(1837–1913) financier, art collector, philanthropist; born in Hartford, Conn. He worked in various banking houses, including his father's (Junius Spencer Morgan) in London, until 1871 when he established Drexel, Morgan & Co. with Anthony J. Drexel. The firm—known as J. P. Morgan & Co. after 1895 – became one of the most powerful banking houses in the world. In 1873 the U.S. treasury allowed his firm to secure part of a government loan, thereby breaking a monopoly held by the unscrupulous Jay Cooke, and although Morgan definitely worked to advance his own fortune, he established a reputation as a positive force for the nation's financial and industrial base. He helped stabilize the railroads, for instance, and in 1895 he stanched the gold drain from the U.S. treasury reserves. In 1901 he bought out Andrew Carnegie's and others' companies to form the United States Steel Corporation. By this time he was the best known, richest, and most influential financier America had ever seen, and inevitably he was attacked by many, but he emerged from a 1912 Congressional investigation with his reputation largely intact. He gave away large sums to a variety of institutions. A knowledgeable collector of art, he was a major benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His large and superb collection of books, manuscripts, and drawings were left to the Morgan Library in New York City.
For nearly half a century, J. Pierpont Morgan was the de facto central bank of the United States (the nation lacking any such institution after Andrew Jackson in 1832 vetoed a charter renewal for the Bank of the United States).
He also prepared two collections of photographs with commentaries, American Procession (1933) and Metropolis (1934), and wrote The Lords of Creation (1935), an account of America's financial expansion, and a life of J. Pierpont Morgan (1949).
The Colonna Altarpiece, painted by Raphael in about 1503, was left to the Metropolitan Museum in 1916 by J. Pierpont Morgan. Wolk-Simon recounts its commission, dismantling, and sale by the nuns in Perugia, for whom Raphael painted it, followed by the story of the sale to Morgan.
John Pierpont (Jack) Morgan (1867-1943), investment banker and collector of art, rare books, and manuscripts, was the only son of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), whom Roger Fry had worked with as a buyer for the Metropolitan Museum in Europe.