E. H. Harriman

Edward Henry Harriman (February 20, 1848 – September 9, 1909) was an American railroad executive.[2][3][4]

E. H. Harriman
Edward Henry Harriman 1899
Edward Henry Harriman

February 20, 1848
DiedSeptember 9, 1909 (aged 61)
Resting placeSt. John's Church Cemetery, Arden, New York
OccupationRailroad executive
Known forHarriman Alaska Expedition
Spouse(s)Mary Williamson Averell
ChildrenMary Harriman Rumsey
Henry Neilson Harriman
Cornelia Harriman Gerry[1]
Carol A. Harriman
William Averell Harriman
Edward Roland Noel Harriman
RelativesAnne Harriman Vanderbilt (cousin)
Oliver Harriman, Jr. (cousin)
J. Borden Harriman (cousin)
Herbert M. Harriman (cousin)

Early life

Harriman was born on February 20, 1848 in Hempstead, New York, the son of Orlando Harriman, Sr., an Episcopal clergyman, and Cornelia Neilson.[3] He had a brother, Orlando Harriman, Jr.[5] His great-grandfather, William Harriman, had emigrated from England in 1795 and engaged successfully in trading and commercial pursuits.

As a young boy, Harriman spent a summer working at the Greenwood Iron Furnace in the area owned by the Robert Parker Parrott family that would become Harriman State Park. He quit school at age 14 to take a job as an errand boy on Wall Street in New York City. His uncle Oliver Harriman had earlier established a career there. By age 22, he was a member of the New York Stock Exchange.


Harriman's father-in-law was president of the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad Company, which aroused Harriman's interest in upstate New York transportation. In 1881, Harriman acquired the small, broken-down Lake Ontario Southern Railroad. He renamed it the Sodus Bay & Southern, reorganized it, and sold it to the Pennsylvania Railroad at a considerable profit. This was the start of his career as a rebuilder of bankrupt railroads.

Will you walk into my parlor - U. Keppler 1907
A 1907 cartoon depicting Harriman and his railroads as subject to federal law and the Interstate Commerce Commission

Harriman was nearly 50 years old when in 1897 he became a director of the Union Pacific Railroad. By May 1898, he was chairman of the executive committee, and from that time until his death, his word was the law on the Union Pacific system. In 1903, he assumed the office of president of the company. From 1901 to 1909, Harriman was also the President of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The vision of a unified UP/SP railroad was planted with Harriman. (The UP and SP were reunited on September 11, 1996, a month after the Surface Transportation Board had approved their merger.)

At the time of his death Harriman controlled the Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Saint Joseph and Grand Island, the Illinois Central, the Central of Georgia, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and the Wells Fargo Express Company. Estimates of his estate ranged from $150 million to $200 million. It was left entirely to his wife.

The Harriman Alaska Expedition

In 1899, Harriman sponsored and accompanied a scientific expedition to catalog the flora and fauna of the Alaska coastline. Many prominent scientists and naturalists went on the expedition, aboard the luxuriously refitted 250-foot (76 m) steamer SS George W. Elder.[6]

Interest in ju-jitsu

Harriman became interested in ju-jitsu after his two-month visit to Japan in 1905.[7] When he returned to America, he brought with him a troupe of six Japanese ju-jitsu wrestlers, including the prominent judokas Tsunejiro Tomita and Mitsuyo Maeda.[8] Among many performances, the troupe gave an exhibition that drew six hundred spectators in the Columbia University gymnasium on February 7, 1905.[9]

Personal life

In 1879, Harriman married Mary Williamson Averell, daughter of William J. Averell, a banker in Ogdensburg, New York.[10] Together they had:

Harriman died on September 9, 1909 at his home, Arden, at 1:30 p.m. at age 61.[2][3] Naturalist John Muir, who had joined him on the 1899 Alaska Expedition, wrote in his eulogy of Harriman, "In almost every way, he was a man to admire." Harriman was buried at the St. John's Episcopal Church cemetery in the hamlet of Arden, near his estate.[18]

Harriman estate

In 1885, Harriman acquired "Arden", the 7,863-acre (31.82 km2) Parrott family estate in the Ramapo Highlands near Tuxedo, New York, for $52,500. The property had been a source of charcoal for the Parrott Brothers Iron Works. Over the next several years he purchased almost 40 different nearby parcels of land, adding 20,000 acres (81 km2), and connected all of them with 40 miles (64 km) of bridle paths. His 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) residence, Arden House, was completed only seven months before he died.

