Eugene Higgins

Eugene Higgins (1860 – 1948) was the rich heir to a carpet-making business, known as a bon vivant, sportsman, and philanthropist. A bachelor, when he died in 1948, his estate went to establish the Higgins Trust, at that time, the eleventh largest of its kind in the USA.[1]

Eugene Higgins
Born(1860-01-14)January 14, 1860
DiedJuly 29, 1948(1948-07-29) (aged 88)
Alma materColumbia University
Net worth$40,111,999 (1953)
Parent(s)Elias Smith Higgins
Emma Louise Baldwin

BackgroundEdit

Eugene Higgins was born on January 14, 1860, in New York City. His parents were Elias Smith Higgins (1815–1889), a carpet manufacturer who made a fortune with "labor-saving devices," and Emma Louise Baldwin (1827–1890). In 1882, he graduated from Columbia University, where he was a classmate of future Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler.[1][2]

CareerEdit

Higgins never worked for a living, though he did maintain a private office at 50 Union Square East. In 1908, his steam yacht the Varuna wrecked off the Madeira Islands; he received a medal for saving lives of several guests aboard.

A sportsman, Higgins won the 1890 American fencing championship and was a proficient golfer, hunter, fisherman, and yachtsman.[1] He maintained a townhouse on Fifth Avenue in New York City and a country house in Morristown, New Jersey.[1]

In 1910, he ran into trouble with customers officials.[1] In 1932, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Higgins was "not entitled to deduct for Federal income purposes the expenses of managing his securities in 1932 and 1933."[3]

Personal life and deathEdit

Higgins was reputedly the "wealthiest bachelor in New York," ahead of George Washington Vanderbilt II, Mehmet Ali (brother of the Khedive of Egypt, Frank W. Riggs, and members of the Goelet family. He never married.[1]

Higgins died at age 90 on July 29, 1948, in Torquay, United Kingdom. He bequeathed $10,000 each to his brother-in-law Henry Mortimer Brooks (for his nephew, Reginald Brooks) and two nieces, "merely as a token of affection... knowing that they are all well and amply provided for."[1][2]

Higgins EstateEdit

In 1949, The United States Trust Company issued more than $18 million of "outstanding tax-exempt bonds" owned by Higgins' estate.[4] In 1952, his personal secretary asked for $150,000 in recognition of his extra duties as chess and yachting expert.[5] In 1953, the Higgins Estate was valued at more than $40 million (more than $385 million in 2019 dollars).[6]

Higgins TrustEdit

Eugene Higgins Scientific Trust (aka "Higgins Trust"), also known as the Eugene Higgins Science Fund, was founded upon his death.[2]

Eugene Higgins Scientific TrustEdit

In 1948, the trust donated $40 million to Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton.[2] In 1949, the trust gave another $600,000 to each of these universities for advanced scientific studies.[7] In 1951, the trust donated another $1 million, shared equally, to Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton universities.[8][9]

The funds from this trust endowed chairs at Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale universities.[10]

Eugene Higgins Charitable TrustEdit

In 1976, Eugene Higgins Charitable Trust was founded, now based in Providence, Rhode Island.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Eugene Higgins, Host to Society" (PDF). New York Times. 30 July 1948. p. 17. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "$40,000,000 Science Fund Willed to Four Universities". The New York Times. 21 August 1948. p. 1. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Loses on Securities Cost". The New York Times. 4 February 1941. p. 13. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Wide Bidding Seen for Higgins Bonds". The New York Times. 21 May 1949. p. 19. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Higgins' Secretary Sues His Estate". The New York Times. 3 January 1952. p. 23. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Net Higgins Estate Valued at $40,111,999". The New York Times. 15 July 1953. p. 13. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "$600,00 Allotted by Higgins Trust". New York Times. 22 July 1949. p. 32. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Higgins Trust". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 27 April 1951. p. 5. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Fund to Aid Universities". New York Times. 5 April 1951. p. 31. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ The papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, 20, p. 437
  11. ^ "Eugene Higgins Charitable Trust". ALMA Philanthropy Inc. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Eugene Higgins Charitable Trust". ProPublica. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Eugene Higgins Charitable Trust". Charity Navigator. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Eugene Higgins Charitable Trust". Foundation Center. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Eugene Higgins Charitable Trust". Guidstar. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "UW Eugene Higgins Charitable Trust". Bloomberg. Retrieved 12 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit