E. H. Harriman

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E. H. Harriman
Edward Henry Harriman 1899.jpg
Born Edward Henry Harriman
(1848-02-20)February 20, 1848
Hempstead, New York, USA
Died September 9, 1909(1909-09-09) (aged 61)
Orange County, New York, USA
Resting place
St. John's Church Cemetery, Arden, New York
Occupation Railroad executive
Known for Harriman Alaska Expedition
Spouse(s) Mary Williamson Averell
Children Mary Harriman Rumsey
Henry Neilson Harriman
Cornelia Harriman Gerry [1]
Carol A. Harriman
William Averell Harriman
Edward Roland Noel Harriman

Edward Henry "Ned" Harriman (February 20, 1848 – September 9, 1909) was an American railroad executive.[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Harriman was born on February 20, 1848 in Hempstead, New York, the son of Orlando Harriman, Sr., an Episcopal clergyman, and Cornelia Neilson.[2] He had a brother, Orlando Harriman, Jr.[4] His great-grandfather, William Harriman, emigrated from England in 1795 and engaged successfully in trading and commercial pursuits.

As a young boy, Harriman spent a summer working at the Greenwood Iron Furnace in the area owned by the Robert Parker Parrott family that would become Harriman State Park. He quit school at age 14 to take a job as an errand boy on Wall Street in New York City. His uncle Oliver Harriman had earlier established a career there. By age 22, he was a member of the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1879 he married Mary Williamson Averell, daughter of William J. Averell, a banker in Ogdensburg, New York.[5]

Railroad career[edit]

Harriman's father-in-law was also president of the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad Company, which aroused his interest in upstate New York transportation. In 1881, Harriman acquired the small, broken-down Lake Ontario Southern Railroad. He renamed it the Sodus Bay & Southern, reorganized it, and sold it to the Pennsylvania Railroad at a considerable profit. This was the start of his career as a rebuilder of bankrupt railroads.

A 1907 cartoon depicting Harriman and his railroads as subject to federal law and the Interstate Commerce Commission

Harriman was nearly fifty years old when in 1897 he became a director of the Union Pacific Railroad. By May 1898 he was chairman of the executive committee, and from that time until his death his word was law on the Union Pacific system. In 1903 he assumed the office of president of the company. From 1901 to 1909, Harriman was also the President of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The vision of a unified UP/SP railroad was planted with Harriman. (The UP and SP were reunited on Sept. 11, 1996 when the Interstate Commerce Commission approved their merger.)

At the time of his death Harriman controlled the Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Saint Joseph and Grand Island, the Illinois Central, the Central of Georgia, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and the Wells Fargo Express Company. Estimates of his estate ranged from $70 million to $100 million. It was left entirely to his wife.

Harriman estate[edit]

In 1885 Harriman acquired "Arden", the 7,863 acres (31.82 km2) Parrott family estate in the Ramapo Highlands near Tuxedo, New York, for $52,500. Over the next several years he purchased almost forty different nearby parcels of land, adding 20,000 acres (81 km2), and connected all of them with forty miles of bridle paths. His 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) residence, Arden House, was completed only seven months before he died. In the early 1900s, his sons W. Averell Harriman and E. Roland Harriman hired landscape architect Arthur P. Kroll to landscape many acres. In 1910, his widow donated ten thousand acres (40 km²) to the state of New York for Harriman State Park.

The Harriman Alaska Expedition[edit]

In 1899, Harriman sponsored a scientific expedition to catalog the flora and fauna of the Alaska coastline, which he himself accompanied. Many prominent scientists and naturalists went on the expedition, aboard the luxuriously refitted 250-foot (76 m) steamer George W. Elder.

