April 14, 2024

Black Entrepreneur History

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Hugh R. George – Businessman & Founder of H.R. George & Company Investment Securities

Once upon a time in Black Entrepreneur History lived a Grenadian-American man named Hugh R. George who became one of the richest men in the state of New York as an investment securities entrepreneur, founding his own securities company – H.R. George & Company Investment Securities.


Hugh R. George Education and Investment Securities Company

Not much is known about Hugh R. George’s earlier childhood years, however, his life reveals that he was educated at Columbia University, attending the school in 1921, and in only five years, Hugh R. George became the founder, president and managing director of H.R. George & Company (1926).

It was while attending Columbia University that he was in pursuit of his law degree and was asked to represent his Columbia University class at a lecture. He accepted, and his lecture was titled “Money and Education”.

Hugh R. George left a great impression on not only the audience but the president of Colonial Finance and Trust Company. It was then that the president of Colonial Finance and Trust Company offered him a traveling salesman position at his bank. Hugh R. George accepted the position, and within six months, he was promoted to sales manager.

While he was sales manager, another rather large brokerage firm of $13,000,000 capitalization convinced Hugh R. George to come aboard as their sales manager, and when he did, he became the department trader in six months. This promotion caused backlash because Hugh R. George was a racially Black man, and shortly after, due to the backlash, George resigned the position. However, this wasn’t the end of his career in banking.

In 1923, the president of the bank from which he resigned contacted him and opened a business under the name of the Federal Security Company of New York, a subsidiary of the $13,000,000 brokerage house, placing Hugh George over it. This new company was located at 2201 Seventh Avenue.

It was only one year after the founding of Federal Security Company of New York on the date of May 29, 1924 that Hugh R. George bought out the interest of the main office, making the securities office his own! He changed the name of the firm to H.R. George & Company, and in 1925, the company was incorporated with authorized capital of $50K with an office of 3 stenographers and 12 salesmen. The offices were also relocated to 2298 Seventh Avenue, Manhattan. This was the first ever investment securities company of its kind run by a Grenadian-American man.

Ninety percent of H.R. George & Company’s business was white clientele, and half of that business was done over the phone. His company specialized in high standing domestic and foreign securities, with foreign connections in London, Budapest and Berlin.

H.R. George’s investment securities company was also listed in Polks Encyclopedia of Bankers and Brokers of the World while also being a member of the Investment Bankers and Brokers of America.

His investment securities company was also called The House of George, and it was up and running for a short number of years during what is known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Pic Source: Times Union 28 Feb 1927, Mon · Page 8

Mr. Hugh R. George wanted to expand and establish branch offices all over the USA, and it was important to him to educate his race.

“I plan to educate our people in the necessity of becoming share holders in the leading financial institutions of this city and the United States.”

Stock issuance of the company was completed and the Corporation Trust Company of New York trust officer’s signature would appear on each H.R. George & Co. stock certificate. The rise of H.R. George & Company was noted around the nation in major newspapers and by leading bankers of the state of New York.

Hugh R. George Activism

Hugh R. George fought for better policing in Harlem along with better lighting along the streets, and he also co-drafted by-laws and and plans to get many necessary items done in the city, through his investment company.

In a publicly published letter in the New York Age which was owned by an African American man named Timothy Fortune, he showed his gratitude and support of the Black-owned newspaper as it was extremely beneficial to the race.

Pic Source: The New York Age 05 Mar 1927, Sat · Page 1

Hugh R. George Family

Hugh R. George’s mother and father were born in Grenada, and he became a naturalized citizen of the USA though according to the 1930 census, he was born in the state of New York in 1891, and grew up with an culturally assimilated African American identity. He married an African American woman named Mary George who was born in Virginia. They wed in the year of 1923.


Sources:

  1. The New York Age, 18 Dec 1926, Sat · Page 8
  2. Times Union 28 Feb 1927, Mon · Page 8
  3. The New York Age, 09 Oct 1926, Sat · Page 2