Nicholas Frederic Brady

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Nicholas Frederic Brady
Born October 27, 1878
Albany, New York, United States
Died March 27, 1930(1930-03-27) (aged 51)
New York City
Resting place Wernersville, Pennsylvania
Residence 910 Fifth Avenue, New York City
& Manhasset, Long Island
Education Yale University
Occupation Businessman
Known for Roman Catholic philanthropy
Board member of New York Edison Co., Anaconda Copper, Union Carbide Corp., Chrysler Corporation & numerous others
Spouse(s) Genevieve Garvan
Parent(s) Anthony N. Brady &
Marcia Ann Myers
Honors Roman Catholic Church:
1. Ordine Supremo del Christo
2. Papal Chamberlain
3. Papal Duke

Nicholas Frederic Brady (October 27, 1878 – March 27, 1930) was a New York City businessman and philanthropist who was the first American to receive the Roman Catholic Church honor, the Supreme Order of Christ. He was the holder of several papal honors, including being a papal duke ad personam (non-hereditary).[1]


Early life[edit]

Nicholas Frederick Brady was born on October 27, 1878, in Albany, New York. His father was the industrialist Anthony N. Brady. He graduated from Yale University in 1899. He was raised an Episcopalian but converted to Catholicism.


Nicholas Brady and his brother James Cox Brady, Sr. oversaw a vast business empire built by their father. James Brady died in 1927 and Nicholas continued running the businesses. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of New York Edison Co. and a director of Anaconda Copper Mining Co., Westinghouse Electric, National City Bank, Union Carbide, plus numerous other companies in the United States and Japan whose activities were primarily in utilities. The Brady brothers provided substantial funds to enable Walter Chrysler to take over the ailing Maxwell Motor Company and to acquire Chrysler Corporation. Nicholas Brady became a lifelong member of Chrysler's Board of Directors.

Personal life[edit]

He married Genevieve Garvan, sister of Francis Patrick Garvan. The couple had no children. A devout Roman Catholic, she was a Dame of the Order of Malta, Dame of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, holder of the papal Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, founder of the Carroll Club ("for Catholic business girls"), the 1933 recipient of the University of Notre Dame's Laetare Medal as the most notable lay Catholic in America, Board Chairman of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and a Vice-President of the Welfare Council of New York. Nicholas Brady was a lay adviser to the Roman Catholic Church and was the second American, after Francis Augustus MacNutt, to be named Papal Chamberlain. In 1926, he was ennobled by Pope Pius XI and created a Papal Duke (ad personam, meaning non-hereditary). His wife was created a papal duchess in her own right.

The papal duke and duchess lived at 910 Fifth Avenue in New York City, but also built a large Tudor Elizabethan mansion on a Manhasset estate that was completed by 1920 and known as "Inisfada" (Gaelic for "Long Island"). It was here that she entertained Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, on his American tour in 1936. The duchess later gave the estate to the Society of Jesus.[2] Inisfada was used as The St. Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House before being sold and demolished controversially in 2013.[3]

Nicholas Brady is buried in a crypt beneath an altar in the main chapel at the Jesuit Novitiate, St. Isaac Jogues, at Wernersville, Pennsylvania, an institution to which he donated more than $2 million. Genevieve Brady remarried to the Irish Free State Minister to the Vatican, William J. Babington Macaulay. The papal duchess died in Rome in 1938 and her body was returned to the United States and buried beside Nicholas'. In the Church of St. Patrick in Rome a large plaque honors her life and contributions to the Catholic Church both in Rome and America. The Stations of the Cross in the church were presented to it by her second husband and are considered among the finest in design and craftsmanship in Rome.[4]


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