- J. P. Morgan
name = J. P. Morgan
image_size = 170px
birth_date = birth date|1837|4|17|mf=y
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
death_date = death date and age|1913|3|31|1837|4|17|mf=y
spouse = Frances Louise Tracy
Junius Spencer Morganand Juliet Pierpont
children = Louisa Pierpont Morgan, John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan, Jr., Juliet Morgan and Anne Morgan
John Pierpont Morgan (
April 17, 1837– March 31, 1913) was an American financier, banker and art collector who dominated corporate financeand industrial consolidationduring his time. In 1892 Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thompson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric. After financing the creation of the Federal Steel Company he merged the Carnegie Steel Companyand several other steel and iron businesses to form the United States Steel Corporationin 1901. He is widely credited with having saved or rescued the U.S. national economy in general—and the federal government in particular—on two separate occasions. He bequeathed much of his large art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Artin New York Cityand to the Wadsworth Atheneumof Hartford, Connecticut. He died in Rome, Italy, in 1913 at the age of 75, leaving his fortune and business to his son, John Pierpont ("Jack") Morgan, Jr.
Childhood and education
J.P. Morgan was born in
Hartford, Connecticutto Junius Spencer Morgan(1813–1891) and Juliet Pierpont (1816–1884) of Boston, Massachusetts. Pierpont, as he preferred to be known, had a varied education due in part to interference by his father, Junius. In the fall of 1848, Pierpont transferred to the Hartford Public Schooland then to the Episcopal Academy in Cheshire (now called Cheshire Academy), boarding with the principal. In September 1851, Morgan passed the entrance exam for English High School of Boston, a school specializing in mathematics to prepare young men for careers in commerce.
In the spring of 1852, illness that was to become more common as his life progressed struck;
rheumatic feverleft him in so much pain that he could not walk. Junius booked passage for Pierpont straight away on the ship "Io", owned by Charles Dabney, to the Azores(Northern Portuguese islands) in order for him to recover. After convalescing for almost a year, Pierpont returned to the school in Boston to resume his studies. After graduating, his father sent him to Bellerive, a school near the Swiss village of Vevey. When Morgan had attained fluency in French, his father sent him to the University of Göttingen in order to improve his German. Attaining a passable level of German within six months, Morgan traveled back to Londonvia Wiesbaden, his education complete.
Early years of J.P. Morgan
Morgan entered banking in 1857 at his father's London branch, moving to New York City the next year where he worked at the banking house of Duncan, Sherman & Company, the American representatives of George Peabody & Company. From 1860 to 1864, as J. Pierpont Morgan & Company, he acted as agent in New York for his father's firm. By 1864–72, he was a member of the firm of Dabney, Morgan & Company; in 1871, he partnered with the Drexels of Philadelphia to form the New York firm of Drexel, Morgan & Company.
American Civil War, Morgan was approached to finance the purchase of antiquated rifles being sold by the army for $3.50 each. Morgan's partner re-machined them and sold the rifles back to the army for $22 each. The military knew it was buying back its own guns, so the so-called 'scandal' turned out to be more about government inefficiency than any chicanery by Morgan (who never even saw the guns and acted only as a lender). Morgan himself, like many wealthy persons, including future Democratic president Grover Cleveland, avoided military service by paying $300 for a substitute. [Zinn, Howard. " A People's History of the United States". New York: Perennial, 2003. p.255 ISBN 0060528370]
After the 1893 death of Anthony Drexel, the firm was rechristened J. P. Morgan & Company in 1895, and retained close ties with Drexel & Company of Philadelphia, Morgan, Harjes & Company of Paris, and J. S. Morgan & Company (after 1910 Morgan, Grenfell & Company), of London. By 1900, it was one of the most powerful banking houses of the world, carrying through many deals especially reorganizations and consolidations. Morgan had many partners over the years, such as George W. Perkins, but remained firmly in charge. [Garraty, (1960) ]
Morgan's ascent to power was accompanied by dramatic financial battles. He wrestled control of the
Albany and Susquehanna Railroadfrom Jay Gouldand Jim Fisk in 1869. He led the syndicate that broke the government-financing privileges of Jay Cooke, and soon became deeply involved in developing and financing a railroadempire by reorganizations and consolidations in all parts of the United States.
He raised large sums in
Europe, but instead of only handling the funds, he helped the railroads reorganize and achieve greater efficiencies. He fought against the speculators interested in speculative profits, and built a vision of an integrated transportation system. In 1885, he reorganized the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad, leasing it to the New York Central. In 1886, he reorganized the Philadelphia & Reading, and in 1888 the Chesapeake & Ohio. He was heavily involved with railroad tycoon James J. Hilland the Great Northern Railway.
After Congress passed the
Interstate Commerce Actin 1887, Morgan set up conferences in 1889 and 1890 that brought together railroad presidents in order to help the industry follow the new laws and write agreements for the maintenance of "public, reasonable, uniform and stable rates." The conferences were the first of their kind, and by creating a community of interest among competing lines paved the way for the great consolidations of the early 20th century.
Morgan's process of taking over troubled businesses to reorganize them was known as "Morganization". [cite news |first= Heather |last= Timmons |title=J.P. Morgan: Pierpont would not approve. |url= |work= |publisher=
BusinessWeek|date=November 18, 2002] Morgan reorganized business structures and management in order to return them to profitability. His reputation as a banker and financier also helped bring interest from investors to the businesses he took over. [cite web |url=http://voteview.com/rtopic6_ucsd_4.htm |title=Morganization: How Bankrupt Railroads were Reorganized |accessdate=2007-01-05 |format=HTML |work= ]
In 1895, at the depths of the
Panic of 1893, the Federal Treasury was nearly out of gold. President Grover Clevelandarranged for Morgan to create a private syndicate on Wall Street to supply the U.S. Treasury with $65 million in gold, half of it from Europe, to float a bond issue that restored the treasury surplus of $100 million. The episode saved the Treasury but hurt Cleveland with the agrarian wing of his Democratic party and became an issue in the election of 1896, when banks came under withering attack from William Jennings Bryan. Morgan and Wall Street bankers donated heavily to Republican William McKinley, who was elected in 1896 and reelected in 1900 on a gold standardplatform. [ Chernow (2001) ch 4]
In 1902, J. P. Morgan & Co. purchased the
Leyland lineof Atlantic steamships and other British lines, creating an Atlantic shippingcombine, the International Mercantile Marine Company, which eventually became the owner of White Star Line, builder and operator of RMS "Titanic".
U.S. Steel aimed to achieve greater
economies of scale, reduce transportation and resource costs, expand product lines, and improve distribution. It was also planned to allow the United States to compete globally with Britain and Germany. U.S. Steel's size was claimed by Schwab and others to allow the company to pursue distant international markets- globalization. U.S. Steel was regarded as a monopolyby critics, as the business was attempting to dominate not only steel but also the construction of bridges, ships, railroad cars and rails, wire, nails, and a host of other products. With U.S. Steel, Morgan had captured two-thirds of the steel market, and Schwab was confident that the company would soon hold a 75 percent market share. However, after 1901 the businesses' market share dropped; Schwab, himself, played an important role in falsifying his own prediction: finding the new company unwieldy, Schwab resigned from U.S. Steel in 1903 to form Bethlehem Steel, which became the second largest U.S. producer on the strength of such innovations as the wide flange "H" beam—precursor to the I-beam—widely used in construction.
Enemies of banking attacked Morgan for the terms of his loan of gold to the
federal governmentin the 1895 crisis, for his financial resolution of the Panic of 1907, and for bringing on the financial ills of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. In December 1912, Morgan testified before the Pujo Committee, a subcommittee of the House Banking and Currency committee. The committee ultimately found that a cabal of financial leaders were abusing their public trust to consolidate control over many industries: the partners of J.P. Morgan & Co. along with the directors of First National and National City Bank controlled aggregate resources of $22.245 billion. Louis Brandeis, later a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, compared this sum to the value of all the property in the twenty-two states west of the Mississippi River. [Brandeis (1995  ), ch. 2 ]
In 1900, Morgan financed inventor
Nikola Teslaand his Wardenclyffe Towerwith $150,000 for experiments in radio. However, in 1903, when the tower structure was near completion, it was still not yet functional due to last-minute design changes that introduced an unintentional defect. When Morgan wanted to know "Where can I put the meter?", Tesla had no answer. Tesla's vision of free power did not agree with Morgan's worldview; nor would it pay for the maintenance of the transmission system. Construction costs eventually exceeded the money provided by Morgan, and additional financiers were reluctant to come forth. By July 1904, Morgan (and the other investors) finally decided they would not provide any additional financing. Morgan also advised other investors to avoid the project.
