Monday, August 11, 2014

"Having A Bully Time..."

When Ezra Cornell called his old antagonist in business, (who had) become his best friend, into the board of trustees of Cornell University, Mr. Sibley saw his opportunity and promptly seized it. He took as his share of the work the foundation of the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanic Arts."

 

Rowing Medals 








BUST OF HIRAM SIBLEY.
Mr. Hiram Sibley's early days were spent in North Adams, Mass., where he was born on the 6th of February, 1807. After a few years of schooling, before he was 16 years old, he was apprenticed to a shoemaker. The trade, however, was distasteful to him, and he entered a cotton factory, and subsequently tried wool-carding and machine work. In 1853, after a number of successful business ventures on his own account, he was elected sheriff of Monroe county, N. Y. After Prof. Morse had put up his first practically operative line, other inventors took up the work, and soon many telegraph companies were established all over the country. Mr. Sibley consolidated these rival interests, and founded the Western Union Telegraph Company, of which he held the presidency for sixteen years. His next great achievement was the erection of a telegraph line to San Francisco from the Eastern States. His other business ventures were of much importance also. In Illinois he owned a farm of 40,000 acres. He was the proprietor of a most extensive seed and nursery business at Rochester, N. Y., which was his home during most of his life. Mr. Sibley was one of the incorporators of Cornell University, and one of its chief benefactors. He died at his home in Rochester, July 12, 1888.
"The world honors men who have inaugurated great enterprises; it doubly honors men who have made great beginnings of grand social movements." It was in these words that Dr. R. H. Thurston referred to the founder of Sibley College, Mr. Hiram Sibley, upon the occasion of the unveiling of a bust of Mr. Sibley in the chapel of Cornell University, on the I5th of June last.
When Ezra Cornell called his old antagonist in business, become his best friend, into the board of trustees of Cornell University, Mr. Sibley saw his opportunity and promptly seized it. He took as his share of the work the foundation of the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanic Arts. He stepped into the place of honor, and accepted those duties which the State had failed to perform; and Sibley College became the root and sustaining trunk of an enterprise of such importance and of such possibilities as even the wise man who founded it little realized, even though before his death he had the pleasure of witnessing its first great expansion. But it would be an error to suppose that Mr. Sibley's work and munificence were confined to the departure which bears his name. 

When, at the time of Mr. Cornell's death, it was necessary for the university to secure a loan of $250,000 on security, which at that time seemed very doubtful, though it was in the midst of one of the worst financial crises which has ever occurred in this country Mr. Sibley left his own business, came to Ithaca, and was one of the small number of trustees who advanced the sum which disentangled the finances of the university from their troublesome connection with the treasury of the state, and thus began the real prosperity of the institution. To the close of his life Mr. Sibley remained to Cornell University a true friend, a liberal benefactor, a wise counselor.
Mr. MacNeil, who modeled the bust of Hiram Sibley, is a graduate of the Boston Normal School of Fine Arts, and a former instructor in the art department of Sibley College, Cornell University. He is now engaged in modeling for the art department of the World's Columbian Exposition.
Cassier's Magazine, 1892

I feel Hiram Sibley really enjoyed what he chose to do.