John Pierpont Morgan (1837 – 1913)

John Pierpont Morgan

J.P. Morgan started his financial career learning about the family business from his father, Junius Spencer Morgan.  After spending his early years as a banking apprentice and accountant, he joined his father’s business in financial ventures increasing his wealth.  As an investment banker, Morgan dealt in bonds, stocks and notes, and became deeply involved in various businesses and industries.  Among his many business dealings he helped fund the Edison Electric Company, bought and consolidated extensive railroad holdings, and bought out Andrew Carnegie and other steel companies to become the leading steel producer in the country.  His monetary fortunes were so extensive that he gave financial backing to the U.S. government during times of hardship.

Morgan was a major philanthropist and donated millions to various charities and other public institutions.  As a youth, he traveled extensively around Europe and had a life-long passion of collecting art.  Morgan’s art collections have been distributed to institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the American Academy in Rome and Yale University.  The Wadsworth Athenaeum’s collection of J.P. Morgan’s French eighteenth century porcelain is one of the most prized segments of that museum’s permanent collections.  His son, John Pierpont Morgan, Jr., established the Morgan Library and Museum with the remainder of the collection after his father’s death.

J.P. Morgan Memorial at Cedar Hill

John Pierpont Morgan died in his sleep at the Grand Hotel in Rome on March 31, 1913.  He would have celebrated his seventy-sixth birthday on April 17.  Designed by George Keller (who also designed Cedar Hill’s Chapel and Gallup Memorial Gateway), Morgan’s monument is said to represent Morgan’s vision of the Ark of the Covenant.

References:
Connecticut’s Heritage Gateway.  Accessed at
http://www.ctheritage.org/encyclopedia/ct1865_1929/morgan.htm in August 2010.
The Morgan Library and Museum.  History.  Accessed at
http://www.themorgan.org/about/history.asp in August 2010.
Strouse, Jean. Morgan: American Financier. New York: Harper Perennial, 1999.
Wikipedia.  J. P. Morgan.  Accessed at 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._P._Morgan on August 11, 2010.

Photo Credit: John Pierpont Morgan, Public Domain; Morgan Memorial, Cedar Hill Cemetery