George A. Plimpton

George A. Plimpton (1855 – 1936)


17th c. New England family, Amherst graduate (1876), transplant to NYC in 1880s
Publishing firm of Ginn & Co. – from sales rep. to president; US’s largest textbook publisher
Original board member (1889-1936) – 47 years
Treasurer (1894-1936) – 42 years
College’s principal fundraiser and financial adviser
College’s principal link to Columbia presidents, trustees and faculty – to male NY and its club life
Century; Grolier;

Cultivator of:
Elizabeth Milbank Anderson
Horace W. Carpentier
Jacob Schiff
J.P. Morgan
John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and Jr.
Andrew Carnegie
Edward W. Harkness

Worked well with Emily James; not well with Laura Gill; slow to warm to VCG (and vice versa), who left fundraising to him;
Warm friends with the older Set Low; on cordial terms with contemporary NMB; maintained friendship with the ostracized (over his pro-German sentiments) John W. Burgess

Other activities:
Active Amherst alumnus and trustee
Pre-World War I peace activist
Pro-suffrage
Benefactor of Wellesley College (his first wife’s alma mater)
A noted book collector – collection the basis of CU’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Country gentleman at his Massachusetts farm

Succeeded on board by his son, Francis T. Plimpton, who served until 1974.
85 years of male Plimptons involved with Barnard.
Namesake of his nephew, the writer George Plimpton

Plimpton Hall named in his honor (opened in 1969)

Last updated: February 7, 2015
ram31@columbia.edu

 

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