Thursday, June 14, 2012

Charles Tracy Barney

November 15, 1907, New York Times, C. T. Barney Dies. A Suicide: Ex-President of Knickerbocker Trust Co. Shoots Himself In His Home. DIES UNDER OPERATION, Wound in the Abdomen Was Inflicted at 10 o'Clock Yesterday Morning. HIS WIFE HEARD THE SHOT And Found Him, Wounded, In His Room -- Coroners' Physician and Family Doctor Suggest Accident.

Charles Tracy Barney, who was recently forced to retire from the Presidency of the suspended Knickerbocker Trust Company and was interested in thirty-three other corporations, many of them financial, died at his home, 101 East Thirty-eighth Street, at 2:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon of a pistol wound, self-inflicted some four hours previously in his bedroom there.

November 17, 1907, New York Times, Charles T. Barney Buried in Woodlawn; Simple Services for ex-President of Trust Company Who Shot Himself. MORBID CROWD AT HOUSE, Police Guard Needed to Keep Back the Curious -- Only Relatives and Intimate Friends Attend Funeral.
The body of Charles T. Barney, ex-President of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, who shot himself in his home last Thursday morning, was buried yesterday afternoon in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Charles Tracy Barney
"Mr. Barney was the son of a rich father. A.H. Barney was President of the United States Express Company before T.C. Platt's day, and left a fortune of several millions. Charles T. Barney was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Jan. 27, 1850. He went to Williams College and was graduated in the class of 1868. He was married soon afterward to Miss Lilly Whitney, a sister of the late William C. Whitney." After Whitney finished his service as Corporation Counsel of New York City, he and Barney formed the Knickerbocker Trust in 1884. He owned a lot of real estate in Washington Heights. His daughter Helen married Archibald Alexander, and his daughter Katherine married Courtlandt Dixon Barnes. Son Ashbel H. Barney graduated from Yale nine years before, and James W. Barney graduated from Yale in 1900. (C.T. Barney Dies, A. Suicide. New York Times, Nov. 15, 1907.) His father, Ashbel H. Barney, was a director of the Tenth National Bank of New York, along with members of the Tweed Ring. Later, when William C. Whitney was Corporation Counsel of New York City, he contrived to make the City pay the bank for money that the Tweed Ring stole. Whitney also dropped the 14 indictments against William E. King.
Horace Greeley and Boss Tweed Racketeer Against Tobacco, 1871-2

The Panic of 1907: "The panic was a bank panic, but the banks’ losses and runs on their deposits were caused at least in substantial part by bank speculation in securities. The Aldrich-Vreeland Act of 1908, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and finally the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, all were designed to respond to this irresponsible banking environment. At the time though, no effective federal mechanism existed to control the banks. The intervention was led by the nation’s de facto central banker, J.P. Morgan, asked by the administration to save the American money supply as he had during the gold crisis of 1895. The story is well-known of Morgan’s hasty return from an Episcopal retreat in Richmond, Virginia, and the all-night meetings at the Morgan mansion on Fifth Avenue, attended by George Baker of the First National Bank, James Stillman of the National City Bank, E.H. Harriman, and other financial luminaries, with Morgan demanding the infusion of funds by each of the attendees in order to shore up the failing trusts. (Morgan refused to support Knickerbocker because of its particularly bad behavior and heavy demands. Its president, Charles T. Barney, committed suicide, but every account of the story suggests that perhaps Mr. Barney had not been his own executioner.)" (Chapter Six. From Trusts Emergent From Regulating Trusts to Regulating Securities. By Lawrence Mitchell.)

Mitchell / University of Illinois College of Law (pdf, 82 pp)
The Barney Estate Company was organized to take over his estate and deal in real estate. The directors were Ashbel H. Barney, James W. Barney, A.H. Masten, George L. Nichols, W.B. Warren, J.O. Baker and A.G. Milbank. (To Settle Barney Estate. New York Times, Mov. 22, 1907.) Ashbel Hinman Barney, Yale 1898, was president of the Barney Estate Company. He was American representative of the International Red Cross at Geneva, Switzerland and in Italy during World War I. (Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased during the Year 1945-1946, p. 45.)
Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale, 1945-1946 / Yale University Library (pdf, 268 pp)
James Whitney Barney, Scroll & Key 1900, was vice-president of the Barney Estate Company (real estate) from 1907 until retiring in 1943. (Bulletin of Yale University. Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased during the Year 1947-1948, pp. 54-55.)
Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale, 1947-1948 / Yale University Library (pdf, 354 pp)

