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Benjamin Guggenheim, Who Would Perish on the Titanic, Works in His Family Business
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BENJAMIN GUGGENHEIM. Autographed Document Signed. Pueblo, Colo. August 29, 1888. 1 p. 8 ¼ x 13 ½ in. With embossed Philadelphia Smelting and Refining Company Seal.

Inventory #22388       Price: $3,500

Complete Transcript

[Marked “void” across text.]

The Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Smelting and Refining Company which was to be held in August 29, 1888. At the office of the Company at Pueblo, Colo. was not held as there were not sufficient Directors present to Constitute a quorum.

E.R. Holden Prest.

Benj. Guggenheim Secty.


[clean copy]

Record of Proceedings of the Board of Directors of the Phila. Smg & Ref. Col. Held at its office in Pueblo Aug 29-1888.  The meeting was called to order by Vice President Richard Clive.  The president not being present, and the following directors were found present.

Benj Guggenheim.

Richard Clive.

There not being directors enough present to constitute a quorum, the meeting was adjourned.

R. Clive V.P.

Att. Benj Guggenheim


Historical Background

Benjamin Guggenheim (1865-1912) was born in Philadelphia as the fifth of the seven sons of the wealthy Meyer Guggenheim. When Benjamin was twenty, he began managing the family’s silver-mining operation in Leadville, Colorado, where he received his nick name the “Silver Prince.” While in Leadville, Benjamin first saw the great potential of the smelting industry. With his family’s backing, Benjamin built the first smelting plant in Pueblo, Colorado, and established the Philadelphia Smelting and Refining Company. Following the first plant’s enormous success, several more plants were built around the United States.  The company’s mining and smelting silver, lead, and copper proved profitable and became the focus of the Guggenheim family’s business.  Benjamin and the rest of his family were brought incredible wealth by the success of the company. At the time of his death, Benjamin was estimated to be worth around $95,000,000.

Benjamin originally planned to return from Europe on the Lusitania, but the trip was cancelled due to repairs needed on the ship.  He then purchased a first-class ticket for the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  When the ship famously collided with the iceberg, Benjamin and his secretary changed into their warmest clothes and put on life jackets.  After seeing the scene unfold Benjamin and his secretary are reported to have refused their spots on a life boat and instead helped women and children into the remaining boats.  “We’ve dressed up our best,” Benjamin allegedly said, “and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.”[1]


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