H. H. Warner – A Retrospective – The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (3 Nov. 1929)

It was barely a week after “Black Tuesday” and the initial crash of the Stock Market that signaled America’s descent into the Great Depression. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle published a full page spread entitled “Odd Business Adventurer Recalled” by John P. Guttenberg. The article was a retrospective of the success and downfall of one of Rochester’s most prominent business figures – Hulbert Harrington Warner.

Odd Business Adventurer Recalled - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Headline) - 3 Nov 1929

Although Warner had died in relative obscurity six years earlier in Minneapolis, the article recalled the life of a man, who, only forty years earlier, had commanded tremendous public adulation and whose products had belted the Globe, spanning three continents. Over the past six years, I have attempted to capture the essence of H. H. Warner, to the extent that is possible. Guttenberg’s article does a nice job in a much shorter format. A scan of the entire article is attached.

With the onset of the Great Depression, it is hard to imagine that the article got more than a passing notice by most Rochesterians. Although Warner’s Safe Remedies still likely graced the shelves of local drug stores, the man who had created a global marketing phenomenon had been divorced from the business for over a generation and had faded into obscurity.

Warner’s influence on the landscape of Rochester was also in decline. His sumptuous East Avenue mansion succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1929 and his Observatory a decade later. Only the Warner’s Safe Remedies Building survived and remains to this day.

A special but belated word of thanks to Kevin Taft. Kevin has been kind enough over the years to provide me with some great Warner research and I am most grateful for his contributions.

Odd Business Adventurer Recalled – Democrat Chronicle – 3 Nov 1929

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2 thoughts on “H. H. Warner – A Retrospective – The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (3 Nov. 1929)

  1. In one of your blogs last year (which I lost when my computer crashed) you mentioned Arthur Yates as being an investor or something similar in Warner’s Co.. Can you tell me where I can find this info again. Yates was the Pres. of the B.R.& P. R.R. and had a large farm, which still stands on Latta Rd. in Greece. His principal home was in the third Ward. I’m the Greece Town Historian and would like to find out more about his connection with Warner.

    • Alan,

      Yates and Warner had a deal where each one acted as a surety for the debts of the other. This worked fine when both were millionaires and money was rolling in, but when the Panic of 1893 struck and Warner’s debts were called, Yates could not or would not pay and Warner was forced into bankruptcy. I have done several posts that mention Yates, which you can find by plugging “Yates” into the search field at the top of the blog. I have also found some other newspaper articles that mention the Yates/Warner relationship. I can send copies along if you can send me your email. Hope this helps.

      Steve

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