HAVEMEYER, HENRY OSBORNE. (1847-1907). American industrialist, art collector and president of the American Sugar Refining Company. TLS. (“H. O. Havemeyer”). 1p. 12mo. New York, February 19, 1902. On his 11 Wall Street stationery. To ROBERT E. MANROSS (1852-1932), president of the New Haven coal wholesaler Benedict & Pardee Co.
Gracious and Grateful Typed Letter Signed by Art Collector, Plutocrat and Patron of New York’s Metropolitan Museum
Signed by Henry O. Havemeyer
“Thank you very much for your goodness in returning my card case, found on the elevated train…”
Henry belonged to the third generation of the Havermeyer family involved in the sugar industry, which he entered as a 15-year-old apprentice in 1863. A decade later, he was in charge of the New York City-based family business. The decades after the Civil War saw intense competition in sugar refining due to overproduction that resulted in depressed prices. Havemeyer established the Sugar Trust in 1887 to control pricing and production. After its legality was challenged, the Sugar Trust morphed into the American Sugar Refining Company, a holding company and processed 98% of the sugar in America. In 1900, it became Domino Sugar. Suits challenging the company’s monopoly on sugar refining continued after Havemeyer’s death well into the 1920s.
Havemeyer and his wife Louisine were inexhaustible art collectors, bequeathing to New York’s Metropolitan Museum nearly 2,000 works, the bulk of which forms part of that institution’s Impressionist collection and includes works by Degas, Monet and Cassatt. Portions of their vast collection are also on view at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, founded by their daughter Electra Havemeyer Webb, also a prominent art collector. Folded and trimmed just below the signature. Normal wear and in very good condition. Uncommon.