Frederick T. Gates And John D. Rockefeller

Although few general histories of the United States contain the name of Frederick T. Gates (1853-1929), he had a larger influence on American life than many a general or political leader who receives detailed notice. It is an ironic fact that whenever the name of this wise, careful, idealistic planner is mentioned, someone is sure to say, “Oh, you mean ‘Beta-Million’ Gates?"—a man antipodal in all his traits. In due course the impact of Frederick T. Gates (in association with John D. Rockefeller) upon the fast-changing nation of 1890-1925 will be properly recognized.Read more »

Business

Growing up in a family with many members who earned their livings on Wall Street and with many ancestors and relatives who had done the same, I—as might be expected—very early heard stories of business that I found as fascinating as the tales of military action I was soaking up at the same time. The novelist Thomas Hardy explained that “war makes rattling good history,” but it was James Gordon Bennett, the founder of the New York Herald, who explained why business makes the same.Read more »

Hearst’s Little Time Bomb

In novels, movies, and television melodramas, money and power often are treated as if they were two sides of a single coin. In life, they are different currencies, and the effort to convert one into the other has produced some amazing tangles. I know of no better example than an all-but-forgotten scandal that involved a man who could buy everything he ever wanted —except the power that he wanted more than anything. Read more »

The Gentlewoman And The Robber Baron

When Ida Tarbell set out to probe the operations of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust, it seemed like David against Goliath all over again

One wintry morning in 1902 a prim, resolute spinster presented herself at 26 Broadway in New York City, bastion of the powerful Standard Oil organization. Promptly she was ushered through a maze of empty corridors to a reception room facing an open courtyard. As she waited, she became aware that a man in a nearby window was observing her stealthily.

 
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