Armand Hammer

industrialist, art collector, philanthropist
Born: 5/21/1898
Birthplace: New York City

As the son of a Russian immigrant and doctor, Hammer in many respects followed in his father's footsteps, combining his father's liberal politics with his own shrewd business acumen. He made his first million running his father's pharmaceutical business while attending medical school at Columbia. He pioneered trading American grain for Soviet furs when he saw the widespread starvation in the Soviet Union while there to offer assistance during a typhus epidemic in 1921. Throughout his career, he promoted cultural exchanges between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, collecting Russian art . He oversaw the explosive growth of Occidental Petroleum, having purchased it as a near-bankrupt business and building it to a billion-dollar enterprise over 33 years through acquisitions and expansions. His philanthropic endeavors included being an unofficial ambassador to the Soviet Union, donating huge sums to Columbia University, the National Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He bequeathed his own extensive art collection to the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, which he had established in 1990.

Died: 12/10/1990
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