1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schiff, Jacob Henry
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Schiff, Jacob Henry
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SCHIFF, JACOB HENRY (1847-1920), American banker and philanthropist, was born at Frankfort-on-Main, Germany, Jan. 10 1847. He was educated in the schools of Frankfort and for a time worked in a banking house. In 1865 he went to New York City and two years later organized there the brokerage firm of Budge, Schiff & Co., which was dissolved in 1873. In 1875 he married a daughter of Solomon Loeb, head of the banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., was taken into the firm and, on Loeb's retirement in 1885, succeeded to the leadership. Meanwhile, largely due to Schiff's energy, the firm had greatly expanded its business and had become known throughout the financial world. In 1897 his house took an active part in reorganizing the Union Pacific railway, which later secured control of the Southern Pacific, assisting E. H. Harriman in these transactions. In 1901 a struggle took place between Schiff and the Harriman interests on the one side and James J. Hill and J. P. Morgan on the other for possession of the Northern Pacific railway. The resulting compromise was the formation of the Northern Securities Co. as a holding company for their joint interests (see 27.733). After the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 Schiff introduced Japanese war loans in America and subsequently was decorated by the Mikado. In his later years he gave much personal attention to charities, especially for the Jewish people, and on his seventieth birthday distributed $700,000 among various charitable organizations and public institutions. He was a founder and president of the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids, New York City, and vice-president and trustee of the Baron de Hirsch Fund. In 1903 he presented a Semitic Museum to Harvard. He was vice-president of the N.Y. Chamber of Commerce and a director in many large corporations. He died in New York City Sept. 25 1920. His estate was estimated at about $50,000,000. He bequeathed $1,350,000 to various institutions, most of which had received benefactions during his life. The largest bequests were $500,000 to the Federation for the support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City and $300,000 to the Montefiore Home.