Tuesday, January 23, 2007

John George Alexander Leishman

John George Alexander Leishman
March 28, 1857 – March 27, 1924

(Bio from “History of Carnegie Veterans Association” by William B. Dickson, 1938)

Born at Pittsburgh PA March 28, 1857, and entered into the Carnegie service, October 1, 1884, as Special Sales Agent. He later occupied the following positions:

- Vice Chairman, Carnegie Brothers & Company, Ltd.

- Vice President, Carnegie Steel Company.

- President, Carnegie Steel Company.

He retired from Carnegie service in June 1897, to accept appointment by President McKinley, as United States Minster to Switzerland. He was later transferred to the same position in Turkey, in 1900. In 1904, he presented the demand that the American citizens should have the same rights and privileges in Turkish Dominions as were granted to certain favored nations; and that he American minister should have direct access to the Sultan. In 1906, his grade was raised to that of Ambassador. He was transferred by President Taft, as Ambassador to Italy, and in 1911, as Ambassador to Germany.

Prior to his entry into the Carnegie service, he has been in the service of Shoenberger Steel Company, and later, Senior partner in the firm of Leishman and Snyder, Iron and Steel Brokers.
He was the son of John B. Leishman, of Scotch-Irish Presbyterian descent, and Amelia Henderson, daughter of William Henderson, of the Henderson family of Belfast, a member of which owns the daily newspaper, “Belfast News Letter”, and which has given two Lord Mayors to Belfast.

The father, John B. Leishman died in Pittsburgh, leaving a young widow who later married Mr. Batson.

John G. A. Leishman, on September 9, 1880, at Homewood Chapel, married Julia Crawford, Daughter of Edward Crawford of Pittsburgh, and his wife, Nancy Fergussen, of Scotch-English Protestant descent. Mrs. Leishman died in Monte Carlo, Monaco, November 22, 1918, and is buried in the cemetery of Monaco.

Their Children:

John George Alexander Leishman, Jr. Married (1) to Elizabeth Gardner Demarest; (2) to Anna Verelpen. No children.

Martha. Married (1) to Louis Comte de Gontaut-Biron, who died; (2) to James Hazen Hyde. One son, Henry Hyde.

Nancy. Married (1) to Charles, Duc of Croy, of whom were born:
- Charles, Prince de Croy, born 1914
- Antoinette, Princesse de Croy.
- Marie Louise, Princess de Croy.
Married (2) to Andreas d’Oldenburg, Danish Minster to France, Grand Officer of the Legion d’Honneur, etc. Of this marriage, no children.

Mr. Leishman’s clubs:
- Union League Club of New York.
- New York Yacht Club.
- Metropolitan Club of New York.
- Washington Club.
- Duquesne Club [Charter Member]
- Pittsburgh Club
- Travelers Club, Paris
- Cercle d’Orient, Constantinople.

He retired from the diplomatic service in 1913.

Died in Monte Carlo, March 27, 1924, and is buried in Monaco cemetery.

* * *

[His Obituary in the Friday March 28, 1924 “New York Times”. Page 17]:

J. G. Leishman Dies; A Former Diplomat
Found Dead in Bed of Heart Attack in Hotel at Monte Carlo

MONTE CARLO, March 27.—John G. Leishman, former American Ambassador to Germany, was found dead today, presumably of heart disease, in his bed in his suite at the Hotel Parc Palace. Last night he displayed no sign of illness, entertaining friends at dinner and playing bridge. He would have been 67 years old tomorrow morning. He stared in life a poor boy, working first in the office of a physician and later entering the steel business, where he caught the attention of Mr. Carnegie.

Mr. Leishman was President of the Carnegie Steel Company when he took the post of Minister to Switzerland in the McKinley Administration. Subsequently, he was made Ambassador to Turkey, Italy and Germany, resigning the post at Berlin in 1913. Since that time he had not been in public life and had led a retired life abroad. Not long before he left Berlin he was involved in litigation with a New York stock brokerage firm in regard to a judgement against him for $75,158, the suit giving rise to discussion of the use by diplomatic representatives of information obtained in the course of their official labors.

The Leishman daughters made European marriages that were much talked of. Martha, the elder, married in 1904 Count Louis de Gentaut-Biron, and for a time entertained a good deal in Paris society. A divorce action was started in 1907, but the Count died before it was tried. In 1913 she became the wife of James Hazen Hyde, former Vice President of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, who had lived in Paris since 1904. The second daughter, Nancy, married the Duke of Croy at Geneva in 1913, despite the disapproval of the Kaiser and the Duke’s relatives, who though Miss Leishman was not sufficiently aristocratic. The son, John G. Leishman, Jr., married in 1917, at Lake Como, Italy, Helene Demarest, daughter of the Warren G. Demarests of this city.

John G. A. Leishman was 32 at the time of the Johnstown Flood.

* * * *

One of his distinguished descendents...


Obit Notice: Henry Baldwin Hyde, 82, a former spy chief who paved the way for the Allied landinds in France. He was head of the O.S.S. in France and Switzerland, He was the spy master of "Operation Penny Farthing", a network the provided information on German troop movements and helped the U.S. high command plan and execute the landings in Normandy and in the south of France.

