Biography of Henry Phipps
Allegheny County, PA Biographies

HENRY PHIPPS. Among the men prominent in the history of Pittsburg, and among those who are loved and honored for their public spirit and true philanthropy, is Henry Phipps. He is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Philadelphia in 1839. His father, Henry Phipps, Sr., and mother, Hannah (Franks) Phipps, came to America from Shropshire, England, in 1832, settling in the east, and twelve years later settling in Allegheny city. Of the three sons and one daughter in the family, only two are living, Henry Phipps and Rev. William H. Phipps both residing in Pittsburg. Mr. Henry Phipps was educated in the schools of Allegheny city, but left at an early age to enter the employ of the firm of J. J. Gillespie & Co., and after a short time became bookkeeper for the firm of D. W. C. Bidwell & Co. During this time Mr. Phipps attended night school for several years, and supplemented this by private study, and has become a man of broad culture and sympathies. While in the employ of the latter company, he so won the confidence of his employers that he became a partner, continuing as such until the early sixties, when he engaged in the iron business in Pittsburg with Andrew Kloman, who had organized the Cyclops iron works, and shortly afterwards the firm took in Andrew and Thomas M. Carnegie. The firm underwent many changes in name, culminating in the Edgar Thompson steel works, the first plant west of the Allegheny mountains to manufacture steel rails. Mr. Phipps was in active charge of the financial department of these different enterprises until 1888, when ill health forced him to resign. A few years spent in travel in foreign countries proved to be both a benefit and pleasure, for his taste for travel had not been satisfied on account of pressing business cares. Mr. Phipps led to the altar Annie Childs Shaffer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Shaffer, one of the best known of the early Pittsburg families. Five children came to bless their home, three sons, John Shaffer, Henry Carnegie and Howard, and two daughters, Amy and Helen. The first public benefaction of Mr. Phipps was the Allegheny conservatories, which were given to the city on the condition that they should be open to the public at all times. Shortly after this followed the gift to Pittsburg of the conservatory and botanical school, which are the finest of the kind in the country and complete in every detail. In making his gifts to the public and in all charitable work, Mr. Phipps has been anxious to escape public notice, and believes that one should not "let the right hand know what the left hand doeth." Mr. Phipps has earned for himself a reputation as one of the ablest financiers of the country, and numbers among his friends all of the leading financial men of the United States.

Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
personal and genealogical with portraits.
Publishers: Northwestern Historical Association
Madison, Wis. 1904.

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