William Nelson Cromwell
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Originally an accountant with the New York law firm of Algernon S. Sullivan, he joined the firm as an attorney and became partner in 1879. The Sullivan and Cromwell firm, specializing in business law, was most known for consolidating the National Tube Company, promoting the Panama Canal, and establishing the “Cromwell Plan,” a precursor to Chapter 11 bankruptcies that allowed financially insolvent firms to continue operating. He focused his efforts on philanthropic endeavors after World War I, leaving his considerable estate to legal and other charities.Died: 1948