1875 Business & Life Experience at the age of 15-16: Diary of James Howell Post (1859 - 1938) American Sugar Magnate & Philanthropist
New Yor, N.Y. Not Published, 1875. Diary. Leather. Very Good. Item #027728
James Howell Post (1859 - 1938) American sugar refining financier, philanthropist, and civic leader "…directed an industrial empire in sugar, reputed to be among the world's greatest. And in the family home at 88 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, Mr. Post controlled a flow of donations anonymously to Protestant, Catholic and Jewish charitable and educational institutions…Underlying the philanthropist's record was Mr. Post's personal story and vast financial gains from business enterprises. He began work at 15 as an office boy earning $3 a week. (documented here)…educated in the Brooklyn public schools, at the International College of the Y.M.C.A. at Springfield, Mass. and at Colgate University, where he received his LL. D. degree. His first job was that of office boy with the firm of B. H. Howell Son & Co., Inc., of New York. The firm was the largest dealer in molasses and molasses sugars in the country with half a dozen factories in New York and Philadelphia. Changes in the tariff laws made it impossible to run the molasses factories. The result was the eventual organization in 1900 of the National Sugar Refining Company of New Jersey. Mr. Post became president of the concern. It had a capital of $10,000,00 preferred and $10,000,000 common stock…Besides the National Sugar Refining Company of New Jersey, Mr. Post was chairman of the board and director of the Cuban-American Sugar Company and president and director of the New Niquero and Guantanamo Sugar Companies…chairman of the board of trustees of the Brooklyn Y.M. and Y.W.C.A.'s and gave large sums to both institutions; president of the board of trustees of Adelphi College, Garden City, L.I., and a trustee of Princeton Theological Seminary, Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn Bureau of Charities and a number of educational institutions in the United States, the Near East and Brazil…" (from the NY Times obituary) Laid-in are 10 pages of useful handwritten extracts from the diary, vert legibly printed in a later hand, giving notable events and their dates. Another small paper slip notes the dates for salary increases within one year, starting at $ 3.00 per week, to $ 5.00 and to $ 300 per annum by mid-year, before his 16th birthday. Entries made for approx. 260 of the 365 days of the year; some of one line, others filling the entry-space. Diary written in a very legible ink hand, detailing his activities and concerns. In business - enjoying being out and 'collecting'; successfully finding & correcting errors in office clerk calculations; also getting molasses samples from various stores, his wages; employment at B.H. Howell NY molasses & sugar importers. Social and church activities, with visits to various preachers & services, evangelist meetings and entertainments, minstrel show; also family travels, and visits - New Year's Day: "…went calling with John W. Burr on Mary E. Tracy, Mrs. Coles, Dr. J.D. Wells, Alice Healy and Mrs. B. Howell. I don't think I will go again for it is a regular bore…" Weather reportage - river frozen, the ferry prevented from running & people walking over the ice. Reading activities & book purchases - specifically Walter Scott, Cooper and Dickens. At back of the diary in the Memoranda section are a list of Waverly Novels, with 'ticks'; following page with several of Dickens' works. Careful cash accounts are given for each month's tallies, day-by-day: clothing, ferry tickets, haircuts, food, Sunday School, personal debts, smokes, various sundries. savings, board, etc. J.H. Post's name and Brooklyn address on the front blank endpaper. Approx. 3 ½" x 7 ¾" size; preliminary leaves with standard almanac for the year information; layout for 3 days per page. The diary encased in a billfold style dark brown leather wallet; interior pockets and end-leaves in diced green morocco & dark blue calf. Covers worn, flap chipped; almanac & diary pages clean and in very good condition.