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years ago, which staggered along, wantonly
can find men who will cover from 2500 to
It is the current idea that Mr. Harriman is one of those multifarious and indefatigable individuals who, in the present instance, is chairman of the board, president, general manager, traffic superintendent, section boss, and so on, all in one. I did not gain this impression. At Chicago are stationed Mr. Kruttschnitt and Mr. Stubbs, the first Director of Maintenance and Operation, the second Traffic Director. These are the final "buffers" between the operating officers of the road and Mr. Harriman. Whatever relates directly and simply to a division, the division chiefs have full power to decide upon on the spot. There is no telegraphing, no waiting for instructions, save where the question lies outside of a given jurisdiction. Then the question is up to Chicago, to one or the other of the directing chiefs there. Only in exceptional instances do any operating questions go further.
But the operating sheets do, every day, not that they now engage Mr. Harriman's daily attention as they used to; the vast machine runs smoothly and requires less care. Every detail of its operation, however, is reported; for example: In every accident, no matter how small, the New York office is always notified.
THE RESULT SUMMED UP.
The results from the operation of this huge machine are sufficiently well known. The gross income of the system for the last year rose $170,000,000. This is a larger gross income than that of a y other railroad system in the world, the Pennsylvania alone excepted. The dividend disbursements for the year are at the rate of about $28,000,000, net, that is, actual disbursements to the public. This, again, is a larger annual distribution than that of any other corporation, the Steel Corporation alone excepted.
All this is a strange change from the old water-logged Union Pacific of 10 or 15
HARRIMAN, THE MAN.
What sort of a man has achieved. this tremendous result? Every one by now knows that he is physically a slight, rather stooping figure, with a very large head, very piercing black eyes, with the habit of command and the confidence of success. I imagine that' the latter trait he always had. One may read in the newspapers much of Mr. Harriman's impatience of contradiction, his abrupt manners, his very dominating ways. As you meet him in private life, in his home, you see none of this.
None of the published portraits gives a very good idea of the man. The most characteristic, by odds, is Mr. Krumhaar's painting, which gives you the sense of a finely proportioned head and the rather intent look, that is very characteristic. But it must now be at least ten years old, and ten such strenuous years as Mr. Harriman's last ten could hardly fail to change a man a good deal. Most of the others give you the impression of a rather bristling, aggressive, pugnacious sort of man, which he may be, for all I know, in his relations to the public.
As I sat talking to him there came back insistently the recollection of a professor of chemistry that I used to know very well,— not the look but the manner,—just a little didactic, very easy, very clear, and very explicit. I could very well imagine Mr. Harriman as a professor of chemistry, and a very great one, a Berthelot, or an Emil Fisher.
THE GENIUS OF FORESIGHT.
There was another impression: I remem ber an associate of former days whom I used to say had a genius for seeing things, what people call foresight, grasp, penetration. It is obvious, alike from his achievement and from his conversation, that Mr. Harriman has this seeing eye in a supreme degree. In 1898 he saw the turn of the tide, he saw the great
crop that was gathering, he saw the business that it meant, he saw the needs of the road in equipment to carry this traffic, he saw the results that would flow from a straight and level line of track from the Missouri River to the Pacific. And because he could thus see, and because he had resource and decision and confidence, he has won. Other people call it daring; some foolish people call it luck, chance.
Undoubtedly he has had a very fair wind. Undoubtedly other railroad directors have done equally wonderful things, in their especial fields. The Union Pacific achievement is noteworthy only in its enormous proportions. But it was not luck or chance that did it. And I imagine that the same seeing eye which foresaw the turn of the tide in '97 and '98 will equally foresee the turn of the great floodtide of prosperity that we are experiencing now, note with care the extravagant fashion in which the country is living and spending, and understand that there will come the inevitable reverse, when the end of the tether is reached; and that he will be prepared for it, just as he was prepared for the great crop of '98.
It will be very interesting to see.
Outside of his business preoccupations, undoubtedly they come first, Mr. Harriman's chief interests are in his home and in the great estate which he is building up, in Orange County, New York. He belongs to clubs, he shares a box at the opera, but he does not mingle much, publicly at least, in public questions or public affairs.
