About Harvey Samuel Firestone, Jr.
Harvey Samuel Firestone, Jr. (April 20, 1898 – June 1, 1973) was an American businessman, and chairman of the board of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
The son of Harvey Firestone, Sr. and Idabelle Smith Firestone, he was educated at Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina. He served as a naval aviator during World War I. Graduating from Princeton University in 1920, Harvey, Sr. placed Havrey, Jr. in charge of his company's steel products division; , Havrey, Jr. took over the leadership of the company in 1941.
Firestone helped establish the company's supply and service stores, and guided its operations during World War II. He was also president of the Firestone Foundation.
Firestone Tire in Liberia
During World War I, Britain and the Netherlands controlled 98% of the raw materials necessary for the production of rubber. In 1922, the Rubber Restriction Act was passed in Britain, and the costs that the Firestone Company paid for its supplies rose. Starting in 1924, Firestone, Jr., was assigned to travel worldwide in search of locations where the company could grow its own rubber. After visits to Asia and to Mexico, Firestone settled on the West African nation of Liberia as the base for Firestone Plantations Company. Harvey Jr. arranged for the lease of 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2) of Liberian territory, a little more than 3 percent of that nation's area. The 12,000 Liberian employees were paid low wages, because, as former employee Arthur Hayman described, the Liberian government felt that "men with money in their pockets would eventually have demanded the ballot,"
Harvey, Jr. married Elizabeth Parke Firestone in 1921. Their children were: Anne Firestone, Martha Firestone, who married William Clay Ford, Sr.; and Harvey Samuel Firestone III, who died in Havana.
He was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity for his philanthropic efforts.
His grandson William Clay Ford, Jr., is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ford Motor Company.