Weinberg, Harry

Weinberg, Harry

(1908–90) real estate/transit companies businessman, philanthropist; born in Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1912 he was brought to Baltimore, Md., where his father already was operating an auto-repair shop. He quit school at age 12 and worked in his father's shop. By his twenties he was investing in Baltimore real estate; he then used his profits to buy bus companies and made a major fortune when his Fifth Avenue Coach Line was bought by New York City in 1962. From 1950 on he gradually shifted his business interests and residence to Hawaii, where he amassed more real estate; he permanently settled in Hawaii in 1968. In later years he also engaged in corporate buyouts. Known as a tempestuous, tough-talking, reclusive man, he shunned all the trappings of wealth—flying coach class and buying his clothes off the rack. At his death he left close to $1 billion to a charitable trust to benefit the poor.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.