- The New York Times, 11 Nov 1912: GRISCOM, FOUNDER OF SHIP TRUST, DEAD
Retired Financier Had Been Ill Two Weeks, Suffering from Brain Congestion.
ESTABLISHED AMERICAN LINE
With J. P. Morgan He Founded International Mercantile Marine Company -- Other Interests.
Special to The New York Times.
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 10.-Clement Acton Griscom, one of the founders of the International Mercantile Marine Company, died this afternoon at 5:30 o'clok at his country seat, Dolobran, Haverford. He was 72 years old.
He had been acutely ill for two weeks, suffering from congestion of the brain. While on a European tour in 1911 he was stricken with a slight attack of paralysis, but he quickly recovered. His constitution was so rugged that the illness of the past fortnight was not considered as the final one, although physicians told his family that his condition was grave.
Mr. Griscom had a relapse during the morning. He became enfeebled, and it could be seen that the end was near. The members of the family were summoned and remained at the bedside until death.
Clement Acton Griscom was born in Philadelphia on March 15, 1841, the descendant of a family which had been identified with the history of Philadelphia since 1680. His father, John D. Griscom, was a prominent physician of that city.
After receiving his education in the public schools and the Friends Academy, Mr. Griscom entered the old shipping firm of Peter Wright & Sons, rising in six years from a clerkship to be a partner and moving spirit at the age of 22.
In 1871 Mr. Griscom became one of the founders of the International Navigation Company, through his direct negotiations with the late King Leopold of Belgium, and was elected Vice President, becoming President in 1888. After absorbing the Red Star Line, the company acquired the Inman Line, renaming it the American Line, and under Mr. Griscom's masterful management the International Navigation Company came to possess one of the biggest and finest fleets in the shipping trade.
After his acquisition of the Inman Line Mr. Griscom began to build palatial vessels, for those days, and in rapid succession added to his fleet the New York, the Paris, the St. Paul, and the St. Louis - the Lusitanias of their day. Through his energetic efforts, special legislation was secured from Congress allowing the New York and the Paris, which were British built, to sail under American registry.
Mr. Griscom was associated with J. P. Morgan in the formation of the International Mercantile Marine Company, when in September 1902, the capital stock of the International Navigation Company was increased to $120,000,000, in order to provide the funds for the acquisition, through the International Navigation Company, of the White Star Line, Atlantic Transport Line, Leyland Line, and Dominion Line, the new so-called "Shipping Trust," having a gross tonnage in excess of 1,000,000 tons.
Mr. Griscom continued as President of the new company until 1904, when he resigned and became Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Mercantile Marine Company, which position he held until his death. He had been ill for the past year, and had taken practically no part in the management of the company.
Following the Titanic disaster, it was rumored early in September that J. Bruce Ismay would resign as President to become Chairman of the Board of Directors on the retirement of Mr. Griscom, which had been expected before the end of the year on account of his ill-heaht. His death, it was said yesterday, would not create any change in the management, as Mr. Griscom had taken no active interest in the affairs of the company for some time.
Mr. Griscom was one of the founders and the first President of the American Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. In 1889 he was one of the American delegates to the International Marine Conference for Revising the Rules of the Road at Sea. He was made an honorary member of the Institute of Naval Architects of Great Britain, a distinction conferred on but three others at that time.
The Queen of Holland conferred the decoration of Orange-Nassau upon Mr. Griscom in recognition of the perfect discipline prevailing on the ships of the International Navigation Company, as evinced by the rescue by the St. Louis of the passengers and crew of a disabled Dutch steamship.
Mr. Griscom was a Director of the United States Steel Corporation, of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and of more than a score of financial institutions. He was a member of the Philadelphia, Rittenhouse, Union League, and New York Yacht Clubs, in addition to many other clubs and societies in New York, Philadelphia and London.
In 1862 he married Miss Frances Canby Biddle of Philadelphia. He is survived by his widow, three sons -- Clement A. Griscom, Jr., Lloyd C. Friscom, former Ambassador to Italy, and Rodman E. Griscom -- and by two daughters, Mrs. Samuel Bettle and Miss Frances Griscom.