In the early 1900s, his sons W. Averell Harriman and E. Roland Harriman hired landscape architect Arthur P. Kroll to landscape many acres. In 1910, his widow donated 10,000 acres (40 km2) to the state of New York for Harriman State Park. The estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In 1977, they gave the State of Idaho another Harriman State Park" on several conditions. One of these was that the waters of the Henry's Fork, which flowed through the property, had to be managed for catch-and-release fly fishing. To this day it is considered one of the greatest fly fishing streams in North America.


Edward H Harriman bust
Bust of Edward H. Harriman by Auguste Rodin


  • In 1913, his widow created the E. H. Harriman Award to recognize outstanding achievements in railway safety. The award has been presented on an annual basis since then.


Places built using funds donated from his sponsorship or estate

  • Harriman founded the Tompkins Square Boys’ Club, now known as The Boys’ Club of New York. The original club, founded in 1876, was located in the rented basement of the Wilson School in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and began with three boys.[20] Harriman’s idea for the club was to provide a place "for the boys, so as to get them off the streets and teach them better manners."[21] By 1901, the club had outgrown its space. Harriman purchased several lots on 10th and Avenue A, and a five-story clubhouse was completed in 1901.[22]
  • Inheritance taxes from Harriman's estate, in the amount of $798,546 paid by his widow on March 1, 1911, to the State of Utah, helped fund the construction of the state's capital.
  • Harriman State Park in Tuxedo, NY

Notable quotations

"Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more."

"Cooperation means 'Do as I say, and do it damn quick.'" [23]

In popular culture

  • Harriman is mentioned in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), as the commercial baron whose agents become the title characters' nemeses. In the film's second train robbery, a railroad employee ascribes his refusal to cooperate with the robbery to his obligations to Harriman personally, and one of Butch and Sundance's intimates describes Harriman's hiring of famed outlaw-hunters to track down the gang's leaders.
  • In the movie The Wild Bunch (1969), a railroad official named "Harrigan" takes the same strategy.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Mrs. Robert L. Gerry Dies at 82. Last Daughter of E.H. Harriman". The New York Times. May 30, 1966. Retrieved November 22, 2012. Mrs. Cornelia Harriman Gerry, widow of Robert L. Gerry, financier and sportsman, died yesterday, at her home at 79 East 79th Street. She was 82 years old. ...
  2. ^ a b "Harriman Dead. News Delayed. Financier's End Came at 1:30 o'clock, with His Family About His Bedside. The Official Announcement Had Set the Hour of Death Some Two Hours Later. Cancer or Tuberculosis of the Bowels Each Said to be the Cause. Universal Tributes to His Genius and Indomitable Courage. The Financial World Not Taken Unaware" (PDF). The New York Times. September 9, 1909. Retrieved February 4, 2015. Edward H. Harriman died at Arden House this afternoon at 1:30 o'clock. The news of his death was withheld for two hours when the official announcement was made that the financier had passed away at 3:35 o'clock.
  3. ^ a b c "Edward H. Harriman". PBS. Retrieved November 22, 2012. Edward Henry Harriman was born in New Jersey [sic] in 1848. His father was an ordained deacon in the Presbyterian Church, his mother a well-connected socialite from New Jersey. ...
  4. ^ Kennan, George (1922). E. H. Harriman: A Biography in Two Volumes. 1. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press Cambridge. pp. 95, 132.
  5. ^ "Orlando Harriman Dead. Brother of E.H. Harriman and Big Realty Operator" (PDF). The New York Times. December 30, 1911. Retrieved November 22, 2012. Orlando Harriman, brother or the late EH Harriman, died early yesterday in Dr. John Walker's Sanitarium, 33 East Thirty-third Street, from a complication of ...
  6. ^ "E.H. Harriman: Harriman Expedition Retraced". PBS.
  7. ^ "HARRIMAN TO VISIT JAPAN.; He Will Take His Family and Be Away Several Months" (PDF). The New York Times. June 28, 1905. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  8. ^ "JU-JITSU AS IN JAPAN.; E.H. Harriman's Troupe of Six Clever Wrestlers and Swordsmen" (PDF). The New York Times. February 4, 1906. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  9. ^ "JUDO FOR SELF-DEFENCE". New-York Daily Tribune. Washington, DC. Library of Congress. February 8, 1906. p. 5. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  10. ^ "Mrs. E.H. Harriman Dies at Age of 81. Widow of Railroad Financier, Who Left to Her His Entire Estate of $100,000,000. Noted For Philanthropies. Aided Red Cross and Artistic and Educational Causes. Interested In Rail Workers' Welfare". The New York Times. November 8, 1932. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  11. ^ Times, Special To The New York (December 19, 1934). "MRS. RUMSEY DIES AFTER HUNT INJURY; Pneumonia Follows Accident in Virginia Nov. 17 When Her Horse Fell on Her". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Staff (November 1, 1957). "Peter G. Gerry, Ex-Senator, Dies Hours Before His Brother Robert Rhode Island Democrat, 78, Was a Foe of New Deal— Supported Strong Navy". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  13. ^ "MRS. W. P. STEWART, HORSEWOMAN, IS DEAD". The New York Times. November 4, 1948. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  14. ^ "CAROL HARRIMAN TO WED R. PENN SMITH, JR.; Youngest Daughter of the Late Financier Is Engaged to Philadelphian". The New York Times. June 9, 1917. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  15. ^ "MRS. C.A.H. SMITH WEDS W.P. STEWART; Daughter of Mrs. E. Henry Harriman Is Married to Philadelphian at Her Country Home.WEDDING GIVES SURPRISENo Announcement Had Been Madeof Betrothal of Widow of R. PennSmith and Banker. Kin of Judge William Averell". The New York Times. September 18, 1930. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Mrs. W. Averell Harriman Dies; Former Governor's Wife Was 67". The New York Times. September 27, 1970. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  17. ^ Times, Special To The New York (February 17, 1978). "E. Roland Harriman Is Dead at 82; Financier and Trotting Sponsor". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  18. ^ "Edward Henry Harriman". Find a Grave.
  19. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. pp. 448, 567, 820. ISBN 978-0875952772.
  20. ^ "BCNY History". Boys' Club of New York. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  21. ^ Kennan, p. 26
  22. ^ Kennan, p. 39
  23. ^ attributed to Harriman by Delos F. Wilcox in "Co-operation Between State and Local Authorities in the Control of Public Utilities", Minnesota Municipalities Vol V Number 1, February 1920, page 12

