Eaton, Cyrus S.

Cleveland investment banker, opponent of the Cold War, dubbed “the Kremlin's favorite capitalist"

Price: $25.00

Description:
(1883-1979) Nova Scotia-born US investment banker, businessman and philanthropist, one of the most powerful mid-20th century financiers, a colorful and often-controversial figure. He funded and helped organize the first Pugwash Conferences on World Peace, in 1955. John D. Rockefeller’s private secretary as a young man, in 1905 went to work for one of Rockefeller's utility companies, Eastern Ohio Gas and Power, in Cleveland. He was asked by a syndicate of investors associated with Rockefeller interests to bargain on their behalf for urban utility franchises to market natural gas, a byproduct of oil well drilling. Rockefeller offered him employment with Standard Oil but he declined and went into business for himself. From 1900-20, Eaton became an investor and operator in one of the fastest growing industries on the continent. Private US electric systems grew from approximately 2,800 to 6,500. He worked with his father-in-law on consolidations of utility holdings, forming controlling stakes in a significant number of utility operating companies. In 1912, Eaton became a US citizen and incorporated one of the country's 1st utility holding companies, Continental Gas and Electric, of Delaware. In 1916 he became a partner in Otis and Company, a major investment-banking firm in Cleveland. Cleveland was then the center of the wealthiest industrial area in North America. Eaton believed Wall Street financiers controlled too much of the industrial decision making in Cleveland and throughout the region; his strategy was to use the investment trust to gain financial control from Wall Street. The investment trust, an early form of the mutual fund, was a popular way for investment managers and bankers to attract and absorb new pools of available capital. In 1921, Eaton created an investment trust, Continental Shares Ltd. The ultimate design was to use his power as Chairman of the Board and board member of many important corporations to challenge Wall Street hegemony and exert his own control over financial decision making in the region. Eaton used his dominant position as Chairman of the Board of Continental Shares to capture banking business for Otis and Co., his investment bank, and garner substantial fees for consulting and for underwriting the sale stock and bond issues. In 1924, he parlayed utility holdings derived from Continental Utilities into a major position in the large utility-traction conglomerate, United Light and Power. His investment trust purchased dominant positions in Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams, the world's major supplier of auto coatings, and in Goodyear and Firestone, world leaders in the manufacture of tires and rubber. Several of his medium sized steel companies in Ohio & Pennsylvania became Republic Steel, then the 3rd largest US steel producer. He assumed control of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) in the mid-50s. Once the C&O obtained control of the Baltimore & Ohio and “the Chessie System” was created, he largely retired to take care of his philanthropic interests. In the 1950s, he became an ardent critic of US Cold War foreign and military policies. He gave personal and financial support to efforts to limit the nuclear arms race, and was involved in founding and financing the original Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. The Pugwash Conferences were ultimately awarded the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize. His 1950s efforts at rapprochement with the USSR won him the 1960 Lenin Peace Prize. TLS on 8 ½ x 6 ¾ letterehad as Chairman of the Board of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, Cleveland, March 3 1955, to Lincoln scholar and historian Sherman Day Wakefield (1894-1971), NYC. Eaton thanks Wakefield for his material recommending Robert G. Ingersoll to the Hall of Fame, Eaton weill give his suggestion “the most serious consideration.” With envelope. Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) Civil War veteran, Illinois Attrorney General 1867-69, orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and defense of agnosticism. The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is the original Hall of Fame in the United States, a secular national shrine on the grounds of the Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. Completed in 1900, as part of the original New York University campus at the site, the building was formally dedicated May 30, 1901, an open-air colonnade, 630' in length with space for 102 bronze sculptures, designed in the neoclassical style by Stanford White. To be eligible for nomination, a person must have been a native born or naturalized (since 1914) US citizen dead for 25 years (since 1922; from 1900-20, nominee had to be dead only 10 years) and have made a major contribution to national economic, political, or cultural life. Nominees were elected by a simple majority vote; from 1925-40, a 3/5 majority was required, and in 1976 a point system replaced the majority vote. Today the Hall of Fame for Great Americans is forgotten. For 20+ years prior to 1997, it was been too broke to hold new elections, too broke to commission busts of the people it elected 2 decades previously. It took 19 years to raise $25,000 needed to commission the bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1973 NYU abandoned its Bronx campus and the Hall of Fame. Eventually the state bought the whole thing, and it is now in the hands of Bronx Community College.

Condition: Very good
Type:letter






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