Frederic Adrian Delano

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Frederic Adrian Delano

Also Known As: "Frederick"
Birthplace: Hong Kong, China
Death: March 28, 1953 (89)
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Place of Burial: Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. Warren Delano Jr. and Catherine Robbins Delano
Husband of Matilda Annis Delano
Father of Catherine Lyman Grant; Louise Cheney; Laura Houghteling; Matilda Delano and Alice Delano
Brother of Susan Maria Delano; Louise Church Delano; Dora Forbes; Anne Lyman Hitch; Warren Delano and 5 others

Occupation: Engineer, Railroad Superintendent
Managed by: Scott Christopher Swingle
Last Updated:

About Frederic Adrian Delano


Although born at Hong Kong, China, Semptember 10, 1863, the ancestral records of Frederic A. Delano are connected with the early colonial history of America. His parents were Warren Delano and Catherine Robbins Lyman, both natives of Massachusetts. Warren Delano, a tea merchant, was engaged in China trade and spent over thirty years of his life in China. He was a member of the firm of Russell & Company, having houses in all the principal cities of the empire. In 1867 he retired from active business life and returning to America made his home at Newburgh, New York, on the Hudson, until his death, which occurred in 1899, at the age of ninety years. On the paternal side his ancestors were French Huguenots and English pilgrims, the latter settling near Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the early colonization of that section of the country. The American progenitor of the Delano family was Philippe de Lannoy, who came from Leyden, Holland, on the ship Fortune, in 1621 and settled at Plymouth. From him Frederic A. Delano is a direct descendant in the seventh generation, the line being through Jonathan (2), Thomas (3), Ephraim (4), Warren (5), Warren (6) and Frederic A. (7). Through intermarriage he is also connected with many of the oldest families of New England, among whom are those of Church, Warren, Allerton, Cushman, Hathaway and Swift. On the maternal side Mr. Delano comes of English and Scotch lineage, his ancestors in that line settling at Boston and Salem at various periods between 1630 and 1700. His mother, who was a native of Northampton, Massachusetts, and a member of a well known family, was a representative of the seventh generation of descendants of Jonathan Lyman, who came to America during the first half of the seventeenth century, and was also connected with the old Massachusetts families of Strong, Dwight, Hutchinson, Clark, Robbins and Murray, including two of the early governors of that state. She died in 1897 at seventy-three years of age. Our subject was the tenth in a family of eleven children, of whom two sons and four daughters survive, all except Frederic A. residing in the east.

Frederic A. Delano spent his boyhood days at Newburgh, New York, receiving his early education at Adams Academy, Quincy, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College with degree of A. B. in 1885. Unlike many men of liberal college training, he did not regard his intellectual development as something opposed to manual labor, but took up work of the latter character, imbued with strong purpose and laudable ambition, his thorough education enabling him to better direct his efforts. Soon after he had completed his University course he began his career in railroad work, and has devoted his entire life to that one field of endeavor. He first entered the service of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, August 1, 1885, with an engineering party in Colorado. Two months later he entered the shops of the same road at Aurora, Illinois, as a machinist's apprentice, and in April, 1887, was temporarily appointed acting engineer of tests at Aurora. He was next advanced to the position of assistant to the second vice president at Chicago, in April, 1889, then to superintendent of freight terminals at Chicago, in July, 1890, and to superintendent of motive power at Chicago, February 1, 1899. On July 1, 1901, Mr. Delano was made general manager of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, which position he held until January 10, 1905, when he resigned to engage in general consulation work. For a short time he was consulting engineer to the war department in relation to railroads in the Philippine Islands. May 1, 1905, Mr. Delano became identified with the Wabash system as president of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad Company and the Wabash-Pittsburgh-Terminal Railway, and vice president of the Wabash Railroad Company. Six months later, on October 5, 1905, he became president of the latter.

