The Judge: A Life of Thomas Mellon, Founder of a Fortune

Overview

Lawyer, judge, banker, classics professor, and councilman, Thomas Mellon greatly influenced the fortunes of his hometown, Pittsburgh, throughout the nineteenth century. In the process, he became one of the city's most important business leaders, and he laid the foundation for a family that would contribute considerably to the city's growth and welfare for much of the next hundred years, becoming one of the world's most recognizable names in industry, innovation, and philanthropy. Through his in-depth examination ...

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The Judge: A Life of Thomas Mellon, Founder of a Fortune

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Overview

Lawyer, judge, banker, classics professor, and councilman, Thomas Mellon greatly influenced the fortunes of his hometown, Pittsburgh, throughout the nineteenth century. In the process, he became one of the city's most important business leaders, and he laid the foundation for a family that would contribute considerably to the city's growth and welfare for much of the next hundred years, becoming one of the world's most recognizable names in industry, innovation, and philanthropy. Through his in-depth examination of the extensive Mellon family archives, in The Judge James Mellon—a direct descendent of Thomas Mellon—has fashioned an incisive portrait of the elder Mellon that presents the man in full. Offering a singular and insightful characterization of the Scotch-Irish value system that governed the patriarch's work and life, James Mellon captures the judge's complexities and contradictions, revealing him as a truly human figure. 

Among the recent biographies of Pittsburgh's famous businessmen, The Judge stands apart from the pack because of the author's unique perspective and his objective and scholarly approach to his subject.

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Editorial Reviews

The Weekly Standard

“A well-researched biography that could go far to help people better understand the family patriarch.”—The Weekly Standard
Choice - R.M. Hyser

"[Mellon's] well-written autobiography, completed in 1885 and republished in 1994, provides valuable insights into his entrepreneurial activities, notes his emphasis on education and family, and contains judgmental commentary on controversial issues of his day."—R.M. Hyser, Choice
Choice
“Valuable…Highly recommended.”—Choice
Choice

“Valuable…Highly recommended.”—Choice
Library Journal
Mellon (The Face of Lincoln) has created a remarkably objective portrait of his famous ancestor (1813–1908), who emigrated from Ireland as a child, his family settling near Pittsburgh. It's the classic rags-to-riches story of striving to better oneself in a new land through education and hard work and, in this case, becoming the founding patriarch of an American dynasty. Although real-estate investing in booming Pittsburgh was surely one way to make his fortune, it was his establishment of the Mellon Bank that led him to great wealth by the time of his death at 95. His legacy enabled his children—most notably his son Andrew—in the classic next-generation pattern to turn to cultural and other philanthropic endeavors, most prominently the creation of the National Gallery of Art. VERDICT The author, having had unfettered access to Mellon archives, deserves much credit for wisely avoiding the easy target of simply writing a family genealogy, expanding it instead into a truly American generational saga, one with profound implications not only for one man's family, but for the entire country as well. Specialists and students of American history will benefit enormously from this splendidly written and researched work. Highly recommended.—Richard Drezen, Brooklyn, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300167146
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 978,977
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author


James Mellon is the author of African Hunter and The Face of Lincoln; he is coeditor of Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember. He lives in New York City.
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