Villard, Henry (i. e. Heinrich Hilgard), American publisher and railway tycoon; founder of General Electric (1835-1900). Autograph letter signed ("Heinrich").

New York, 5 Dec. 1883.

8vo. 3 pp. on double leaf.

 2,500.00

To his cousin Rosa: "Mein Banquier in Frankfurt wird Euch wieder via Erinnerungszeichen von meiner Frau u. mir übermitteln, das ich mit Deinem Bruder zu theilen u. mit unseren besten Wünschen zu den Festtagen entgegen zu nehmen bitte. Da Ihr ja Leser der Kölnischen Zeitung seid, so habt Ihr wohl aus derselben ersehen, welche großartigen Erlebnisse mir die letzten Monate gebracht haben. Ich staune oft selbst über das, was mir zu erreichen vergönnt war u. dünkt es mir, daß ich die Genugthuung, ein großes Lebenswerk ganz zu vollenden in einem Maße genieße [?], wie es Menschen nur selten gestattet ist. Wie mit Befriedigung auf die Vergangenheit, kann ich mit Zuversicht auch der Zukunft entgegensehen [...]".

However, the gratification of Villard, who had emigrated to the USA three decades earlier to escape his debts, his father, and the military and who had risen from casual laborer to newspaper editor and finally to president of two railroad companies, was not to last long: while his ambitious project, the Northern Pacific Railroad, had been completed, the costs had exceeded his plans by 14 million dollars. After having been forced to return to Germany shortly thereafter, he was soon sent back to America by Georg von Siemens, his friend and the chief executive at the Deutsche Bank, for which Villard was to function as a representative. In 1887, Villard was once more president of Northern Pacific; a year later, he bought the Edison Lamp Co. and Edison Machine Works from his friend Thomas Alva Edison, who had lost interest in entrepreneurship, and fused them into Edison General Electric, which in 1892 he joined with the Thomson-Houston Co. to form General Electric. In 1893, Henry Villard was displaced from his Northern Pacific and General Electric presidencies by John Pierpont Morgan; he died of a heart-attack in 1900.

Occasional insignificant staining, with a few minute ink smudges. Very rare.

Stock Code: BN#22607 Tags: ,