Brookings, Robert Somers

Brookings, Robert Somers,

1850–1932, American businessman and philanthropist, b. Cecil co., Md. He earned a fortune in business in St. Louis, Mo., and retired in 1897 to devote himself to philanthropy. As chairman of the corporation of Washington Univ. from 1897 to 1914 he was primarily responsible for the rebuilding of that institution. He founded the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.


See biography by H. Hagedorn (1936).

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Brookings, Robert Somers

(1850–1932) business executive, philanthropist; born in Cecil County, Md. He had little formal education, but became a successful businessman in St. Louis, first in manufacturing, then real estate, lumber, and transportation. A patron of the arts in St. Louis, he retired from business in 1896 to help found and raise funds for Washington University (St. Louis). He helped found the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., for the study of public affairs, becoming its first chairman in 1916. He wrote Industrial Ownership (1924) and Economic Democracy (1929).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.