Henry Farnam Dimock, Skull & Bones 1863 H.F. Dimock married William C. Whitney's sister, Susan. His father was Dr. Timothy Dimock (MD Yale 1823), a practicing physician in Coventry, Conn. He was elected a trustee for life of Cornell University in 1899, but declined. He was elected an alumni member of the Yale Corporation the same year. (Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale, 1910-1915, p. 45.) He was a director of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, along with his nephew, Charles T. Barney. (Display Ad 14. New York Times, Apr. 20, 1890 p. 14), and the National Bank of North America (Adv. 43. The Independent, Dec. 19, 1901.) He was a member of the University Corporation, the governing body of N.Y.U., when New York University Medical College was formed from the merger of New York Medical College and Bellevue Hospital Medical College: "The meeting was held in the National Bank of North America, William F. Havemeyer, President of the bank, being a member of the corporation. Other members present were William Allen Butler, who presided; Chancellor Henry M. MacCracken, Henry F. Dimock, Chairman of the University Committee of the Corporation; William S. Opdycke, William A. Wheelock, Charles E. Miller, I.C. Pierson, Cyrus C. Miller, Dr. John P. Munn, David Banks, and John McCreery." The Faculty of Medicine included Drs. E.G. Janeway; John Pixley Munn [later chairman of the United States Life Insurance Company]; H.P. Loomis, W.T. Lusk, W.M. Polk, and W.G. Thompson. (Medical Colleges Unite. New York Times, May 15, 1897.)
Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale, 1910-1915, p. 45 / Google Books

William Payne Whitney, S&B 1898 He was a director and member of the executive board of the Great Northern Paper Company 1903-1927; director and vice president of Northern Finance Corporation 1911-1927; and Whitney Realty Company 1910-1927; member of the board of governors of the Society of New York Hospitals since 1912 and vice president since 1917. (Obituary Record of Yale Graduates 1926-1927, pp. 172-173.)
Obituary Record 1926-1927 / Yale University Library (pdf, 346 pp)

Payne Whitney inherited $4,000,000 from his uncle, Oliver H. Payne, who also gave him million-dollar Fifth Avenue mansion when he married Helen Hay, his Yale rommate's sister, and the daughter of former Secretary of State and Ambassador to Britain John Hay. He was a director of the Great Northern Paper Company, the First National Bank of New York, a trustee of the United States Trust Company, and vice president of the Whitney Realty Co. His wife's sister married Sen. James W. Wadsworth Jr., S&B 1898. (Payne Whitney Dies Suddenly At Home. New York Times, May 26, 1927; Payne Whitney, Financier, Dies. (AP) Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1927.) Payne Whitney and Wadsworth had been executors of John Hay's will. (Will of John Hay Filed. Washington Post, Jul. 21, 1905.)

Payne Whitney's estate included 44,863 shares of the Northern Trust Company, a holding company established by his uncle; and shares of Standard Oil Co. of New York; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co.; Nash Motors; Guaranty Trust Co.; Corn Products Refining Co.; and Vanadium Corporation. He left $21,691,593 to the New York Hospital, and $3,286,605 each to Cornell and Yale Universities, and smaller amounts to Nassau Hospital and Groton School. A Bones classmate, Eugene Hale Jr. [S&B 1898], received $500,000. Lewis Cass Ledyard, the U.S. Trust Co., and Lewis Cass Ledyard Jr. were the executors. (Estate of Whitney Totals $239,301,017. Washington Post, Sep. 1, 1931; Whitney Will Gives Millions to Charity. New York Times, Jun. 7, 1927.) He contributed $1,000,000 to the Yale Endowment Fund shortly before his death. (Payne Whitney Gave Million to Yale Fund. New York Times, Jun. 2, 1927.) 1474 shares of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company stocks were held in the name of "Lewis Cass Ledyard & Payne Whitney & the Survivor of them" in 1917.

Payne Whitney and his brother each owned about half of the Northern Finance Corporation. Its holdings included about $34 million in Standard of New Jersey, $18 million in Standard of California, $16 million in Standard of Indiana, and $14 million in Standard of New York, and lesser amounts in various other oil companies; $23 million in British American Tobacco, $8 million in Imperial Tobacco, over $13 million in Liggett & Myers Tobacco, $14 million in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, and lesser amounts in American Cigar, American Snuff, Cuban Tobacco, George W. Helme Co., International Cigar Machine, Johnston Tin Foil, P. Lorillard Company, MacAndrews & Forbes, Porto-Rican American Tobacco, and U.S. Tobacco; $8 million in American Telephone & Telegraph; $7 million in the Bankers Trust Co., $4 million in the Chase National Bank, $2 million in the Guaranty Trust, $1 million in U.S. Trust Co., and lesser amounts in the Central Union Trust and National Bank of Commerce. Whitney had bank deposits of over $600,000 each in the First National Bank and the United States Trust Company, and deposits with the brokerage firms of W.H. Goadby & Co., Harriman & Co., C.D. Barney & Co., and Reynolds, Fish & Company. (Payne Whitney Left $178,893,655 Estate, Record For America. New York Times, Nov. 23, 1928.) As of 1931, his bequests to Yale University totalled $5,247,562. (Largest Yale Gift Provides Hospital. New York Times, Jun. 18, 1931.)

Payne Whitney NYC Townhouse / Marist College E-Commerce

W.H. Goadby & Co.

"Although the firm of Goadby & Co. had not been established or at any rate did not bear that name until April, 1876, Mr. Goadby had been a member of the Stock Exchange for several years previously. His membership dates from Dec. 31, 1870.... The partners who now make up the firm are Courtlandt D. Barnes, Harry G. Miles and Charles Morgan, the last a board member.... His extensive holdings of securities gave Mr. Goadby a place on the boards of several important corporations, his directorships including the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company, the Twin City Rapid Transit Company, the Lanston Monoype Machine Company and the Sheffield Company of Sheffield, Ala." He was the son of Thomas Goadby, an Englishman who came to the U.S. and made a fortune in real estate. (William H. Goadby, Broker, Dies At 76. New York Times, Jul. 5, 1925.) His nephew, W. Goadby Loew, married George F. Baker's daughter, Florence. In 1941, W.H. Goadby & Co. was merged with H.N. Whitney & Sons, and became H.N. Whitney, Goadby & Co., of 49 Wall Street. Junius A. Richards, director of Tobacco and Allied Stocks, was a member of the combined firm. (2 Firms To Be Merged. New York Times, Mar. 21, 1941.) "The firm of Henry N. Whitney & Sons is an old one. Originally it was Drew & Robinson and had charge of the Vanderbilt interests. Later it became Chase & Atkins. Henry N. Whitney then was the cashier. About 1878 he was taken into partnership, and the firm became Kissam, Whitney & Co. Mr. Kissam was a brother-in-law of William H. Vanderbilt and the firm continued in charge of the Vanderbilt interests after the new partnership of Henry N. Whitney & Sons was established in 1901." (Broker Whitney A Suicide. New York Times, Jan. 9, 1908.)

Charles Tracy Barney

CHARLES TRACY BARNEY, banker, born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 27, 1851, is a son of the late A.H. Barney, president of the United States Express Co. Charles graduated from Williams College and then entered business life. He has been engaged in banking in New York City for many years. Mr. Barney is a careful, competent and courageous businessman, interested in diverse enterprises. Through loans of money to local builders, he has been led into real estate operations himself, one of them being the purchase of the Donnelly tract on the West Side in the city. He is director of the Safe Deposit Co., The New York Loan & Improvement Co., The Mercantile National Bank, The Hudson River Bank, and the Knickerbocker Trust Co. His clubs are the Metropolitan, Grolier, Century, Players’, Union, University, City, Colonial, Whist, Down Town, Riding, New York Athletic, New York Yacht, and Westminster Kennel.

11 East 73rd Street.

Joseph Pulitzer, who was instrumental in raising monies for the base of the Statue of Liberty and whose newspaper empire led to the founding of the School of Journalism at Columbia University and the Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue, had previously lived in a 33-foot-wide mansion originally built for Charles Tracy Barney at 10 East 55th Street. That mansion had been designed by McKim, Mead & White and burned in 1900, leading Pulitzer to commission architect Stanford White to design a new mansion for him on a 98-foot-wide plot he purchased at 11 East 73rd Street.
Barney, Charles Tracy
type Collector
dates 1851-1907
city New York
state NY
other cities Cleveland, OH; Newport, RI;
gender M
history Collector, financier and ex-president of the Knickerbocker Trust, Co. He was the son of railroad executive A. H. Barney.
Charles Tracy Barney was married to Miss Lilly Collins Whitney, a sister of William C. Whitney.

October 22, 1907, New York Times,
New Amsterdam Meeting.
Directors in Conference with Clearing House Officials Several Hours.
There was a meeting of the Directors of the New Amsterdam Bank at the office of the bank yesterday afternoon, called by Frances L. Wiggin and H. P. Davison, both representing the Clearing House.
The meeting or conference extended into the evening, and when it was over those who attended it came out, and entering automobiles in waiting were driven hurriedly away. None would say anything for publication regarding the subject of the conference or what had been done.

October 22, 1907, New York Times,
Charles Tracy Barney. The Banker Identified with Many Well-Known Companies in This City.

October 22, 1907, New York Times,
Foster Higgins. New Head of Knickerbocher, A Railroad President---In Many Companies.

"ASHBEL H. BARNEY BURIED," The New York Times, December 31, 1886.

"Death of Ashbel H. Barney". New York Times. December 28, 1886. Retrieved 2010-11-16. "Ashbel H. Barney, well known as an express and railroad manager, died at his residence, No. 101 East Thirty-eighth-street, yesterday morning."
Monthly Record of Current Events", Harper's New Monthly Magazine, European edition, March 1887, p. 651.

Ashbel H. Barney died at his residence, 101 East 38th Street in New York City, on December 27, 1886.[3] [9] His funeral was conducted at the residence on December 30 by the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst of theMadison Square Presbyterian Church. The pall bearers were Thomas Collier Platt, Grosvenor P. Lowery, Samuel N. Hoyt, James C. Fargo (president of American Express), Hiram Barney, and George F. Crane. Also present were Barney's son and daughter with Morris K. Jesup, Theodore Wood, Salem H. Wales, Darius Ogden Mills, Benjamin Brewster, Parker Handy, Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas, Peter F. Baker, Duncan Cryden, Charles Atterbury, Hugh Murdock, Louis Murdock, James H. Thompson, Charles H. Adams, George C. Magoun, Russell Sturgis (son-in-law of Danford N. Barney), Appleton Sturgis (son of Russell Sturgis), A. Bancroft and W.P. Seymour. Interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery. [10]

Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

This Stanford White-designed temple of finance served as the headquarters of the Knickerbocker Trust Co. in the early 1900s.

In 1901 Charles Tracy Barney, the president of the Knickerbocker Trust, engaged his society friend Stanford White of the firm McKim, Mead & White, to design a new building. The original plan called for a 14-story bank and office building, but it was scaled back to only 3-stories.

The structure stands on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, across from the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, whose presence helped change the tenor of the area from strictly residential to commercial. The land was formerly occupied by the Stewart mansion, a Second Empire-style home faced in white marble and built by millionaire Alexander Turney Stewart. Following Stewart's death, the property was leased by the Manhattan Club before being acquired by the Knickerbocker Trust.

Construction was disrupted when the city brought suit against the building, complaining that the "columns, cornices and steps extended out onto the public sidewalks by as much as 15 feet." Litigation continued, despite the bank having approval from The Department of Buildings.

The neo-classical building, completed in 1904, featured Corinthian-style columns of Vermont marble around the outside, while the interior banking room was done in Norway marble.

For a time, the Knickerbocker Trust was one of the country's largest banks. The bank faltered during the financial “Panic of 1907” and Barney later shot himself.

The original building remained until 1921, when it was enlarged by ten stories. The facade was redone entirely in 1958, and though the building still stands, no trace of its former unique character remains.

November 3, 1907, New York Times, Memories of a Noted Corner, Stewart's Marble Palace Gave Way to the Building of the Knickerbocker Trust.

March 5, 2009, New York Times, Stanford White's Backdrop for the Panic of 1907, by Christopher Gray,

THE continuing banking debacle presents some parallels with the sad case of Charles Tracy Barney, who in the Panic of 1907 lost control of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, which shut down to his disgrace. And just as Mr. Barney’s tragedy was playing out, the seeds were sown for the mutilation of his superb 1903 bank at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, designed by Stanford White.

Left, McKim, Mead & White/Office for Metropolitan History; center, Office for Metropolitan History, right, Konrad Fiedler for The New York Times

From left: The Knickerbocker Trust Company in 1904; in 1952, after its 1921 enlargement; and as it looks today.

