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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Junior Developer- CSS, HMTL, Bootstrap

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading company within the healthcare ...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz