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Arthur Ross Edit Profile

businessman , Lieutenant , philanthropist , Commander

Arthur Ross was an American businessman and philanthropist.


Ross, Arthur was born on November 25, 1910 in New York City. Son of Adolph and Estelle Ross.


Student, Wharton School, University Pennsylvania, 1930. Bachelor of Science, Columbia University, 1931. Degree (honorary), Long Island University, 1988.


He was known for his philanthropic contributions to the arts and environmental causes, including New York City's Central Park, specifically the Arthur Ross Pinetum. Ross originally enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. However, he transferred to Columbia University during the Great Depression to support his family.

He held a number of jobs during the Depression and his college years, including a shirt salesman at Macy's. Ross joined the United States Navy during World War II. He served as a lieutenant commander. His tours of duty took him to Ecuador and Panama for several years.

Arthur Ross began his career in 1932 at Sutro Brothers & Company, a Wall Street brokerage firm. He left the company in 1938 and joined Central National Corporation the same year. Central National Corporation was an investment banking subsidiary of Gottesman & Company, a privately held company specializing in chemicals and wood pulp.

Ross stayed at Central National and rose to become Vice President of the combined parent company, now called Central National-Gottesman Inc., in 1974. Arthur Ross worked on a number of important philanthropic causes throughout his life. Most involved the arts, the environment and international affairs.

Central Park= Arthur Ross Pinetum Arthur Ross began to finance the establishment of the Arthur Ross Pinetum in 1971 with Cornelius O'Shea, Central Park’s chief forester. The pinetum, located to the northwest of Central Park's Great Lawn, covers 4 acres (16,000 m2) of Central Park. The Arthur Ross Pinetum is currently home to a collection of 25 species of conifers, from both the United States and other countries.

Ross stayed actively involved in the pinetum, despite some instances of early vandalism. Ross added approximately 35 pine trees a year to the Arthur Ross Pinetum. His collection grew to include trees from the Himalayas, Macedonia and Japan.

The pinetum became a popular recreational area for New Yorkers. Wendy Wasserstein, a New York City based playwright, called the Arthur Ross Pinetum "a little bit of Maine in Manhattan." = Central Park Conservancy Ross continued to work for the survival and renewal of Central Park. He sponsored an exhibition about Central Park at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 1980.

A second Ross sponsored exhibition of Central Park was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1981. Ross financed the research and development of a subspecies of Chinese elm, developed by researchers from a tree grown in Central Park. The descendants of this particular subspecies have been used in Central Park and worldwide to replace elm species destroyed by Dutch elm disease.

The Ross financed subspecies is immune to the disease. Ross also contributed anonymously to other public New York City parks and other facilities. Among his contributions was a $350,000 donation to a city-owned nursery in the Bronx.


  • Other Work

    • Member editorial board: Washington Quarterly.


Board directors Barnard College, New York City, Parks Council, Central Park Community Fund, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, New York City, Central Park Conservancy, New York. Trustee American Academy in Rome, Riverdale Country School, American Museum Natural History. Trustee, vice president Spanish Institute.

Board overseers University Pennsylvania Graduate School Fine Arts. Member council Cooper-Hewitt Museum Served as lieutenant United States Naval Reserve, 1942-1945. Lieutenant Commander Reserve.

Member United Nations Association United States of America (director), Center for Strategic and International Studies, Foreign Policy Association New York (director), International Institute Strategic Studies (London), Asia Society (director, trustee), Council on Foreign Relations, American Association for the Advancement of Science (member investment and finance committee), Beta Gamma Sigma. Clubs: Century Country (White Plains, New York ). Century Association (New York City).


Married Gloria Frankenthaler (divorced 1970). Children: Alfred F., Beverly, Clifford Arthur. Married Janet C. Neff, September 17, 1984.

Adolph Ross

Estelle Ross

Gloria Frankenthaler

Janet C. Neff

Alfred F. Ross

Beverly Ross

Clifford Arthur Ross