Clarence Dillon

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Clarence Dillon
BornClarence Lapowski
(1882-09-27)September 27, 1882
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Died April 14, 1979(1979-04-14) (aged 96)
Far Hills, New Jersey, U.S.
CitizenshipFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Education Worcester Academy
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation investment banker
Employer Dillon, Read & Co.
Spouse(s)Anne McEldin
(m. 1908;her death 1961)
Children C. Douglas Dillon
Dorothy Dillon Eweson
Parent(s) Samuel Lapowski
Bertha Stenbock

Clarence Dillon (September 27, 1882 – April 14, 1979) [1] was an American financier, and namesake of Dillon, Read & Co., an investment bank. In 1957, Fortune Magazine listed Dillon as one of the richest men in the United States, with a fortune then estimated to be from $150 to $200 million. [2]

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Dillon, Read & Co. was an investment bank based in New York City. In 1991, it was acquired by Barings Bank and, in 1997, it was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation, which was in turn acquired by UBS in 1998.


Early life

Clarence Dillon was born Clarence Lapowski. His parents were Bertha Stenbock (1862–1951) and Samuel Lapowski (1848–1912), who emigrated to the United States. Dillon's father was a Polish Jewish immigrant, likely born at Łomża, Poland in 1848. His paternal grandparents were Joshua Lapowski and Paulina Dylion, the daughter of Michel Dylion, a Frenchman. [3]

Łomża Place in Podlaskie, Poland

Łomża is a city in north-eastern Poland, approximately 150 kilometres to the north-east of Warsaw and 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of Białystok. It is situated alongside the Narew river as part of the Podlaskie Voivodeship since 1999. Previously, it was the capital of the Łomża Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998. It is the capital of Łomża County and has been the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Łomża since 1925.

Poland republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

The French are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

In 1878, his father went to San Antonio, Texas and married Bertha Stenbock one year later. Stenbock was born 1862 in Denver, Colorado, the daughter of Gustav Stenbock, a Swedish immigrant, who was prospecting for lead and silver in the Colorado Western Slope. [3] In 1884, the family moved to Abilene, Texas. They became naturalized citizens in the Abilene District Court, on September 25, 1891, legally changing the family name to Dillon on September 17, 1901. [4] Clarence's father died in San Francisco, California, on June 23, 1912 and his mother died in New York City, on January 1, 1951. [5]

San Antonio City in Texas, United States

San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh-most populous city in the United States, and the second-most populous city in both Texas and the Southern United States, with more than 1.5 million residents. Founded as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost in 1718, the city became the first chartered civil settlement in present-day Texas in 1731. The area was still part of the Spanish Empire, and later of the Mexican Republic. Today it is the state's oldest municipality.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Denver State capital and consolidated city-county in Colorado

Denver, officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is named after James W. Denver, a governor of the Kansas Territory, and it is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich, the longitudinal reference for the Mountain Time Zone, passes directly through Denver Union Station.

Dillon graduated from Worcester Academy, located in Worcester, Massachusetts and one of the country's oldest day-boarding schools, and then Harvard University in 1905. [6]

Worcester Academy private high school in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States

Worcester Academy is a private school in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is one of the country's oldest day-boarding schools, with alumni including H. Jon Benjamin, Edward Davis Jones, Cole Porter, and Olympian Bill Toomey. A coeducational preparatory school, it belongs to the National Association of Independent Schools. Situated on 73 acres, the academy is divided into a middle school, serving approximately 150 students in grades six to eight, and an upper school, serving approximately 500 students in grades nine to twelve, including some postgraduates. Approximately one-third of students in the upper school participate in the school's five- and seven-day boarding programs. Currently, there are approximately 80 international students enrolled from 28 different nations. The academy is mildly selective, accepting approximately 65% of all applicants.

Worcester, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Worcester is a city in, and the county seat of, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population was 181,045, making it the second most populous city in New England after Boston. Worcester is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston, 50 miles (80 km) east of Springfield and 40 miles (64 km) north of Providence. Due to its location in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth", thus, a heart is the official symbol of the city. However, the heart symbol may also have its provenance in lore that the Valentine's Day card, although not invented in the city, was mass-produced and popularized by Esther Howland who resided in Worcester.

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 post graduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.


Dillon, Read & Co. Logo Dillon Read Logo.png
Dillon, Read & Co. Logo

In 1912, Dillon met William A. Read, founder of the Wall Street bond broker firm William A. Read & Company through an introduction by his Harvard classmate, William A. Phillips. Dillon joined Read's Chicago office in that year, later moving to the firm's New York office in 1914. Following Read's death in 1916, Dillon bought a majority interest in the firm and was chosen to head the company. [1] In 1921, the company's name was changed to Dillon, Read & Co. [7] [8]

Wall Street street in Manhattan

Wall Street is an eight-block-long street running roughly northwest to southeast from Broadway to South Street, at the East River, in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, the American financial services industry, or New York–based financial interests.

William A. Phillips American politician

William Addison Phillips was a journalist, soldier and U.S. Representative from Kansas.

