Anthony Joseph Drexel Sr. (September 13, 1826 – June 30, 1893) was an American banker who played a major role in the rise of modern global finance after the American Civil War. As the dominant partner of Drexel & Co. of Philadelphia, he founded Drexel, Morgan & Co (later J.P. Morgan & Co.) in New York in 1871 with J. P. Morgan as his junior partner. He also founded Drexel University in 1891, with its main campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2][3] He was also the first president of the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art), the nation's first private organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning.[4]

Anthony Joseph Drexel
Born(1826-09-13)September 13, 1826
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJune 30, 1893(1893-06-30) (aged 66)
SpouseEllen B. Rozet
Parent(s)Francis Martin Drexel
Catherine Hookey
RelativesFrancis Anthony Drexel (brother)
Joseph William Drexel (brother)
St. Katharine Drexel (niece)
Elizabeth Wharton Drexel (niece)
Anthony Drexel Biddle Sr. (grandson)
Anthony Drexel Biddle Jr. (great-grandson)
Official nameAnthony J. Drexel (1826–1893)
CriteriaBusiness & Industry, Education, Entrepreneurs, Railroads
DesignatedApril 2005[1]
Location48 S Third Street, Philadelphia
39°56′56″N 75°08′45″W / 39.94899°N 75.14581°W / 39.94899; -75.14581

Early life edit

Anthony J. Drexel's statue at Drexel University

Drexel was born in 1826 in Philadelphia to Francis Martin Drexel (1792–1863) and Catherine Hookey (1795–1870). He was the brother of Francis Anthony Drexel, and Joseph William Drexel. He was the uncle of Saint Katharine Drexel. Anthony Joseph Drexel was raised a Roman Catholic, but he joined the Episcopal Church later.[5]

Career edit

At the age of 13 he began to work in the banking house founded three years earlier by his father, the Austrian-born American banker Francis Martin Drexel.[6] In 1847 he was named a member of the firm Drexel & Company, the original predecessor of what would become Drexel Burnham Lambert.[6]

After the death of his father in 1863, Drexel closed the bank's Chicago and San Francisco offices and changed the name of its New York branch from Read, Drexel & Co. to Drexel Winthrop. In 1867 he founded a separate Paris-based banking partnership, Drexel, Harjes & Co., with John H. Harjes and Eugene Winthrop.[6]

Three years later, in 1871, at the urging of Junius Spencer Morgan in London, Drexel became the mentor of Junius's troubled son, John Pierpont Morgan of New York, and entered into a new partnership with young Morgan, forming Drexel, Morgan & Co.[2] This new merchant banking partnership, which was based in New York, rather than Philadelphia, served initially as an agent for Europeans investing in the United States. Over the next generation, this partnership assumed the leading role in financing America's railroads and stabilizing and revitalizing Wall Street's chaotic securities markets. The firm created a national capital market for industrial companies— a market that had previously existed only for railroads and canals. To restore investor confidence, Drexel, Morgan & Co. underwrote the pay of the entire U.S. Army when Congress refused to do so in 1877, bailed out the U.S. government during the Panic of 1895 and rescued the New York Stock Exchange during the Panic of 1907.[2] With the formation of Drexel, Morgan & Co., Drexel Harjes became the French affiliate of an international banking firm with offices in London, Philadelphia, New York City and Paris that would subsequently become J.P. Morgan & Co.

Two years after Drexel's death in 1893, Drexel, Morgan & Co. was renamed J.P. Morgan & Co., one of the original predecessors of what is today JPMorgan Chase. In 1901, the bank financed the formation of the United States Steel Corporation, the world's first billion-dollar corporation, which took over the business of Andrew Carnegie and other companies.

