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Henry Clews (August 14, 1834 – January 31, 1923) was a British-American financier and author.

Henry Clews
Henry Clews in 1913 cropped.png
Clews in 1913
BornAugust 14, 1834
DiedJanuary 31, 1923(1923-01-31) (aged 88)
Lucy Madison Worthington
(m. 1874; his death 1923)
ChildrenElsie, Henry, Jr., Robert
Parent(s)James Clews
Elizabeth Kendrick Clews

Early lifeEdit

Clews was born on August 14, 1834 in Staffordshire, England.[1] He was the youngest of four sons born to Elizabeth "Bessie" (née Kendrick) Clews and James Clews, a prosperous manufacturer of Staffordshire ware.[2]

At age 14, while in training for the Anglican Church, Clews traveled to New York City where he "began to perceive the possibilities that presented themselves to a young man."[3]


Shortly thereafter, Clews emigrated to the United States in 1853. His first job was at a pottery import business, working as a junior clerk for Wilson G. Hunt & Company. He organized the firm of Stout, Clews & Mason and eventually brought his brother James Clews over from England to help him manage a branch of the brokerage firm.[3] In 1859, he co-founded Livermore, Clews, and Company, what was then the second largest marketer of federal bonds during the United States Civil War.[4]

In 1877, he split away and started Henry Clews & Company, a member of the New York Stock Exchange,[5][6] which made him enormously wealthy.[7] In an 1886 article in The New York Times, his firm was referred to thusly:

"They have called together a staff of assistants who for ability and character are unsurpassed, and from the senior member down to the lowest clerk they are one and all actuated by the same idea, and are untiring in their efforts to further the interest of the patrons and also that of the firm itself. The value of this co-operation on the part of employes will be readily understood when it is taken into consideration that the present business of this firm aggregates thousands of millions of dollars annually, including a general banking business and the execution of orders on the New-York Stock Exchange, New-York Produce Exchange, New-York Petroleum Exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade, with all of which concerns this house is connected by membership, but which also necessitates the employment of a large number of brokers to aid them in their large commission business."[7]

In politics, Clews was a Republican and organized the "Committee of 70," which deposed the corrupt ring associated with William M. Tweed in New York City. He was a friend of President Abraham Lincoln and served as an economic consultant to President Ulysses Grant.[3] Clews, in regards to Grant & Ward, Grant's brokerage firm with Ferdinand Ward, was quoted as saying "It is marvelous how the idea of large profits when presented to the mind in a plausible light has the effect of stifling suspicion."[8]

Towards the end of his life he wrote one of the most famous classics about life on Wall Street entitled "Fifty Years in Wall Street".[9]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1874, Clews was married to Lexington, Kentucky born heiress Lucy Madison Worthington (1851–1945).[10] Lucy, a daughter of William Hord Worthington and Anna (née Tomlinson) Worthington, was a second cousin of U.S. President James Madison[11] and American Revolutionary War brigadier general Andrew Lewis. Together, they were the parents of three children, two of whom lived to adulthood:

Clews died of bronchitis in New York City, New York on January 31, 1923.[1][17] He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. His widow died, at the age of 93, at her home, 15 East 69th Street in New York on May 19, 1945.[10]


Through his son Henry, he was the grandfather of Henry Clews III (1903–1983); Louise Hollingsworth Morris Clews (1904–1970), who married Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll and became the Duchess of Argyll;[18] and Mancha Madison Clews (1915–2006), an electrical engineer.[19]

Published worksEdit


  1. ^ a b Ingham, John N. "Clews, Henry." 'Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders, Volume 1'. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1983. p172. Digital Scans, 'Google Books' (Web). 7 July 2015.
  2. ^ Hare, Peter H. (1985). A Woman's Quest for Science: Portrait of Anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons. Prometheus Books. p. 23. ISBN 9780879752743. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Zumwalt, Rosemary Lévy; Abrahams, Roger D. (1992). Wealth and Rebellion: Elsie Clews Parsons, Anthropologist and Folklorist. University of Illinois Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780252019098. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  4. ^ "HENRY CLEWS & CO" (PDF). The New York Times. September 28, 1873. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  5. ^ "THE ARREST OF HENRY CLEWS" (PDF). The New York Times. March 20, 1877. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Marks His Half Century With Henry Clews & Co" (PDF). The New York Times. April 1, 1947. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b "THE GREAT BANKING HOUSE OF HENRY CLEWS & CO. | ITS MAGNITUDE AND SUCCESS" (PDF). The New York Times. January 1, 1886. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (13 May 2012). "'A Disposition to Be Rich' by Geoffrey C. Ward". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  9. ^ Clews, Henry. Fifty Years in Wall Street "Twenty-Eight Years in Wall Street," Revised and Enlarged by a Resume of the Past Twenty-Two Years, Making a Record of Fifty Years in Wall Street. New York: Irving Pub. Co, 1908.
  10. ^ a b "MRS. HENRY CLEWS IS DEAD HERE AT 93; Widow of Noted Broker Was a Founder of Colony Club-- Grandniece of Madison" (PDF). The New York Times. May 20, 1945. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Once upon a Time at LA Napoule: The Memoirs of Marie Clews" M. Clews, Publisher: Memoirs Unlimited; 1st edition (April 1998), ISBN 1889833037, ISBN 978-1889833033
  12. ^ "Miss Clews is Married". The New York Times. Newport, Massachusetts. 1900-09-02. p. 5. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  13. ^ "Henry Clews Jr. Marries Mrs Louise M. Gebhard" (PDF). The New York Times. 29 November 1901.
  14. ^ "GOELET DIVORCE UP TO-DAY. Petitions of Mrs. Robert Goelet and Mrs. Amos T. French Similar" (PDF). The New York Times. March 3, 1914. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  15. ^ "MRS. HENRY CLEWS OF ART MEMORIAL; Sculptor's Widow, Who Created Foundation to Aid U.S.-French Ties, Dead '" (PDF). The New York Times. April 16, 1959. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  16. ^ "MRS. ROBERT GOELET WEDS H. CLEWS, JR. Divorcees Are Married in Her Home a Few Hours After Obtaining License. A SURPRISE FOR FRIENDS Bridegroom, Son of Banker, Is an Artist, and Bride Studied Painting in His Newport Studio" (PDF). The New York Times. December 20, 1914. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Henry Clews Dies in His 89th Year. Notable Wall Street Figure for More Than Sixty Years Succumbs to Bronchitis". New York Times. February 1, 1923. Retrieved 2011-03-04. Henry Clews, the banker, died at his home, 27 West Fifty-first Street, yesterday after a long Illness. He had been in failing health for several months, and the direct cause of his death was chronic bronchitis. He was in his eighty-ninth year. ...
  18. ^ "Mrs. Louise C. Timpson Dead; Former Duchess of Argyll, 65". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  19. ^ Downey, Sally A. (August 23, 2010). "Margaret Strawbridge Clews, 91, artist and businesswoman". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 6 February 2019.

External linksEdit