Henry Herman Harjes

Henry Herman Harjes (20 February 1875 – 20 August 1926) was a French born American polo player and banker with Morgan, Harjes & Co.

Henry Herman Harjes
Born(1875-02-20)20 February 1875
Died20 August 1926(1926-08-20) (aged 51)
Deauville, France
EmployerMorgan, Harjes & Co.
Marie Robertina Graves
(m. 1897; died 1905)

Frederica Vesta Berwind Gilpin
(m. 1911; his death 1926)
Parent(s)John Henry Harjes
Amelia Hessenbruch Harjes
AwardsCroix de Guerre

Early lifeEdit

Portrait of his father, John H. Harjes, by Fedor Encke, 1903

Harjes was born on 20 February 1875 in Paris, France. He was a son of John Henry Harjes (1829–1914)[1][2] and Amelia (née Hessenbruch) Harjes (1841–1934).[3] Among his siblings was Louise Rosalie Harjes (wife of Charles Messenger Moore), Amelia Mae Harjes, John Henry Harjes Jr., Margaretha "Nelly" Harjes (wife of jeweler Jacques Cartier).[4]

His maternal grandparents were Theophilus Hessenbruch and Bertha (née Everts) Hessenbruch.[5][6]

He was educated by private tutors in England and America before beginning his career as a clerk in the office of J.P. Morgan & Co. in 1896.[7]


Photograph of the Harjes Hospital Corps in France, c. 1917–1918

Harjes was a prominent banker who became the senior partner of Morgan, Harjes & Co. of Paris, which was founded as Drexel, Harjes & Co. by his father John Harjes in 1868, after he moved to Paris from Philadelphia in 1854.[8] Harjes and his father, who was born in Switzerland but later became an American citizen,[1] were among the founders in 1906 of the American Hospital of Paris.[9] The younger Harjes inherited management of the firm in 1909,[10] following his father's retirement.[11] Upon his father's death in 1914, Harjes was one of three executors (along with his mother and Edward T. Stotesbury) of his father's multi-million dollar estate.[12]

During World War I, he played a significant role behind the scenes by negotiating sizeable loans for the Allies.[10] In time, the Morgan Bank system became the exclusive purchasing agents in the U.S. for the Allies.[13] During the War, he served as head of the American Relief Clearing House which was responsible for channeling American contributions to France, and from 1914 to 1917, he was the chief representative of the American Red Cross in France. He founded the Harjes Formation, a volunteer ambulance driver group,[14] which merged with Richard Norton's American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps to become known as the Norton-Harjes.[8]

When relief efforts were militarized in July 1917,[15] Harjes stepped down, enlisted with the Americans as a Lieutenant colonel and served as chief liaison officer for the American Expeditionary Forces with the French High Command.[16] He was wounded in action in August 1918. For his efforts during the War, France awarded him the Croix de Guerre, and the United States and other allied countries conferred decorations on the Colonel.[7]

Polo careerEdit

Reportedly, Harjes introduced polo to France.[17] Suffering from a stiff leg as a result of a war injury, Harjes decided to stop playing polo altogether, but was killed in a polo accident in 1926, during his last game that was to conclude his polo career.[7] At the time, he was playing with Lord Montbatten and Duke Peneranda.[7]

Among the principal polo players of his time, "the unanimous opinion was that Mr. Harje's death was due to his refusal to spend money extravagantly on his ponies. Whereas such other players as Baron Robert de Rothschild, M. Peneranda and M. Martinez de Hoz all kept eight ponies, for which they were willing to pay as high as $5,000 or $6,000 apiece, Mr. Harjes kept only five of mediocre quality."[17]

Personal lifeEdit

Château d'Abondant, the Harjes home near Paris.

On 20 October 1897, Harjes was married to heiress Marie Robertina Graves (1873–1905) at "My Fancy", the country home of Malcolm Webster Ford in Babylon on Long Island.[18] Ford was married to Marie's sister, the former Janet Wilhelmina Graves.[19] She was a daughter of Robert Graves and Cesarine (née Barbey) Graves. Together, they were the parents of two daughters:[20]

  • Hope Dorothy Harjes (1898–1923), who died in a riding accident.[21]
  • Cesarine Amelia Marie Harjes (1899–1949), who married banker Ralph Wormely Curtis (1908–1973), a son of Ralph Wormeley Curtis, in 1930.[22]

After the death of his first wife in Carlsbad, New Mexico from tuberculosis in 1905, he remarried several years later to Frederica Vesta (née Berwind) Gilpin (1884–1954) on 20 February 1911 at the church in the Rue de Berri.[23][24] Frederica, who was divorced from Charles Gilpin III in January 1911,[25][26] was a daughter of Charles Frederick Berwind (brother of Edward Julius Berwind and Julia Berwind) and Anita (née Hickman) Berwind.[27] Two of her sisters Edith, Baroness von Kleist, and Fanny, Countess von Montgelas, married into the German aristocracy.[28] Together, Frederica and Henry lived at 49 rue de la Faisanderie in Paris (which won the Concours de façades de la ville de Paris in 1905 and was designed by Danish architect Hans-Georg Tersling) were the parents of:[7]

In 1920, he acquired from the Duke de Vallombrosa the Château d'Abondant, a four story château set on 200 acres of landscaped grounds outside of Paris.[37] The Château d'Abondant was designed by architect Jean Mansart de Jouy and was among a trio of châteaus located near Dreux, in the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France, including Château d'Anet and Château Saint-Georges Motel (owned by Consuelo Vanderbilt).[38] near Paris.[33] His son Henry sold the Château in 1937 to Baron Jules de Koenigswarter of Paris and his wife, the former Pannonica Rothschild.[39]

Harjes died on 20 August 1926 in Deauville.[7] After an elaborate funeral officiated by The Very Reverend Frederick W. Beekman, which was attended by J.P. Morgan, Dwight Morrow, Benjamin Strong, S. Parker Gilbert, General John J. Pershing and John Grier Hibben, he was buried at Versailles.[40] He left his entire estate to his wife and three children, with his wife and John Ridgeley Carter as co-executors.[41]

Ten years after his death, his wife remarried to Seton Porter (in 1936),[42] and lived at 834 Fifth Avenue in New York City. She died in Newport, Rhode Island in June 1954.[43]


  1. ^ a b Times, Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph To the New York (16 February 1914). "J. H. HARJES DIES IN FRANCE.; Paris Partner of Morgan Had Been III for Several Weeks" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  2. ^ Times, Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph To the New York (20 February 1914). "Funeral of John H. Harjes" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  3. ^ "MRS. JOHN H. HARJES; Widow of Morgan Firm. Partner Dies in Paris at 93" (PDF). The New York Times. 10 July 1934. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  4. ^ "MRS. GARDINER PARIS BRIDE.; Daughter of John H. Harjes Married to Jacques Cartier -- Two Ceremonies" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 December 1912. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  5. ^ Waits, Robert K. (2013). Before Gillette: The Quest for a Safe Razor - Inventors and Patents 1762-1901. Lulu Press, Inc. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-257-21602-4. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  6. ^ Philadelphia Directory for ... containing the names of the inhabitants, their occupations, places of business, and dwelling houses: Ab ed. 26 m. d. Tit. : McElroy's Philadelphia city directory. Biddle. 1863. p. 346. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (22 August 1926). "H.H. HARJES DIES FROM POLO INJURY; Head of Morgan Banking Firm in Paris Was Thrown From Horse at Deauville. UNCONSCIOUS UNTIL DEATH Banker Won Croix de Guerre in World War and Was a Leader in Finance" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b Renehan Jr, Edward J. (1999). The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War. Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-19-802927-4. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  9. ^ Ingalls, David S. (2013). Hero of the Angry Sky: The World War I Diary and Letters of David S. Ingalls, America's First Naval Ace. Ohio University Press. ISBN 978-0-8214-4438-2. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  10. ^ a b Dawes, Charles Gates (2016). A Journal of the Great War. Lulu.com. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-9906574-1-5. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  11. ^ "JOHN H. HARJES RETIRES; Partner in Morgan, Harjes & Co. in Paris 63 Years in Business" (PDF). The New York Times. 5 January 1909. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  12. ^ Times, Special to The New York (11 September 1914). "HARJES WILL PROBATED.; Banker's Great Fortune Goes to His Immediate Family" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  13. ^ Horn, Martin (2002). Britain, France, and the Financing of the First World War. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. ISBN 978-0-7735-2293-0. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  14. ^ Hansen, Arlen J.; Hansen, L. Sunny (1996). Gentlemen Volunteers: The Story of the American Ambulance Drivers in the Great War, August 1914-September 1918. Arcade Publishing. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-55970-313-0. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  15. ^ "RESIGNS RED CROSS POST.; H.H. Harjes Relinquishes Direction of the Society in France" (PDF). The New York Times. 25 September 1917. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  16. ^ Division (Army), United States Historical (1948). The United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919. p. 214. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  17. ^ a b TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (23 August 1926). "POLO MATES MOURN FOR HERMAN HARJES; Flag Is at Half-Mast on Deauville Course as Body Is Taken to Paris" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Graves -- Harjes" (PDF). The New York Times. 21 October 1897. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  19. ^ Town Topics, the Journal of Society. Town Topics Publishing Company. 1893. p. 8. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  20. ^ Times, Special to The New York (1 June 1905). "MRS. HARJES DEAD; Wife of J. P. Morgan's Paris Partner a Victim of Consumption" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  21. ^ TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (5 January 1923). "Hope Harjes, Daughter of Morgan Partner, Is Killed in France While Hunting" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  22. ^ TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (24 January 1930). "MISS MARIE HARJES WED TO R.W. CURTIS; Daughter of Late Partner of J.P. Morgan in French Firm Married in Paris Cathedral" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  23. ^ TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (12 February 1911). "TO MARRY M. HARJES; Announcement Made of Mrs. Berwind Gilpin's Engagement to Him" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  24. ^ "MRS. GILPIN WEDS MR. HARJES IN PARIS; Only Members of the Two Families and Official Witnesses at the Church Ceremony" (PDF). The New York Times. 21 February 1911. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  25. ^ Times, Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph To the New York (28 August 1910). "MR. HARJES MAY REMARRY.; Paris Banker's Name Is Coupled with That of Mrs. F. Berwind Gilpln" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  26. ^ "DIVORCE FOR MRS. GILPIN; Rich New York Woman Now in Europe Wins Suit in Philadelphia" (PDF). The New York Times. 24 January 1911. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  27. ^ Group, Berwind; Berwind, Charles Graham (1993). The History of Berwind, 1886-1993. Berwind Group. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  28. ^ "FORMER AMERICAN WOMEN, NOW WIVES OF GERMAN NOBLEMEN, RETURN TO AMERICA". Morning Press. Vol. 48, no. 126. 25 January 1920. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Stricken in Street, C. B. Harjes, 48, Dies" (PDF). The New York Times. 20 March 1952. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  30. ^ "BETTY SCHUSTER WED IN ST. THOMAS; Married to Charles Berwind Harjes, Son of the Late Banker of Paris. BROTHER ESCORTS BRIDE Mrs. John A. McVickar Jr. Acts as Matron of Honor and Mr. McVickar is Best Man" (PDF). The New York Times. 18 April 1935. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  31. ^ "Wedding Invitation for Henry Herman Harjes and Joan Blake". www.newportalri.org. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  32. ^ "Milestones, Oct. 1, 1934". Time. 1 October 1934. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  33. ^ a b "JOAN BLAKE BRIDE OF HENRY H. HARJES; Colorful Ceremony in Church of Heavenly Rest Unites Prominent Families. CHANCEL MASS OF BLOOMS Katherine Blake Maid of Honor other Attendahts Include Mrs. John Jacob Astor" (PDF). The New York Times. 20 September 1934. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  34. ^ TIMES, Special to THE NEW YORK (29 April 1947). "MRS. HARJES GETS DECREE; Former Joan Blake of This City Charged Cruelty" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Tauni De Lesseps Wed to Henry H. Harjes" (PDF). The New York Times. 14 June 1947. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  36. ^ "John F. Harjes, 58, Banking Family Heir" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 April 1972. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  37. ^ "Château d'Abondant, Eure-et-Loir, France". family.rothschildarchive.org. The Rothschild Archive. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  38. ^ Birkhead, May (26 January 1930). "OLD TALES CLING TO HARJES CHATEAU; This American-Owned Building Is One of an Historic Trio in the French Riviera. MME. WALSKA ENTERTAINS Opera Star Introduces Spanish Singer Who Has Won High Praise From Paris Musicians" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  39. ^ "HISTORIC CHATEAU FIGURES IN SALE; Abondant, Famous Seigneurie Near Paris, Dates Back More Than 300 Years" (PDF). The New York Times. 19 September 1937. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  40. ^ "FRANCE PAYS HONOR AT HARJES FUNERAL; President, Premier and Army Are Represented at Rites for American Banker. FINANCIAL WORLD MOURNS. Morgan, Morrow, Strong and Gilbert Attend, Also President Hibben and General Pershing" (PDF). The New York Times. 25 August 1926. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  41. ^ "HARJES ESTATE TO FAMILY; Paris Banker Left Property to Wife and Three Children" (PDF). The New York Times. 6 March 1927. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  42. ^ "SETON PORTER DIES; LIQUOR EXECUTIVE; National Distillers Chairman, One of Its Founders, Was Director of Fox Films" (PDF). The New York Times. 7 February 1953. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  43. ^ Times, Special to The New York (14 June 1954). "MRS. PORTER, AIDED FRANCE IN 2 WARS; Organizer of Hospital at the Front in 1914 Dies---Set Up Relief Groups Here" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.

External linksEdit