J. P. Morgan Jr.

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J. P. Morgan Jr.
A.H. Wiggin & J.P. Morgan, Jr. in 1917 in Manhattan at a war bond parade (Cropped).jpg
Morgan in Manhattan at a war bond parade, 1917
Born John Pierpont Morgan Jr.
(1867-09-07)September 7, 1867
Irvington, New York, U.S.
Died March 13, 1943(1943-03-13) (aged 75)
Boca Grande, Florida, U.S.
Nationality American
Education St. Paul's School
Alma mater Harvard College
Occupation Banker, philanthropist
Jane Norton Grew (m. 1890–1925)
Children Junius Spencer Morgan III
Henry Sturgis Morgan
Jane Norton Morgan Nichols
Frances Tracy Pennoyer
Parent(s) J. P. Morgan
Frances Louisa Tracy

John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan Jr. (September 7, 1867 – March 13, 1943) was an American banker, finance executive, and philanthropist.[1] Morgan Jr. inherited the family fortune and took over the business interests including J.P. Morgan & Co. after his father J. P. Morgan died in 1913.

A graduate of St. Paul's School and Harvard, he was trained as a finance executive in the business world, having worked for both his father and grandfather, that would serve him well as a banking financier and lending leader, and was a director of several companies. He supported the New York Lying-In Hospital, the Red Cross, the Episcopal Church, and provided an endowment for the creation of a rare books and manuscripts collection at the Morgan Library.

Morgan brokered a deal that positioned his company as the sole munitions and supplies purchaser during World War I for the British and French governments. The results produced a one percent commission on $3 billion (that is, $30 million) to the company. Morgan was also a banking broker for financing to foreign governments both during and after the war.

Early life[edit]

Morgan was born on September 7, 1867 in Irvington, New York to J. P. Morgan and Frances Louisa Tracy. He graduated from St. Paul's School and later, Harvard College, in 1886, where he was a member of the Delphic Club, formerly known as the Delta Phi.

His siblings included Louisa Pierpont Morgan (1866–1946), who married Herbert L. Satterlee (1863–1947),[2] Juliet Pierpont Morgan (1870–1952) who married William Pierson Hamilton (1869–1950), and Anne Tracy Morgan (1873–1952), a philanthropist. His paternal grandparents were Junius Spencer Morgan (1813–1890)[3] and Juliet Pierpont (1816–1884), the daughter of John Pierpont.[4][5]


Jack Morgan walking alongside his father J. P. Morgan in the last known photograph of the two together (ca. 1913)

The younger Morgan resembled his father in his dislike for publicity and continued his father's philanthropic policy. In 1905, his father acquired the Guaranty Trust bank as part of his efforts to consolidate banking in New York City. After his father died in 1913, the bank became Jack's base.

World War I[edit]

Morgan played a prominent part in financing World War I. Following its outbreak, he made the first loan of $12,000,000 to Russia.[6] In 1915, a loan of $500,000,000 was made to France and Britain following negotiations by the Anglo-French Financial Commission.[7] The firm's involvement with British and French interests fueled charges the bank was conspiring to maneuver the United States into supporting the Allies in order to rescue its loans. By 1915, when it became apparent the war was not going to end quickly, the company decided to forge formal relationships with France.[8] Those dealings became strained over the course of the war as a result of poor personal relations with French emissaries, relationships that were heightened in importance by the unexpected duration of the conflict, its costs, and the complications flowing from American neutrality. Contributing to the tensions was the favoritism displayed by Morgan officials to British interests.[9] His personal friendship with Cecil Spring Rice ensured that from 1915 until sometime after the United States entered the war, his firm was the official purchasing agent for the British government, buying cotton, steel, chemicals and food, receiving a 1% commission on all purchases.[10] Morgan organized a syndicate of about 2200 banks and floated a loan of $500,000,000 to the Allies. The British sold off their holdings of American securities and by late 1916 were dependent on unsecured loans for further purchases.[11]

At the beginning of World War I, US Treasury Secretary William McAdoo and others in the Wilson administration were very suspicious of J. P. Morgan & Co.'s enthusiastic role as British agent for purchasing and banking. When the United States entered the war, this gave way to close collaboration, in the course of which Morgan received financial concessions.[12] From 1914 to 1919, he was a member of the advisory council for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[10]

On 3 July 1915, an intruder, Eric Muenter, entered Morgan's Long Island mansion and shot him twice. This was ostensibly to bring about an embargo on arms, and in protest of his profiteering from war. Morgan, however, quickly recovered from his wounds.[10][13][14]


After World War I and the Versailles Treaty, Morgan Guaranty managed Germany's reparation payments. After the war, Morgan made several trips to Europe to investigate and report on financial conditions there. In 1919 he was for a time chairman of the international committee, composed of American, British and French bankers, for the protection of the holders of Mexican securities. In November 1919, he was made a director of the Foreign Finance Corporation, which was organized to engage in the investment of funds chiefly in foreign enterprises. By the 1920s, Morgan Guaranty had become one of the world's most important banking institutions, as a leading lender to Germany and Europe.[10][15] He attempted to defeat Franklin D. Roosevelt's plan for the New Deal during the Great Depression, and secured about US$100 million in loans to Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini prior to World War II.[13][citation needed] Morgan triggered discussion about banking and tax law in at least two areas. First, the fact that he paid no taxes in 1931 and 1932 raised questions about tax law. Second, his activities as a banker raised questions about the responsibility to act for, rather than against, the best interest of depositors.[16][17][18]

He was a director in numerous corporations, including the U.S. Steel Corp., the Pullman Co., the Aetna Insurance Co., and the Northern Pacific Railway Co.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Jack's brownstone, now part of the Morgan Library

In 1890, Morgan married Jane Norton Grew (d. 1925), daughter of Boston banker and mill owner Henry Sturgis Grew. She was the aunt of Henry Grew Crosby. The couple raised four children:


In 1920, Morgan gave his London residence, 14 Princes Gate (near Imperial College London), to the U.S. government for use as its embassy.

In 1924, Morgan created the Pierpont Morgan Library as a public institution as a memorial to his father. Belle da Costa Greene, Morgan's personal librarian, became the first director and continued the aggressive acquisition and expansion of the collections of illuminated manuscripts, authors' original manuscripts, incunabula, prints, and drawings, early printed Bibles, and many examples of fine bookbinding. Today the library is a complex of buildings which serve as a museum and scholarly research center.

Morgan donated many valuable works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[20]


A yachtsman, like his father, Morgan served as commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1919 to 1921. In 1930, he built the turbo electric driven yacht Corsair IV at Bath Iron Works in Maine. Corsair IV, launched April 10, 1930, was one of the most opulent yachts of its day and the largest built in the United States with an overall length of 343 feet (104.5 m), 42 feet (12.8 m) beam and 2,142 GRT.[21][22] Legend at the shipyard credits the phrase "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" to Morgan, when asked what the yacht cost. However, this quote is most often attributed to his father in connection with the yacht Corsair, launched in 1891. Morgan sold the Corsair IV to the British Admiralty in 1940 for one dollar to assist with Britain's war effort.[23] After the war the Corsair IV was sold to Pacific Cruise Lines and, on September 29, 1947, began service as a luxury cruise ship operating between Long Beach, California and Acapulco, Mexico. On November 12, 1949 the yacht struck a rock near the beach in Acapulco and, although all passengers and crew were rescued, was deemed a total loss.[24]

Morgan was a member of the Jekyll Island Club (aka The Millionaires Club) on Jekyll Island, Georgia, as had been his father J. P. Morgan Sr.


