Jacob Henry Schiff (1847-1920)

Jacob Schiff, of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., Vice-President of the N.Y. Chamber of Commerce

Associated Houses

Jacob Schiff Mansion


He was the first Jew to venture into the most tightly guarded realm of Wall Street business: railroad financing. He succeeded in winning the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad as well as the Pennsylvania Railroad as clients and in importance as a financier he was soon regarded as second only to J.P. Morgan - an incredible feat for a self-made Jewish immigrant. To his already impressive client list, he went on to add Westinghouse Electric, Western Union, the U.S. Rubber Company, and American Smelting & Refining. While he was notoriously gruff, a tyrannical father, and permanently unamused, he never failed to donate 10% of his income to charity, making him the pre-eminent Jewish philanthropist of his generation. He married Therese, daughter of Solomon Loeb, founder of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., of which Schiff became senior partner. They had two children. Excepting his philanthropy, Schiff's only daughter married his polar opposite in character, Felix Warburg. Through his son, Schiff was great-great grandfather of Andrew Schiff who was married to Al Gore's daughter, Karenna.

In 1918, he came in at 23rd (tied with James B. Duke, George Eastman, Pierre S. Du Pont, Louis F. Swift, Julius Rosenwald, Mrs. Lawrence Lewis and Henry Phipps) on the first ever Forbes Rich List with an estimated personal fortune of $50-million.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 12/07/2021 and last updated on 28/02/2023.