His home for a long time was at 1 East Fifty-fifth street, opposite the new St. Regis Hotel, a very modest mansion of the old Fifth Avenue type. It was in his library there, his "den," as he calls it, that all the big things on the Union Pacific were planned. Now he has taken a big, imposing house, farther up town, in the heart of that section which Mr. Saltus calls Vanity Square. He is a tremendous worker. The day is begun with a round at the telephone, one secretary or assistant after another being connected with him, at his home, each morning, in regular order. Over the telephone he hears reports, is read letters of importance, makes engagements for the day, gives directions, then by ten or half-past he is at his desk. He has the faculty, his associates say, of getting through business at a tremendous
He works four days in the week only. Friday, Saturday and Sunday he does not go to his office, more often to the country, always to the country throughout the summer time.
WHAT HE GETS OUT OF LIFE.
It is at Arden that he has the most of his fun, though I imagine that like most men who succeed at business work itself is his enjoyment in life. After it comes the Arden. estate. It lies just above the fashionable colony at Tuxedo, on the line of the Erie road, a slight matter of 26,000 acres. That is an area of about twice the size of Manhattan Island. It is mostly wildwood, and if the mosquitoes are as numerous usually as on a summer day some years ago when I cycled through the country back of Tuxedo, I for one could have no envy for his possession.
Like President Cassatt, Mr. Harriman's instinct for building roads is strong even in his relaxations, and like President Cassatt he
ty. At first it was hard to get money to build good roads, and in one year he remarks that he spent $70,000 more than the appropriation. The object lesson told, however, and now, he observed, he has difficulty in keeping the county from spending more than it ought to.
Up at Arden he rides horseback, drives fast horses, motors about and golfs a little, does what most folk of his class do. In the winter time he gets out with his boys on the ice. They play hockey and other games, and the battle is always hot. The play must be fair and according to rules; if there is any violation of the rules he goes over to the other side.
Mr. Harriman has five children living, three daughters and two boys, the daughters now young ladies. The eldest daughter, Mary, especially, is closely his comrade, and takes the deepest interest in his affairs; he is manifestly very proud of her.
The two boys are sturdy youngsters, still in school. The youngest broke his collarbone the other day, marched over to the doctor's and had it set without a murmur,a chip of the old block.
Mr. Harriman is interested in boys. That is his chief fad. It is his pride that he is president of the largest club in the world.
That is the Boys' Club, at the corner of Tompkins Square and Tenth street, New York City. Here is a big building, five or six stories in height, with gymnasia, baths, playrooms, reading rooms, 30 or 40 separate clubrooms. Here in the course of the year 8000 or 10,000 East Side boys have fun. They are not taught. It is not a church, it is not a school, it is not a reformatory, it is not a movement for the ethical culture of the East Side. It is simply a big place where the boys may enjoy themselves. Incidentally they do learn a great deal; they are taught a great deal. But it is Tom Sawyer fashion, who defined work as play that you didn't want to do.
Here, for all ages, from little chaps just able to toddle up to big chaps ready to marry and have homes, there is a chance to find most any kind of wholesome amusement and sport. They have their football teams, baseball teams, camera clubs, natural history clubs, debating clubs. They give a Gilbert and Sullivan opera once a year, no one taking part but the boys; and the performances are said to be capital. They have an orchestra of their own, they have two drum corps, and they have a brass band.
Mr. Harriman is, and has been for years, president of this club. Its history dates back
30 years and more, and Mr. Harriman's as- tions. As to this, as with the other things sociation with it dates from the beginning. Here, as a young man of eight and twenty, he undertook the work with a company of other young men, largely college men, and he has held to it ever since.
In the old days the club was sometimes a rough and tumble affair; there were hot shindies, and Mr. Harriman tells of how there were times when he used to roll up his sleeves and go in to help clean out the gang, -a task that, I suspect, if the reports of his boyhood days be true, was not uncongenial. It was about this time that he met and married Miss Mary Averell, of Ogdensburg; Mrs. Harriman has shared his interest in the club.
that are said about him, he showed an exterior indifference that has led people to say of him that he cares nothing for public opinion, or the good report of his fellow men. But he did care for the good opinion of "his boys," and he took the trouble to send his secretary and another gentleman up to the club, a meeting was called, and the matter was set out for the information of the boys just as it had actually happened.
