Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , United States
|| May 01, 1846
|Died||April 08, 1921
|Last Modifed||E Pluribus Unum|
Jun 30, 2018 02:14pm
|Info||BARKER, Wharton, financier and bimetallist leader (1846-1921). |
Born 5/1/1846 in Philadelphia PA, son of Abraham and Sarah (Wharton) Barker. First cousin twice removed of Benjamin Franklin.
Education: Attended the Latin school of Charles Short. A.B., University of Pennsylvania, 1866; A.M. 1869. In 1867 he married Margaret Corlies, daughter of Joseph Baker.
In 1871, Barker joined the financial business Barker Brothers & Co. in Philadelphia.
Member, American Philosophical Society, Academy of Natural Sciences, Academy of the Political and Social Sciences, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Union League Club, and Manufacturers Club. In 1875 he organized the Penn Club, and was its president for a number of years. In 1870 he founded The Penn Monthly, of which he was the principal owner and chief editorial manager until 1881, when the publication was discontinued.
Worked in Russia intermittently in the late 1870s. Selected by the Russian government to purchase and build cruisers for the imperial navy. In 1875, Alexander II conferred upon him the cross of St. Stanislaus, second order. In 1879 he made a survey of the coal and iron fields in the Doritz country in the south of Russia, at the request of the Grand Duke Constantine and Prince Dolgorouki. Barker proposed a transportation network to transport raw materials for processing, but the project fell through when the Czar died.
Active supporter of the Garfield campaign, 1880. Founded the magazine The American, 1880, and was the first editor.
Board of Trustees, University of Pennsylvania 1880-1921, Treasurer of the Board 1882-1890.
In 1887, Barker worked with the Chinese ambassador to the USA, Chang Yen Hoon, to develop railroad, telephone, and telegraph lines in China. Like the Russia project, the proposal fell through while nearing the final planning phase due to larger political disagreements.
Active supporter of the Benjamin Harrison campaign, 1888.
Became affiliated with the Populist Party in 1893. Wrote a number of letters and gave addresses on bimetallism, becoming the best known leader of the movement in the northeast.
Visited China in the autumn of 1895 on the invitation of Li Hung Chang and other great officials whom he met at Shanghai and Peking.
President of the Finance Company of Pennsylvania; founder and director of the Investment Company of Philadelphia.
Candidate for President of the United States (Middle of the Road Populist), 1900. Had been associated with the anti-Marion Butler faction of the Populist Party since 1898, working against fusion with either the Democrats or Republicans.
Returned to fame in 1911 when he released information from a recently deceased business partner. Barker's associate worked with members of the TR administration on corporate matters, and in return gave a large sum of money to TR's 1904 campaign. The information was released while TR was preparing his 1912 insurgent campaign against Taft, and TR spent two months defending himself and attacking Barker. [NYT 11/29/1911, 11/30/1911, 12/18/1911]
In 1915, Barker was a chief supporter of Scott Nearing, an economics professor who was fired from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Barker feared that the action was taken upon religious grounds and would result in the ejection of all nonconformists and Jews from the faculty. [NYT 6/24/1915, 7/18/1915, 10/12/1915]
Died in his home in Philadelphia, 4/8/1921 [NYT 4/9/1921].
Image source: Albert Shaw, The American Monthly Review of Reviews, 10/1898, p. 389.