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Otto H. Kahn, Banker, Philanthropist, Dead

March 30, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Otto H. Kahn is dead.

The banker, philanthropist and art patron succumbed to a heart attack in the offices or Kuhn, Loeb & Company, of which he was a senior partner, early yesterday afternoon. He was sixty-seven years of age.

Mystery attended the first announcement and the confirmation of the report of the financier’s death. About three o’clock in the afternoon the Medical Examiner’s office was informed, over the phone by a Dr. Hyman. that Otto Kahn had died in New York. Telephone confirmation from the banker’s offices was at first withheld, then given.

It is known that Mr. Kahn had been in good health this winter and had spent some time in his Florida home in Palm Beach.

Mr. Kahn’s collapse came when he was having lunch with two partners of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. He was attended by his physician. Dr. Harold Thomas Hyman.

At the offices of the company it was said that in the morning Mr. Kahn apparently was in good health. and that the heart attack came as a complete surprise.

The bank activities and career of Otto Hermann Kahn have been linked with the firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. since 1897. when he became a partner in the firm. As a banker, his specialty was that of participating in the reorganization of American railroad systems, a division of banking in which the firm of kuhn. Loeb & Co. has long been, prominent. According to Time magazine. his interest in the firm was fourteen percent.

In the world he was most prominent as a supporter of such musical organizations as the Metropolitan Opera and the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. He was president and chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Opera Company, and vice-president of the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra Society. He was also a director of the American Federation of Arts, treasurer of the American Shakespeare Foundation and a member of the Visiting Committee for the Department of Art and Archaeology of Princeton University.

Privately, and sometimes anonymously, he aided many painters and musicians with grants. subsidies and gifts which made it possible for them to work at their arts, travel and study. The sum total of these private benefactions may probably never be known.

He was called the modern Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Otto Hermann Kahn was born in Mannheim, Germany, Feb. 21. 1867. He was the son of an American citizen, Bernhard Kahn. banker, who had participated in the German revolution in 1848 and had been condemned to death for his anti-monarchist activities. He escaped to the United States, became naturalized, and ten years after, following a general amnesty for German politicals, returned to him homeland for a visit. It was during this visit that the father-became engaged to Emma Eber-stadt, and their marriage was made contingent upon the keeping of a pledge that the couple would remain for a time in Germany. It was because of this that Otto Kahn was born in Germany instead of in the United States.

Young Otto Kahn received his early education in the schools of Mannheim and his banking apprenticeship as an office boy in a banking house at Karlsruhe, Baden. He was extremely fond of music and general learning when a boy and there is a story to the effect that he learned to play the violin. He attended university lectures, served for a year in a regiment of hussars at Mainz, and after his compulsory term of service worked in a banking house in Berlin. Subsequently he went to London where, for five years, he was on the staff of that branch of the Deutsche Bank.

In 1893 he arrived in New York, to enter the employ of the banking firm of Speyer & Co., with which firm he remained for four years, joining, on Jan. 1, 1897 the firm of Kuhn, Loeb. The year before he had married Addie Wolff, daughter of Abraham Wolff, member of the firm of Kuhn, Loeb. They had two sons and two daughters, all living. They are Mrs. John C. O. Marriott, Margaret Dorothy (Mrs. John Barry Ryan, Jr.) and Gilhert Wolff Kahn and Roger Wolfe Kahn.

He became a subject of Great Britain when he first went to London and maintained that allegiance up to the year of American participation in the war. There was a possibility, before the war, that he might have sat in Parliament, for he intended standing for one of the constituencies, but at the last moment he decided that he could not yield his American connections for the English honor.

He was a director of the Equitable Trust Company and the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company a trustee of the Massachusetts. Institute of Technology, and Rutgers College; a member of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Institute of Technology; former chairman of the Committee of Finance and Currency, of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York; director of the National Economic League and the Italy American Society: a vice-president of the English-Speaking Union; member of the Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kanna of the College of William and Mary. He was also a commander of the Legion of Honor of France, a knight of the Order of Charles II of Spain; a member of the Order of the Crown of Belgium, and officer of the Order of Sh. Maurizio e Lazzaro of Italy, and a member of the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan.

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