Henry Clay Frick

The Life and Legacy of the Railroad and Steel Magnate Who Became One of America’s Most Famous Art Collectors
Narrated by: Bill Hare
Length: 1 hr and 30 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The term robber baron has largely fallen into disuse in the 21st century but there was a time when it was a popular epithet that described the kind of man who, it was believed, built his fortune by taking things belonging to others. The Gilded Age and the dawn of the 20th century are often remembered as an era full of monopolies, trusts, and economic giants in heavy industries like oil and steel. Men like Andrew Carnegie built empires like Carnegie Steel, and financiers like J.P. Morgan merged and consolidated them. The era also made names like Astor, Cooke, and Vanderbilt instantly recognizable across the globe. Over time, the unfathomable wealth generated by the businesses made the individuals on top incredibly rich, and that in turn led to immense criticism and an infamous epithet used to rail against them: robber barons.

Of all the men labeled as robber barons during the Gilded Age, few were as influential as Henry Clay Frick, who rubbed shoulders with men like J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie while overseeing some of the era’s biggest companies. Though his was not the “rags to riches” story one often hears of this era, his drive and ambition helped transform a young man from a solidly middle class family into a millionaire by the age of 30. At the same time, despite the characteristic ruthlessness with which he dealt with business associates and foes alike, he was devoted and sometime even tender to his friends and family. After surviving an assassination attempt, he lived to toast the 20th century and avoided going down with so many others of his era on the Titanic, only to see the world he had worked to create consumed by a European war that spread around the world. 

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Frick is that his most well-known and lasting legacy had nothing to do with his business but with his most prized hobby. Should the name Frick come up in a New York boardroom today, it is not in the context of some business deal but instead in reference to a social event held at his former estate, now one of the most popular art museums in New York City. His own possessions, which grew out of his love of art, formed the initial core of the collection, and upon his death, he bequeathed the lion’s share of his fortune to a foundation to preserve and expand upon it for generations to come.

Henry Clay Frick: The Life and Legacy of the Railroad and Steel Magnate Who Became One of America’s Most Famous Art Collectors analyzes the famous businessman’s life and his lasting legacy. You will learn about Frick like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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