Thomas Mellon and His Times

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University of Pittsburgh Pre, Sep 1, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 560 pages
In 1885, Thomas Mellon published his autobiography in a limited edition exclusively for his family, warning them that it contained "nothing which it concerns the public to know, and much which if writing for it I would have omitted." Mellon was an anomaly among the great American entrepreneurs of his time. Highly literate and an excellent narrative writer, he was deadly honest about his life, family, and financial success. The book his warning so effectively concealed for almost 110 years was a masterpiece of American autobiography, and it is now available for virtually the first time in this edition. At the time he looked back on his life, Mellon was a successful Pittsburgh entrepreneur and banker. In the next generation, two of his sons, Andrew William Mellon and Richard Beatty Mellon, joined Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller as the four wealthiest men in the United States, and his descendants would play major roles in American business, art, and philanthropy. Nothing in Thomas Mellon's origins suggested this future. Born in Ulster with a Scotch-Irish heritage, he immigrated to the United States in 1818 at the age of five. He was raised by his parents on a small, hilly farm at Poverty Point, about twenty miles east of Pittsburgh. It seemed that his destiny would be the farm, but in childhood and adolescence he was transformed by two experiences. At the age of ten, he walked to Pittsburgh and saw for the first time the bustle and wealth of this growing city. He was especially awestruck by the mansion and steam mill of the Negley family, "impressed... with an idea of wealth and magnificence I had before no conception of." The thought occurred to this boy whether he "might not one dayattain in some degree such wealth, and an equality with such great people." Twenty years later, in 1843, Thomas proposed to Sarah Jane Negley after a courtship that, he observed, took "much valuable time, somewhat to the prejudice of my professional business." They were devoted to
 

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THOMAS MELLON AND HIS TIMES

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A vastly engrossing 19th-century rags-to-riches autobiography by the somewhat priggish, but shrewd and observant, founder of the Mellon family fortune. Thomas Mellon (18131908) wrote this 1885 memoir ... Read full review

Contents

Childhood
9
Boyhood
17
Material Progress
31
Our Neighbors
36
First Visit to the City
45
School Days
52
The Decision
62
Academic Course
72
Before the Panic
244
After the Panic
263
Trip to Europe
286
Changes of a Lifetime
338
Conclusion
381
Afterword
387
FAMILY HISTORY
395
Name and Nationality
397

College Course
75
Study of Law
83
Bread Winning
92
Courtship and Marriage
98
Wedding Tour and Housekeeping
115
Professional Life
121
Judicial Life
159
Vexatious Litigation
182
Private Life
224
Ancestry
406
My Grandfather Mellons Family
418
My Fathers Family
434
The Negley and Winebiddle Families
444
Genealogical Chart
457
Notes
459
Bibliography
469
Index
471
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