1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Morgan, John Pierpont

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MORGAN, JOHN PIERPONT (1837-1913), American financier and banker (see 18.834), died in Rome March 31 1913. In Jan. 1913 he sailed from New York for Egypt, where he became seriously ill. He was carried to Italy but never recovered. His will provided that after the distribution of enumerated bequests amounting to about $17,000,000, chiefly to his family, the residue of his estate should pass to his son, John Pierpont Morgan, Jun. (see below). In 1916 the estate was finally appraised at $69,499,732. He left only some $700,000 to charities; but while living he had been a generous giver, and in his will suggested that his son continue certain accustomed annual contributions. His works of art and books were left to his son without restrictions, although in his will he said, “It has been my desire and intention to make some suitable disposition of them or of such portion of them as I might determine, which would render them permanently available for the instruction and pleasure of the American people.” In the summer of 1913 most of the art collection was placed as a loan exhibit in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Later some items, mostly replaceable, were sold. The remainder, consisting of over 3,000 pieces, was presented to the museum by the son in Dec. 1917, and a new wing was added to the building to house them permanently (opened June 1918). This collection covers all periods and includes matchless bronzes, enamels, porcelains and tapestries. The library, retained by the son, was appraised at $7,500,000. It consisted of more than 20,000 volumes of illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, examples from famous presses and association copies.

His son, John Pierpont Morgan (1867-), American financier, was born at Irvington, N.Y., Sept. 7 1867. On graduating from Harvard in 1889 he entered the banking house of Morgan, Grenfell & Co. (the London branch of J. P. Morgan & Co.) and 12 years later joined his father in New York. When Congress in 1902 authorized the President to purchase the rights of the old Panama Canal Co. for $40,000,000 in gold, Mr. Morgan arranged for the payment (1904). On the death of his father in 1913 he inherited the greater part of his estate and became the head of the firm. On the outbreak of the World War he arranged the first credit, $12,000,000 for Russia. In 1915 his firm was appointed agent in the U.S. for the British Government; and until after America entered the war, was also purchasing agent, receiving a commission of 1% on all purchases. In April his firm provided a loan of $50,000,000 for the French Government; in Sept. it organized a syndicate for floating the Anglo-French loan of $500,000,000 and followed this with other large loans, especially for the British Government. In July he was shot, but not dangerously wounded, in his home by a crazed German sympathizer, who declared that he was trying to force Mr. Morgan to bring about an embargo on arms. From 1914 to 1919 he was a member of the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. 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 Nov. of the same year he was made a director of the Foreign Finance Corp., organized to engage in the investment of funds chiefly in foreign enterprises. In May 1920 President Wilson transmitted to Congress a letter written long before, in which Mr. Morgan offered to give his London home as headquarters of the American embassy there; but it was not until 1921 that Congress accepted the gift. 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.