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Bache, Jules Semon (09 November 1861–24 March 1944), financier and art collector, was born in New York City, the son of Semon Bache, a merchant of glass and mirrors, and Elizabeth van Praag. Bache attended the Charlier Institute in New York City and supplemented his studies in Frankfurt, Germany. He worked for a few years in his father’s firm before beginning a financial career in the employ of his uncle Leopold Cahn. At the brokerage of Leopold Cahn & Company, Bache worked his way from cashier (1880) to treasurer (1881) to partner (1886). In 1892 he took over the firm, renaming it J. S. Bache & Company. Also in 1892 Bache married Florence Rosalee Scheftel, the daughter of a well-known New York City merchant; they had two children. Bache and his wife were divorced in Paris in 1925....

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Dale, Chester (03 May 1883–16 December 1962), investment banker and art collector, was born in New York City, the son of Thomas W. Dale, a department store salesman, and Jane Roberts. Dale attended Peekskill Military Academy, but he left school when he was fourteen and began working as an office boy and runner on Wall Street. By 1904 he was an independent broker, and in 1909 he formed a partnership specializing in railroad mortgages and utility bonds with his friend William C. Langley. In 1911 Dale married Maud Murray a few weeks after she divorced his friend Frederick M. Thompson; they had no children....

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Drexel, Francis Martin (07 April 1792–05 June 1863), investment banker and painter, was born in Dornbirn, Austria, the son of Franz Joseph Drexel, a merchant, and Magdalen Willhelm. Drexel’s father sent him to Milan in 1803 to attend school; he took courses in Italian and in the fine arts and began his career as a painter. As a result of problems in his father’s business and the eruption of the Napoleonic Wars, in 1806 Drexel returned to Dornbirn to assist his father. Drexel, who was not drafted into the Hapsburg army, two years later continued his studies, first in France and then in Switzerland. He also painted portraits, decorated coaches, and drew pictorial signs. After spending time in Dornbirn between 1815 and 1817, the adventurous Drexel, who was disenchanted with the economic and political conditions in Austria, decided to leave Europe. In 1817 he sailed from Amsterdam on the ...

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Edmonds, Francis William (22 November 1806–07 February 1863), banker and artist, was born in Hudson, Columbia County, New York, the son of Samuel Edmonds, a military officer, and Lydia Worth. Edmonds’s education from the age of about six to about fifteen took place in a Quaker school where his artistic abilities gradually won the approval of the schoolmaster. Initially Edmonds had wanted to become an engraver, but his ambition was squelched by the prohibitive apprenticeship fees. His early independent training included creating designs for wood engravers, which infused his artistic vision with a penchant for precision and detail....

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Hirshhorn, Joseph H. (11 August 1899?–31 August 1981), financier and art collector, was born Joseph Herman Choneh Hirshhorn in the village of Jukst, near Mitau (now Jelgava), Latvia, the son of Lazar Hirshhorn, a grain broker and owner of a general store, and Amelia Friedlander. One year after Joseph’s birth (which some sources list as 1900), his father died of heart disease. His mother and two of his sisters fled Latvia for the United States in 1906. By 1907 Amelia Hirshhorn could afford to send for Joseph and her five other children, who joined her in Brooklyn. She supported the family by working in a sweatshop. Hirshhorn was raised in a succession of railroad flats in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. After his mother was injured in a tenement fire, he learned to fend for himself. Determined to escape poverty, he left school at age twelve or thirteen to make his fortune on Wall Street. Employed initially as an office boy and Western Union messenger, Hirshhorn took his first step into the world of finance by charting stock for the influential ...

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Otto Kahn Photograph by Arnold Genthe Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G401-T-5788-002).

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Kahn, Otto Herman (21 February 1867–29 March 1934), investment banker and patron of the fine arts, was born in Mannheim, Germany, the son of Bernhard Kahn, a banker, and Emma Eberstadt. Reared in a home with a rich cultural atmosphere and with valuable works of art, Otto was privately tutored and displayed a keen interest in music. He became familiar with banking and in 1883 began to work in a small bank in Karlsruhe....

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Andrew W. Mellon Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1924. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G401-T-4559-003-001-x).

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Mellon, Andrew William (24 March 1855–26 August 1937), financier, statesman, and art collector, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Mellon, a lawyer and later a judge, entrepreneur, and banker, and Sarah Jane Negley. Mellon attended public schools in Pittsburgh and Western University of Pennsylvania (now the University of Pittsburgh). While still a student he observed his father’s financial dealings with industrialists ...

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Powers, Daniel William (14 June 1818–11 December 1897), banker and art collector, was born in Batavia, New York, the son of Asahel Powers and Elizabeth Powell, farmers who were among the first settlers of the Genesee country. When he was three years old his father died and Daniel was raised to be a farmer by an uncle. Rural life did not please the young man and at the age of nineteen he left for Rochester, New York, becoming a salesman in a hardware store. Over the next twelve years he accumulated enough capital to open a banking and brokerage office on 1 March 1850; he would be in that business the rest of his life....

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Simon, Norton Winfred (05 February 1907–02 June 1993), business executive and art collector, was born in Portland, Oregon, the son of Myer Simon, a department store owner, and Lillian Glickman. After receiving his early education in his hometown, he completed high school in San Francisco, where he moved in 1921 with his father and two sisters following his mother’s death and the collapse of his father’s business. He began his business career while he was still in high school, wholesaling paper products. He relocated to Los Angeles at age sixteen and joined an export concern. In 1923 he entered the University of California at Berkeley but dropped out after only a few weeks....

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Stout, Gardner Dominick (21 April 1903–16 January 1984), investment banker, museum president, and naturalist, was born in New York City, the son of Andrew Varick Stout, a stockbroker, and Ethel Dominick. As a small boy, visits to the American Museum of Natural History first aroused Stout’s interest, he said, “in natural history and the world of animate things.” While vacationing with his family at a summer home in Rumson, he wandered along the Jersey shore, exploring the natural world and observing the behaviors of the shorebirds. Stout’s interest in nature was balanced by his commitment to the family business, and he graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1926. Later that year he joined the Wall Street banking firm of Dominick and Dominick, which had been founded in 1870 by his grandfather Bayard Dominick. In 1928 Stout purchased a seat on the New York Stock Exchange for $335,000, which was at the time the highest price ever paid for a seat. That same year he became a general partner in Dominick and Dominick. In 1930 he married Clare Kellogg, who shared his enthusiasm for travel and nature. They had three sons....