The Establishment's Envoy William Averell Harriman: 1891-1986

William Averell Harriman: 1891-1986

The American aristocracy, or what passed for one after the turn of the century, gave mostly lip service to the ideal of noblesse oblige. At morning chapel, prep school boys were earnestly implored to serve God and country, but as grown men most followed Mammon instead, heading directly to Wall Street to make money.

Born almost embarrassingly rich, W. Averell Harriman (Groton '09, Yale '13) could easily have idled his life away as a dilettante without appreciably denting his family fortune. Yet Harriman, who died last week at 94, always heeded the command of his father, Railroad Magnate E.H. Harriman, to...

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