I am told that Mr. Harriman's private kindlinesses are many, but that he has a curious shrinking from thanks. He does not like to have known what he does. His indifference and aloofness from his surroundings are merely on the outside.
The club grew, and six or seven years ago His associates will tell you that Mr. HarMr. Harriman personally built and gave to riman's interest in public affairs is wide, his the club the fine home that it now has. He views well considered and far-sighted. He religiously attends its operas and annual talks little for publication. He does not gatherings, and up to recent years was a fre- care to discuss his plans. You learn of them quent visitor. And in this connection I was when they are achieved. I asked him what told of an incident which reveals the man he was driving at, what he thought it was in quite another light than that in which he worth while in this world for a man to do. is usually shown in the public prints. Sev- His reply was, very simply: "My idea is eral years ago, in the midst of a political that a man should try to make his children campaign, there were some charges made better, give them larger opportunities, do against Mr. Harriman and his associates in what he can to make the next generation a connection with some State lands,-I do little better off than his own." not know just what. For the public, for the
I spoke of the Panama Canal and its pos
of the West. He said: "I do not know what its effect will be, but this I do know, and that is that if there is any business to be done when the canal is completed, we shall be there, ready to do it. I have never opposed the construction of the canal, and I wish to say, moreover, that I have never been approached by any of my railroad associates or any other interests with any idea of defeating or delaying the canal's construction. My notion is that whatever contributes to make transportation swifter and cheaper beween different sections means development and business, and it is development and business which our roads seek."
It is interesting to know that Mr. Harriman and his associates had obtained control of the Burlington, or at least so large a block that no other interests could obtain control, before Mr. Hill and his associates began buying up the road. One of the syndicate which purchased the stock began to sell when the price began to rise so rapidly, thinking thereby to keep the price down; and he sold so much that the Hill interests were enabled to obtain a majority.
Yet again, Mr. Harriman had similarly bought a large block of Rock Island, with a view of preventing any other interests from obtaining control of that road; prices rose, and, thinking to take profits and buy the stock back again lower down, Mr. Harriman sold. It was just at that juncture that the United States Steel Corporation was formed, giving sudden millions to many men, and it was with this money that the present "Rock Island crowd," so-called, stepped in and snapped up the road. It is comforting to know that even the most far-sighted of men slip up once in a while.
With such a long record of success have gone many defeats. His plans have not always been carried out as he had designed. Some of these misses are well known, as in the struggle for the possession of the Northern Pacific. The whole story of that memorable contest has never been told. The Harriman interests had what they believed to be a clear majority of the stock. To Apropos of the recent purchase of half of clinch it and put the control beyond ques- the Pennsylvania interest in the Baltimore & tion Mr. Harriman desired to purchase 20,- Ohio, Mr. Harriman observed that he had 000 shares more. All this was before the long been an extensive holder in that road, Hill-Morgan interests were aware of what that he had been a director from the time of was going on. The order to buy these the reorganization. He was a member of 20,000 shares was not executed, and, owing the Expenditures Committee that planned to a provision in the articles of the road, the the outlay of $30,000,000 in improvements. preferred stock, largely held by the Harri- " I put in 18 months of hard work at it," Mr. man interests, was retired, giving control to Harriman remarked. Asked what he meant the other side. Mr. Harriman remarked of to do with the Baltimore & Ohio, he smiled this battle: "From the time the other inter- and said: "The purchase of half of the ests learned of our holdings we did not pur- Pennsylvania interest does not give us conchase one single share of stock. The bidding trol, any more than the Pennsylvania, does up of Northern Pacific to $1000 a share and it? the panic that followed were not our work." The Harriman of that especial sentence is Out of this defeat Mr. Harriman came the Harriman that worries Wall Street. with a profit to his road of $80,000,000. Other men talk over their plans with their One day I asked Mr. Thomas Woodlock, friends, their friends with theirs; Mr. Harriwell known as an expert in railroad affairs, man does not. So Wall Street calls him what he regarded as Mr. Harriman's most inscrutable. noteworthy achievement. He replied: "I think it was this, to get licked in a fight and pull out of it with a colossal fortune as the result."
Napoleon and other men of this type had their critics; Mr. Harriman has his. It is the function of an on-looker in life merely to describe.