There is no position that demands such careful systematization, such accuracy, such harmonious working as railway management. Time and effort and purpose must coincide and with perfect adjustment must reach the results that are to be attained. Understanding every department of railway management and operation as the result of over a quarter of a century's experiences in its different departments, Mr. Delano brings to the management of the Wabash railroad the keenest discrimination, the most practical efforts and the most progressive and far-sighted policy. He has also been the chairman of the board of directors of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Company, of Chicago, and is interested in various other enterprises. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Mining Engineers, the Western Society of Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Franklin Institute, the American Master Mechanics' Association, and the American Master Car Builders» Association. He served as president of the American Railway Association from 1907 to 1909 and also of the Western Railway Club for one term. He has served as a member of the board of overseers of Harvard College, and as president of the board of directors of the Chicago Lying-in Hospital.

Mr. Delano has taken a keen interest in civic affairs and has served as president of the Chicago Commercial Club. He is a member of the Chicago Plan Commission of the city, and has been prominently identified with the movement which it represents, since its conception in 1907. While in political circles his efforts have been along the line of influence rather than of direct activity, he has served his city as a member of the Harbor Commission of the city of Chicago, under appointment of Mayor Busse, in January, 1908.

Mr. Delano is a Unitarian in religious faith and vice president of the American Unitarian Association. He holds to liberal and charitable views while seeking to secure the adoption of standards that will work for higher manhood and better citizenship. He holds membership in the Chicago Club, the Union League, the University, the Chicago Literary, the Commercial, and other social clubs of Chicago, also of St. Louis and of Pittsburgh.

On November 22, 1888, Mr. Delano was married, in Chicago, to Miss Matilda Peasley, daughter of J. C. Peasley. Five children have been born to them, of whom three are living, Catherine, Louise and Laura. The family residence is at 510 Wellington avenue.

Frederic A. Delano at the Federal Reserve

Bibliographic information:



Collection Historical Note

Frederic Adrian Delano, Franklin D. Roosevelt's uncle, was born in Hong Kong, China on September 10, 1863. His father, Warren Delano II, was at that time a partner in the shipping firm of Russell and Company based in that city. A few years later the Delano family returned to "Algonac", the family home near Newburgh, New York and Delano spent much of his childhood there.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1885, Frederic A. Delano began a railroad career as an apprentice machinist with the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He eventually became General Manager of that company, serving in that position from 1901 through 1904. In 1905 he was named president of the Wabash Railroad; in January 1911, he assumed the presidency of the Monon Railroad. Resigning that position on August 10, 1914, he accepted appointment to a six-year term on the Federal Reserve Board. In 1918 he resigned as Vice-Chairman of the Board and entered the army as a Major in the U.S. Engineering Corps. He served as director of transportation at Paris, France, attaining the rank of Colonel. In 1921 the United States Government awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal for his wartime service.

The Supreme Court of the United States named Mr. Delano as Receiver in the Red River Boundary Case (Oklahoma v. Texas) in April 1920 and he served in that capacity until the court issued its final decree, on June 1, 1925. The following December he was appointed President of the League of Nations Commission of Enquiry into Production of Opium in Persia. In 1926 the Commission visited Persia to survey the local economy with the aim of proposing a financial substitute for the production of opium.

Frederic A. Delano also had a deep interest in the field of city planning and was a member of the Chicago Plan Commission during his residence in that city prior to 1914. After moving to Washington in that year he became involved in many planning activities in the District of Columbia. President Coolidge appointed him President of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1927. In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt named him Chairman of the National Resources Planning Commission, a position that he held for ten years. He also served as President of the American Planning and Civic Association for a number of years.

Mr. Delano gave much of his time to civic affairs throughout his life. He served as a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution and a trustee of the Carnegie Institution and also had interests in a number of other organizations. He was the author of many articles on subjects diverse as railroad transportation, monetary policy and city planning. He died in Washington on March 28, 1953 at the age of 89.


(V) Captain Warren Delano, youngest son of Captain Ephraim and Elizabeth (Cushman) Delano, was born October 28, 1779, in Dartmouth, and died in Fairhaven, September 25, 1866. He married (first) in Fairhaven, November 6, 1808, Deborah, daughter of Joseph and Deborah (Perry) Church, born March 21, 1783, in Dartmouth, died there August 7, 1827. He married (second) in Dartmouth, April 2, 1828, Eliza Adams, widow of Captain Parker, of the United States navy. Children: Warren, mentioned below; Frederic, born April 11, 1811; Franklin Hughes, July 27, 1813, married Laura, daughter of William B. and granddaughter of John Jacob Astor. of New York; Louise Church, October 29, 1816; Edward, July 11, 1818; Deborah Perry, August 15, 1820; Sarah Alvey, August 15, 1822; Susan Maria, August 17, 1823; and a daughter, died on the day of birth.