Further reading

External links

Arden (estate)

Arden is a historic estate outside Harriman, New York, that was owned by railroad magnate Edward Henry Harriman and his wife, Mary Averell Harriman. By the early 1900s, the family owned 40,000 acres (63 sq mi; 160 km2) in the area, half of it comprising the Arden Estate. The main house is at the top of a mountain east of the village, reachable by Arden House Road from NY 17. Since 2011, it has been owned by the nonprofit Research Center on Natural Conservation, which operates Arden House as a conference center with 97 guest rooms.

Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad

The Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad (reporting mark CORP) is a Class II railroad operating between Northern California and Eugene, Oregon, United States. It was previously a mainline owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) between Eugene and Weed, California (north of Redding, California) via Medford, Oregon. SP sold the route on December 31, 1994, in favor of using its route to Eugene via Klamath Falls, Oregon and Cascade Summit.

The mainline of the CORP is 305 miles (491 km). Traffic is estimated at 17,000 cars per year, consisting mainly of logs, lumber products, and plywood. CORP is a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming, which acquired the railroad as part of its acquisition with RailAmerica in late 2012. Until 2007, CORP also operated the 136-mile (219 km) Coos Bay branch, another line once owned by the SP.

On May 17, 2007, CORP was awarded a Silver E. H. Harriman Award in Group C for the railroad's safety record in 2006. This award marked the first time a RailAmerica-owned railroad has earned a Harriman award.

Columbus Castings

Buckeye Steel Castings was a Columbus, Ohio steelmaker best known today for its longtime president, Samuel P. Bush, who was the grandfather of President George H.W. Bush and great-grandfather of President George W. Bush.

Buckeye, named for the Ohio Buckeye tree, was founded in Columbus as the Murray-Hayden Foundry, which made iron farm implements. Finding success manufacturing iron railroad car couplers, the name changed to the Buckeye Automatic Car Coupler Company in 1891 and Buckeye Malleable Iron and Coupler Company in 1894. Eventually demand for stronger coupling assemblies led to a switch to steel and the name Buckeye Steel Castings.

