John J. Raskob : An Introduction

The Hagley Library's Papers of John J. Raskob document the life and accomplishments of one of the most prominent figures in pre-New Deal business and politics.

John J. Raskob was born in obscurity in upstate New York, and became a star of business and finance during the 1920s and an influential political figure.

At various times in his career, from its beginning as private secretary to Pierre S. du Pont, Raskob was Treasurer of the Du Pont Company and of General Motors Corporation, a leader in the campaign against Prohibition, one-time Chairman of the National Democratic Committee and then vocal critic of FDR and the New Deal. He built the Empire State Building and reopened the storied Comstock Lode silver mine in Nevada.

Raskob was one of the richest men in America, and one of the most publicly prominent Catholics in the early 20th Century, at a time when Catholics were mistrusted and discriminated against in business and politics. He influenced the development of the movie industry during its golden age, remade the automobile industry, and built enduring philanthropic institutions.


Image: John J. Raskob, ca. 1905. View image in Hagley Digital Archives