Morgan suffered a rare business defeat in 1902 when he attempted to enter the
London Undergroundfield. The notorious transit magnate Charles Tyson Yerkesthwarted Morgan's effort to obtain parliamentary authority to build an underground road that would have competed with "Tube" lines controlled by Yerkes. Morgan called Yerkes' coup "the greatest rascality and conspiracy I ever heard of." [Franch, John. Robber Baron: The Life of Charles Tyson Yerkes. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006; p. 298]
At the height of Morgan's career during the early 1900s, he and his partners controlled directly and indirectly assets worth $1.3 billion. [Carosso (1970) p. 42]
After the death of his father in 1890, Morgan took control of J. S. Morgan & Co (re-named Morgan, Grenfell & Company in 1910). Morgan began talks with
Charles M. Schwab, president of Carnegie Co., and businessman Andrew Carnegiein 1900 with the intention of buying Carnegie's business and several other steel and iron businesses to consolidate them to create the United States Steel Corporation.cite news |first=Peter |last= Krass |title=He Did It!(creation of U.S. Steel by J.P. Morgan) |url= |work= |publisher=Across the Board (Professional Collection) |date=May 2001] Carnegie agreed to sell the business to Morgan for $480 million. The deal was closed without lawyers and without a written contract. News of the industrial consolidation arrived to newspapers in mid-January 1901. U.S. Steel was founded later that year and was the first billion-dollar company in the world with an authorized capitalization of $1.4 billion. [" [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761569415/J_P_Morgan.html J. P. Morgan] ," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2006]
Morgan was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church, and by 1890 was one of its most influential leaders.
In 1861, he married Amelia Sturges,a.k.a Mimi (1835–1862). After her death the next year, he married Frances Louisa Tracy, known as Fanny (1842–1924) on May 31, 1865. They had four children:
* John Pierpont Morgan (1867–1943),
* Louisa Pierpont Morgan (1866–1946) who married Herbert Livingston Satterlee, ["J. Pierpont Morgan", Satterlee, Herbert L., New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939> (1863–1947)]
* Juliet Morgan (1870–1952), and
* Anne Morgan (1873–1952).
He often had a tremendous physical effect on people; one man said that a visit from Morgan left him feeling "as if a gale had blown through the house." [http://claver.gprep.org/fac/sjochs//jpmorgan-1.htm John Pierpont Morgan and the American Corporation] , Biography of America] Morgan was physically large with massive shoulders, piercing eyes and a purple nose, because of a chronic skin disease,
rosacea. [ [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=733 findagrave.com] ] His grotesquely deformed nose was due to a disease called rhinophyma, which can result from rosacea. As the deformity worsens, pits, nodules, fissures, lobulations, and pedunculation contort the nose. This condition inspired the crude taunt "Johny Morgan's nasal organ has a purple hue." [Kennedy, David M., and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2006. p541.] Surgeons could have shaved away the rhinophymous growth of sebaceous tissue during Morgan's lifetime, but as a child Morgan suffered from infantile seizures, and it is suspected that he did not seek surgery for his nose because he feared the seizures would return. His social and professional self-confidence were too well established to be undermined by this affliction. It appeared as if he dared people to meet him squarely and not shrink from the sight, asserting the force of his character over the ugliness of his face. [MORGAN: American Financier;by Jean Strouse;copyright 1999;pages 265-66] He was known to dislike publicity and hated being photographed; as a result of his self-consciousness of his rosacea, all of his professional portraits were retouched.
Morgan smoked dozens of cigars per day and favored large
Havanacigars dubbed "Hercules' Clubs" by observers. [ Chernow (2001) ]
His house on Madison Avenue was the first electrically lit private residence in New York. His interest in the new technology was a result of his financing
Thomas Edison's Edison Electric Illuminating Company in 1878. [ Chernow (2001) Chapter 4 ] J. P. Morgan also owned East Island in Glen Cove, NY where he had a large summer house.