Mr. Barney was well connected in social and business circles when he became president of Knickerbocker Trust in 1897. In the next 10 years the bank’s deposits grew to $61 million from $10 million, and in 1901 Barney retained McKim, Mead & White to design a 14-story bank and office building at the northwest corner of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, as important a location as is 57th and Fifth today.

For reasons unknown, Mr. Barney scaled the project back to three stories — but oh, what stories! Stanford White created one of the most spectacular banks in New York, a sumptuous Corinthian-columned temple of Vermont marble on the outside and Norway marble inside the high banking room.

Just before it was completed in 1903, the city brought suit to scale back Mr. Barney’s temple, noting that its columns, cornices and steps extended out onto the public sidewalks by as much as 15 feet. Such encroachments had long been commonplace and even, at least on Fifth Avenue, expressly permitted. But pressure was building to widen Fifth for the increasing glut of vehicles.

Review of Reviews/Office for Metropolitan History

The bank's builder, Charles Tracy Barney, around 1905. He shot himself after the bank failed in the Panic of 1907.

The Department of Buildings had approved the project every step of the way, but litigation persisted for years amid sympathy for the bank and its willingness to build a civic ornament. In November 1906, The Real Estate Record and Guide predicted that surely "special arrangements" for "really beautiful buildings" could be made.

The year 1907 saw an unsettled, declining stock market, a budget crisis in New York City, continued economic fallout from the San Francisco earthquake the year before, and other financial problems. In October, several banks connected with Charles W. Morse and F. Augustus Heinze failed.

Both men were held in low regard by many in the financial community. Indeed, Mr. Morse was convicted for bank fraud in 1910 in an unrelated case and, according to “The Panic of 1907” by Robert F. Bruner and Sean D. Carr (Wiley, 2007), while in prison met Charles Ponzi, who developed the infamous pyramid scheme.

Architecture Magazine/Office for Metropolitan History
The Knickerbocker Trust Company's banking room in 1904.

When it became known that Mr. Morse and Mr. Heinze were associated in some projects with Mr. Barney, he was obliged to resign from the bank he had helped create on Monday, Oct. 21.

But in that nervous climate, rubbing shoulders with such men was enough to precipitate a run on the Knickerbocker. On Tuesday, Oct. 22, so many depositors showed up that the police were called in to keep order.

Lines wound around each other in giant spirals in the great marble banking room before snaking out the door. Men and women stood in separate lines — women usually conducted their business in a separate office. The bank had substantial assets, but most were not liquid, and it could pay out only $8 million. The Knickerbocker Trust Company closed that day at 12:35 p.m., shutting out hundreds of unsatisfied depositors.

In December, The American Review of Reviews said that the problem had largely been caused by the "unreasoning alarm of women depositors" and that the banks failure created "a veritable panic on a continental scale."

The financier J. P. Morgan stepped in and organized the financial community to save most of the other faltering institutions, often by a hairbreadth. But he had come late into the Knickerbocker crisis, and considered it too weak to save.

The Panic of 1907 dissipated before the year was up, although some institutions never got back on track. It all came too late for Mr. Barney, who on Nov. 14, at the age of 56, shot himself. He lived for four hours.

Two days after the suicide, The American Architect commented coldly that the low-rise Knickerbocker bank, “so much in fashion just now, is really nothing so much as an advertisement,” and that “when disaster comes, a well-rented skyscraper is a more valuable asset.”

In March 1908, Knickerbocker Trust reopened, and The New York Tribune reported that all depositors received their money in full. That October, The New York Times said that almost every other bank had paid off fully, the recovery essentially complete, along with the stock market. For instance, U.S. Steel had been trading early in 1907 at 50 3/8, and fell to 21 7/8 after the crash. But a year later, it was back to 47 1/2.

The original Knickerbocker Trust building survived until 1921, according to an account in The Times. The little bank then sprouted a 10-floor enlargement, also designed by McKim, Mead & White. The vertical addition sheared off the columns and other projecting ornaments, but left the pilasters along with much of the bank’s original character, including the banking hall. In 1958 the lower floors, occupied by the Bowery Savings Bank, were completely modernized, becoming sheer walls of limestone.

The Panic of 1907 remains as a famous cautionary tale, but nothing remains of Charles Barney’s magnificent white marble vision.

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