E. Roland Harriman

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"Edward Harriman" redirects here. For the railroad executive, see E. H. Harriman.
Edward Roland Noel Harriman
Born December 24, 1895 (1895-12-24)
New York City
Died February 16, 1978 (1978-02-17) (aged 82)
Arden, New York
Occupation Financier
Spouse(s) Gladys C. C. Fries
Children two
Parents Edward Henry Harriman and Mary Williamson Averell

Edward Roland Noel Harriman (December 24, 1895 in New York City - February 16, 1978 in Arden, New York) was a financier and philanthropist. For those who were very close to him, his nickname was "Bunny".


He was born on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1895 in New York City, the youngest of five surviving children of Mary Williamson Averell and Edward Henry Harriman. Among his siblings was W. Averell Harriman, the financier and government official, four years his senior. Edward H. Harriman's estate was substantial, variously estimated between $70 million and $100 million upon his death in 1909.

Harriman was educated at Groton School, from which he graduated in 1913, and Yale University (B.A., 1917), where he was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity and a member of Skull and Bones[1] with his classmate and friend Prescott Bush. He married Gladys C. C. Fries on April 12, 1917, and they had two children. His eldest daughter was Elizabeth Harriman who was married to Alexander C. Northrop then Maximillian Bliss, Jr. His other daughter was the landscape painter Phyllis Harriman Mason. She was married for several years to fellow artist Frank Herbert Mason.

During World War I, Harriman served for ten months as an inspector with the rank of lieutenant in the United States Army Ordnance Department. Stricken with pneumonia and influenza, he was honorably discharged in January 1919. After regaining his health in California, he joined the Merchants Shipbuilding Corporation that November, a firm in which his brother Averell had an interest.

In 1922, Harriman joined W. A. Harriman Company, investment bankers in New York City, and the following year, he became vice-president. In 1927 the two brothers formed the banking firm Harriman Brothers and Company. In 1931 the firm was merged with Brown Bros. & Co., with Roland as vice-president. Headquartered on Wall Street, Brown Brothers Harriman started with nine partners and about two hundred employees. The firm performed specialized banking services for customers, mainly medium-sized corporations; it was not a member of the Federal Reserve System or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

In 1968, Harriman and three other senior partners at Brown Brothers (Robert A. Lovett, secretary of defense under President Harry Truman; Prescott Bush, former senator from Connecticut; and Knight Woolley—all Yale men), moved "upstairs," literally and figuratively, to make way for the younger partners, one of whom was Robert Roosa, former undersecretary of the Treasury.

In 1975, a few years prior to Harriman's death, there were twenty-nine partners and approximately one thousand employees.

Harriman's brother was a Democrat who served under the Truman administration and was Governor of New York.

Harriman followed the philanthropic example of his parents. He and his wife established the Irving Sherwood Wright professorship in geriatrics at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and provided funds for cardiovascular research at the hospital. He joined the American Red Cross as a member of the board of governors in 1947, helped reorganize it after World War II, served as manager for the organization's North Atlantic area from 1944 to 1946, was its vice-president and national annual fund appeal chair in 1949, and was appointed its president by President Truman, to succeed General George Marshall in 1950.

President Dwight Eisenhower reappointed him president in 1953. His other philanthropic board memberships included that of the American Museum of Natural History, for which he was also treasurer.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Phillips, Kevin (2004). American dynasty: aristocracy, fortune, and the politics of deceit in the house of Bush. Penguin.