An avid yachtsman, Morgan owned several sizable yachts. The well-known quote, "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it" is commonly attributed to Morgan in response to a question about the cost of maintaining a yacht, but the actual wording of the original statement is a bit obscure. [ [http://uclue.com/?xq=709 J.P. Morgan Yacht Quote] ]
Morgan was scheduled to travel on the maiden voyage of RMS "Titanic", but canceled at the last minute. [ Chernow (2001) Chapter 8 ] The Titanic was owned and operated by the White Star Line, and Morgan had his very own private suite and promenade deck on the ship.
Morgan died while traveling abroad in
Rome. On March 31, 1913, just shy of his seventy-sixth birthday, Morgan passed away in his sleep at the Grand Hotel. Nearly 4,000 condolence letters were received there overnight and flags on Wall Streetflew at half-staff. The stock market was also closed for two hours when his body passed through Wall Street. [ Modern Marvelsepisode "The Stock Exchange" originally aired on October 12, 1997]
At the time of his death, he had an estate worth $68.3 million ($1.39 billion in today's dollars), of which about $30 million represented his share in the New York and Philadelphia banks. The value of his art collection was estimated at $50 million. [ Chernow (2001) ch 8]
His remains were interred in the
Cedar Hill Cemeteryin his birthplace of Hartford, Connecticut.
J. P. Morgan, Jr., inherited the banking business. [ [http://www.cedarhillcemetery.org/Morgan.htm Cedar Hill Cemetery, John Pierpont Morgan] ]
Art, book and gemstone collector
Morgan was a notable collector of books, pictures, and other art objects, many loaned or given to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art(of which he was president and was a major force in its establishment), and many housed in his London house and in his private library on 36th Street, near Madison Avenuein New York City. His son, J. P. Morgan, Jr., made the Pierpont Morgan Library a public institution in 1924 as a memorial to his father and kept Belle da Costa Greene, his father's private librarian, as its first director. [Auchincloss (1990)] Morgan was painted by many artists including the Peruvian Carlos Baca-Flor and the Swiss-born American Adolfo Müller-Ury, who also painted a double portrait of Morgan with his favourite grandchild Mabel Satterlee that for some years stood on an easel in the Satterlee mansion but has now disappeared.
By the turn of the century JP Morgan had become one of America's most important collectors of gems and had assembled the most important gem collection in the U.S. as well as of American gemstones (over 1000 pieces).
Tiffany & Co.assembled his first collection under their "chief gemologist" George Frederick Kunz. The collection was exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris in 1889. The exhibit won two golden awards and drew the attention of important scholars, lapidaries and the general public. [ [http://www.farlang.com/gemstones/kunz_gems_and_precious_stones/page_351 Morgan and his gem collection] , In George Frederick Kunz: Gems and Precious Stones of North America, New York, 1890, accessed online February 20, 2007]
George Frederick Kunz then continued to build a second, even finer, collection which was exhibited in Paris in 1900. Collections have been donated to the
American Museum of Natural Historyin New York where they were known as the Morgan-Tiffany and the Morgan-Bement collections. [ [http://www.farlang.com/gemstones/kunz-history-north-carolina-gems/page_012 Morgan and his gem collections, donation to AMNH] , In George Frederick Kunz: History of Gems Found in North Carolina, Raleigh, 1907, accessed online February 20, 2007] In 1911 Kunz named a newly found gem after his biggest customer: morganite.
Morgan was a benefactor of the American Museum of Natural History, the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Groton School, Harvard University(especially its medical school), Trinity College, the Lying-in Hospitalof the City of New York, and the New York trade schools.
Morgan was also a patron to photographer
Edward S. Curtis, offering Curtis $75,000 in 1906, for a series on the Native Americans. Curtis eventually published a 20-volume work entited "The North American Indian." [ [http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu The North American Indian] ] Curtis went on to produce a motion picture "In The Land Of The head Hunters" (1914), which was later restored in 1974 and re-released as "In The Land Of The War Canoes". Curtis was also famous for a 1911 "Magic Lantern" slide show " The Indian Picture Opera" which used his photos and original musical compositions by composer Henry F. Gilbert. [ [http://www.customflix.com/Store/ShowEStore.jsp?id=218654 The Indian Picture Opera - A Vanishing Race] ]
J. P. Morgan, Jr.took over the business at his father's death, yet never sought publicity, but instead helped create and control the Federal Reserve with 11 other banking families. As required by the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, the "House of Morgan" became three entities: J.P. Morgan & Co.and its bank, Morgan Guaranty Trust; Morgan Stanley, an investment house; and Morgan Grenfellin London, an overseas securities house.
