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Jodie N. Mader

diamond magnate, financier, imperialist, and philanthropist in southern Africa, was born in Hamburg, Germany, the eldest of six children. His father was an affluent merchant. Beit performed poorly in school, and in his teens he was sent to be an apprentice at the office of Jules Porges and Company in Amsterdam. In 1875, Beit went to Kimberley, South Africa, as a representative of the firm. While in Africa he went into property speculation and joined up with a young German named Julius Wernher. These two men formed the Wernher, Beit, and Company firm, which was known for its deep-level mining and use of cyanide processing for treating gold ore. His most famous friendship was with Cecil Rhodes, an English financier. They formed the De Beers Mining Company. Much of Rhodes’s success depended on the financial advice he received from Beit.

Together Rhodes and Beit worked to drive out other ...

Article

Diane L. Barnes

James Needham Buffum was born in North Berwick, Maine, to Quaker parents. Buffum trained as a carpenter and established his own business as a house contractor in Lynn, Massachusetts. He grew wealthy through his business pursuits, which he expanded to include activities as a real estate speculator and financier. Dissatisfied with Quaker positions on reform, Buffum became an advocate of immediate abolition and a strong supporter of William Lloyd Garrison. Having independent means, Buffum traveled widely in the company of Garrison, Frederick Douglass and others on the antislavery lecture circuit He withdrew from the Society of Friends and adopted a radicalism that rejected established religion and politics as tools available to the abolitionist Garrison mentioned Buffum frequently in his correspondence often calling him my true hearted friend Buffum joined a variety of antislavery organizations serving as chair of the finance committee and as a vice president ...

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Leslie H. Fishel

Stephen Smith was born near Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the son of an unknown father and Nancy Smith (maiden name unknown), a Cochran family servant. On July 10, 1801Thomas Boude, a former revolutionary war officer from Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, purchased the boy's indenture. As Smith grew to manhood, he proved so able that Boude eventually made him manager of his entire lumber business.

On January 3, 1816 Smith borrowed $50 to purchase his freedom from Boude. Later that year Smith married Harriet Lee, a domestic servant in the Jonathan Mifflin home. They had no children. Free of his indenture, Smith entered the lumber business for himself, while his wife ran an oyster house. In 1820 his one and a half lots were valued at $300 Thirteen years later he owned six houses and lots worth $3 000 stocks and bonds of equal value a ...

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Heidi L. Scott Giusto

Victoria Woodhull was an advocate of humanitarian and social reform, free love, and spiritualism, positions that brought her considerable notoriety. She ran in the 1872 election on the ticket of the newly formed Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass as her vice presidential running mate. Douglass, who was nominated without consent, did not attend the convention. Years later, in 1887, the two finally met in Rome and had a pleasant encounter.

Instability and turmoil marked Woodhull's life. Born in Homer, Ohio, she received only three years of education in her hometown's Methodist church. Public pressure forced Reuben Buckman Claflin, Woodhull's alcoholic father, to move his family from Homer after coming under suspicion for intentionally setting fire to a gristmill he owned. In 1853 Victoria Claflin wed Canning Woodhull, but the couple divorced in 1865 after having two children During her marriage to Canning Woodhull she became ...