George Fisher Baker (1840 - 1931) MP

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Death: Died
Managed by: Doug Robinson
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About George Fisher Baker

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Fisher_Baker

George Fisher Baker (March 27, 1840 – May 2, 1931) was a U.S. financier and philanthropist. In 1924 he provided much of the initial funding for Harvard Business School with a grant for $5 million. In reciprocation of this generous donation Harvard made him an honorary Doctor of Laws and named the library after Baker. In addition, he also made several large donations to charitable causes throughout New York City and funded the construction of Baker Field, Columbia University's primary athletic facility. He also provided $2 million for Baker Memorial Library at Dartmouth College, which has since become one of the school's symbols. He was a co-founder—along with his mentor, John Thompson, and Thompson's sons Frederick Ferris Thompson and Samuel C. Thompson—of the First National Bank of the City of New York in 1863. The institution was the first national bank to be chartered in New York City under the National Currency Act of 1863, and is a forerunner of today's Citibank N.A. He became First National's President on September 1, 1877 (aged just 37) and Chairman of the Board in 1909. Mr. Baker's 20,000 shares in the First National Bank were worth twenty million dollars (~$501 million in 2011). He was also the largest stockholder in the Central Railroad of New Jersey. He was a director in 22 corporations, which, together with their subsidiaries, had aggregate resources of $7,272,000,000 and he presumably had stock in at least as many corporations. To add on, he made $25,000,000 in 2 days in a stock exchange event and $42,000,000 in the same week which makes him the fastest money maker so far in the world.


Personal life


Baker, born in Troy, New York, was the son of Eveline Stevens Baker and George Ellis Baker, a shoe-store owner who was elected in 1850 on the Whig ticket to the New York State Assembly. At the age of 14, he entered S.S. Seward Institute in Florida, New York, where he studied geography, bookkeeping, history, and algebra. At 16, he was hired as the junior most clerk in the New York State Banking Department. He enlisted in the 18th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers at the start of the Civil War, and rose to the rank of first lieutenant and adjutant. He married Florence Tucker Baker (daughter of Benjamin Franklin Baker and Sophronia J. Whitney) in 1869, and was the father of:

Evelyn Baker (1870–1936) m. 1891 Howard Bligh St. George
Florence Bellows Baker (1876–1936) m. William Goadby Loew
George Fisher Baker Jr. (1878–1937) m. Edith Brevoort Kane

His son George Fisher Baker, Jr.'s daughter Edith married John M. Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Co.


Top Hat LaBaron Pierce-Arrow


In 1929 George Baker commissioned the construction of a one-of-a-kind Pierce-Arrow town car, built by LeBaron, for the wedding of his daughter. The car's uniquely high roof line (5" taller than standard models) was specifically requested by Mr. Baker who wished to wear his top hat while riding. At the time this car was finished, Mr. Baker was one of the 10 richest men in the United States and easily one of the wealthiest individuals in history up to that time.


The vehicle, having been owned by such a prominent figure in American history, has significant historical value. The car was rediscovered in 1978 in a barn in Ohio alongside a Rolls Royce Boat Tail Speedster formerly owned by Fred Astaire.


The unique features of the car reflect the affluence of its former owner. Trim lining in the rear compartment of the car is made of 24 carat gold, as are the perfume dispensers and intercom.


The car is currently part of the White Glove Collection, located in La Crosse, Wisconsin.


Media coverage


The April 14, 1924, Edition of Time Magazine had this to say about Baker:


True, he is twice as rich as the original J. P. Morgan, having a fortune estimated at 200 millions. True, at the age of 84 when he has retired from many directorates, he dominates half a dozen railroads, several banks, scores of industrial concerns.


The March 26, 1934, Time magazine magazine article called Baker


the richest, most powerful and most taciturn commercial banker in U. S. history


A 1934 article in Newsweek describes him as one of the most imposing figures in banking history. In the November 1994 issue of Worth magazine, in an interview with James Grant, editor of a financial newsletter, Baker is described as the hidebound turn-of-the-century banker who always got his loans repaid and was one of Grant's heroes.

-------------------- George Fisher Baker (March 27, 1840 – May 2, 1931) was a U.S. financier and philanthropist. He provided much of the initial funding for Harvard Business School. Beside that, he made several large donations to charitable causes throughout New York City and funded the construction of Baker Field, Columbia University's primary athletic facility. He also provided $2 million for Baker Memorial Library at Dartmouth College, which has since become one of the school's symbols. A co-founder of the First National Bank of New York in 1863, he became the Bank's President in 1877 and Chairman of the Board in 1909. Mr. Baker's 20,000 shares in the First National Bank were worth twenty million dollars. He was also the largest stockholder in the Central Railroad of New Jersey. He was a director in 22 corporations, which, together with their subsidiaries, had aggregate resources of $7,272,000,000 and he presumably had stock in at least as many corporations.

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