"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nelson Aldrich

This portrait of Nelson Aldrich (1841-1915) by Anders Zorn hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"From 1881, when the Rhode Island legislature appointed Congressman Nelson Aldrich to fill a vacant Senate seat, through his reelections in 1886, 1892, 1898, and 1904, Aldrich became one of the most powerful figures in the upper house. Aldrich's ascendancy marked a period when the Republican Party transformed itself focusing on making America an industrial world power rather than on its original goals of emancipation and civil rights. Although Aldrich worked closely in the Senate with business leaders, he appears to have been honest, sincerely believing that the general welfare of America was best served by government and business working together. Nonetheless, Aldrich was a wealthy man who became wealthier in the Senate; it was all appropriately symbolized by his daughter's marriage to John D. Rockefeller Jr.

The Swedish artist Anders Zorn, who made numerous visits to America after 1893, noted that Aldrich was one of his more difficult sitters because of the expression of his eyes." -- National Portrait  Gallery

Senator Aldrich is known as the "Father of the National Reserve" having organized the "Jekyll Island Duck Hunt" in response to the panic of 1907 at which the creation of a central bank was discussed by various business luminaries. The result was Aldrich's 1910 National Reserve Association bill. The Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913.

Aldrich's influence on the U.S. Senate of behalf of gilded-age business interests is exemplified in this 1906 cartoon from Puck (Wikipedia).

No comments:

Post a Comment