The business was closely associated with rail baron E.H. Harriman and for some time was controlled by Frank Rockefeller, the brother of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. In 1901 Buckeye hired Samuel Prescott "S.P." Bush as general manager. Bush, a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, had worked his way up from apprentice mechanic at the locally based Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad to superintendent of motive power at that railroad and, briefly, the Milwaukee Road. In 1908 Rockefeller departed and Bush took over as president, a job he would hold until 1928. During this period Bush became known as a top industrialist and had political influence in Washington, D.C..

Bush had an advanced business outlook for his day and implemented many modern management techniques as well as an unusually generous working environment.

In 1967, the parent company Buckeye International, Inc. was formed, and then was acquired in 1980 by Worthington Industries through a stock merger. Worthington sold Buckeye Steel in 1999, but it went bankrupt in 2002.

The former president of Worthington, Donald Malenick, formed an investment group to purchase the assets of Buckeye, and has reopened the business as Columbus Steel Castings. Columbus Steel Castings closed in bankruptcy in 2016.

David Moffat

David Halliday Moffat (July 22, 1839 – March 18, 1911) was an American financier and industrialist.

Moffat was one of Denver's most important financiers and industrialists in late 19th and early 20th century Colorado, and he was responsible for the development of the Middle Park area. He served as president, treasurer and as a board member of railroads, banks and city government posts. Over the years he had claims to over one hundred Colorado mines and nine railroads. Moffat died on March 18, 1911 in New York City at the age of seventy three. Some had said that he had vainly spent fourteen million dollars on the dream of a railroad directly west from Denver. The Denver, Northwestern & Pacific Railway had cost him $75,000 a mile, and Rollins Pass had cost him the rest of his fortune. He was in New York city trying to raise more money, and was stopped by what would later be learned was the doing of E. H. Harriman and George Jay Gould I. He was one of the greatest threats they had faced in years. Although Moffat was looked at the time as a vain dreamer, he would later be viewed by many as ahead of his time. His legacy would leave Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and later Union Pacific Railroad with a railroad that would outlast most other rail lines in Colorado. He would have Moffat Tunnel and Moffat County, Colorado named after him.

E. H. Harriman Award

The E.H. Harriman Award was an annual award presented to American railroad companies in recognition for outstanding safety achievements.

Harriman, New York

Harriman is a village in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 2,424 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.

The Village of Harriman is in the southeast part of the Town of Monroe, with a small part in the Town of Woodbury.

Henry deForest

Henry Wheeler De Forest (1855–1938) was an American railroad executive, capitalist and industrialist.

He was chair of the executive committee of the Southern Pacific Railroad from 1925 to 1928, and chairman of its board of directors from 1929 to 1932.

He assisted E.H. Harriman in the recapitalization of the Wells Fargo Express Company, and was a longtime director of the Equitable Life Assurance Company. With Elihu Root he was the trustee of the majority of the Equitable's capital stock.He was a graduate of Williston Seminary, Yale (1876), and Columbia University Law School (1878).

Through his daughter Alice, he is the grandfather of Edie Sedgwick.

Jacob Schiff

Jacob Henry Schiff (born Jakob Heinrich Schiff; January 10, 1847 – September 25, 1920) was a Jewish American banker, businessman, and philanthropist. Among many other things, he helped finance the expansion of American railroads and the Japanese military efforts against Tsarist Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Schiff migrated to the United States after the American Civil War and joined the firm Kuhn, Loeb & Co. From his base on Wall Street, he was the foremost Jewish leader from 1880 to 1920 in what later became known as the "Schiff era", grappling with all major Jewish issues and problems of the day, including the plight of Russian Jews under the Tsar, American and international anti-semitism, care of needy Jewish immigrants, and the rise of Zionism. He also became a director of many important corporations, including the National City Bank of New York, Equitable Life Assurance Society, Wells Fargo & Company, and the Union Pacific Railroad. In many of his interests he was associated with E. H. Harriman.

Mary Harriman Rumsey

Mary Harriman Rumsey (November 17, 1881 – December 18, 1934) was the founder of The Junior League for the Promotion of Settlement Movements, later known as the Junior League of the City of New York of the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. Mary was the daughter of railroad magnate E.H. Harriman and sister to W. Averell Harriman, former New York State Governor and United States Diplomat. In 2015 she was posthumously inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Mary Williamson Averell

Mary Williamson Averell (July 22, 1851 – November 7, 1932) was an American philanthropist and the wife of railroad executive E. H. Harriman. Born in New York to a successful family, Averell married Harriman in 1879. Averell's father introduced Harriman to the railroad business. After Harriman's death, his wife was left with between $70 and $100 million. She became dedicated to philanthropy, donating the land that became Harriman State Park and largely funding the development of the controversial Eugenics Record Office. Averell had several children; her son, W. Averell Harriman became governor of New York and her daughter Mary Harriman Rumsey founded the Junior League.

