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About Thomas William Lawson
Thomas William Lawson (February 26, 1857 – February 8, 1925) was an American businessman and author. A highly controversial Boston stock promoter, he is known for both his efforts to promote reforms in the stock markets and the fortune he amassed for himself through highly dubious stock manipulations.
The Scituate, Massachusetts Historical Society proclaimed 2007 the "Year of Thomas W. Lawson" in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of Lawson's birth.
Life and career
Thomas William Lawson was born February 26, 1857 at Charlestown, Massachusetts. Lawson ran away from home to become a clerk in a Boston bank, and soon began speculating in stocks. He was a principal mover in the promotion of companies trying to establish the small town of Grand Rivers, Kentucky as a major steel-producing city. Lawson specialized in shares of copper-mining companies, which were then a staple of the Boston stock market, and became a multimillionaire during the copper boom of the late 1890s. He built the lavish estate called Dreamwold in Scituate, Massachusetts. The site's most spectacular building is known locally as the Lawson Tower, also called Grampy's Tower by children, a water tower with a shingled outer shell and observatory which has spectacular views of the area from its observation deck.
In 1899, he joined Henry H. Rogers and William Rockefeller in forming Amalgamated Copper Mining Company, a company that combined several copper mining companies, mostly in Butte, Montana, and tried to dominate the copper market. Amalgamated Copper was the subject of much criticism then and for years afterward. Amalgamated later became Anaconda Copper Mining Company in 1915. However, Lawson later broke with the financial backers of Amalgamated, and became an advocate for financial reform.
Lawson was an independent candidate for the United States Senate in 1918. He finished a distant third with 5.26%.
Lawson authored numerous books, the most famous of which was Frenzied Finance: the Crime of Amalgamated, his controversial account of the formation of the Amalgamated Copper Company.
He was also the his namesake of his ship, the Thomas W. Lawson, the only seven-masted schooner ever built. As an odd coincidence, Lawson wrote the novel Friday the Thirteenth in which a broker picks that day on which to bring down Wall Street; the schooner Thomas W. Lawson was also wrecked on Friday 13th, 1907.
Thomas Lawson though once a very wealthy man died in poverty.
Books by Thomas Lawson
The Krank: His Language and What it Means (1888) a glossary of baseball expressions
History of the Republican Party
The Lawson History of the America's Cup (1902), with Winfield M. Thompson
Frenzied Finance, the Crime of Amalgamated (1906)
Friday the Thirteenth (1907)
The Remedy (1912)
The High Cost of Living (1913)
The Leak (1919)
Lawson in fiction
Lawson is believed to have been the inspiration for the protagonist of David Graham Phillips' 1905 novel The Deluge.