(VI) Warren (2) Delano, eldest child of Captain Warren (1) and Deborah (Church) Delano, was born July 13, 1809, in Fairhaven, and died January 17, 1898, at Newburgh, New York, at his residence called the "Algonac." He married, November 1, 1843, at Northampton, Massachusetts, Catherine Robbins, born January 10, 1825, died February 10, 1896, at Newburgh, daughter of Judge Joseph Lyman and Anne Jean (Robbins) Robbins, the last named a daughter of Hon. Edward Hutchinson Robbins, who was a member of congress from Massachusetts, and speaker of the house in 1793.


  1. Susan Maria, born October 13, 1844, in Macao, China;
  2. Louise Church, June 4, 1846, in the same place;
  3. Deborah Perry, August 29, 1847, in Northampton, became the wife of William Howell Forbes, of Hong Kong, China;
  4. Annie Lyman, January 8, 1849, in New York City, married Frederic Delano Hitch, of Shanghai, China;
  5. Warren, died in infancy, at Newburgh;
  6. Warren, born July 11, 1852;
  7. Sara, mentioned below;
  8. Philippe de Lannoy, February 3, 1857;
  9. Catherine Robbins, May 24, 1860;
  10. Frederic Adrian, September 10, 1863, in Hong Kong;
  11. Laura Franklin, December 23, 1864, in Hong Kong.

(VII) Sara, fifth daughter of Warren (2) and Catherine (Robbins) Delano, was born September 21, 1854, and was educated in this country and in Europe. She married, October 7, 1880, James Roosevelt, of New York (see Roosevelt VII).

Bibliographic information:

  • Title Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation, Volume 3
  • Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation, Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation
  • Author Cuyler Reynolds
  • Publisher Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914
  • Original from Harvard University
  • Digitized Feb 1, 2008
  • Page 1060


Frederic Adrian Delano From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frederic Adrian Delano (1863 – 1953) was an American railroad president born in Hong Kong, China of the Delano family. He was the uncle of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Frederic Adrian Delano was Chairman of the Committee on the Regional Plan for New York and Its Environs, which released the regional plan for New York on May 27, 1929. He was also a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago which impacted the development of Chicago in the 19th and 20th centuries. He was the first vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve and the National Resources Planning Board.


After graduating from Harvard University in 1885 he was employed by the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad in various capacities, rising from the position of civil engineer to be general manager at Chicago. For a time he was consulting engineer to the United States War Department in respect to the railroads of the Philippine Islands. In 1905 he became president of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad, of the Wabash Pittsburgh Terminal Railway, and of the Wabash Railroad. He was appointed one of the receivers for the Wabash in 1911, and in 1913, he was elected president of the Monon Railroad. He was vice president of the American Unitarian Association in 1907. His addresses were published under the titles Questions of the Hour (1911) and Are Our Railroads Fairly Treated? (1913). He was also the chairman of the influential National Capital Park and Planning Commission and helped approve and oversee the building of the Pentagon.

Bibliographic details for "Frederic Adrian Delano"

  • Page name: Frederic Adrian Delano
  • Author: Wikipedia contributors
  • Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
  • Date of last revision: 30 April 2015 03:43 UTC
  • Date retrieved: 2 July 2015 12:34 UTC
  • Permanent link:
  • Primary contributors: Revision history statistics
  • Page Version ID: 659992744


Uncle of F.D.R.

Frederic Adrian Delano was also the uncle of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Frederic's philanthropic work through the Commercial Club of Chicago would have a strong impact on President Roosevelt's policies.

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Frederic Adrian Delano's Timeline

September 10, 1863
Hong Kong, China
November 25, 1889
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
August 1, 1891
Illinois, United States
February 22, 1893
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
January 29, 1899
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
March 29, 1903
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
March 28, 1953
Age 89
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Age 89
Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States