Mesenchytraeus harrimani

Mesenchytraeus harrimani is an ice worm, named after E. H. Harriman. The worm was first discovered by an insect trapper on board Harriman's famous Arctic expedition, and was given the name by the entomologist Trevor Kincaid. The worm can grow to almost 60 millimetres (2.4 in) in length and 2.5 mm (0.098 in) thick. Like other ice worms, it subsists on algae and pollen.

Northern Securities Company

The Northern Securities Company was a short-lived American railroad trust formed in 1901 by E. H. Harriman, James J. Hill, J.P. Morgan and their associates. The company controlled the Northern Pacific Railway; Great Northern Railway; Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad; and other associated lines. It was capitalized at $400 million, and Hill served as president.

The company was sued in 1902 under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 by the Justice Department under President Theodore Roosevelt, one of the first anti-trust cases filed against corporate interests instead of labor. The government won its case, and the company was dissolved, so that the three railroads again operated independently.Hill was the president of the Great Northern Railway and Harriman controlled the Union Pacific Railroad, two of the largest railroads in the U.S. Both sought control of the Burlington to connect their roads to the vital railroad hub of Chicago, Illinois. Hill, who also had a minority interest in the Northern Pacific Railway, outbid Harriman for the Burlington, by agreeing to Burlington President Charles Elliott Perkins's $200-a-share price.

Together, the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific assumed control of nearly 100 percent of the Burlington's outstanding stock. Knowing that the Northern Pacific controlled almost 49.3 percent of the Burlington's stock, Harriman launched a stock raid against the Northern Pacific. Control of the Northern Pacific would allow him to appoint directors to the Burlington, which could then be forced to treat Harriman's Union Pacific favorably in business matters. Harriman's stock raid in May 1901 led to the "Northern Pacific Corner". Speculators had sold shares that they did not own, and were now desperate to purchase shares at any price-some shares reportedly sold at $1,000. Hill, working with J.P. Morgan, took majority control of the Northern Pacific despite Harriman's best efforts.

This speculation resonated throughout the stock market and the country as a whole. The two men, their backers, and associates agreed to settle their differences and eliminate ruinous competition through a monopolistic combination. The Northern Securities Company was formed by Hill to control the stock of his major railroad properties. Some of Harriman's directors were appointed as representatives for his holdings of Northern Pacific shares.

A public outcry over the new company made its way throughout the country, and both state and federal officials prepared to file litigation. On February 19, 1902, the United States Department of Justice announced plans to file a suit against the company. When approached by J. P. Morgan to settle the issue in private, President Roosevelt refused; he later remarked, "Mr. Morgan could not help regarding me as a big rival operator who either intended to ruin all his interests or could be induced to come to an agreement to ruin none." Although Roosevelt still believed that trusts were not always bad for society, he could not bear to feel treated as just another rival operator. The suit continued.The Justice Department won the suit and the company was dissolved according to the 1904 Supreme Court ruling in Northern Securities Co. v. United States case, decided five to four. The companies were convicted under the Sherman Antitrust Act. In the following seven years, 44 other Federal antitrust cases turned out rulings similar to the Northern Securities case. Included in these break-ups were Harriman's own holdings of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads.

The Northern Securities case was one of the earliest antitrust cases and provided important legal precedents for many later cases, including that against Major League Baseball.

In 1955 the Northern Pacific and Great Northern renewed talks of merging. The Supreme Court approved the merger, and as a result, the Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Chicago Burlington & Quincy, and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway merged on March 2, 1970, to form the Burlington Northern Railroad.

Panic of 1901

The Panic of 1901 was the first stock market crash on the New York Stock Exchange, caused in part by struggles between E. H. Harriman, Jacob Schiff, and J. P. Morgan/James J. Hill for the financial control of the Northern Pacific Railway. The stock cornering was orchestrated by James Stillman and William Rockefeller's First National City Bank financed with Standard Oil money. After reaching a compromise, the moguls formed the Northern Securities Company. As a result of the panic, thousands of small investors were ruined.

