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Belmont, August, II (18 February 1853–10 December 1924), financier and sportsman, was born in New York City, the son of August Belmont, a banker, and Caroline Slidell Perry. Belmont graduated from Harvard in 1874 (A.B.) and joined the international banking house of August Belmont & Co. in 1875. Within eight years he was running its daily affairs and had modernized operations. He became head of the firm in 1890, following his father’s death. His biggest projects included a $63 million loan floated with financier ...

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Belmont, August (08 December 1813–24 November 1890), financier, politician, and sportsman, was born in Alzey, a German Rhineland village, the son of Simon Belmont, a moneylender and landowner, and Frederika Elsass. He attended a Jewish school, the Philanthropin, in Frankfurt and in 1828 began work as an office boy for the local branch of the Rothschild banking family, to which he was distantly related through marriage. He was soon promoted to confidential clerk and in 1837 was sent to Cuba to investigate that Spanish colony’s stability. A stopover in New York changed the course of his life. The panic of 1837 had just struck, and the Rothschilds’ New York agent had declared bankruptcy. Belmont decided to stay and established August Belmont and Company, a private banking firm that would maintain a close, long-term working relationship with the Rothschilds. Belmont’s rise on Wall Street was rapid. He profited from foreign exchange transactions; commercial and private loans; corporate, real estate, and railroad investments; and as a U.S. government fiscal agent during the Mexican War. In 1849 he married Caroline Slidell Perry, with whom he had six children....

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Haggin, James Ben Ali (09 December 1822–12 September 1914), mine owner, land developer, and horseman, was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, the son of Terah Temple Haggin, a lawyer and farmer, and Adeline Ben Ali, a schoolteacher. Haggin’s mother was said to have been the daughter of Ibrahim Ben Ali, an exiled Turkish army officer who settled in England and then moved to Philadelphia in the mid-1790s. Ben Ali’s residence in England is well attested, but there is no record that he ever lived in Philadelphia, where he supposedly settled and practiced medicine. Haggin may not have descended from a Turk, but he gloried in the name Ben Ali....

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Whitney, Harry Payne (29 April 1872–26 October 1930), financier and sportsman, was born in New York City, the son of William Collins Whitney, a lawyer and financier, and Flora Payne. As the first son of wealthy parents, Whitney attended the Groton School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University in 1894. He studied law at Columbia University in 1895 and 1896, as well as under ...

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Whitney, John Hay (17 August 1904–08 February 1982), financier, philanthropist, and sportsman, was born in Ellsworth, Maine, the son of Payne Whitney, a capitalist and philanthropist, and Helen Hay Whitney, at the time a poet. “Jock” Whitney graduated from Yale in 1926 and studied history and literature at Oxford for one year. His father’s death in 1927 brought him home to assume control over the Whitney business interests in oil, tobacco, street railways, and real estate, worth cumulatively almost $179 million....