Henry Phipps Jr.

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Henry Phipps Jr.
Henry Phipps 1913.jpg
Phipps in 1913
Born(1839-09-27)September 27, 1839
DiedSeptember 22, 1930(1930-09-22) (aged 90)
Known forCo-founder of Carnegie Steel, philanthropy
Board member ofCarnegie Steel Co.
U.S. Steel Corp.[citation needed]
Anne Childs Shaffer
(m. 1872)
Signature of Henry Phipps Jr.png

Henry Phipps Jr. (September 27, 1839 – September 22, 1930) was an American entrepreneur known for his business relationship with Andrew Carnegie and involvement with the Carnegie Steel Company. He was also a successful real estate investor. After selling his stock in Carnegie Steel, he devoted a great deal of his time and money to philanthropic works.

Early life[edit]

Henry Phipps Jr. was born on September 27, 1839 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His English parents, Henry Phipps, a shoemaker,[1] and Hannah (née Franks),[2] were married at Wolverhampton in 1824[3] and migrated to Philadelphia at some point after that, settling in Pittsburgh in 1845. Phipps was educated at public schools in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania.[4] He had one sister, Amelia Phipps Walker (Mrs. John Walker; 1846-1887), and two brothers: William Henry Phipps (1825-1902), and John Phipps (1833-1860), who was also friends with Carnegie and who died young.[5]

Phipps’s oldest brother, William Henry Phipps, was born on 27 March 1825 and baptized at Wellington, Shropshire, England, on 18 August 1830,[6] which places the family’s emigration to the US during the 1830s.


Phipps began working as a young man as an office boy and later a bookkeeper with Dillworth & Bidwell. In 1861, he became a partner in Bidwell & Phipps, which was an agent for the du Pont Powder Company, and a partner in Kloman & Phipps, a small iron mill.[4]

Involvement with Carnegie[edit]

In 1865, he became a partner in childhood friend and neighbor's Andrew (1835–1919) and Thomas Carnegie's (1843–1886) Union Iron Mills,[2] which was created from a merger between Phipps' Kloman & Phipps and Cyclops Iron Company, an iron company which the Carnegies had acquired an interest in.[7] Kloman and Phipps at first refused, but Thomas made an offer of all the shares in Cyclops plus an additional payment of $50,000 (equivalent to $885,000 in 2021).[8] Therefore, on May 1, 1865, the new Union Iron Mills Company was formed.[8][9]

For the next year, Phipps and Carnegie went to Europe on tour, and when they returned in 1866, went to work. Phipps toiled for the next 20 years and proved a capable financier, becoming Carnegie's business partner in Carnegie Steel Company, founded in 1892, which would make him a very wealthy man as the company's second-largest shareholder. In 1901, Carnegie Steel Company was sold to the United States Steel Corporation; a newly formed organisation, set up by Pierpont Morgan.[10] It sold for $400 million (approx. $13.3 billion today), of which $226 million went to Carnegie himself,[11] and $48 million went to Phipps.[2]

In 1907, Henry Phipps established Bessemer Trust Company to manage his substantial assets that would be shared by his offspring following his death.

Real estate[edit]

In 1909, Phipps expanded his Cape Cod holdings to the entire 800 acre Great Island Yarmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, purchasing the remaining 50 acres from Charles B. Cory (1857–1921).[12] The Cape Cod estate was next to Aberdeen Hall[13] (which burnt down in September 1924[14]) and was near Andrew Carnegie, Henry M. Flagler, and Henry Clay Frick's estates.[15]

In 1912, Phipps divided $3,000,000 (equivalent to $84,238,000 in 2021) worth of real estate in Chicago, Illinois realty among his three sons.[16] Later in the same year, he also gave his sons $10,000,000 (equivalent to $280,793,000 in 2021) worth of property in Pittsburgh.[17]

In 1916, he purchased property in Great Neck, Long Island in the Village of Lake Success and in 1917, began construction on a thirty-nine-room Georgian mansion summer home, which was completed in 1919. He named the home, Bonnie Blink, which is Scottish for Pretty View. After his death, the mansion and property were donated to the school district and have since become William A. Shine Great Neck South High School.[18][19]

In 1926, he bought Island Beach, which was sold by his heirs in 1953 to the State of New Jersey. Now known as Island Beach State Park, it is the last remaining stretch of undeveloped barrier island on the central New Jersey coast.[20]

Phipps was one of the pioneer investors in Florida real estate.[17] At one time, he and his family owned one-third of the town of Palm Beach, 28 miles (approximately 45 kilometers) of oceanfront between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, prime bay front property in downtown Miami, and 29,653 acres (approximately 12,000 hectares) of land in Martin County. The Phipps family donated to the town of Palm Beach one of the most significant gifts in county history: an ocean-to-lake frontage property that is now known as Phipps Park.