In 1921, Dillon focused on the beleaguered Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company which was in receivership. He succeeded in crafting a settlement with Goodyear's bankers, creditors, and stockholders as was raising more than $100 million in funding in an extremely difficult credit market. In 1925, only four years later, Dillon bought the Dodge Brothers Company for $146 million in cash which was the largest such transaction in industrial history at the time. After the acquisition of Dodge, Dillon merged the company with the Chrysler Corporation in 1927 resulting in Chrysler's becoming one of the Big three in the automobile industry. [1]

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is an American multinational tire manufacturing company founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling and based in Akron, Ohio. Goodyear manufactures tires for automobiles, commercial trucks, light trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, race cars, airplanes, farm equipment and heavy earth-mover machinery. It also produced bicycle tires from its founding until 1976. As of 2017, Goodyear is one of the top four tire manufacturers along with Bridgestone (Japan), Michelin (France) and Continental (Germany).

In the automotive industry, the term Big Three refers to a country's three largest automobile manufacturers.

A number of Dillon, Read & Co. partners served in senior roles in government, including Dillon and his right-hand man, James Forrestal, who served as Secretary of the Navy, and later, Secretary of Defense. During World War I, Bernard Baruch, Chairman of the War Industries Board, (known as the Czar of American Industry) asked Dillon to be Assistant Chairman of the War Industries Board. [1]


Dillon was a Francophile both because he had French origins and for his own personal tastes. In 1929, he purchased an apartment in Paris where he stayed a part of each year until he was well into his 80s. [9] An oenophile as well. Dillon negotiated for months to purchase Château Haut-Brion from Bordeaux businessman André Gibert who had controlled the French wine producer since 1923. Dillon ultimately made the acquisition on May 13, 1935 for 2,300,000 francs. Dillon made Seymour Weller, who was the son of his wife’s sister, president of the new company, Société Vinicole de la Gironde, (later Domaine Clarence Dillon). Weller retired as President of the company in 1975. Dillon is said to have purchased Château Haut-Brion because it was his favorite wine. However Haut-Brion is also near Bordeaux, and good riding and hunting land surrounds the estate. [10] [11] [12]

Clarence purchased show dog Fontclair Festoon from Dody Jenkins. This dog would go on to win best-in-show at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1959. The dog was handled by Anne Rogers Clark. [13]

Personal life

Manhattan townhouse, built 1930 Dillon house 124 E80 jeh.JPG
Manhattan townhouse, built 1930

On February 4, 1908, Dillon married Anne McEldin Douglass (1881–1961) [lower-alpha 1] in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Anne was the daughter of George Douglass and his wife and second cousin Susan Virginia Dun. [14] Together, Clarence and Anne were the parents of a son and daughter:

Dillon died on April 14, 1979 at his home in Far Hills, New Jersey. [1]

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  1. Anne was born on September 26, 1881 in Peoria, Illinois and died on November 8, 1961 in Far Hills, New Jersey
  2. The second "s" was later dropped from his middle name. [3]
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Clark, Alfred E. (15 April 1979). "Clarence Dillon, Financier, Is Dead". The New York Times . Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  2. Geisst, Charles, ed. (2006). "Dillon Read & Co". Encyclopedia of American Business History. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Pace, Eric (January 12, 2003). "C. Douglas Dillon Dies at 93; Was in Kennedy Cabinet". The New York Times . Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  4. Katharyn Duff, Abilene ... On Catclaw Creek (1969), p. 133
  5. 1 2 3 Perez, Robert C.; Willett, Edward F. (1995). Clarence Dillon: A Wall Street Enigma. Madison Books. p. 139. ISBN   9781461713838 . Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  6. "C. Douglas Dillon, former Treasury secretary and Harvard overseer, dies at 93". Harvard University Gazette . Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University News Office. January 16, 2003. Retrieved 2009-03-25. Dillon and his father, Clarence Dillon '05, also established the Dillon Field House Endowment.
  7. "BANKING FIRM CHANGES.; William A. Read & Co. Dissolves and Dillon, Read & Co. is Formed" (PDF). The New York Times . January 14, 1921. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  8. "William A. Read (1858 - 1916)". Central Trust Company of New York. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  9. Agnès Lascève. "Bordeaux: Haut-Brion". France Today magazine. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  10. "A Heritage of Excellence". Domaine Clarence Dillon. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  11. "Château Haut-Brion, a Family Affair" (PDF). The World of Fine wine. 2008. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  12. Frank J. Prial (June 19, 1985). "Wine Talk". The New York Times . Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  13. "Tributes to Anne Rogers Clark". Retrieved 11 April 2010.
  14. For her ancestry, see Harry Wright Newman, A Branch of the Douglas family with its Maryland & Virginia connections (New York: Doubleday, 1967).
  15. "Paid Notice: Deaths EWESON, DOROTHY DILLON". The New York Times . 12 June 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  16. "DOROTHY DILLON'S BRIDAL; Banker's Daughter to. Wed Philip E. Allen on Monday". The New York Times . 26 April 1934. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  17. "DOROTHY A. DILLON BECOMES A BRIDE; Daughter of Banking Firm's Head is Married to Philip Elsworth Allen. SIMPLE HOME CEREMONY Evelyn Hollingsworth and D. P. Williams Jr. Attend Couple Dr. Darlington Officiates." The New York Times . 1 May 1934. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  18. "DR. SYDNEY SPIVACK, A SOCIOLOGIST, 61". The New York Times . 28 July 1969. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  19. "MRS. ALLEN MARRIED TO SYDNEY SPIVACK" (PDF). The New York Times . September 16, 1956. Retrieved 9 March 2018.

Further Reference