Personal life edit

Drexel married Ellen B. Rozet (1832–1891), the daughter of John Roset (1794–1870) and Mary Ann Laning (1807–1880) in 1850 in a service officiated by Dutch Reformed clergyman Rev. John D. Ludlow, father-in-law of the bride's sister.[7] Although raised a Roman Catholic, Drexel subsequently converted to his wife's Episcopalian faith. He and his family were members of the Church of the Saviour, now Philadelphia Cathedral, where Drexel served first as a vestryman, and later as warden. Murals located in the apse of the church honor his memory.[8]

The Drexels had the following children:

  • Emilie Taylor Drexel (1851–1883), who married Edward Biddle III (born 1851)
  • Frances Katherine Drexel (1852–1892), who married James William Paul Jr.
  • Marie Rozet Drexel (1854–1855), who died young.
  • Mae E. Drexel (1857–1886), who married Charles T. Stewart
  • Sarah Rozet "Sallie" Drexel (1860–1929), who married John R. Fell Sr. (1858–1895), and after his death married Alexander Van Rensselaer (1850–1933)[9]
  • Francis Anthony Drexel II (1861–1869), who died young.
  • John Rozet Drexel (1863–1935), who married Alice Gordon Troth (1865–1947)
  • Anthony Joseph Drexel Jr. (1864–1934), who married Margarita Armstrong (1867–1948).[10] They divorced in 1917 and in 1918, she married Brinsley FitzGerald (1859–1931)
  • George William Childs Drexel (1868–1944), who married Mary Stretch Irick (1868–1948).
Historical marker commemorating Drexel in Old City, Philadelphia.

Upon the death of his sister-in-law, Hannah Jane Langstroth Drexel, in 1858, Anthony and Ellen cared for his nieces, three-year-old Elizabeth and five-week-old Katherine for the next two years. When his older brother Francis married Emma Bouvier in 1860, Francis brought his two daughters home.[11]

Anthony was also the grandfather of Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle Sr. (1874–1948)[12] and the great-grandfather of Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle Jr. (1897–1961), the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Norway.[13]

Drexel died of a heart attack on June 30, 1893, in Karlsbad (in the German-speaking part of Bohemia, Austrian Empire), today Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, at the age of 66, and was buried in Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia.[14]

References edit

  1. ^ "Pennsylvania Historical Marker Search". PHMC. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Rottenberg (2001).
  3. ^ "Anthony Joseph Drexel | American banker". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  4. ^ White, Theo B. (1975). Fairmount: Philadelphia's Park. Philadelphia, PA: The Art Alliance Press. p. 94. ISBN 0879820152.
  5. ^ F. Rzeznik, Thomas (2013). Church and Estate: Religion and Wealth in Industrial-Era Philadelphia. Penn State Press. p. 126. ISBN 9780271063256.
  6. ^ a b c McDonald, Edward D.; Edward M. Hinton (1942). Drexel Institute of Technology 1891–1941. Haddon Craftsmen, Inc. pp. 4–5. ISBN 1-4067-6374-8.
  7. ^ Rottenberg, Dan. The Man Who Made Wall Street: Anthony J. Drexel and the Rise of Modern Finance, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006, p. 46 ISBN 9780812219661
  8. ^ "Anthony J. Drexel", West Philadelphia Collaborative History
  9. ^ Times, Special To The Now York (19 July 1933). "A.VAN RENSSELAER, ARTS PATRON, DEAD | Philadelphia Philanthropist and Sportsman Succumbs to Long Illness at 82. | PRINCETON LIFE TRUSTEE | President of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association From 1901 Till Recently". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  10. ^ "MRS. BRINSLEY FITZGERALD". The New York Times. February 13, 1948. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  11. ^ Larkin, Tara Elizabeth. "Drexel, St. Katharine Mary", Pennsylvania State University, Fall, 2006 Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "The Theater: New Plays in Manhattan". Time magazine. December 3, 1956. Archived from the original on February 8, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  13. ^ "Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Dead. Ambassador to Spain Was 64. Envoy and Officer in World War II. Tributes Paid by Kennedy and Eisenhower". The New York Times. November 14, 1961. Retrieved April 10, 2010. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, ambassador to Spain and for many years one of this country's most distinguished diplomats, died today at Walter Reed Army ...
  14. ^ "Anthony J. Drexel is Dead". The New York Times. July 1, 1893. Retrieved 2008-12-23. News of His Death Sent by Cable from Carlsbad. He Went There in Poor Health to Spend the Summer. Last of the Sons of the Founder of His House. Known All Over the World as a Financier. A Philanthropist as Well. Connected with Many Gigantic Transactions.

Further reading edit

External links edit