Interest in Ju-Jitsu[edit]

Harriman became interested in Ju-Jitsu after his two-month visit to Japan in 1905.[6] When he returned to America, he brought with him a troupe of six Japanese ju-jitsu wrestlers, including the prominent judokas Tsunejiro Tomita and Mitsuyo Maeda.[7] Among many performances, the troupe gave an exhibition that drew six hundred spectators in the Columbia University gymnasium on 7 February 1905.[8]

Death[edit]

He died on 9 September 1909 at his home, Arden, at age 62.[2] Naturalist John Muir, who had joined him on the 1899 Alaska Expedition, wrote in his eulogy of Harriman, "In almost every way, he was a man to admire." He was buried at the St. John's Episcopal Church cemetery in Arden.[9]

Notable quotations[edit]

"Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more."

Legacy[edit]

Bust of Edward H. Harriman by Auguste Rodin
  • Harriman is mentioned in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as the commercial baron whose agents become the title characters' nemeses. In the film's second train robbery, a railroad employee ascribes his refusal to cooperate with the robbery to his obligations to Harriman personally, and one of Butch and Sundance's intimates describes Harriman's hiring of famed outlaw-hunters to track down the gang's leaders.
  • In the movie The Wild Bunch, a railroad official named as "Harrigan" takes the same strategy.
  • Two post offices in Oregon were named for Harriman, including the one at Rocky Point, where he maintained a summer camp for several years.[10]
  • Financial and business publisher Harriman House is named after Harriman.
  • Harriman founded the Tompkins Square Boys’ Club, now known as The Boys’ Club of New York. The original club, founded in 1876, was located in the rented basement of the Wilson School in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and began with three boys.[11] Harriman’s idea for the club was to provide a place "for the boys, so as to get them off the streets and teach them better manners."[12] By 1901, the club had outgrown its space. Harriman purchased several lots on 10th and Avenue A, and a five-story clubhouse was completed in 1901.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mrs. Robert L. Gerry Dies at 82. Last Daughter of E.H. Harriman". New York Times. May 30, 1966. Retrieved 2012-11-22. Mrs. Cornelia Harriman Gerry, widow of Robert L. Gerry, financier and sportsman, died yesterday, at her home at 79 East 79th Street. She was 82 years old. ... 
  2. ^ a b c "Edward H. Harriman". PBS. Retrieved 2012-11-22. Edward Henry Harriman was born in New Jersey [sic] in 1848. His father was an ordained deacon in the Presbyterian Church, his mother a well-connected socialite from New Jersey. ... 
  3. ^ Kennan, George (1922). E. H. Harriman: A Biography in Two Volumes 1. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press Cambridge. pp. 95, 132. 
  4. ^ "Orlando Harriman Dead. Brother of E.H. Harriman and Big Realty Operator". New York Times. December 30, 1911. Retrieved 2012-11-22. Orlando Harriman, brother or the late EH Harriman, died early yesterday in Dr. John Walker's Sanitarium, 33 East Thirty-third Street, from a complication of ... 
  5. ^ "Mrs. E.H. Harriman Dies at Age of 81. Widow of Railroad Financier, Who Left to Her His Entire Estate of $100,000,000. Noted For Philanthropies. Aided Red Cross and Artistic and Educational Causes. Interested In Rail Workers' Welfare". New York Times. November 8, 1932. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  6. ^ "HARRIMAN TO VISIT JAPAN.; He Will Take His Family and Be Away Several Months." (PDF). The New York Times. June 28, 1905. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  7. ^ "JU-JITSU AS IN JAPAN.; E.H. Harriman's Troupe of Six Clever Wrestlers and Swordsmen.". The New York Times. February 4, 1906. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ "JUDO FOR SELF-DEFENCE". New-York Daily Tribune (Washington, DC.). Library of Congress. February 8, 1906. p. 5. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  9. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=450
  10. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003) [First published 1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. pp. 448, 567, 820. ISBN 9780875952772. OCLC 53075956. 
  11. ^ "BCNY History". Boys' Club of New York. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ Kennan, p. 26
  13. ^ Kennan, p. 39

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]