JP Morgan Jr: Life, Net Worth & More

Among the many well known philanthropists is J.P. Morgan Jr, son of the famous banker J.P. Morgan. The Morgan family also happens to be part of one of the wealthiest families.

In this review, we will look into the life of J.P. Morgan, who he was, what he fought for and the legacy that he left.

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JP Morgan Jr: Life, Net Worth & More 5

A Closer Look At JP Morgan Jr.

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Who is JP Morgan Jr?

J.P. Morgan Jr was an American banker, finance executive, and philanthropist. He inherited his family’s fortune after his father J. P. Morgan died in 1913 and took over the family business interests including J.P. Morgan & Co. He is the latest influential figure we’ll be taking a look at since we’ve already profiled Bernard ArnaultSteve Cohen, and Mary Barra, among others.

Morgan Jr trained as a finance executive working for his father and grandfather once he graduated from St. Paul’s School and Harvard College and later became a banking financier, a lending leader and a director of several companies.

JP Morgan Jr

He got awarded with an elite contract for the British government as munitions purchasing agent during the World War I that ended up contributing largely to the family’s wealth. J.P. He supported New York’s Society for the Lying-In Hospital, the Red Cross, the Episcopal Church and gave the creation of a rare book and manuscript collection at the Morgan Library.

After World War I, he travelled to Europe several times just to observe and report on the financial conditions there. Not many approved of how Morgan Jr was benefiting from the war which led to him being shot twice by an intruder when he was living in his Long Island Mansion.

He was not deterred by the incident and once he recovered, he continued with his philanthropic activities.

During the Great Depression, Morgan Jr. fought openly and largely against Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Unfortunately, he was successful in securing around $100M in loans to the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini who became an ally of Hitler and an enemy of the United States in World War II.

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Early Life

John Pierpont Morgan Jr (also commonly known as J.P.) was born on September 7 1867, in Irvington, New York to J. P. Morgan and Frances Louisa Tracy. He was nicknamed Jack.

J.P. Morgan was a successful investment banker and son to Junius, a partner in a dry goods business and in a London merchant banking firm. He married Frances Louisa Tracy, who was the daughter of a New York lawyer, in 1865.

His father made a name for himself by founding private banks and reorganizing businesses to make them more stable and profitable. He also financed many industrial consolidations that led to the creation of General Electric, International Harvester and the U.S. Steel Corporation

J.P. Morgan Jr

Morgan Jr’s father is remembered as one of American capitalism’s most influential people. At a truly critical time in the country, he basically ran the economy, hoisting it up and keeping it from collapse. He also has quite a prominent place in history due to his art donations to the New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the vast book collection in the Morgan Library and Museum.

J.P Morgan Junior was born into a prestigious family with a number of achievements:

  • Joseph Morgan, his paternal great grandfather, was the founder of the Aetna Insurance Company.
  • J.P. Junior’s paternal grandmother, Juliet Pierpont, was the daughter of minister and noted poet John Pierpont, famous for writing and composing “Jingle Bells.”
  • His fifth great-grandfather, James Pierpont, was the founder of Yale University.

Morgan Jr’s siblings include Louisa Pierpont Morgan (1866–1946), who was married to Herbert L. Satterlee (1863–1947),Juliet Pierpont Morgan (1870–1952) who was married to William Pierson Hamilton (1869–1950) and Anne Tracy Morgan (1873–1952), a philanthropist.

Morgan Jr went to St Paul’s School and went on to join Harvard where he became a member of the Delphic Club, formerly known as the Delta Phi and Delta Kappa Epsilon. He graduated from Harvard in 1886 and became a member of his father’s banking firm, J.P. Morgan and Company.

He relocated to the firm’s London branch for eight years. In 1890 Jack got married to Jane Norton Grew, daughter of Boston banker and mill owner Henry Sturgis Grew. She was also the aunt to Henry Grew Crosby.

The couple were able to raise four children: Junius Spencer Morgan III; Henry Sturgis Morgan (a founding partner of Morgan Stanley), Jane Norton Morgan Nichols and Frances Tracy Pennoyer. Unfortunately, a fifth child, Alice, died at a young age of typhoid fever.