Death Notice, New York Times, Published: April 8, 1997
HYDE-Henry B. On April 5, 1997. Beloved husband of Liza, father of Lorna de Wangen and Isabel Jasinowski, stepfather of Anastasia Piper and Kelly Piper, grandfather of Stephanie de Wangen and Anne-Marie and Paul-Henry Jasinowski and step-grandfather of Nicholas Locker and William and Belle Laure Piper. Service Friday, 10 AM, at St. James Episcopal Church, Madison between 71st and 72nd. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to The French Institute/Alliance Francaise or the Hospital for Special Surgery, NYC.

HYDE-Henry B. The Board of Trustees, Medical Staff and Administration of the Hospital for Special Surgery mourn with deep sorrow the death of Henry B. Hyde. Mr. Hyde joined the Board in 1975 and served with distinction on its Research, Development, Public Relations and Administrative Committees. He was a truly dedicated Trustee whose leadership and expertise will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest sympthy to his wife Liza, and to his entire family. Richard L. Menschel Winfield P. Jones Co-Chairmen of the Board of Trustees John R. Ahearn, President Russell F. Warren, M.D., Surgeon-in-Chief

HYDE-Henry. The Board of Trustees and staff of the French Institute/Alliance Francaise is deeply saddened by the passing of Henry Hyde, a dear colleague and friend. A trustee for nearly fifty years and a devoted Francophile, Henry Hyde chaired the successful campaign to build Florence Gould Hall in 1988, one of the pivotal events in FIAF history. His love of French culture was inspirational to all of us and his wisdom lead us through many difficult moments. We give thanks for the energy and spirit he shared with us and we extend our deep condolences to his wife Liza and their family. John H. F. Haskell, Jr., President David S. Black, Exec Director
HYDE-Henry B. On April 5, 1997. Beloved husband of Liza Prokoff Piper, father of Lorna de Wangen and Isabel Jasinowski, stepfather of Anastasia Piper and Kelly Piper, grandfather of Stephanie de Wangen and Anne-Marie and Paul-Henry Jasinowski and stepgrandfather of Nicholas Locker and William and Belle Laure Piper. Service on Friday, 10:00 A.M., at St. James Episcopal Church, Madison Ave. between 71st and 72nd. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to The French Institute/Alliance Francaise or the Hospital for Special Surgery, NYC.

More on Henry B. Hyde…

Read Patricia Beard's "After the Ball : Gilded Age Secrets, Boardroom Betrayals, and the Party That Ignited the Great Wall Street Scandal of 1905" It tells some of the story but not all of the story. You can find some useful information there, although it mainly examines Hyde's role in the Equitable scandal of 1905 and his subsequent life abroad. James Hazen Hyde's son by Martha Leishman, Henry B. Hyde married Baroness Marie Emilie "Mimi" de la Grange at the New York City home of the George D. Wideners in 1941. She was musically inclined and described as "the daughter of an important French senator". The couple met at a Tuxedo Park, NY house party. Marie de la Grange was editor with the broadcast section of the French Division Office of War Information and came to the US in 1939. In April 1941 she married Henry B. Hyde at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. She was given away by her uncle, George D. Widner, Jr. of Philadelphia. Henry and Mimi had two daughters, Lorna Hyde Graev and Isabel Hyde Jasinowski but divorced when the girls were young. Both are active in business and society circles, Ms. Graev is often seen on ‘Page Six’ and Ms. Jasinowski is an executive for a large corporation. Some observers insist that the main character in the 2006 film “The Good Shepherd” draws much of its inspiration from the life of Henry B. Hyde.

(More on the same subject)…

Intelligence Assets By Daniel McKivergan

Before the Rangers stormed Omaha Beach, a scene so powerfully captured in Saving Private Ryan, American soldiers were already on the ground engaged in an operation critical to the success of the Normandy invasion. Code named Operation Penny Farthing, it was conceived by Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Major General William J. Donovan, the founder and director of the Office of Strategic Services and one of the most extraordinary figures in American history.

Penny Farthing was an OSS-run network of agents—from social anarchists to aristocrats and farmers—operating in Nazi-occupied France. The network provided crucial intelligence on the strength, location, and movement of German army divisions prior to the Normandy landing. The OSS officer in charge of Penny Farthing was Henry Baldwin Hyde, the grandson of the founder of the Equitable Life Insurance Company and later the first director of the William J. Donovan Memorial Foundation in Manhattan.