  1. ^ J.P. Morgan Jr. Papers: Box #, Folder #. Archives of The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
  2. ^ J. Pierpont Morgan, Satterlee, Herbert L., New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939.
  3. ^ "J.S. Morgan's Death". The New York Times. 10 April 1890. p. 1. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  4. ^ Witzel, Morgan (2003). Fifty Key Figures in Management. Routledge. p. 207. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  5. ^ J.P. Morgan's Way. Pearson Education. 2010. p. 2. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  6. ^ Horn (2000) pp 85-90
  7. ^ "$500,000,000 Fixed as Allies' Credit – Lord Reading of Anglo-French Commission Meets Bankers in Morgan Library – Russia Finally Barred Out – Negotiations Progressing and Announcement of Terms of the Deal May Be Made by Sunday". New York Times. September 24, 1915. p. 1. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Dayer, Roberta Allbert (1976). "Strange Bedfellows: J. P. Morgan & Co., Whitehall and the Wilson Administration During World War I". Business History. 18 (2): 127–151 [pp. 130–142]. doi:10.1080/00076797600000014.
  9. ^ Horn (2000) pp 91-103
  10. ^ a b c d e Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Morgan, John Pierpont". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York.
  11. ^ Burk, Kathleen (1979). "The Diplomacy of Finance: British Financial Missions to the United States, 1914–1918". Historical Journal. 22 (2): 351–372. doi:10.1017/s0018246x00016861. JSTOR 2638869.
  12. ^ Dayer, Roberta Allbert (1976). "Strange Bedfellows: J. P. Morgan & Co., Whitehall and the Wilson Administration During World War I". Business History. 18 (2): 127–151. doi:10.1080/00076797600000014.
  13. ^ a b "J. P. Morgan Jr". Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  14. ^ Chernow (1990) ch 10
  15. ^ Hunt, James (2008). "Guaranty Trust: Morgan's Broadway Baby". Financial History. 90: 32–35.
  16. ^ Morgan Probe Furnishes Fresh Arguments For Advocates of Communism, David Lawrence, The Deseret News, 1933-05-26.
  17. ^ Morgan Break with Market Appears Sure, Leslie Gould, The Deseret News, 1933-05-26, p5.
  18. ^ Roosevelt's Son Blames Law For Morgan's Actions, The Deseret News, 1933-05-26, p5.
  19. ^ Schaer, Sidney C. (March 14, 1989). "Morgan Daughter Dies; Last surviving child was 92". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-10-30. Mrs. Pennoyer, the mother of six, a grandmother of 28 and a great-grandmother of 31, lived in the English-Norman styled home on an estate called "Round Bush" in Locust Valley. Born into a family whose name was synonymous with international banking, immense wealth and philanthropy, she nevertheless lived a private life. ..
  20. ^ https://www.pbs.org/wnet/historyofus/web10/features/bio/B14.html
  21. ^ Pacific American Steamship Association; Shipowners Association of the Pacific Coast (1930). "Progress of Construction: Bath Iron Works". Pacific Marine Review. San Francisco: J.S. Hines. 27 (July): 314. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  22. ^ Maine Historical Society. "Launching of the yacht Corsair (IV) at Bath Iron Works, 1930". Maine Memory Network. Maine Historical Society. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  23. ^ MacKay, Robert B. (2014). Great Yachts of Long Island's North Shore. Charleston, North Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 9781467121521. LCCN 2013950193. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  24. ^ Goossens, Reuben. "SS Corsair IV". ssMaritime.com & ssMaritime.net. Retrieved 22 April 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Forbes, John Douglas (1981). J. P. Morgan Jr. 1867–1943. U. Press of Virginia. ISBN 0-8139-0889-2.
  • Chernow, Ron (2001). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. ISBN 0-8021-3829-2.
  • Dayer, Roberta Allbert (1976). "Strange Bedfellows: J. P. Morgan & Co., Whitehall and the Wilson Administration During World War I". Business History. 18 (2): 127–151. doi:10.1080/00076797600000014.
  • Horn, Martin (2000). "A Private Bank At War: J. P. Morgan & Co. and France, 1914–1918". Business History Review. 74 (1): 85–112. JSTOR 3116353.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Israel Zangwill
Cover of Time Magazine
24 September 1923
Succeeded by
Samuel Gompers