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Norman B. Ream
File:Norman B. Ream.jpg
Born Norman Bruce Ream
(1844-11-05)November 5, 1844
Somerset County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died February 9, 1915(1915-02-09) (aged 70)
New York City, U.S.
Place of burial Woodlawn Cemetery
Residence 1901 Prairie Avenue, Chicago
Nationality American
Occupation Businessman
Known for Investing in steel, railroads, insurance, and banking
Religion Episcopalian Church
Spouse(s) Caroline Thompson Putnam
Children 5 sons, 3 daughters
Relatives Anastasy Vonsyatsky (son-in-law)

Norman B. Ream (1844-1915) was an American businessman. A Civil War veteran, Ream became a millionaire by investing in steel, railroads, insurance, and banking.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Norman B. Ream was born on November 5, 1844 in Harnedsville,[1] Somerset County, Pennsylvania.[2][3] He was educated in public schools.[3]

During the American Civil War of 1861-1865, he served in the 85th Pennsylvania Infantry of the Union Army.[1][4] He became the youngest man to be promoted from private to First-Lieutenant in the Union Army.[5] However, he was "incapacitated" by war wounds.[3]

Career[edit | edit source]

Shortly after the war, in 1866, Ream moved to Princeton, Illinois,[3] where he opened a store.[1] Later, Ream moved to Iowa, where he purchased cattle and grains on credit and sold them to farmers on credit.[1] He ran up debt as a result of a crop failure, but managed to pay it off, and moved to Chicago in 1877.[1][3] Shortly after, Ream joined the Chicago Board of Trade.[1] Ream would rise early to talk to the people at the Union Stock Yards before the Board of Trade opened at 10AM.[1] Over the year, Ream became an investment advisor to business magnates like J. P. Morgan, Marshall Field, George Pullman.[6] Later, with Robert Todd Lincoln, Ream was the executor of Pullman's will.[7]

Ream served on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Steel.[2] Additionally, Ream was involved in the railroad business, serving on the Board of Directors of the Pullman Company,[8] as well as the Boards of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Chicago and Erie Railroad, the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railway, the Erie Railroad, the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway, the Pere Marquette Railway, and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.[2]

Ream was also active in the insurance business, serving on the Boards of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and the Reliance Company, as well as banking, serving on the Boards of the First Financial Bank of Chicago and the New York Trust Company (later merged with Chemical Bank, now known as JPMorgan Chase).[2]

Ream also served on the Board of Directors of the National Biscuit Company,[2] later known as Nabisco, now a subsidiary of Mondelēz International.[2] Additionally, Ream served on the Boards of the Central Safety Deposit Company, the Metropolitan Trust Company, the Fidelity-Phoenix Fire Assurance Company, the Securities Company, the Cumberland Corporation, the Sussex Realty Company, the Franco-American Financial Association, etc.[2]

Philanthropy[edit | edit source]

Ream helped Chicago recover from its fire in 1871.[9] Additionally, he served on the Board of Trustees of the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago.[10] Meanwhile, his wife attended fundraisers for Bryn Mawr College, a women's college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.[11]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Ream married Caroline Thompson Putnam in 1876 in Madison, New York.[3][12] They resided at 1901 Prairie Avenue in Chicago.[12] They had several children.

One of his sons, Robert Ream, married Mabel Wrightson, the daughter of Reverend W. G. Wrightson and sister of Harry Wrightson, in Cuckfield, West Sussex, in 1907.[13] Another son, Louis, who graduated from Princeton University and worked for the New York Trust Company, also eloped, marrying Eleanor Pendleton, a stage actress.[14] When they divorced in 1918, she received an alimony of US$210,000.[15] Meanwhile, Edwin King Ream, eloped and married Nellie Speed Armstrong, the granddaughter of James Speed, who served as the 27th United States Attorney General, in 1911.[14] Yet another son, Norman P. Ream, married Mary Green, the daughter of Adolphus W. Green, the founder of the National Biscuit Company on whose board Ream had served, in 1916.[16]

A daughter, Frances Matt, married John L. Kemmerer.[17] Another daughter, Marion Buckingham Ream, first married Redmond B. Stevens,[18] and later Anastasy Vonsyatsky, a Polish-born fascist leader.[19]

Death and legacy[edit | edit source]

Ream died on February 9, 1915 at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.[2] His funeral took place at the St. George's Episcopal Church.[20][21] His pallbearers included Adolphus W. Green and Elbert Henry Gary.[21] He was buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.[21][22]

At the time of his death, he was worth between US$50 million and US$75 million.[2] He was one of the twenty-five richest men in the United States.[6][9] After his death, his widow resided at 903 Park Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.[16]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Paul Ryscavage. Norman B. Ream: Forgotten Master of Markets. New York City: Rowman & Littlefield. 2013. 283 pages.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Norman B. Ream's Fortune Built On A Real Lame Duck". February 21, 1915. p. 8. https://www.newspapers.com/image/39648219/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 "Norman B. Ream Dead". February 10, 1915. p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/33297780/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Norman B. Ream Is Dead in New York". February 9, 1915. p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/78406068/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved September 4, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  4. "History Vindicates Eighty-Fifth Regiment". May 18, 1915. p. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/53810032/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  5. Liston, M. Hayes (November 17, 1961). "100th Anniversary of Pennsylvania Volunteers' Departure This Month". p. 35. https://www.newspapers.com/image/63791832/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Norman B. Ream Dies In New York". February 9, 1915. p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/95904558/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  7. "Boys Are Left Out". October 28, 1897. p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/33862234/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  8. "Pullman Stockholders Meet". October 20, 1899. p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/34181167/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 29, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Norman B. Ream Is Dead". February 18, 1915. p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/40232506/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  10. "Field Columbian Museum Election. Officers and Board of Trustees Selected at a Meeting Yesterday.". January 23, 1897. p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/33765898/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  11. "The Week In Society". February 19, 1899. p. 20. https://www.newspapers.com/image/52585675/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved September 4, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ryscavage, Paul (2013). Norman B. Ream: Forgotten Master of Markets. New York City: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 85. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=b-Y7IWMj15IC&pg=PA85&lpg=PA85&dq=Caroline+Thompson+Putnam+norman+Ream&source=bl&ots=K2GuIx9SmA&sig=yZSqxM-OKyGaR-UmqHEAoVkBICk&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  13. "Robert Ream To Wed English Girl.". August 17, 1907. p. 7. https://www.newspapers.com/image/20557969/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved September 3, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Louis Ream Weds Young Actress". September 8, 1911. p. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/28700969/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved September 3, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  15. "Gets $210,000 Alimony". February 14, 1918. p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/66859530/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved September 4, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Ream-Green Wedding". June 3, 1916. p. 14. https://www.newspapers.com/image/28711854/?terms=%22Adolphus%2BW.%2BGreen%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  17. "Social and Personal". June 2, 1906. p. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/48228201/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved September 3, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  18. "Steel Fleet Full: Fourth Ship Floats". October 21, 1906. p. 7. https://www.newspapers.com/image/34545168/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 28, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  19. "War Halo Snares Heiress's Heart". February 1, 1922. p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/34502944/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 29, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  20. "Norman B. Ream's Funeral". February 12, 1915. p. 8. https://www.newspapers.com/image/33297822/?terms=%22Norman%2BB.%2BReam%22. Retrieved August 29, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Norman Bruce Ream". February 14, 1915. p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/28697076/?terms=%22norman%2Bbruce%2Bream%22. Retrieved August 29, 2015.  open access publication - free to read
  22. Norman B. Ream at Find a Grave

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