"A man of large spirit, great generosity and above all, abiding Canadianism."Lester B. Pearson
J.W. McConnell (1877-1963), born to a poor farming family in Ontario, became one of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen of his generation - in Canada and internationally.
Early in his career McConnell established the Montreal office of the Standard Chemical Company and began selling bonds and shares in both North America and Europe, establishing relationships that would lead to his enormous financial success. He was involved in numerous businesses, from tramways to ladies' fashion to mining, and served on the boards of several corporations. For nearly fifty years he was president of St Laurence Sugar and late in life he became the owner and publisher of the Montreal Star.
McConnell was an indefatigable and formidable fundraiser for the YMCA, the war effort of 1914/18, hospitals, and McGill University, where he served as governor for almost three decades. In 1937 he established what would become The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the first major foundation in Canada and still one of the best endowed.
J.W. McConnell was a principled and brilliant visionary with a strong work ethic and a deep commitment to the public good, a Rockefellerian figure in both big business and high society who quietly became one of the greatest philanthropists of his time. His life story - told in uncompromising detail by William Fong - is a study of raising, spending, and giving away money on the grandest scale.
752 Pages, 6.75 x 9.75
150 b&w illustrations
Formats: Cloth, eBook
"French-Canadian nationalist rhetoric and a chorus of 'victim studies' by labour, racial, social, women's, and Native studies historians have passed harsh judgement on McConnell and his generation of Montreal businessmen. William Fong provides an effective counterpoint in his well-researched and extensively documented biography, written in McConnell's own terms and in the context of his time." The Canadian Historical Review
William Fong is the author of Sir William C. Macdonald: A Biography.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments xi
A Boyhood in Muskoka: Blood, Religion, Sentiment, and Community, 1877-91 3
Onward, Ever Onward, Jack: Toronto and the Making of a Man, 1892-99 17
Selling Wood Products and Settling Down, 1899-1907 39
Partner, Promoter, and Believer, 1907-1914 63
Bittersweet: St Lawrence Sugar and Regulation, 1912-63 94
Keep the Home Fires Burning: Fundraising for the YMCA in Peace and for Canada in the Great War, 1909-19 123
Developing and Financing Tramways and Electricity, 1890-1925 148
The Rise and Fall of Holding Companies for Power and Paper, 1925-39 181
Almost a Jack of All Trades, 1911-39 212
Insecurities: McConnell's Investments, 1921-39 241
Wider, Ever Wider Shall Thy Bounds Be Set: Social Life in Montreal, 1901-63 257
For King and Empire, 1927-39 289
Faith and Works: From Charity to Social Welfare and from Fundraising to Philanthropy, 1922-45 324
There'll Always Be an England: The Second World War, 1939-45351
The Dilemma of Conservative Politics, 1911-63 386
Press Barons, Publishers, and Editors: The Montreal Daily Star and Other Newspapers, 1925-53 421
Grandescunt Aucta Labore: Building McGill University for the Future, 1920-63 464
We Give Thee but Thine Own: The Making of the McConnell Foundation, 1928-63 507
Keep Right on to the End of the Road, 1945-63 546
Survey of J.W. McConnell’s Investments, 1921-51 583
A Glimpse of the Interconnectedness of McConnell’s Circle 607