Log In

John Pierpont Morgan

banker , philanthropist

Morgan was an American financier, banker, philanthropist and art collector who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation during his time. He and his partners were accused by critics of controlling the nation's high finance. He directed the banking coalition that stopped the Panic of 1907. He was the leading financier of the Progressive Era, and his dedication to efficiency and modernization helped transform American business.

Background

J. P. Morgan was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, to Junius Spencer Morgan (1813–1890) 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 School and then to the Episcopal Academy in Cheshire, Connecticut, (now called Cheshire Academy), boarding with the principal. In September 1851, Morgan passed the entrance exam for the 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 fever left him in so much pain that he could not walk. Junius sent Pierpont to the Azores (Portuguese islands in the Atlantic) in order for him to recover. After convalescing for almost a year, Pierpont returned to the English High 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 and also a degree in art history, Morgan traveled back to London via Wiesbaden, with his education complete.

Education

In the fall of 1848, Pierpont transferred to the Hartford Public School and then to Cheshire Academy. In September 1851, Morgan passed the entrance exam for the 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 fever left him in so much pain that he could not walk. Junius sent Pierpont to the Azores in order for him to recover. After convalescing for almost a year, Pierpont returned to the English High School in Boston to resume his studies. After graduating, his father sent him to Bellerive, a school near the Swiss village of Vevey.

After graduating English High School, 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 and also a degree in art history, Morgan traveled back to London via Wiesbaden, with his education complete.

Career

He was 24 years old when he established his own private wholesale bank that underwrote assorted business ventures.He purchased an exemption to avoid military service in the American Civil War, and when Peabody, his father's business partner, retired, Morgan became a partner in the firm, J. S. Morgan and Company. In 1871, in a merger arranged by his father, Morgan's company absorbed Drexel & Co., and became Drexel, Morgan & Co., a forerunner of Drexel Burnham Lambert. Morgan made millions from the death of railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt, when William Henry Vanderbilt, son of the deceased, hired Drexel, Morgan & Co. to sell off his inheritance, and Morgan maneuvered to have himself named as one of the directors of Vanderbilt's fortune.

In 1892, Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric Company with the Thompson-Houston Company as General Electric, which, with competition again eliminated, became wildly profitable.

Achievements

  • He directed the banking coalition that stopped the Panic of 1907

Politics

Morgan donated heavily to Republican William McKinley, who was elected in 1896 and reelected in 1900.

Views

Quotations: "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it"

"A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason."

"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."

"Well, I don't know as I want a lawyer to tell me what I cannot do. I hire him to tell how to do what I want to do."

"When you expect things to happen - strangely enough - they do happen."

Interests

  • Politicians

    William McKinley

  • Sport & Clubs

    Yacht races

  • Other Interests

    He was known to dislike publicity and hated being photographed.

    Morgan smoked dozens of cigars per day and favored large Havana cigars dubbed Hercules' Clubs by observers.