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Career

The apple does not fall far from the tree, and so career Jack Morgan Jr became just like his father; very private and a philanthropist. In 1905, Morgan Jr’s father acquired the bank Guaranty Trust as part of his efforts to merge New York City banking. He later died in 1913 and J. P. Morgan, Jr. inherited around $50 million and became the head of J. P. Morgan & Co.

JP Morgan Jr had such an outsized influence on the economy that he bailed out the U.S. Treasury when it was close to bankruptcy due to the Panic of 1893, by selling a portion of his companies’ own gold reserves to the government in exchange for a massive 30-year bond. Again in 1907, he helped avert another financial panic by arranging a private-sector “bailout” of several large New York banks.

World War I

J.P, Morgan Junior helped in financing the first world war. Morgan Jr made the first loan of $12,000,000 to Russia after the war broke out and in 1915, he gave a loan of $50,000,000 to France after negotiations with the Anglo-French Financial Commission.

The bank was charged with conspiring to maneuver the United States into supporting the allies in order to rescue its loans due to its connections to France and Britain.

The company eventually decided to form formal relations with France in 1915 after coming to the realization that the war was nowhere near over.

Relations became strained over the course of the war as a result of poor communication with French emissaries. These relationships that were heightened in importance by the unexpected duration of the conflict, its costs and the complications flowing from American neutrality.

The favoritism displayed by Morgan officials to British and French interests added to the ongoing tensions.

Morgan Jr had a personal friendship with Cecil Spring Rice, the British Ambassador to the United States, and this ensured that from 1915 until sometime after the United States joined the war, his firm was the official purchasing agent for the British government. They bought cotton, steel, chemicals and food while receiving a 1% commission on all purchases.

J.P. Morgan Jr was able to float a loan of $500,000,000 to the allies for financing the Franco-British requisitions for the credits in United States by organizing a syndicate of about 2200 banks. This was the largest foreign loan in the history of Wall Street.

Britain was eventually able to sell off their holdings of American securities and by late 1916 were dependent on unsecured loans for further purchases.

US Treasury Secretary William McAdoo and others in the Wilson administration were very suspicious of the firm’s enthusiastic role as British agent for purchasing and banking. Later on when the United States entered the war, this gave them a chance for close collaboration and thus Morgan received financial concessions.

In July 3, 1915, an assassin known as Eric Muenter broke into Morgan’s Long Island mansion and J.P. was shot twice. This was apparently to bring about an order forbidding foreign ships to enter, or any ships to leave, its ports thus in protest of his benefiting from war. Morgan Jr, however, quickly recovered from his wounds.

From 1914 to 1919, J.P. Morgan Jr was a member of the advisory council for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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After World War I

After the first world war and the Versailles Treaty, Morgan Guaranty managed Germany’s reparation payments and provided loans in excess of $10,000,000,000 for the European reconstruction work.

Morgan travelled several times to Europe to investigate and report on the financial conditions there. He became the chairman of the international committee, composed of American, British and French bankers, for the protection of the holders of Mexican securities for sometime in 1919.

J.P. Jr was made a director of the Foreign Finance Corporation in November 1919, which was organized to engage in the investment of funds chiefly in foreign enterprises. Morgan Guaranty therefore become one of the world’s most important banking institutions and a leading lender to Germany and Europe in the 1920s.

In 1929, the stock market crashed and Morgan, Jr. together with some other major bankers tried hard to stem the decline in the stock prices by pooling their funds, though it was to no avail.

As a Republican, he fought against President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal but he failed.

The crash in the stock market eventually led to The Great Depression where J.P. Morgan Jr took some heavy financial losses. American banking came under heavy attack and the assets of the House of Morgan fell 40% from $704 million to $425 million.

In 1933 the Banking Act of that year compelled the firm to separate its investment banking activities from its commercial/deposit banking activities.

Morgan, Stanley and Company therefore became a new investment banking firm, while Morgan himself remained the head of J.P. Morgan and Company and personified banking which led to attacks from politicians, especially in the U.S. Senate’s Pecora hearings of 1932. This created a tidal wave of anger against Wall Street.

In 1939, right before the United States entered World War II, the British and French governments chose J.P. Morgan and Company to sell $1.5 billion of securities in the New York public markets.

