Robert Maclay (merchant)

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Robert Maclay (1834–1898) was an American merchant, business executive, and civic activist. He engaged in real estate and banking in New York City and was appointed to various posts having to do with urban development. Upon the death of his father-in-law, Alfred Barmore, he became president of Knickerbocker Ice Company — the largest ice company in the country.

Maclay was a Director of Bowery Savings Bank and a trustee of the Northern Dispensary.

On April 14, 1892, Maclay was appointed as member of the Rapid Transit Commission. From 1891 until his death in 1898, he served as Chairman of the Building Commission for the New York City Board of Education. He presided as Chairman of the Building Commission when the American architect Charles B. J. Snyder was elected Superintendent of School Buildings in 1891.

Maclay was a graduate of Judson College, Mount Palatine, Illinois. He was a trustee of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church and The Manhattan Club and was one of the incorporators of the New York Botanical Garden.

He was a member of New York Historical Society, the New York Athletic Club, the Metropolitan Club, the Grolier Club, the Downtown Association, the Brown Society of Glasgow, and the Advisory Committee of New York University.


Robert Maclay was born in New York City June 11, 1834, to the marriage of Robert Haldane Maclay, MD, and Eliza Maclay (née Labatut).

On May 18, 1868, he married Georgiana Barmore, daughter of Alfred Barmore, former president of the Knickerbocker Ice Company. Robert and Georgiana had two children:

Robert Maclay died in Elberon, New Jersey July 28, 1898.[1]

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