There is now a restaurant in Montpelier, Vermont named after him. [ [http://www.capitolplaza.com/Montpelier_Vermont_Dining/ J. Morgan's Steakhouse - Montpelier Vermont Dining ] at www.capitolplaza.com] The gemstone
Morganitewas named in his honor. [ [http://www.gemstone.org/gem-by-gem/english/morganite.html Morganite] , International Colored Gemstone Association, accessed online January 22, 2007]
Bertolt Brechtthe German writer based the figure of Pierpont Mauler the beef tycoon in his play " Saint Joan of the Stockyards" on Morgan. + J.P. Morgan is mental in broadway annie
* In the musical "
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", the character J. Pierrepont Finch is portrayed as a rising, powerful businessman; his character is possibly an allegory of Morgan's. The character Mr. Bratt alludes to the nominal similarity in the beginning of the show: "Pierrepont. Say, maybe that ought to be "J." Pierrepont Finch."
* J. P. Morgan appears in
E. L. Doctorow's novel "Ragtime", and in the broadway musical inspired by it of the same name.
* J.P. Morgan is mentioned, by name, by
Oliver Warbucksin the broadway musical, " Annie".
* J.P. Morgan is mentioned in
F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel, " The Great Gatsby".
* J.P. Morgan is also mentioned in
John Steinbeck's novel, " The Grapes of Wrath".
* J.P. Morgan is mentioned in
Quentin Tarantino's film " Reservoir Dogs".
* The name J.P. Morgan is mentioned in the song "We Got Elegance" in the
Jerry Hermanmusical " Hello, Dolly!".
* Carlito Brigante is likened to J. P. Morgan in the 1993 film "
* J.P. Morgan is also mentioned in the novel "
Against the Day" by Thomas Pynchon.
* A satirical version of J. P. Morgan appears in
Matt Fractionand Steven Sanders' graphic novel " The Five Fists of Science'
* In "
The Wind and the Lion", Theodore Rooseveltmockingly toasts Morgan and refers to him as (aside from the Raisuli) "the only real pirate I know".
Arthur Miller's play" Death of a Salesman", J.P. Morgan is mentioned as an example of how one does not have to be likeable to be successful in business, which runs counter to protagonist Willy Loman's ideas.
* J.P. Morgan appears as a character in Caleb Carr's novel "
H. B. Hollins
* Atwood, Albert W. and Erickson, Erling A. "Morgan, John Pierpont, (Apr. 17, 1837 - Mar. 31, 1913)," in "Dictionary of American Biography, Volume 7" (1934)
*Auchincloss, Louis. "J.P. Morgan : The Financier as Collector" Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (1990) ISBN 0-8109-3610-0
*Brandeis, Louis D. "
Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It." Ed. Melvin I. Urofsky. New York: Bedford Books, 1995. ISBN 0-312-10314-X
*Bryman Jeremy, "J. P. Morgan: Banker to a Growing Nation" : Morgan Reynolds Publishing (2001) ISBN 1-883846-60-9
* Carosso, Vincent P. "The Morgans: Private International Bankers, 1854-1913." Harvard U. Press, 1987. 888 pp. ISBN 978-0674587298
* Carosso, Vincent P. "Investment Banking in America: A History" Harvard University Press (1970)
*Chernow, Ron. "The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance", (2001) ISBN 0-8021-3829-2
* Fraser, Steve. "Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life" HarperCollins (2005)
* Garraty, John A. "Right-Hand Man: The Life of George W. Perkins." (1960) ISBN 978-0313201868
* Geisst; Charles R. "Wall Street: A History from Its Beginnings to the Fall of Enron." Oxford University Press. 2004. [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=104746636 online edition]
* John Moody; "The Masters of Capital: A Chronicle of Wall Street" Yale University Press, (1921) [http://www.archive.org/details/mastersofcapitaljohn00moodiala online edition]
* Morris, Charles R. "The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy" (2005) ISBN 978-0805081343
* Strouse, Jean. "Morgan: American Financier." Random House, 1999. 796 pp. ISBN 978-0679462750
* [http://www.glabarre.com/item/J__Pierpont_Morgan___100_Year_Railroad_Bond_/1893 George LaBarre Galleries] : J. Pierpont Morgan autographed New Jersey Junction Railroad 100-year Bond dated 1886.
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