Samuel Mather

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For Samuel Mather (1626–1671), the Independent (or Congregationalist) minister, see Samuel Mather (Independent minister).

Samuel Mather (7 July 1851 – 19 October 1931) industrialist and philanthropist born in Cleveland, Ohio. For many years Mather was that city's richest citizen and a major philanthropist, contributing more than US$7 million to community-based organizations in the city.

In 1847 his father had founded the Cleveland Iron Mining Company, and Mather was destined to follow him in the management of this company. Following Mather's graduation from the St. Mark's School of Southborough, Massachusetts in 1869, he suffered a serious injury working in one of the company’s facilities. He spent the next two years in convalescence, and accordingly, never attended Harvard University as he had previously planned.


Following two years of travel and convalescence, Mather married Flora Stone in 1881; the couple's combined fortunes made them the richest family in Ohio. Two years later, Mather was a founding principal in the Pickands, Mather and Company. Pickands, Mather and Co. became one of the four major iron ore companies in the United States through the operation of extensive mines in the Lake Superior region. By providing ample access to iron ore, steel, and shipping, Mather became increasingly wealthy through the profits reaped by the company and through the inheritance left to him from his father.

Mather gave generously to educational and health institutions throughout his life. During the First World War he raised US$4.5 million for the Red Cross and financed the sending of a unit of Lakeside Hospital to France. Mather also served as a trustee of Western Reserve University for forty-five years, contributing to the provision of residential accommodation and additional classroom facilities benefiting women students.

Other gifts included the installation of Anne's Tablet on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

At Kenyon College, Mather was known for decades for his generous financial gifts and management of the college’s financial affairs. Mather was a trustee to Kenyon for forty-three years; before his death, Mather was the oldest living member of Kenyon's Board of Trustees.


According to Kenyon College, Mather donated over a half-million dollars to the school while he served as a trustee there. His largest single financial gift to the school was $100,000 in 1922 for the building of Leonard Hall. (He made this contribution anonymously.) The Samuel Mather Science Hall was built in Mather's name at the request of his business associate, Henry G. Dalton, who gave money to Kenyon for the construction of the building.

The Old Main Library at Rikkyo University, Tokyo was financed by Mather in 1918. The library was named in honor of his father, Samuel Livingston Mather a long time supporter of overseas mission activities of the Episcopal Church.[1]

On October 17, 1931, Samuel Mather died of a heart attack. In his will, Mather left almost $3 million to various educational institutes and health establishments. He left $100,000 in his will for Kenyon College. Seven Great Lakes merchant ships have been named in his honor.


  1. ^ "Rikkyo University Press Release". Rikkyo University. Rikkyo University. Retrieved 12 October 2014.