Henry Huttleston Rogers

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Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840 – 1909) wiki "the Standard-Oil magnate who became one of the most powerful tycoons of his day...

"Undoubtedly, Rogers' most famous friend was the great writer, Mark Twain, whom Rogers first met in New York in 1893 at a time when Twain's unfortunate financial ventures had led him to the verge of bankruptcy...

"From 1893 on, the two men were on increasingly intimate terms, Twain being a frequent guest at Rogers' New York home, or aboard Rogers' yacht, Kanawha, or a familiar visitor to Rogers' Fairhaven mansion. It was Twain who interested Rogers in furthering the education of Helen Keller at Radcliffe." [1]

"His Wall Street enemies often referred to him as "Hell-Hound Rogers." And in his dogmatic book about the Robber Barons, Frenzied Finance, Thomas W. Lawson is less than complimentary about Rogers, calling him "relentless, ravenous, ruthless as a shark, knowing no law of God or man in the execution of his purposes."...

"Rogers could boast of other admiring companions. The distinguished black educator, Booker T. Washington, who founded many schools in the South, was a frequent visitor to Rogers' 85-room mansion in Fairhaven. Rogers was generous in his financial contributions to Washington's invaluable work...

"Other famous friends of Rogers included William Rockefeller, writers William Dean Howells and George Ade, and Dr. Clarence Rice. The latter, a New York physician, was the type of man who had much appeal for Rogers. He was a distinguished eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist and the official physician of the Metropolitan Opera Company." [2]

His wife was Abbie Palmer Gifford.


Other Background

"When the Rockefellers organized the Standard Oil Company in 1874, they took over the Pratt business and with it Rogers, now recognized as both an expert oil man and an able executive with a genius for organization. He was made chairman of the manufacturing committee of the new corporation, a little later a trustee, and before 1890 he was vice-president. He conceived the idea of long pipe lines for transporting oil, and organized the National Transit Company, the first corporation with such an object. This was his favorite promotion, and he remained president of the company long after the actual technical management of the oil business itself had been given over by him to others so that he and William Rockefeller [q.v.] might devote their time to the operation of the huge financial machine known to Wall Street as '"Standard Oil." Either personally or in behalf of this trust, Rogers was interested in several businesses other than oil-gas, copper, steel, banking, and railroads. In 1884 with associates he formed the Consolidated Gas Company, and thereafter for several years he was instrumental in gaining control of great city plants, fighting terrific battles with rivals for some of them, as in the case of Boston. Almost the whole story of his gas interests was one of warfare, as was his connection with copper. During the '90'S, when he was virtually the directing head of Standard Oil, he became interested in Anaconda and other copper properties. In 1899 he formed the first $75,000,000 section of the gigantic trust, Amalgamated Copper, which was the subject of such acrid criticism then and for years after-ward. In the building of this great trust, some of the most ruthless strokes in modern business history were dealt-the $38,000,000 "watering of the stock of the first corporation, its subsequent manipulation, the seizure of the copper property of the Butte & Boston Consolidated Mining Company, the using it as a weapon against the Boston & Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company, the guerrilla warfare against certain private interests, the wrecking of the Globe Bank of Boston. Standard Oil's interest in steel properties led to Rogers' becoming one of the directors of the United States Steel Corporation when it was organized in 1901. He was long the transportation magnate of Staten Island, being the principal owner of its railroads, traction lines, and ferries. He was a director of the Santa Fe, St. Paul, Lackawanna, Union Pacific, and several other railroads. He was a close associate of E. H. Harriman in the latter's extensive railroad operations, and when Harriman became interested in the insurance business, Rogers, who had long been a trustee of the Mutual Life, was drawn with him into the scandal and governmental investigation of 1905, but as usual emerged almost unruffled. He sustained his worst tactical defeat, however, in an ouster suit brought by the State of Missouri in 1905, in which he, at first defiant, was forced to testify and admit the Standard's secret ownership of certain subsidiary oil companies (218 Missouri Reports, I; 116 Southwestern Reporter, 902; see also 224 United States, 270). His last great individual enterprise was the building of the remarkable, low-grade Virginian Railway from the West Virginia coal fields to Norfolk. It was an achievement unique in business annals for one man to build a $40,000,000 railroad on his own resources and credit, and that, too, partly in a time of financial stress, the panic of 1907. But the strain of doing it proved fatal to him. He was at his desk on May 18, 1909, but the next morning, in New York City, suddenly died of an apoplectic stroke. His first wife had died May 21, 1894, leaving four children. He afterward married Emelle (or Emelie) Augusta Randel, the divorced wife of Lucius Hart, who, together with a son and three daughters, survived him." [3]

Resources and articles

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  1. Henry Huttleston Rogers and Mark Twain, millicentlibrary, accessed May 11, 2010.
  2. Henry Huttleston Rogers, millicentlibrary, accessed May 11, 2010.
  3. Henry Huttleston Rogers from the Dictionary of American Biography, 1935, millicentlibrary, accessed May 11, 2010.