Other photo of Edward Stephen Harkness
"William," the faience hippopotamus, early second millennium B.C.
Edward Stephen Harkness Edit Profile
Harkness attended St. Paul's School and Yale College, Class of 1897 and Columbia Law School.
Harkness briefly served as a railroad director for the Southern Pacific Railroad, but within several years decided to become a full-time philanthropist. He began making gifts to the Egyptian collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1912, and that same year was appointed to the museum's Board of Trustees.
Harkness' older brother Charles died in 1916 at age 55, leaving Edward more than US$80 million, much of it in Standard Oil stock. Charles had continued to invest substantially in Standard Oil as manager of the family fortune, and his brother's estate made Harkness the third-largest stakeholder in Standard Oil.
Harkness made charitable gifts totaling more than $129 million, the equivalent of $2 billion in 2005 dollars. Harkness encouraged and orchestrated the merger of Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, creating Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (CPMC), the world's first academic medical center.
Harkness was a major benefactor of the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harkness, in addition to donations to the Decorative Arts Department, gifted the Museum's initial Ancient Egyptian art collection. Harkness bought the complete Tomb of Perneb for the Met and helped purchase the Carnarvon Collection of Egyptian artifacts. He also donated the Met's unofficial mascot, a blue decorative hippo from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom's Twelfth Dynasty. It is known as "William."
Harkness and his wife made many contributions to educational buildings, including St Salvator's Hall at the University of St. Andrews, Harkness Chapel and Harkness Dormitory at Connecticut College, Butler Library at Columbia University as well as the original portions of the Columbia University Medical Center and the undergraduate dormitories at Brown University and Connecticut College - all of these were built through his philanthropy or that of his wife, Mary. Between 1926 and 1930, Harkness made major donations to Yale and Harvard to establish residential college systems at each school. He established the Harkness Fellowships and founded the Pilgrim Trust in the UK in 1930 with an endowment of just over two million pounds, "prompted by his admiration for what Great Britain had done in the 1914-1918 war and, by his ties of affection for the land from which he drew his descent."
In 1918, he was ranked the 6th-richest person in the United States by Forbes magazine's first "Rich List", behind John D. Rockefeller, Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Carnegie, George Fisher Baker, and William Rockefeller.
After graduating, Edward Harkness married Mary Stillman, daughter of wealthy New York attorney Thomas E. Stillman, in 1904.