Simon Guggenheim

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Simon Guggenheim
Simon Guggenheim cph.3a02257.jpg
United States Senator
from Colorado
In office
March 4, 1907 – March 3, 1913
Preceded by Thomas M. Patterson
Succeeded by John F. Shafroth
Personal details
Born (1867-12-30)December 30, 1867
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died November 2, 1941(1941-11-02) (aged 73)
New York City, New York
Political party Republican

John Simon Guggenheim (December 30, 1867 – November 2, 1941) was an American businessman, politician, and philanthropist.


He was the son of Meyer Guggenheim and Barbara Guggenheim, and was the younger brother of Daniel Guggenheim and Solomon R. Guggenheim. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Simon Guggenheim attended Central High School and Peirce College before settling in Pueblo, Colorado, where he worked as the chief ore buyer for his father's mining and smelting operation, M. Guggenheim’s Sons.[1]

Guggenheim moved to Denver in 1892 and married Olga Hirsch on November 24, 1898, at the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York in Manhattan. To celebrate their marriage, the Guggenheims provided a Thanksgiving dinner to 5,000 poor Manhattan children.[2]

Simon Guggenheim Hall, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado

Simon and Olga made their residence in Denver and celebrated the birth of their first child, John Guggenheim, in 1905. To commemorate the event, Guggenheim made an $80,000 donation to the Colorado School of Mines to build a namesake building, Guggenheim Hall. At the time, it was the largest private grant ever made to a State institution.[3]

In 1907, Olga gave birth to their second son, George Guggenheim. In 1909, he donated a Law Building at University of Colorado.[4] In 1907, Guggenheim was elected as a Republican senator for Colorado from 1907 to 1913. During his time as a senator, he served as a chairman of the Committee to Establish a University of the United States, and Committee on the Philippines.[5] While in Congress, one of his older brothers, Benjamin Guggenheim, died in the RMS Titanic catastrophe. After his term expired, Guggenheim moved to New York.

He joined the board of American Smelting and Refining Company, later becoming the chairman of the board. From 1919 to 1941 he was president of that company.[6]

In 1922, Guggenheim's son John died of mastoiditis[7] just before leaving for college. In his memory, Guggenheim and his wife established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1925. Seeded with $3 million, the foundation offered 50 fellowships in its first year for international study. Since then, the Foundation has granted over 15,000 Guggenheim Fellowships, worth almost a quarter of a billion dollars.

In 1939, the Guggenheims' second son, George, committed suicide in a Manhattan hotel at the age of 32.[8]

Simon Guggenheim died in 1941 and was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.


See also[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Thomas MacDonald Patterson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Colorado
Served alongside: Henry M. Teller, Charles J. Hughes, Jr., Charles S. Thomas
Succeeded by
John F. Shafroth