Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937)

Andrew William Mellon, of Pittsburgh; U.S. Secretary of the Treasury etc.

Associated Houses


Sewickley, Pittsburgh

Andrew Mellon Building

Washington D.C.

He was born at Pittsburgh, the son of the founder of the Mellon Bank where he started his career. In 1876, his father introduced him to Henry Clay Frick and together they expanded the bank's interests in gas, petrol, coal, aluminium etc., before venturing into steel with the consent of Andrew Carnegie. By the turn of the century, his financial empire made him, "the single most significant individual in the economic life and progress of western Pennsylvania". He was a lifelong Republican and in 1921 he was appointed U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. In that position, he served under three Presidents (Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge & Herbert Hoover) and he is the second longest serving Treasury Secretary in U.S. history. He presided over the boom of the 1920s and significantly reduced the national debt, but his reputation collapsed after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. For a year, he served in London as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, retiring from public life in 1933. He was an active philanthropist and co-founded Carnegie Mellon University and he was estimated to have given over $43 million to the University of Pittsburgh. As an art collector, he established the National Gallery of Art at Washington D.C. At the time of his death in 1937, his fortune was estimated to be $280 million. His marriage to Nora McMullen was over after twelve years, but they were the parents of two children: Paul (husband of Bunny) Mellon and Ailsa, Mrs David Bruce.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 03/09/2020 and last updated on 05/09/2020.