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R . S T E W A R T R A U C H , J R.

15 july 1914 . 16 november 2001


VOL. 146, NO. 4, DECEMBER 2002


biographical memoirs


STEWART RAUCH, Jr., died at Beaumont in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on 16 November 2001 from complications of pneumonia. His death at the age of eighty-seven came only two weeks after that of his wife, Frances Brewster Rauch, whom he had known since childhood and to whom he had been married for sixty years. Stew was a Philadelphian by birth and remained so all his life. Although a lawyer by training, most of his adult life was in banking, but he will be remembered first as a civic leader whom Providence placed in the path of crisis approaching his city. Educated at St. Paul's School and at Princeton, where he earned an A.B. and a Phi Beta Kappa key, Rauch at first pursued an interest in government, which he later said had been encouraged by John G. Winant, a friend of his father and onetime U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James. For a year after Princeton, Stew interned with the National Institute of Public Affairs, working first in the research division of the Social Security Board, then in the office of Senator Carter Glass. Daunted, perhaps, by depression-era public sector salaries, he joined the Campbell Soup Company, where he quickly became assistant to the factory superintendent in Camden. But restless after a year in industry, he decided to follow a latent interest in the law, entering the law school of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1941. Stew's law career, which was destined to be brief, began with the important Philadelphia firm of Barnes, Dechert, Price, Myers and Clark (now simply Dechert) and was soon interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy in the Middle East and the Pacific. The final career change came in 1949, when he was elected vice president of the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, an institution with which he was to be associated for more than thirty years, and which he was to lead as president or chairman for twenty-five years. PSFS, as it was universally known, was the nation's first mutual savings bank when it was formed in 1816 with the high purpose of encouraging savings and home ownership among working people. It was the largest financial institution in the city by the time Rauch became an officer, and it was also--with the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Girard Trust Company, and several others--the foundation of the Philadelphia business establishment. Symbolic of the bank's status, the architecturally acclaimed PSFS Building, completed in 1932, for many years dominated the city skyline, and its rooftop logo survives although the bank itself does not. Like virtually every old-line thrift institution, PSFS was badly weakened by the upheavals in the industry during the 1980s. Despite heroic efforts, it closed in 1992. Stew Rauch served as president of the bank from 1955 to 1971 and then as chairman


r. stewart rauch, jr.


until his retirement in 1979. During these years he wove the PSFS stature and prestige, and his own talents, into a force for business and civic leadership that was remarkable for both its force and its duration. Like many high-profile business leaders, Stew held numerous prestigious corporate and not-for-profit directorships, including the Pennsylvania Railroad, Girard Trust, Penn Mutual Life Insurance, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Academy of Natural Sciences. But the weightiest of his extra-PSFS involvements were with much less glamorous economic development initiatives and, notably, efforts to improve opportunities for urban minority populations, and to involve them more fully in the economic life of the city. Two of these deserve special mention because of the impact his personal involvement had on the organizations and their missions. In the mid-twentieth century, that part of Philadelphia to the east of Independence Square was a run-down and decaying commercial district "anchored" by the Dock Street wholesale meat, fish, and produce market. Relocation of the market was seen as necessary to permit reclamation of that part of the city, including the development of Independence National Historical Park. Leadership in creating the new Food Distribution Center in South Philadelphia fell to the Greater Philadelphia Movement, the so-called "movers and shakers" organization of which Rauch was a member. He became the force behind the project and was to serve for thirty years as president or chairman of the center. Now, fifty years later, the critical importance of that effort to the economic and cultural life of the city can be judged by the fact that it made possible the revitalization of the Society Hill neighborhood, the development of Penn's Landing, and the renaissance of "Old Philadelphia." Of much greater consequence for the city of Philadelphia, however, were the events that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on 4 April 1968, and the role that Stew Rauch played in them. Like many northern cities, Philadelphia at that time was struggling to assimilate the large tide of black migration from the South that began with World War II and was continuing. Many of the new arrivals were ill prepared for employment in a local economy that was steadily shifting away from manufacturing toward service industries. High unemployment coupled with poverty and substandard housing in inner-city neighborhoods produced growing racial tensions that were reflected in increased vandalism, crime, and civil unrest. The murder of Dr. King set off a wave of arson, looting, and rioting in cities across the country where similar conditions existed, prompting Cecil B. Moore, a black Philadelphia lawyer who was active in civil rights causes, to call Rauch, saying, in effect, that if the business community did


biographical memoirs

not take action the city was going to explode. Out of this conversation a decision was reached that the two men would assemble a group of the city's leaders, white and black, some "establishment" and some not (but in 1968 none were women), to address the looming crisis. The thirtyodd people who met in the PSFS board room on 19 April, Good Friday, under the chairmanship of the late A. Leon Higginbotham, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (and a member of APS), included one of the co-authors of this memorial. It also included four radical black activists who, according to George W. Corner,1 a chronicler of the events, shocked the white businessmen, in particular, by warning of a coming time of destruction, a tearing down of society, in order to rebuild with justice for all. The participants, who became known as the Good Friday Group, adopted Rauch's proposal that further meetings be held, that the white participants raise from the business community a fund of one million dollars (a very considerable sum in those days), and that the fund be spent on projects developed by the black community aimed at job development, business entrepreneurship, and social services. In the days that followed the million dollars was quickly raised in response to what Corner described as the "peremptory force" of Stew Rauch's demands--of which the other co-author was one recipient. The machinery thus established, and the projects conceived and funded, were not universally applauded. Some of the criticism was deserved. But by two important criteria the work of the Good Friday Group was markedly successful. Philadelphia got through the summer of 1968 without experiencing cataclysmic events of the kind that occurred so tragically elsewhere, and gained time in which the dialogues and initiatives begun under such great pressure could mature in a climate of increased understanding and, ultimately, trust. There is, however, another legacy of even greater long-term importance. The Good Friday Group's black participants adopted for themselves the name Black Coalition. While the organization under that name survived for only a year, it could claim parentage of the Philadelphia Urban Coalition, which thrives thirty-five years later, and which has been an important agent in bringing together leaders of the black community and business people to address problems of jobs, housing, and education in minority neighborhoods. Many people deserved a share of the credit for avoiding disaster in the spring and summer of 1968, but it was widely agreed that Stew

1 George W. Corner was executive officer of the Society from 1960 to 1977. His article "The Black Coalition: An Experiment in Racial Cooperation, Philadelphia, 1968" was published in Proceedings 120.3 (1976):178­86.

r. stewart rauch, jr.


Rauch's leadership was vital. At that time few men in either the public or private sector had the stature or commanded the respect necessary to mount such an important initiative so quickly, based primarily on an insistence that it was imperative to do so. Even fewer had the breadth of vision and clear sense of what was right that would allow them to make common cause with self-proclaimed radicals whom their business community peers regarded as anarchists. Along with these qualities Stew brought to the table a personal presence and integrity that engendered trust among the highly diverse people who had gathered with feelings of suspicion, anger, and even hate. It was Philadelphia's great good fortune that he was in the right place at the right time. For these and countless other instances of outstanding civic leadership, Rauch was presented with the 1977 Philadelphia Award given annually to an individual who has advanced "the best and largest interest of the community." In presenting the award, Judge Higginbotham noted that Rauch had long been intensely focused on the "unmet human needs" of the city, and added, "When you check the major agenda for the physical and human improvements during the last 25 years, most often Stewart Rauch has been a key catalyst." The Philadelphia Award was founded in 1921 by Edward Bok, a Curtis Publishing Company editor and executive, and included a $15,000 cash prize, which Stew gave to the APS with the following admonition: "I suggest that the Society, in spending this Fund, keep in mind a quotation from the Preface to the first volume of its Transactions (1771) which reads--`Knowledge is of little value when confined to mere speculation: But when speculative truths are reduced to practice, when theories that are grounded on experiments are applied to common purposes of life; knowledge then becomes really useful.'" In addition to his many involvements in Philadelphia, Stew provided leadership on a national scale, to the National Association of Mutual Savings Banks, of which he became president, the Commission on Race and Housing of the Fund for the Republic, and the Committee for Economic Development. He brought to all of these associations his intellect, a willingness to listen with an open mind to the views of others even when stated with rancor or rudeness, and the courage to present his own views--even when unpopular--thoughtfully, clearly, and with force. One of his sons, speaking for the family at the memorial service, referred to Stew's charm, which would be widely acknowledged, but also to an "impressive" temper. The latter is a quality seldom seen in his business and civic life, although he might be said to have been intolerant of fools and stupidity. Many of us will remember more clearly another family-reported characteristic, a love of parties, said to be a


