Alfred H. Gordon: Banker who foresaw the 1929 Wall Street Crash and ran the London Marathon at 81

Albert H. Gordon was one of the last surviving American bankers to have been deeply involved in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. He had foreseen some of its disasters and had been invited to join the almost bankrupt firm of Kidder Peabody before he was 30. He was the senior partner by 1931 and a dominant force there for 65 years. He was instrumental in opening the first overseas office, in London in 1956, co-operating with the well-established firm of Cazenove, and its second office in Hong Kong in the same year. Energetic in all his business dealings,he favoured early air travel, thereby often reaching potential clients before his land-travelling rivals.

He was a keen anglophile and became a friend and benefactor to many British causes and institutions. He completed the London Marathon at the age of 81 and he was known to have walked from his apartment in Gracie Square, New York to La Guardia airport in one direction and, on a more regular basis, to Wall Street in the other. He surprised an English friend when he was 93 by taking a day trip to Atlanta, Georgia, alleging that he was only imitating the ancient Roman custom of producing a senior citizen at important meetings even when they were dead.

When the Trollope Society was created in the mid-1980s, he was, as an admirer and collector of Anthony Trollope's first editions, the natural choice to preside over its American branch. He attended Society dinners on both sides of the Atlantic, coming in 1998 to present John Major with a copy of The Prime Minister in its original parts. Ten years earler he had acquired a complete set of Trollope's novels which had been inscribed to the author's elder son, Henry. In 2007 the set was donated to the Fellows' Library at Winchester College, where Trollope had been, somewhat unhappily, at school.

In Winchester Gordon was an extraordinary benefactor both to the Cathedral, where he helped to create the Triforium Gallery, and the College, where he contributed on a considerable scale to the restoration of the Chantry Cloisters, to the 15th Century Muniment Room where the College Archives are stored and to the new squash courts. He was awarded an honorary OBE in 2001. Modest in his outlook and lifestyle, Al Gordon was an inspiration to his friends. That he happily survived until he was within two months of his 108th birthday was his crowning achievement.

John Saumarez Smith

Albert Hamilton Gordon, banker, benefactor and book collector; born North Scituate, Massachusetts 21 July 1901; married Mary Rousmaniere (died 1980, three sons, two daughters); died 1 May 2009.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: HGV Fitter - Technician

£16 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity for someone ...

Recruitment Genius: Automotive Service Advisor - Franchised Main Dealer

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful, family owned m...

Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW London

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW Londo...

Recruitment Genius: Bathroom Showroom Customer Service / Sales Assistant

£14560 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Even though their premises have...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence