A contemporary of J. P. Morgan, Joseph P. Grace, Edward L. Doheny, and
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., while being the close friend of New York Jesuits,
Thomas J. Delihant, S.J., and the future Francis Cardinal Spellman (“a
Jesuit of the short robe” and of the heart), Irish Catholic Nicholas F. Brady
was one of the five most powerful men of the early Twentieth Century.
One of the original twelve founding members of the American SMOM,
Brady rose to become owner, director, or chairman of over one hundred
corporations, including Chrysler Corporation, Brooklyn Subway, National
City Bank and Anaconda Copper. Privy to the sinking of Titanic, the
Jesuits’ Bolshevik Revolution, the Teapot Dome Scandal and the Stock
Market Crash of 1929, here he is receiving a Knights of Columbus award
from the “Military Vicar” and Archbishop of New York (with the Irish
Knight of Columbus Al Smith standing alongside) as a most faithful
Knight of Malta. Nicholas and his wife, Genevieve, called “the Duchess,”
were both members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and gave
millions to the Jesuit Order including their three million dollar Long
Island mansion, “Inisfada,” and over one million dollars for the completion
of an elaborate Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, Pennsylvania in 1930.
A House of Bread: The Jesuits Celebrate 70 Years in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, Kathy M. Scogna, (Wernersville, Pennsylvania: Kathy M. Scogna, 2000) p. 17.
|Brady Estate - Monday, Apr. 07, 1930|
As it must to all men, Death came last week to Nicholas Frederic Brady, chairman of New York Edison Co., director of 50 other companies (mostly utilities), 'greatest lay Catholic." Probably closer to and more respected by the Vatican than any other U. S. citizen, Nicholas Brady was first in the U. S. to receive the title Ordine Supremo del Christo, a Catholic honor far more distinguished than the Laetare Medal, awarded last year to Alfred Emanuel Smith, and this year (last week) to Frederick P. Kenkel, St. Louis editor (see p. 40). The Brady donations to the Vatican were many, large, discreet. A constant visitor to his last bedside was Patrick Cardinal Hayes, who conducted the funeral service.
But though his Church was dear to him Nicholas Frederic also carefully tended the business which his father left him and which made possible all the Brady donations to that Church. It was Anthony Nicholas Brady, father of Nicholas Frederic, who founded the Brady fortune, at one time among the greatest in the U. S. Anthony, born in Lille, France, went to Troy, N. Y., in 1857, worked first in the barber shop at Albany's old Delavan House. At 19 he started a tea store, soon opened branches. His first utility interest was acquiring stock in Albany Gas Light Co. A genius for consolidation, in comparatively short time he acquired control of Manhattan utility and traction companies. In 1887 he reorganized Manhattan's elevated railway and subway systems and held until his death a majority of the stock of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Co., now Brooklyn Manhattan Transit Co. He died in 1913 of indigestion, in London, while traveling with Restaurateur Louis Sherry. He left an estate estimated at $85,000,000.
To his sons, James Cox and Nicholas Frederic, came the job of managing the estate.* No one business did Anthony leave his heirs, but stock in half a hundred companies. In No. 70 Broadway are located the offices of the A. N. Brady Estate. Here instead of Mr. Brady an entire business organization devotes itself to doing with Mr. Brady's money what he himself might have done with it were he still alive. Sufficiently vast was Mr. Brady's fortune to make his estate, like Thomas Fortune Ryan's, a business in itself. Affiliated with so many mobile companies it cannot remain dormant.
Anthony's two sons managed the estate until the death in 1927 of James Cox Brady. Thereafter and until last week Nicholas Frederic managed it virtually alone. The size and importance of the Brady estate can perhaps best be apprehended by a cursory list of the companies of which Nicholas was director. Important among these was Consolidated Gas Co. of New York (Anthony, long interested in Con. Gas, was largely responsible for the installation there of his friend George Bruce Cortelyou as president) and Chrysler Corp. (When Walter P. Chrysler was founding his since famed company it was Brady estate money which practically financed his project.) Other companies of which Nicholas was a director were Anaconda Copper Mining Co., Chili Copper Co., Union Carbide and Carbon Corp., Mohawk-Hudson Power Corp. and dozens of power and light companies mostly in New York State and in Japan.
Anthony had two sons to whom he could leave the management of his estate. But last week when Nicholas Frederic died there was left only one male Brady, James Cox Jr., Nicholas himself had no children. James Cox Jr. was the only son of James Cox's five children. Facing him, last week and facing the husbands of his four sisters, and others who have worked in the A. N. Brady estate was the same job which Anthony left his two sons in 1913. Though only one male Brady is left the family estate is as large and exacting as it was when there were three. The death of Nicholas did not mean less activity at No. 70 Broadway.
* Not without difficulties did the management of the Brady estate by the Brady sons progress. In 1923 the Brady sisters, Mrs Francis Patrick Garvan, wife of onetime Alien Property Custodian Garvan, famed Watchdog of U. S. Chemical industry, Mrs James C. Farrell, and Mrs. Carl Tuck sued the two sons charging mismanagement and converting of funds to their own instead of the estate's use. The suit was finally dismissed in 1924.
|It should not be forgotten that distinguished Catholic Americans, several of whom were members of the SMOM, received titles of nobility from the Holy See as recently as the 1950's. Among the better known examples are the late Rose FitzGerald Kennedy, a Papal Countess and mother of President John F. Kennedy, and Bernardine Donohue, a Papal Countess created by Pius XII, whose husband Daniel J. Donohue is a Gentleman of His Holiness and member of the American Association of the SMHOM. In the 1920's one of the founders of the American Association, Nicholas Brady, received the title of Papal Duke while another, George Macdonald, sometime President of the Association, was created a Papal Marquess.|
|Nicholas and Genevieve had given over one million dollars to the Vatican by 1926. Nicholas was the personal friend of three Popes. He took a leading part in the organization and development of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York under the leadership of Cardinal Hayes. The following honors were conferred upon Nicholas: Knight of Malta (he founded the American chapter), Knight Commander of St. Gregory and Knight of St. Gregory, Knight of the Supreme Order of Christ, Papal Chamberlain and Papal Duke.|
Nicholas and Genevieve were leading Catholic laypersons in the world. Genevieve received a Doctor of Laws from Georgetown University. Genevieve was awarded the following honors, a Laetaere Medal from the University of Notre Dame; Order of the Knight of the Crown from King Albert of Belgium; Cross of Malta; French Academy Award; and Papal Dutchess. Genevieve succeeded Mrs. Hoover as Chairperson of the National Girl Scouts of America and was Vice President of the Welfare Council of New York.
By 1930, the Brady’s had given more than 2 million dollars for the buildings and grounds of the Jesuit
Center in Wernersville, PA. Just two months before the Jesuit Center opened, Nicholas Frederic Brady passed away in his New York residence on March 27, 1930. A Requiem Mass was celebrated at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on March 29, 1930. Nicholas is buried in a crypt beneath an altar in the main chapel at the Jesuit Novitiate at Wernersville, PA. His Eminence Patrick Cardinal Hayes issued a statement in the public press which reflects his personal attachment and keen sense of loss: “Church, country, and city may well lament the passing of Nicholas Frederic Brady, a lovable personality whose sublime Christian faith, unbounded charity, inspiring family life, notable citizenship, and sensitive fidelity to high ideals in business relations leave an impress long to be remembered and cherished by a host of friends who deeply mourn their personal loss.” Genevieve Garvan Brady died in 1938 and is buried in a vault next to her beloved - Nicholas.
“Mr. Brady was an old friend for whom I had great personal affection and esteem. In his death the
community sustains a loss of a man of enterprise, courage, great philanthropy and kindliness.”
Alfred E. Smith, New York Governor
“He lived in virtue. He lives in glory. He will live in memory.”
http://www.stignatiusloyola.org/pdf/nursery/nursery_history.pdf (Proof Positive)
|When the American Association of SMOM was created in 1927 the founding members included Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Edward L. Hearn, Nicholas F. Brady, Howard F. Carry, Patrick E. Crowley, James A. Farrell, James A. Fayne, Edward N. Hurley, James J. Phelan, Morgan J. O'Brien, John J. Raskob, and John D. Ryan.|
SMOM by mention: