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Lovett, Robert Abercrombielocked

(14 September 1895–07 May 1986)
  • Gary B. Ostrower

Extract

Lovett, Robert Abercrombie (14 September 1895–07 May 1986), under secretary of state and secretary of defense, was born in Huntsville, Texas, the son of Robert Scott Lovett, a lawyer, and Lavinia Chilton Abercrombie. Lovett’s father, who represented the E. H. Harriman railroad interests in Texas, became chief counsel and then president of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. In 1909 the family moved to New York City, where Robert enjoyed the fruits of wealth and social standing. He entered Yale in 1914 and received his B.A. in 1918. After service as a navy pilot during World War I, he briefly studied law and business administration at Harvard. After his discharge from the navy in 1919, in April of that year he married Adele Brown, daughter of a senior partner in Brown Brothers, one of Wall Street’s most prestigious firms. They would have two children. Two years later he joined that firm as a “runner.” Owing to his intelligence, loyalty, preparedness, and willingness to take risks, he would likely have risen quickly even without his family connections. Within just five years, he was appointed a partner. In 1931 he merged his firm with the E. H. Harriman banking company, for whom his father had once overseen sizable financial interests in Texas....

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