Alexander Turney Stewart

Stewart, Alexander Turney, 1803–76, American merchant, b. Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Arriving in New York c.1820, he started in business in 1823 by selling Irish laces. In 1846 he established a wholesale and retail dry-goods business, which, by 1850, was the largest in the city; his new store (later sold to John Wanamaker), opened in 1862, was the largest retail store in the world. Owner of hotels and other enterprises in New York City, he maintained a controlling interest in mills in New England, New York, and New Jersey and built the planned community of Garden City, Long Island. He was appointed U.S. Secretary of the Treasury by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1869 but was prevented by law from taking office because of his business connections. His mansion on Fifth Ave. was regarded as one of the finest in America.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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