John Stewart Kennedy

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John Stewart Kennedy
Picture of John Stewart Kennedy.jpg
Born John Stewart Kennedy
(1830-01-04)January 4, 1830
Glasgow, Scotland
Died October 30, 1909(1909-10-30)
Nationality American
Occupation Businessman, financier, philanthropist

John Stewart Kennedy (January 4, 1830 – October 30, 1909) was an American businessman, financier and philanthropist.[1][2] He was a member of the Jekyll Island Club (also known as The Millionaires' Club) on Jekyll Island, Georgia along with J.P. Morgan and William Rockefeller among others.


Kennedy was born near Glasgow in Scotland, received a scant education in school, studied in his spare moments as a clerk, and at 20 was sent to America by a London iron firm, in whose branch house in Glasgow he worked for four years. He was a manufacturers representative for tubing used in locomotives. Then he came again to New York and entered business with Morris K. Jesup. From this partnership he retired in 1867 and from active business in 1883, although he was still called upon after that date to aid in the reorganization of various financial concerns, notably in 1888, when he acted with J. S. Harris as receiver of the New Jersey Central Railroad.[3] He died of whooping cough in 1909.[4]


Kennedy was prominently connected during his life with New York charities, and his will gave away $30,000,000—bequests of $2,500,000 each to Columbia University, the New York Public Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, Presbyterian Church Erection Fund, and Presbyterian Hospital of New York City; four gifts of $1,500,000 each; three of $750,000 each; nine (to colleges) of $100, 000 each; and 10 (to colleges) of $50,000 each; besides numerous smaller gifts.[3][5]


  1. ^ "Mr. John S. Kennedy. Interesting Sketch Of The Life Of An Honored Citizen Of New-York.". New York Times. February 20, 1893. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  2. ^ "John Stewart Kennedy". National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. 1913. Retrieved 2010-07-12. Kennedy, John Stewart, financier and philanthropist, was born at Blantyre, near Glasgow, Scotland, Jan. 4, 1830, son of John and Isabel (Stewart) Kennedy. He was educated in the public schools of Glasgow. His father's circumstances made it impossible to expect a college career, and at the age of thirteen the son began his business life as a clerk in a shipping office. Four years later he transferred his services to an iron and coal concern in Glasgow, and in 1850 a London firm in the iron and metal business made him an offer to travel for it in the United States and Canada, and he eagerly accepted the opportunity of broadening his experience and enlarging his prospects for advancement. He came to the United States in June,. 1850, and made his headquarters in New York city for two years. He went back to become the manager of the same firm's branch office in Glasgow, and he held that position from August, 1852, until December, 1856, but the institutions and the opportunities of the ... 
  3. ^ a b "John Stewart Kennedy". New International Encyclopedia. 
  4. ^ "John Stewart Kennedy Leaves More Than $25,000,000 to Charity". The Montreal Gazette. November 6, 1909. Retrieved 2010-07-11. John Stewart Kennedy, one of America's little known rich men, who died of whooping cough in his New York residence on Sunday last, ... 
  5. ^ "Mr. Kennedy Bequests". New York Times. November 7, 1909. Retrieved 2010-07-11. The list of bequests for public purposes made in the will of Mr. John Stewart Kennedy is an admirable picture of the nature of the man, his ideals, his interests, his mode of looking at life. 

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