Edward Julius Berwind (1848-1936)
Edward J. Berwind, President of the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company
Born at Philadelphia, the son of German immigrants. He entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and five years after being commissioned an officer, he retired in 1875. Instead, he joined his brother, Charles, in the coal mining business with Judge Allison White (1816-1885) and from 1886 their firm became known as the Berwind-White Corporation. Charles died in 1890 and Edward succeeded him as President of the company. Edward developed a close partnership with J.P. Morgan enabling him to expand his coal mining operations until he was considered the largest individual owner of coal mines in the world. By 1903, they were selling over 2.5 million tons of coal per year extracted from 105,000-acres of mined land, bringing in an annual profit of $8 million. The company opened branches in West Virginia and Kentucky, before making their headquarters at New York. Like James Dunsmuir in Canada, Berwind ruled his empire with an iron fist and refused to bargain with his employees nor allow them to establish unions. The Berwind Corporation was also heavily involved in shipping between the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. Berwind also joined fellow Philadelphian P.A.B. Widener in establishing the New York Subway. Edward's wife, Sarah, was born in Italy, the daughter of a famous sculptor, and they both shared a passion for the arts. Their magnificent homes, The Elms and 2 East 64th Street in Manhattan both survive today and were built to house their magnificent art collection. They died without children.