There are a few articles and books that have been written referencing J.P. Morgan’s financial contributions to the war (before and after) and the family’s legacy. They include:

  • J. P. Morgan Jr. 1867–1943 Forbes, John Douglas (1981)
  • The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance Chernow, Ron (2001)
  • Strange Bedfellows: J. P. Morgan & Co., Whitehall and the Wilson Administration During World War I. Business History. Dayer, Roberta Allbert (1976).
  • A Private Bank At War: J. P. Morgan & Co. and France, 1914–1918. Business History Review. Horn, Martin (2000).

J.P. Morgan Junior was also a director in numerous corporations, including the United States Steel Corporation, the Pullman Corporation, the Aetna Insurance Company and the Northern Pacific Railway Company.

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Philanthropic Works

Morgan Jr followed in his father’s footsteps and became a devoted philanthropist.

Jack gave away his London residence in 1920, 14 Princes Gate (near Imperial College London) to the United States government for use as its embassy. Young John F. Kennedy, son to Joseph P. Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador, also lived in Morgan’s residence for a period of time.

JP Morgan Jr Museum

Morgan Jr then founded the Pierpont Morgan Library, a public institution that served as a memorial to his father. His personal librarian Belle da Costa Greene, became the first director and continued the aggressive purchase, collection and expansion of the collections of illuminated manuscripts, authors’ original manuscripts, incunabula, prints and drawings, early printed Bibles and various examples of fine bookbinding.

The library is a now a complex of buildings which serve as a museum and scholarly research center. Furthermore, Morgan donated a number of valuable works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Morgan Jr also donated to many organizations including the Red Cross, the Episcopal Church, the American Legion and the New York Lying-In Hospital.

Social Life

Morgan Jr was a yachtsman just like his father and served as sea captain of the New York Yacht Club from 1919 to 1921.

He then built the turbo electric driven yacht Corsair IV at Bath Iron Works in Maine in 1930. This yacht was launched April 10, 1930 and was one of the most opulent yachts of its day and had the largest built in the United States with an overall length of 343 feet (104.5 m), 42 feet (12.8 m) beam and 2,142 GRT (Gross Register Tonnage).

JP Morgan Jr Yatch Corsair (IV)

When asked what the yacht costs, the legend at the shipyard credits the phrase “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it” to Morgan Jr, even though the phrase originates from his father in connection to the yacht Corsair which was launched in 1891.

Morgan Jr later ended up selling the Corsair IV to the British Admiralty in 1940 for one dollar to assist with Britain’s war effort.

When the war was over, Corsair IV was sold to Pacific Cruise Lines. On September 29 1947, it began service as a luxury cruise ship operating between Long Beach, California and Acapulco, Mexico.

On November 12, 1949 the yacht struck a rock near the beach in Acapulco and was deemed a complete loss. Fortunately, all passengers and crew members were rescued.

Morgan was also a member of the Jekyll Island Club a.k.a. “The Millionaires’ Club” on Jekyll Island, Georgia just like his father.

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JP Morgan Jr’s Net Worth

J.P. Morgan Jr had a net worth of $400 billion in today’s money. He was American banker and financier, the head of the Morgan investment banking house. He gained a variety of assets by being in the financial services industry before the company became a commercial banking firm.

Furthermore, he inherited his father’s estate worth more than $50,000,000 in 1913 after his death.

Conclusion: Personal Life and Legacy

J.P. Morgan Junior is still the most important American financier of his day. After inheriting his father’s fortune, he was awarded with an elite contract for the British government as munitions purchasing agent during the World War I which contributed greatly to his fortune.

He was also a known philanthropist and made various generous donations to various causes during his lifetime.

In 1890, J. P. Morgan, Jr. got married to Jane Norton Grew and they ended up having four children together, two daughters and two sons. They are namely Jane, Junius, Henry and Frances. Henry Morgan, one of his sons, along with Harold Stanley co-founded the Morgan Stanley financial corporation.

In 1922, Morgan Jr. served on a committee about the German reparations in Paris and was also made a delegate for the United States to a reparations conference in 1929

J.P. Morgan Jr. died of a stroke on March 13, 1943, at the age of 75, in Boca Grande, Florida U.S.

In 2000, Chase Manhattan Corporation merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. to form JP Morgan Chase. It is located in New York City and is a global financial services firm and leader in investment banking, consumer financial services, small business & commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity.

JP Morgan Chase is currently the largest bank in the U.S. and is also among the world’s largest and wealthiest banks.

Before you leave

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JP Morgan Jr: Life, Net Worth & More 5