Pasteurized (horse)

Pasteurized (foaled 1935 in Virginia) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the 1938 Belmont Stakes.

Paul Smith's Hotel

Paul Smith's Hotel, formally known as the Saint Regis House, was founded in 1859 by Apollos (Paul) Smith in the town of Brighton, Franklin County, New York in what would become the village of Paul Smiths; it was one of the first wilderness resorts in Adirondacks. In its day it was the most fashionable of the many great Adirondack hotels, patronized by American presidents Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge, celebrities like P.T. Barnum, and the power elite of the latter half of the 19th century, such as E. H. Harriman and Whitelaw Reid. Smith died in 1912, but the hotel continued under his son, Phelps, until it burned down in 1930.

For years the hotel was kept intentionally primitive, offering neither bellboys nor indoor bathrooms. It started as a seventeen-room inn, though by the start of the 20th century it would grow to 255 rooms with a boathouse with quarters for sixty guides, stables, casino, bowling alley, and a wire to the New York Stock Exchange. It also had woodworking, blacksmith, and electrical shops, a sawmill and a store. Stagecoaches delivered guests to the hotel until 1906, when a short electric railroad connected it to the nearest main line.

Robert S. Lovett

Robert Scott Lovett (June 22, 1860 – June 19, 1932) was an American lawyer and railroad executive. He was president and chairman of the board of the Union Pacific Railroad and a Director of both The National City Bank of New York and Western Union.

United American Lines

United American Lines, the common name of the American Shipping and Commercial Corporation, was a shipping company founded by W. Averell Harriman in 1920. Intended as a way for Harriman to make his mark in the business world outside of his father, railroad magnate E. H. Harriman, the company was financed by the younger Harriman's mother, Mary Williamson Averell. Entering into the shipping world with little experience, Harriman's United American Lines entered into agreements with the Hamburg America Line (German: Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft or HAPAG), which was determined to recover after the financial disaster that befell the German company as a result of World War I.

After the brief and unsuccessful attempt at transatlantic service by the United States Mail Steamship Company (U.S. Mail Line) ended, Harriman's United American Line was temporarily assigned control over the former U.S. Mail Line ships in 1921.

His inexperience taken advantage of by HAPAG and the almost complete end of immigration to the United States drained millions of dollars from the company and led Harriman to sell the company to HAPAG in 1926.

W. Averell Harriman

William Averell Harriman (November 15, 1891 – July 26, 1986), better known as Averell Harriman, was an American Democratic politician, businessman, and diplomat. The son of railroad baron E. H. Harriman, he served as Secretary of Commerce under President Harry S. Truman and later as the 48th Governor of New York. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956, as well as a core member of the group of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men".

While attending Groton School and Yale University, he made contacts that led to creation of a banking firm that eventually merged into Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.. He owned parts of various other companies, including Union Pacific Railroad, Merchant Shipping Corporation, and Polaroid Corporation. During the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harriman served in the National Recovery Administration and on the Business Advisory Council before moving into foreign policy roles. After helping to coordinate the Lend-Lease program, Harriman served as the ambassador to the Soviet Union and attended the major World War II conferences. After the war, he became a prominent advocate of George F. Kennan's policy of containment. He also served as Secretary of Commerce, and coordinated the implementation of the Marshall Plan.

In 1954, Harriman defeated Republican Senator Irving Ives to become the Governor of New York. He served a single term before his defeat by Nelson Rockefeller in the 1958 election. Harriman unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination at the 1952 Democratic National Convention and the 1956 Democratic National Convention. Though Harriman had Truman's backing at the 1956 convention, the Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson II in both elections.

After his gubernatorial defeat, Harriman became a widely respected foreign policy elder within the Democratic Party. He helped negotiate the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty during President John F. Kennedy's administration and was deeply involved in the Vietnam War during the Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations. After Johnson left office in 1969, Harriman affiliated with various organizations, including the Club of Rome and the Council on Foreign Relations.

William R. McKeen Jr.

William R. McKeen Jr. was the inventor of the track motorcar. While serving as the superintendent of motive power and machinery for the Union Pacific he developed the McKeen railmotor, later launching the McKeen Motor Car Company at the insistence of UP head E.H. Harriman. His company was located at the Union Pacific Railroad Omaha Shops Facility in Omaha, Nebraska.

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