Phipps Houses, Queens, NYC

Phipps believed that those who have achieved great wealth should give back for the public good and create institutions dedicated to that purpose.[21] As such he was involved with a number of philanthropic causes, the best known of which is the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Schenley Park, an 1893 gift to the city of Pittsburgh. Among his many benevolent works, he also funded the Phipps Institute for the Study, Treatment and Prevention of Tuberculosis[22] at the University of Pennsylvania[23] and The Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital[24] which in 1913 made possible the first inpatient facility in the United States for the mentally ill constructed as part of an acute care hospital.

Phipps was also an advocate of decent housing for the poor and in 1905 Phipps funded the non-profit Phipps Houses to build affordable housing in New York City.[25][26] He gave $1,000,000 (equivalent to $30,159,000 in 2021) to build tenement houses for "working people."[27] Phipps Houses still operates to this day; Henry Phipps's great-grandson, Stuart S. Janney III, sits on its Board of Trustees.

Personal life[edit]

Mrs Henry Phipps and Her Grandson Winston, oil on canvas, John Singer Sargent, 1907

In 1872, Henry Phipps married Anne Childs Shaffer (1850–1934),[28] the daughter of Margaret and John Shaffer, a Pittsburgh wagon builder. Since their estate Bonnie Brink was completed in 1919, they spent their summers in Great Neck, Long Island.[29] The couple had two daughters and three sons:

Phipps died in Great Neck, New York on September 22, 1930,[4] and his wife, Anne died in October 1934.[28]

At his death, Phipps' estate was worth $3,121,810.32 (equivalent to $50,639,000 in 2021), according to transfer tax appraisal documents,[34] of which $2,212,002 (equivalent to $35,881,000 in 2021) was in stocks and bonds, $926,679 (equivalent to $15,032,000 in 2021) was in properties, notes, cash and insurance bonds, and $375 in jointly owned property. His wife was the sole beneficiary of his estate according to his June 1, 1915 will.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Phipps". The Pittsburgh Press. July 24, 1987. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Train, John (June 8, 1986). "REJUVENATING OLD MONEY". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  3. ^ "Henry Phipps" in England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973: "Name: Henry Phipps / Gender: Male / Marriage Date: 12 Jul 1824 / Marriage Place: Saint Peter or Collegiate, Wolverhampton, Stafford, England / Spouse: Hannah Franks", ancestry.co.uk, accessed 9 April 2021 (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c "Henry Phipps Dead. Pioneer In Steel. Former Partner Of Carnegie, Who Amassed $100,000,000, Succumbs At 90. Gave $7,000,000 To Charity. Began Career As Messenger Boy. Divided Much Of Estate Among Three Sons In 1912. Gave More Than $7,000,000 To Charity. An Office Boy With Carnegie. Built Fifth Avenue Mansion. Financed Model Tenements". New York Times. September 23, 1930. Retrieved March 29, 2010. Henry Phipps, capitalist and philanthropist, who rose from office boy to master of a $100,000,000 fortune, died yesterday at his estate, Bonnie Brink, in the Lakeville section of Great Neck, L.I., at the age of 90. On Saturday he would have been 91 years old. Mr. Phipps had retired ...
  5. ^ Bridge, James Howard (August 21, 2014). The Inside History of the Carnegie Steel Company: A Romance of Millions. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 9780822990574. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "William Henry Phipps" in England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975: "Name: William Henry Phipps / Gender: Male Birth Date: 27 Mar 1825 / Baptism Date: 18 Aug 1830 / Baptism Place: Wellington, Shropshire, England / Father: Henry Phipps / Mother: Hannah", ancestry.co.uk, accessed 9 April 2021 (subscription required)
  7. ^ Griffiths, William (April 2, 1905). "Henry Phipps--The Man and His Millions". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Bridge, 1903, p. 23.
  9. ^ Derbyshire, 2008, p. 78-79.
  10. ^ Nasaw, D., 2006, p.580-588
  11. ^ Nasaw, D., 2006, p.687
  12. ^ "PHIPPS OWNS GREAT ISLAND. Now in Full Possession of Cape Cod Estate of 800 Acres". The New York Times. January 19, 1909. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  13. ^ Country Life, Volume 13. Doubleday, Page, & Company. April 1908. p. 567. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  14. ^ Zindler, Ethan (May 22, 2005). "Battling the winds of time". Cape Cod Times. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  15. ^ Williams, Wendy; Whitcomb, Robert (2009). Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future. ISBN 9781458719447. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  16. ^ "PHIPPS GIVES SONS $3,000,000 Transfers Chicago Real Estate to Them — Tired of Managing It". The New York Times. February 25, 1912. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  17. ^ a b "PHIPPS BUYS AT PALM BEACH, New Yorker Will Build Three Villas There for His Family". The New York Times. March 28, 1912. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  18. ^ "Lucky 7", (Match, Richard).
  19. ^ "This is Great Neck", (The League of Women Voters of Great Neck).
  20. ^ "BEACHLAND IN NEW JERSEY ASKED AS NATIONAL PARK". The New York Times. July 17, 1950. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  21. ^ The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, Henry Phipps Jr.
  22. ^ "HENRY PHIPPS INSTITUTE Will Be Established for Treatment of Tuberculosis. One-Time Partner of Mr. Carnegie Gives $1,000,000 for the Purpose — Will Be Located in Philadelphia". The New York Times. January 10, 1903. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  23. ^ "Phipps Family Makes $500,000 Gift". The New York Times. April 11, 1920. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  24. ^ "GAVE COLLEGE $1,000,000. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Phipps Donated Sum to Johns Hopkins". The New York Times. February 23, 1924. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  25. ^ "PHIPPS HOUSES CHARTERED. Incorporation Bill Signed to Aid Philanthropic Dwelling Plans". The New York Times. April 23, 1905. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  26. ^ Community Development | PCDC | About Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine. www.phippsny.org
  27. ^ "PHIPPS GIVES MILLION FOR MODEL TENEMENTS Former Associate of Carnegie Outlines His Plan. CHOOSES BOARD OF TRUSTEES Will Probably Build on Upper East Side—Playgrounds for Children Profits to Extend Work". The New York Times. January 14, 1905. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  28. ^ a b "MRS. HENRY PHIPPS BURIED Service Held at Westbury for Widow of Philanthropist". The New York Times. October 27, 1934. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  29. ^ a b "DEATH TAKES WIFE OF BRADLEY MARTIN | New York Society Woman Is Victim of Appendicitis in Pasadena, Calif. | HENRY PHIPPS'S DAUGHTER | Father, Partner of Carnegie in Pioneer Steel Era, Gave Many. Millions to Charity". The New York Times. March 17, 1934. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  30. ^ "Phipps--Grace.; Mendels--Wright. Hirsch-Dittenhoefer. Wright--Finck". The New York Times. November 5, 1903.
  31. ^ "MARTIN-PHIPPS WEDDING. Daughter of Henry Phipps Married to Bradley Martin, Jr". The New York Times. November 3, 1904. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  32. ^ "GLADYS MILLS WEDS HENRY C. PHIPPS Special Train Carries New York Guests to Staatsburg for Brilliant Ceremony GIFTS VALUED AT $2,000,000 Bride's Father-in-Law Presents Her with House in East 85th Street — Viilagers Entertained". The New York Times. December 8, 1907. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  33. ^ "MISS PRICE BRIDE OF HOWARD PHIPPS | Ceremony at Her Parents' Park Avenue Home Performed by Rev. Dr. Karl Reiland. | NO BRIDAL ATTENDANTS | Marriage Unites Prominent Families—Mr. Phipps Is Son of Late Noted Philanthropist". The New York Times. October 23, 1931. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Phipps's Estate $3,121,810". The New York Times. November 13, 1932. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  • Bridge, James Howard. The Inside History of the Carnegie Steel Company: A Romance of Millions. New York: The Aldine Book Company, 1903.
  • Derbyshire, Wyn. Six Tycoons: The Lives of John Jacob Astor, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and Joseph P. Kennedy. London: Spiramus Press, 2008.
  • Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie. New York: Penguin Press, 2006.

Further reading[edit]