Foundations: Mum Money

Railroad Financier Arthur Curtiss James was one of the least-known philanthropists in the U.S.—if his beneficiaries blabbed that they were getting money, James took it back.* He secretly gave away some $20,000,000 before he died in 1941, but he was famous chiefly for his beard, his fancy for orchids and yachts, and his ownership of securities representing one-seventh of the railroad mileage of the U.S. An urbane fellow, James listed hirrlself in Who's Who as a "capitalist."

James's eleemosynary obscurity was shared by the foundation he chartered to run for 25 years after his death. Although the directors eventually lifted...

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