William E. Dodge Jr.

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William E. Dodge Jr.
Born (1832-02-15)February 15, 1832
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died August 9, 1903(1903-08-09) (aged 71)
Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S.
Occupation Businessperson
Spouse(s) Sarah Hoadley

Grace Hoadley Dodge (1856–1914);
Wm. Earl Dodge, III (1858–1886);
Cleveland Hoadley Dodge (1860–1926);
Mary Melissa Hoadley Dodge (1861–1934);
Alice Clinton Hoadley Dodge (1865–1948);

Morris Jesup Dodge (1867–1875).
Parent(s) William E. Dodge and Melissa Phelps

William Earl Dodge Jr. (February 15, 1832 – August 9, 1903) was an American businessperson and philanthropist. For many years, he was one of two controlling partners in the Phelps Dodge Corporation, one of the largest copper mining corporations in the United States.

Early life[edit]

Dodge was born in New York City on February 15, 1832, the eldest son of William E. Dodge Sr. Dodge Sr. was a co-founder with his father-in-law, Anson Greene Phelps of the import firm of Phelps Dodge.[1]

He married Sarah Hoadley, daughter of David Hoadley, president of the Panama Railroad Company, in 1854.[1] The couple had six children: Grace Hoadley Dodge (1856–1914); Wm. Earl Dodge, III (1858–1886); Cleveland Hoadley Dodge (1860–1926); Mary Melissa Hoadley Dodge (1861–1934); Alice Clinton Hoadley Dodge (1865–1948); Morris Jesup Dodge (1867–1875).[1][2][3][4] Cleveland followed his father into the family business and founded the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation in 1917.[1][5] Grace later co-founded Teacher's College and was the first woman to sit on the New York City Board of Education.[1]

He was very active during the Civil War, becoming a member of the Union League Club and an advisor to the Women's Central Association of Relief.[1] His service on a commission of the State of New York to supervise the conditions of New York State troops in the field led the New York Legislature to pass a resolution honoring him for his work.[1]

In 1863,[6] Dodge built Greyston, a gambrel-roofed Gothic Revival mansion of granite designed by James Renwick Jr., in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City.[7] With Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, and Ingleside, Dobbs Ferry, it is one of only three mid-nineteenth century survivors along the intensely redeveloped lower Hudson.[8] His Dodge heirs donated it in 1961 as a conference center for Teachers College, Columbia University, who used it until the 1970s, then sold it to Zen Buddhist Community, who sold it again.[9]

Work career[edit]

He began working for the Phelps Dodge Corporation, and in 1864 was named a Partner in the firm.[1][10]

Dodge and his cousin, Daniel Willis James, transformed the Phelps Dodge company from a placid and profitable import business into one of the world's largest and wealthiest mining corporations. The Phelps Dodge company had decided to enter the mining industry, and hired professor of chemistry James Douglas to make an inspection of mining claims in the Southwestern United States. Douglas suggested that the two men invest in the Detroit Copper Mining Company of Arizona, which owned a copper mining claim in Warren, Arizona.[11] In 1881, Phelps Dodge not only took a controlling interest in the Detroit Copper Mining Company but also purchased a minority interest in the adjoining Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona.[11][12] After the Copper Queen and Detroit Copper both struck the Atlanta lode[13] in 1884, Phelps Dodge bought out the remaining interest in the Copper Queen. The company merged its various mining interests into the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company in 1885, and installed Douglas as president and part-owner.[10][11][12] With production in the Bisbee expanding, Dodge and his business partners formed the Arizona and South Eastern Railroad (later more widely known as the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad) in 1888.[10][12] In time, Dodge sat on the board of directors of a number of mining, railroad, real estate, water, and other companies, and Phelps Dodge was on its way to becoming one of the largest mining companies in the world.[10][11][12]

Dodge had other interests outside of Phelps Dodge, too. He was a leader of the Ansonia Clock Company, American Brass Company, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, Lackawanna Steel Company, Morningside Realty Company, United Globe Mines, and the New York Life Insurance Company.[1] He was vice president of the New York Chamber of Commerce at the time of his death.[1]

