The New Student's Reference Work/Harriman, Edward Henry


Har′riman, Edward Henry, an American capitalist and railroad man, was born at Hempstead, N. Y., in 1848. He received only a common school education, and at 14 entered a broker's office in New York City. In 1878 he became a stockbroker himself, founding a firm which still exists. Within fifteen years he had acquired a fortune and had made a thorough study of American railways. In 1883 began his active interest in the management of railways. In 1898 he formed a company which acquired the Union Pacific Railroad, which had been in the hands of a receiver. Harriman was made president of the road, which under his management soon became a strong, efficient and profitable line. In 1901 he acquired the Southern Pacific, thus placing himself in possession of a system comprising two trunk-lines with a total length of 15,000 miles. With powerful financial banking Harriman became increasingly aggressive in extending his power, until in 1908 the roads under domination of this interest included the Illinois Central, Baltimore and Ohio, the Erie and other lines, with an aggregate mileage of 29,000 miles and a capitalization of $2,350,000,000. He had also acquired an interest in the Gould transcontinental lines. Died Sep. 10, 1909.