John M. Schiff

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John M. Schiff
Schiff 2423489958 50af8c9ed3 o.jpg
Schiff circa 1913 at the Piping Rock Club
John Mortimer Schiff

(1904-08-26)August 26, 1904
DiedMay 9, 1987(1987-05-09) (aged 82)
NationalityUnited States
EducationYale University (B.A.)
Known forPresident of Boy Scouts of America
Board member ofJohn Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
World Scout Committee (1955-1961)
Spouse(s)Edith Baker
ChildrenDavid T. Schiff
Peter G. Schiff
Parent(s)Adele Neustadt
Mortimer Loeb Schiff
RelativesJacob H. Schiff (grandfather), David M. Heyman
AwardsBreeder of 1970 American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Hoist the Flag
HonorsBronze Wolf

John Mortimer Schiff (August 26, 1904 - May 9, 1987) was an American investment banker and philanthropist. He was a partner in the firm Kuhn, Loeb & Co., as well as a trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a breeder of championship thoroughbred racehorses, and the national president of the Boy Scouts of America from 1951 to 1956.[1]


Schiff's father Mortimer.

Schiff was born to a German-Jewish banking family in New York, the son of Adele (née Neustadt) and Mortimer Loeb Schiff. He was grandson of Jacob H. Schiff. In 1925, Schiff graduated from Yale University, where he was an assistant business manager of campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[2] After a year at Oxford University in England, he worked at Bankers Trust. For a time, Schiff worked on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Following the 1931 death of his father, he became a partner in the investment banking firm Kuhn, Loeb & Co.

Scouting movement[edit]

Both John Schiff and his father were notable early Boy Scouts of America leaders. John Schiff served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America from 1951 to 1956. Schiff also served on the World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement from 1955 until 1961.

Schiff was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1961. The John M. Schiff Scout Reservation was named in his honor.

Thoroughbred horse racing[edit]

Schiff owned and bred thoroughbred racehorses. He was the breeder of the 1970 American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Hoist the Flag and successfully raced a number of horses including Plugged Nickle and Droll Role.[citation needed]


From 1965 to 1976, Schiff served as a Trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation then as Trustee Emeritus until his death in 1987.

Personal life[edit]

John Schiff married Edith Brevoort Baker, granddaughter of George Fisher Baker who was called "the richest, most powerful and most taciturn commercial banker in U. S. history" in a 1934 TIME magazine article.[3] They had two sons, David T. and Peter G. Schiff. After his first wife's death in 1975, he married Josephine Laimbeer Fell, the widow of John R. Fell Jr., who had been a partner in Lehman Brothers.

His son David served as chairman of Wildlife Conservation Society[4] and married Martha Elizabeth Lawler in an Episcopal ceremony in 1963.[5] In 1997, David's son, Andrew Newman Schiff, married former Vice-President Al Gore's daughter, Karenna Aitcheson Gore in an Episcopal ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blair, William G. (10 May 1987). "JOHN SCHIFF, A PHILANTHROPIST AND INVESTMENT BANKER, DIES". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  2. ^ Synnott, Marcia Graham (2010). The Half-Opened Door. 2nd ed. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. p. 24.
  3. ^ March 26, 1934 TIME magazine article Baker-Schiff
  4. ^ New York Times: "CHRONICLE" By NADINE BROZAN February 14, 1996
  5. ^ Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 63
  6. ^ New York Times: "Andrew Schiff, Karenna Gore" July 13, 1997
Boy Scouts of America
Preceded by
Amory Houghton
National president
Succeeded by
Kenneth K. Bechtel