Schiff, Jacob

Schiff, Jacob (Henry)

(1847–1920) financier, philanthropist; born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. He came to New York City at age 18 and was licensed as a stockbroker in 1866; after working in a succession of brokerage houses, he joined the investment banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Company in 1874, becoming its president by 1885. He amassed a great fortune, primarily in railroads and insurance companies. He participated in the struggle for control of the Northern Pacific Railroad that precipitated the stock market panic of 1901. He secured a $200-million loan for Japan in the Russo-Japanese War (1904), and then, as a founder of the American Jewish Committee (1906), he worked to abrogate the U.S.-Russian commercial treaty because of Russian treatment of Jews. He also promoted a loan for the Manchurian Railway in China (1911). One of the foremost figures in American Jewry of his day, he supported a wide range of philanthropies, both religious and secular; although not a Zionist, he supported educational institutions in Palestine; his many philanthropies included the Tuskegee Institute, the Henry Street Settlement House, the Red Cross, and Harvard and Cornell Universities.
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