times" (North Carolina), August 22, 1950] Bush's ties with Planned Parenthood also hurt him in heavily Catholic Connecticut, and were the basis of a last-minute campaign in churches by Bush's opponents; the family vigorously denied the connection, but Bush lost to Benton by only 1,000 votes.

In 1952, he was elected to the Senate, defeating Abraham Ribicoff for the seat vacated by the death of James O'Brien McMahon. A staunch supporter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bush served until January 1963. He was reelected in 1956 with 55 percent of the vote over Democrat Thomas J. Dodd (later U.S. Senator from Connecticut and father of the current U.S. Senator from Connecticut, Christopher J. Dodd), and decided not to run for another term in 1962. He was a key ally for the passage of Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System. [cite web|url=http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/rw01d.htm
title=A Bush at Both Ends: Before and After the Interstate Era
publisher=U.S. Federal Highway Administration
date=January 18, 2005 (last modified)
accessdate=2006-08-06
] , and during his tenure supported the Polaris submarine project (which were built by Electric Boat Corporation in Groton, Connecticut), civil rights legislation, and the establishment of the Peace Corps.cite book|title=The Faith of George W. Bush
author=Stephen Mansfield
publisher=Tarcher
url=http://www.ereader.com/product/book/excerpt/16982
year=2004
]

On December 2, 1954, Bush was part of the large (67-22) majority to censure Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, after McCarthy had taken on the US Army and the Eisenhower administration. Dwight D. Eisenhower later included Bush's name on an undated handwritten list of prospective candidates he favored for the 1960 GOP presidential nomination.

Bush's moderate politics became more complicated in time. In terms of issues he often agreed with New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, but personally disliked and politically opposed him, despite the close relationship his father had with the Rockefeller family. During the 1964 election, Bush denounced Rockefeller for divorcing his first wife and marrying a woman about 20 years his junior with whom Rockefeller had been having an affair while married to his first wife.

On the February 7, 2007 episode of "The Daily Show", guest Ralph Nader mentioned that his mother Rose Nader had extracted a promise from Bush to build a dry dam for a river near the Nader home by refusing to let go of his hand after shaking it upon being introduced to him.

Personal life

Bush married Dorothy Walker on August 6, 1921, in Kennebunkport, Maine. They had five children: Prescott "Pressy" Bush, Jr. (b. 1922), George H. W. Bush (b. 1924, named after Dorothy's father George Herbert Walker), Nancy Bush (b. 1926), Jonathan Bush (b. 1931), and William "Bucky" Bush (b. 1938).

Bush founded the Yale Glee Club Associates, an alumni group, in 1937. Following his father-in-law, he was a member of the executive committee of the United States Golf Association (USGA), serving successively as secretary, vice-president and president, 1928-1935. He was a multi-year club champion of the Round Hill Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was on the committee set up by New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. to help create the New York Mets.

Bush maintained homes in New York, Long Island, and Greenwich, Connecticut; the family compound at Kennebunkport, Maine; a 10,000 acre (40 km²) plantation in South Carolina; and a secluded island off the Connecticut coast, Fishers Island.

He died in 1972 at age 77 and was interred at Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Writings

Bush's articles include:
* "Timely Monetary Policy," "Banking", June 1955 and July 1955
* "To Preserve Peace Let's Show the Russians How Strong We Are!" "Reader's Digest", July 1959
* "Politics Is Your Business," Chamber of Commerce, State of New York, "Bulletin", May 1960

Further reading

* The Prescott Bush Papers are at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.
* The Greenwich Library Oral History Project has interviews with Prescott Bush, Jr., and Mary Walker.
* There is material by and about Bush in the History of the Class of 1917 Yale College (1919) and the supplementary class albums.
* John Atlee Kouwenhoven, Partners in Banking: An Historical Portrait of a Great Private Bank, Brown Brothers Harriman (1968).
* Obituaries are in the Washington Post, Oct. 9, 1972; the New York Times, Oct. 9, 1972; the Hartford Courant, Oct. 9, 1972; and Yale Alumni Magazine, Dec. 1972.
* "Prescott Sheldon Bush. "Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9: 1971-1975. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.
* Darwin Payne, Initiative in Energy: Dresser Industries, Inc., 1880-1978. New York: Simon and Schuster (1979).
*Kelley, Kitty. 2004, 2005. "The Family: The True Story of the Bush Dynasty". Doubleday, Anchor. [http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/thefamily/index.php]

Notes

External links

* [http://www.lib.uconn.edu/online/research/speclib/ASC/findaids/Bush_PS/MSS19910001.html University of Connecticut's profile of Prescott Bush]
*imdb name|1778210|Prescott Sheldon Bush
* [http://genealogy.about.com/od/presidents/p/george_bush.htm Bush Family Tree]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5988&pt=Prescott%20Bush Gravesite: Putnam Cemetery, Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA]

Persondata
NAME=Bush, Prescott Sheldon
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Bush, Prescott
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Former US Senator, Father of George H.W. Bush
DATE OF BIRTH=May 15, 1895
PLACE OF BIRTH=Columbus, Ohio, USA
DATE OF DEATH=October 8, 1972
PLACE OF DEATH=New York City


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