On the death of his father (1890) he became sole manager of J. S. Morgan & Company—later (1910) Morgan, Grenfell & Company—of London. J. P. Morgan's ascent to power, however, was accompanied by dramatic financial battles. He wrested control (1869) of the Albany and Susquehanna RR from Jay Gould and Jim Fisk , he led the syndicate that broke the government-financing privileges of Jay Cooke , and he developed a railroad empire by reorganizations and consolidations in all parts of the United States. In the industrial field, Morgan formed (1901) the U.S. Steel Corp., the first billion-dollar corporation in the world. He financed manufacturing and mining and controlled banks, insurance companies, shipping lines, and communications systems. Through his firm came enormous funds from abroad to develop American resources.
He was widely criticized on many occasions for backing the sale of obsolete carbines to the Union and for his gold speculations in the Civil War, for the harsh terms of his loan of gold to the federal government in the 1895 crisis, for his financial dominance in the Panic of 1907, and for bringing on the financial ills of the New York, New Haven & Hartford RR. He was largely deaf to popular criticism. In 1912 he appeared and publicly defended himself before a congressional committee headed by Arsène
, which was investigating the
and which was aimed particularly at him.
Morgan was an ardent sportsman, and his yacht entered many international races. He was a prominent lay leader in the Episcopal Church. He personally dispensed numerous philanthropies, and he was a renowned art collector. After his death the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which he had been president, received a valuable portion of his collection, which is housed in the Pierpont Morgan wing.
The younger J. P. Morgan resembled his father in his dislike for publicity and in continuing his father's philanthropic policy. In 1920 he gave his London residence to the U.S. government for use as its embassy and later endowed the
Pierpont Morgan Library
in New York City as a research institute in memory of his father. A sister of the younger J. Pierpont Morgan,
See biographies of J. P. Morgan (1837–1913) by H. L. Satterlee (1939, repr. 1975), F. L. Allen (1949), and J. Strouse (1999). See also V. Carosso, The Morgans (1987) R. Chernow, House of Morgan (1990).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Business Leaders
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-