Nicknamed "Wild Bill" by his hometown newspaper for his heroism in World War I, Donovan became convinced in the late 1930s, as dictators gobbled up nations, that America needed a centralized spy agency. Donovan overcame fierce opposition from Army and Navy brass to win FDR’s approval in early 1942. Before long, the 13,000-strong OSS (predecessor of the CIA) would be collecting and analyzing intelligence and conducting clandestine military operations in virtually every theater of the war—from Europe, the Balkans, and North Africa to Burma, China, and the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Before the war Donovan had been a wealthy New York lawyer who defended dozens of oil and coal companies against federal antitrust suits. The list of his OSS recruits, wrote author Joseph Persico, "read like the Social Register: Junius and Henry Morgan of the house of Morgan, Alfred Du Pont, Lester Armour of the meat-packing fortune, the diplomat David Bruce and Paul Mellon." But, like the melting pot of freedom the OSS defended, many more of its soldiers were ordinary citizens—mechanics, journalists, cops, carpenters, artists, electricians—all engaged in the grand struggle against totalitarianism.

Fifty-four years after the fall of Hitler’s Berlin, the William Donovan Memorial Foundation’s mission remains clear, explains foundation president Geoffrey Jones, an 82nd Airborne paratrooper and OSS operative who trained French commandos behind enemy lines. "We want to keep General Donovan’s name alive by promoting his lifelong commitment to liberty through our work."

The foundation’s roots go back to 1947 when Donovan (who also helped form the American Legion) and his soldiers created the Veterans of the OSS (VOSS), an association dedicated to ensuring that the close friendships forged in war continued in peacetime. In 1982, the VOSS was rolled into the William J. Donovan Memorial Foundation, a brand-new 501(c)(3). Today, with a small staff, no endowment, and an annual budget of about $30,000 raised through individual donations, the foundation promotes the shared bonds of OSS veterans and their descendants and other "friends of Donovan" who believe in spreading and defending freedom across the globe.

The foundation sponsors reunions among OSS veterans as well as with their counterparts who served in foreign intelligence organizations, Special Forces units, and partisan groups inside occupied countries. Funded by the Ford Foundation and others, the foundation cosponsors conferences and seminars on topics such as "Revolution in National Security" and "The Missed Opportunity of 1945 in U.S.-Vietnam Relations." The foundation also fulfills requests from archivists and historians seeking verification of OSS members and war operations and even advises producers of films and television programs, including an episode of A&E’s Biography on the life of Chef Julia Child, herself an OSS alumna.

Since 1961, one of the biggest yearly events for the foundation has been the presentation of the Donovan Award to a public servant "who rendered distinguished service in the interests of the democratic process and the cause of freedom." The list of recipients is impressive, ranging from General Dwight Eisenhower in 1965 to Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush, the onetime CIA chief and current honorary chairman of the Donovan Foundation.

But as a tumultuous century draws to a close, the Donovan Foundation has opened a new chapter in its history, "to ensure that our work continues in the decades to come," says foundation president Jones. With a new crop of younger board members, including former ambassador and undersecretary of state Frank Wisner, whose father was one of Donovan’s first OSS recruits, and Jack Devine, a 30-year CIA veteran, the foundation is in the midst of its biggest undertaking yet—raising $1 million in private donations in the coming months to support "Donovan Fellowships in Foreign Affairs."

The idea sprang up four years ago when Geoffrey Jones and William Colby, the late CIA director and then-chairman of the Donovan Foundation, decided it was time to "come up with something that would be a permanent memorial to General Donovan’s service to the free world," says Jones. In the end, they decided to create a fellowship program that would send smart young Americans to emerging nations in the same way Donovan had done years earlier for the Rockefeller-funded American War Relief Commission and as an emissary for President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1916, Donovan visited France, Germany, and Poland on behalf of the Commission’s famine relief efforts. Again in 1920, President Wilson sent him back to Europe to get a bird’s eye view of how much private capital would be needed to rebuild the continent’s war-ravaged economies. There, as he traveled among the elite and the working classes, Donovan compiled area reports (similar reports are still being produced today by the CIA) addressing cultural, political, social, and economic issues. The reports were then used by U.S. officials to formulate post-war policies.
Similarly, Donovan fellows will establish ties with local peoples and their institutions and leaders to get a firsthand view of the impact the United States or organizations like the United Nations are having on the respective nation. Fellows will be expected to ask questions like "Could the local U.N.-run health facility be doing a better job?" or "Is targeted American economic aid making a difference?" Fellows will inform Americans on their findings through newspapers, magazines, television and radio, books, policy journals, and the Internet. In the process, it is hoped; Americans will gain greater insight into foreign cultures and the impact of U.S. foreign policy and U.N. activities on other nations. U.S. policymakers and business executives would also gain valuable information to make better decisions and, as a bonus, inherit a talented pool of Donovan fellows for future employment.

Columbia University’s Pulitzer Graduate School of Journalism, which graduated Donovan in 1915, has agreed to administer the program, and today the Donovan Foundation is raising funds to put its first five or six fellows into the field and to cover start-up costs. Remaining funds would be deposited into a dedicated endowment. "Once we raise the funds we can move forward," says Jones, "but always in memory of General Dovovan."

He was a man, remarked CIA director George Tenet at a Donovan Foundation event last fall, who "didn’t just report events or timidly accept the status quo. He stayed ahead of events, grasped the trends." This legacy will enable the Donovan Fellows to do the same.

(Daniel McKivergan is associate editor of Philanthropy).

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