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📙 Merchant adventurer: the story of W.R. Grace by Marquis James — free pdf


This biography was written by two-time Pulitzer winner Marquis James in 1948, but was never published. W.R. Grace's son commissioned James to write it when the author was at the height of his career. However, as Viking Press was about to print the book, the Grace company decided not to release it. It then lay in the firm's archives until it was uncovered by Lawrence Clayton of the University of Alabama. "Merchant Adventurer" tells the story of one of America's most successful immigrants. First arriving in America in 1846, Irish-born William R. Grace worked his way up from ordinary seaman to become master of a vast commercial empire, reformer of the Democratic party and New York City's first Catholic mayor. Grace's fortune quickly rose once he began supplying ships in the Peruvian guano trade. By the late 1860s, Grace was a rich man; his firm, headquartered in New York, operated vessels all over the world, helped build railroads in Latin America, and ran guns to Peru for its disastrous war against Chile. Yet Grace's energies did not stop with his business dealings. In the 1880s he served twice as mayor of New York, successfully fighting the corruption of Tammany Hall. As the century waned, he battled to control the rubber market and nearly won a contract to build what is now the Panama Canal.

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