Dollar, Robert

TLS of the Scots-born US shipping and lumber magnate, 6 weeks before his death

Price: $110.00

Description:
(18441932) Scots-American industrialist, lumber baron, shipping magnate and philanthropist. He made the cover of Time magazine on 19 March 1928. Shortly after 1857 his family moved to Canada. In 1861, he first worked as a logger in the forests of Canada and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In 1885, Dollar and his family moved to Marquette, Michigan. He bought camps and timberland in Canada, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and finally in Northern California. In 1888, Dollar moved to San Rafael, California. Among his purchases was timberland known as "Dollar's Meeker tract" which had redwood trees. A portion of this tract on the Russian River was sold to the Bohemian Club of San Francisco and is now the Bohemian Grove. His estate in San Rafael is now the Falkirk Cultural Center. In 1895, he acquired his 1st vessel, a steam schooner called Newsboy, to move his lumber from the Pacific Northwest to markets down the coast. This was his entry into the shipping industry that included lumber, commodities, mail, and passengers. In 1903, Robert and his 3 sons incorporated into the Robert Dollar Company. In 1910, he built an 11-story office building in San Francisco, the Dollar Steamship Company headquarters, expanded in 1919. In the inter-war years, his freighters plied the Pacific from Canada to Canton, San Francisco to Shanghai, and Tacoma to Tokyo. In 1923, the purchase of 7 "President" ships owned by the US Government allowed him, at 80, to pioneer round-the-world passenger service. Pacific Mails, a US company going back to the 1850s with the Panama-California and trans-Pacific routes, was taken over by Dollar in 1925. That added 8 more ships, and he also signed a contract with Grace Steamship Co. His 1932 death, the Depression and the Pacific War headed the company into bankruptcy in 1937. Back taxes could not be paid and Stanley Dollar turned 93% of voting common stock over to the Maritime Commission. In 1945, son Stanley sued to recover ownership and in 1950, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. The government, however, did not return the company but there was a cash settlement. In 1952, an investor group bought the company for $18M; it eventually evolved into part of Temasek Holdings. Dollar had interests in China including land, buildings, and wharves for his ships. Dollar Steamship Line had offices in Egypt, the Philippines, Italy, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Portland, Oregon. The company had wharves in Oregon, Seattle, Honolulu, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, Kobe and Yokahama, Japan, Shanghai, Hankow, Tientsin, Tayeh and Wuchang, China, Havana, and Naples, Italy. He gave to many causes, mostly religious, and social and community endeavors. As a member of the San Rafael Park and Recreation Commission he donated 20 acres of land for Boyd Park in 1920. In 1923 he donated 11 more acres and other funding. Robert Dollar Scenic Drive was built from Boyd Park to the summit of San Rafael Hill. TLS on his 10 1/4 x 7 1/4 personal San Francisco letterhead, April 6 1932, to a Pennsylvania woman. Dollar regrets he has no autographed card but sends his autograph with kindest regards and best wishes. Dollar died of bronchial pneumonia on May 16, 1932.

Condition: Very good, 2 mail folds
Type:Letter






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