Philanthropic work[edit]

A Presbyterian, Dodge was president of the American branch of the Evangelical Alliance and the National Temperance Society (as his father was before him), and vice-president of the American Sunday School Union.[1] He was active in the New York City chapter of the Young Men's Christian Association, and led the efforts to build the chapter's first and second buildings.[1]

He was chairman of the National Arbitration Committee, and helped raised funds for and guide the Metropolitan Museum of Art (he was chairman of the Executive Committee), the American Museum of Natural History (he was vice-president for a time), and the New York Botanical Garden[1]

He was a member of the Linnean Society, American Historical Association, New York Academy of Sciences, American Fine Arts Society, New York Geographical Society, New-York Historical Society, the New England Society of New York, the Century Association, and the National Academy of Design.[1]


William E. Dodge Jr. died of heart failure on August 9, 1903, at his home in Bar Harbor, Maine.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "William E. Dodge Dead. Had Been in Poor Health, but Condition Caused No Alarm. Heart Disease the Cause of Death. Many and Varied Activities of His Long Career". New York Times. August 10, 1903. Retrieved 2011-03-15. William E. Dodge of New York died this afternoon at 5 o'clock at Stanwood, his Summer home here. Mr. Dodge had been in poor health for several months. He was a member of the New York metal house of Phelps, Dodge Co., and was seventy-one years of age. 
  2. ^ Dodge, Phyllis B. (1987). Tales of the Phelps-Dodge Family. New York: New York Historical Society. p. Inside cover-family chart. 
  3. ^ "Miss Dodge Left $6,977,747 Estate". New York Times. December 31, 1915. Retrieved 2011-03-15. Miss Grace Hoadley Dodge, noted for her philanthropic activities in New York, left a net estate of $6,977,747 when she died on Dec. 27, 1914, according to the appraisal filed in the office of the State Controller yesterday by Transfer Tax Appraiser Kopp. More than $1,500,000 was bequeathed directly to religious, charitable, and educational institutions. 
  4. ^ "Miss Dodge acquires Warwick House", New York Times, 9 Oct 1907
  5. ^ History of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation.
  6. ^ 1863 is the date of the design, according to John Zukowsky, "Castles on the Hudson" Winterthur Portfolio 14.1 (Spring 1979:73–92, ) pp 79–81, illus. fig. 11, showing the later addition above the deep verandah. The house was completed in 1864, a date often cited.
  7. ^ Ultan, Lloyd and Hermalyn, Gary. The Birth of the Bronx: 1609–1900. New York: Bronx County Historical Society, 2000. ISBN 0-941980-38-3.
  8. ^ Zukowsky 1979:79–80.
  9. ^ "A Renwick Design; Gothic Revival In Riverdale". New York Times. June 28, 1978. Retrieved 2011-03-15. The current owner and occupant is the Zen Buddhist Community, a religious group whose president is Bernard Glassman. But the house was originally built as a summer retreat for William E. Dodge Jr., a merchant and philanthropist whose family helped found Columbia University's Teachers College late in the 19th century. 
  10. ^ a b c d Beach, Frederick Converse and Rines, George Edwin. The Americana: A Universal Reference Library. New York: The Americana Co., 1911.
  11. ^ a b c d Cleland, Robert Glass. A History of Phelps Dodge: 1834–1950. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1952.
  12. ^ a b c d Whitten, David O.; Whitten, Bessie Emrick; and Sisaye, Seleshi. The Birth of Big Business in the United States, 1860–1914: Commercial, Extractive, and Industrial Enterprise. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. ISBN 0-313-32395-X
  13. ^ "Phelps Dodge Corporation." In International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 75. Jay P. Pederson, ed. Florence, Ky.: St. James Press, 2006. ISBN 1-55862-579-8
  14. ^ Dodge, Phyllis (1987). Tales of the Phelps-Dodge Family. New York Historical Society. p. Inside front cover.