Frederic Adrian Delano

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Person.png Frederic Adrian Delano  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Portrait of Frederic Adrian Delano.jpg
BornSeptember 10, 1863
Manhattan, New York, US
DiedMarch 28, 1953 (Age 89)
Boston, Massachusetts, US
NationalityUnited States
Alma materHarvard University
InterestsBrookings Institution

Frederic Adrian Delano II (September 10, 1863 – March 28, 1953) was an American railroad president and first vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve.[1] he was born in the Delano family, which made its fortune in Chinese opium[2]. He was also a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago which affected the development of Chicago in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Early life

Delano was born in Hong Kong on September 10, 1863.[3][1] He was a member of the Delano family as a son of Warren Delano Jr., who made a large fortune smuggling illegal opium into China[2], and Catherine Robbins Lyman. He was a brother of Warren Delano IV and Sara Ann Delano, and uncle of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[3]

Like his older brother Warren, he graduated from Harvard University in 1885.[3]


After his graduation from Harvard, Delano began his professional career in Colorado in 1885 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q). He was initially a trainee machinist and railway inspector and later superintendent of the freight terminals and then of the power plant in Chicago, before he was finally general manager. In 1905 he became President of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad Co. and at the same time First Vice President of the Wabash-Pittsburgh Terminal Railway, of which he became President in 1911. In 1913 he assumed the post of President of the Chicago, Indianapolis, & Louisville Railway Company (CIL).[4]

For a time he was consulting engineer to the United States War Department in respect to the railroads of the Philippine Islands.

Federal Reserve

On August 10, 1914, Delano became vice chairman (Vice Governor) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and was one of the first five board members of the US Federal Reserve appointed by US President Woodrow Wilson. He held this post until August 9, 1916 and was then until July 21, 1918 a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Officer in the First World War

In July 1918, Frederic A. Delano resigned from his post as board member of the Federal Reserve System and served in the final months of World War I as a major in the USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers) on the Western Front in Tours. In October 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel (Lieutenant Colonel) of the USATC (United States Army Transportation Corps) and took over the post of director general for transportation of the US expeditionary forces AEF (American Expeditionary Forces) in France. In the end, he was promoted to colonel of the transport corps in May 1919 and honorably discharged from service on October 25, 1919. In January 1920 he was appointed chief engineer in command of the reserve corps. For his services in France he became a member of the Legion of Honor in 1919 and received the Distinguished Service Medal in 1921.

After the War

After the war ended, Delano became chairman of the board of directors of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Company and director of the Union Mining Company of Maryland in 1919. In 1921 he returned to the Federal Reserve System and was initially a so-called Class C director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond before he was chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond between March and December 1936. He was also a temporary administrator in the Red River Boundary Case between Oklahoma and Texas before the United States Supreme Court.

He was a member of the International Commission set up by the League of Nations on opium production in Persia and the possible substitution of other agriculture and industry (suitable for his family, as it made its fortune on Chinese opium running).

In 1933 he invented one-way window glass. He has also served on the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents, trustee and chairman of the Brookings Institution. He was also a member and chairman of the Washington, D.C. National Parks and Planning Commission, chairman of the National Resources Planning Board, and chairman of the American Planning and Civic Association. He became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1941.[5]

His addresses were published under the titles Questions of the Hour (1911) and Are Our Railroads Fairly Treated? (1913). He was also the chairman of the influential National Capital Park and Planning Commission and helped approve and oversee the building of the Pentagon.

Private Life

His marriage to Matilda Anne Peasley Delano (1867–1953) in 1888 gave birth to four daughters, Louise Delano Cheney (1891–1923), Laura Delano Houghteling (1893–1978), Matilda Delano (1899–1911) and Alice Delano (1903–1923). 1904). His eldest daughter Louise Delano Cheney married Brigadier General Sherwood Alfred Cheney in 1921 [2] [3] After his death he was buried in the family vault of the Delano family at Riverside Cemetery in Fairhaven.


His philanthropic work through the Commercial Club of Chicago, which has been said to have strongly impacted his nephew's presidential policies. Delano was Chairman of the Committee on the Regional Plan for New York and Its Environs, which released the regional plan for New York on May 27, 1929.[6]

His house on 2244 S Street NW in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington DC, designed by Waddy Butler Wood in 1924, survives as the Residence of the Irish Ambassador.[7]

Personal life

In 1888, Frederic was married to Matilda Anne Peasley (1867–1953). Together, they were the parents of five children, all daughters, including:[1]

  • Catherine Lyman Delano (1889–1951),[8] who married Alexander Galt Grant.
  • Louise Delano (1891–1923), who married Sherwood Alfred Cheney (1873–1949), Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School.
  • Laura Delano (1893–1978), who married James Lawrence Houghteling (1883–1962). His sister Josephine Houghteling was married to financier Frank Gray Griswold.[9][10]
  • Matilda Delano (1899–1911), who died young.
  • Alice Delano (1903–1904), who died young.

Delano died in Newburgh, New York on March 28, 1953.[3]