Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Industrialist and financier Henry Clay Frick was born on December 19, 1849, in Pennsylvania. Vowing to be a millionaire by age 30, he began his rapacious career in the coal and coke industry, then became chairman of Carnegie Steel and a major player in the formation of U.S. Steel. He also financed the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads. Frick was known as “the most hated man in America” and, to this day, he is vilified for his ruthlessness and lack of morality in business, notably his actions during the Homestead Steel labor strike (1892). In 1913-1914 he built an opulent mansion on New York’s Fifth Avenue (at 70th), with private gardens on the Avenue and in an interior courtyard. Now known as “The Frick,” it houses his collection of Old Masters and objets d'art. Pictured: central Living Hall of the Frick Collection, showing El Greco’s “Saint Jerome” (1590).