Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937).|
Photo from the public domain.
- One month later, in October, I had an occasion to go to the campus
of a small college called "Pennsylvania College for Women" (now
called Chatam College). The campus was like a private mansion,
and I was told that it used to be a one of the residences belonging
to a rich man named Andrew Mellon. I was told that the Mellon
Bank is named after him.
- One year later, in 1955, I saw a familiar face in Pittsburgh's
newspapers. There used to be three newspapers, namely Pittsburgh
Sun Telegraph, Pittsburgh Press, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
He was Matthew Ridgeway who was the commanding general of the 8th
Army in Korea during the most difficult time during the Korean
War. Shortly after MacArthur's troops landed in Inchon and
marched north to occupy Pyongyang, Chinese troops came in and
destroyed the 8th Army. Ridgeway came to Korea at this critical
moment, and reorganized the 8th Army. He then pushed the Chinese
army to the present cease-fire line. Not many people know Ridgeway
saved Korea from the communist take over.
Ridgeway was coming to Pittsburgh as the Chairman of the Board of the Mellon Research Institute. It was of course the first time to hear about the Mellon Institute. I was told that this research organization invented hot dog skins. As you know, the hot dog is an American product and different from the European sausage. Unlike those Italian and Polish sausages, hot dogs use transparent artificial skins. Do you know how those skins are made?
- I think it was 1967. I heard that the Carnegie Tech and the Mellon
Institute absorbed each other to become Carnegie-Mellon University.
Only recently, I found out the National Gallery of Art in Washington
was a gift from Andrew Mellon. What Washington connection did
Mellon have? I thought Mellon was a rich man whose fortune was
based in Pittsburgh.
- It was only after World War I that the United States started as
the capitalist country in the present form. As we know, American
economy is based on big business firms contributing huge sums of
tax money to the federal government. Before World War I, the United
States was a very different country. Americans did not pay taxes
to the federal government. When did the change take place?
- Andrew Mellon was the secretary of the treasury from 1921 to 1933,
serving three presidents, namely Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge,
and Herbert Hoover. In other words, Mellon was the architect of
the present capitalistic system of the United States. He helped
big businesses grow, and let them pay federal taxes. Of course,
his system was not perfect and had soft spots. People say that
the great depression during the 1930s was caused by Mellon's
not-so-perfect management of the treasury system, but others say
it was a necessary side-effect in the great transitional processes.
- Even after leaving the top position in the treasury department,
he was a very powerful money man. He was of course immensely rich,
and he was able to raise limitless amount of money from American
business people. With these resources, he decided to build a world
class art museum in Washington. This is how the National Gallery
of Art was created.
Italian and French soldiers do not put up brilliant fights in battle fields, but both Italy and France are strong countries. They are strong art counties. Mellon realized this, and he was determined to make his country culturally strong. It costs money to construct museum buildings, but it costs much more to purchase art items from other museums. Mellon did it.
- Then, does the affluence stop at the level of economic satisfaction?
Certainly No, according to Andrew Mellon. You have to invest your
wealth to make your country strong or make your country men and
As for myself, I am most certainly different from Mellon. I am barely "affluent" enough to travel to anywhere in the world. But my affluence does not stop here. As you know, I like electronics, and I always brag about the shortwave radio I used to have when I was a high-school student. I still maintain my interest in long distance communication, and still am struggling to create something new in this ares. I have just constructed a webapge describing what I did and what I intend to do in the future. You may be interested in visiting
to see how crazy I have been and I still am.
Y. S. Kim (2007.8.3)
copyright@2007 by Y. S. Kim, unless otherwise specified.