biographical memoirs

legacy of St. Paul's School that remained with him all his life. We will also remember a warm, caring individual, above all devoted to his family, but concerned about injustice in the world around him, and willing to devote his time and talents to remedy it. The citation for the Philadelphia Award, written in 1921, appears to have had Stewart Rauch in mind. It provides a suitable conclusion to this memorial:

[Edward Bok] believes that Service to others tends to fill Life with Joy and renders whole Communities prosperous and that the Ideal of Service as a test of good Citizenship should be constantly kept before the Minds of the People of Philadelphia in general and of the Young in particular. . . .

William B. Eagleson, Jr.

Chairman Emeritus Mellon Bank Corporation

ILLIAM B. EAGLESON, Jr., and I intended to do a joint piece on R. Stewart Rauch, Jr., our mutual friend and often colleague on certain civic, business, and social occasions. Bill furnished a first draft before I even started. Perhaps it reflects only that lawyers--as Boswell said about Johnson--often have a "morbid propensity to slothe in procrastination," whereas bankers, like Stewart and Bill, don't. In any event, Bill greatly exceeded a remark often made by Mr. Justice Frankfurter, to wit, that he who does the first draft often controls the beat of the meeting. Try as I have, I could find no contributions that I could make that would improve the piece and entitle me to be its co-author. Indeed, it recalled an experience that I had in the tenth grade at Germantown High School in Philadelphia in 1936 (in those days, the public schools in Philadelphia taught their students as well as public and private schools anywhere in the nation) in which my English teacher, Miss Egge, gave us seven of the Psalms and one or two Shakespeare plays, and our assignment for the week was to rewrite them to bring about improvements. Of course, we soon learned that there are certain things that, if rewritten, would only result in not as good a product. Thus, permit me to add only the following: Stewart, a solidly constructed six-footer, had the kind of good looks that seemed almost sculptured in the evenness of the facial planes and the graceful proportion of the features. He certainly was smart and equally certainly could have been a movie star, and as far as I know he


r. stewart rauch, jr.


had never experienced a day of real poverty. His intellect was classified on his face as clearly as I have seen it in almost any other important person I have ever met. And he was as simpatico with a man like Cecil B. Moore, who thought social and political change could be brought about only by masses of people in the street, as he was with those who populated the board rooms of major financial and industrial institutions. Stewart and his wife, Fran, had great charm and they were a couple one would always like to be with or near. There is one event of a non-social nature that is worth recall.2 The Tastykake Company was a prominent company in Philadelphia. I think one of its top officials was a member of the Good Friday Group. In the late 1960s, Tastykake did not hire Negroes except in very menial positions. Leon Howard Sullivan, a wonderful minister in Philadelphia, organized a boycott, saying that if his people could not work at the company there was no reason why they should buy its products. The action was effective; it really began to cut into the business of Tastykake. A special meeting of the Good Friday Group was called. At first the agenda seemed to be whether Leon Howard Sullivan should be kicked out of the Good Friday Group if he did not stop leading the boycott. Soon, however, under the leadership of Stewart, the discussion of the meeting completely shifted, recognizing that it was certainly inconsistent with what this nation believed in if those who were denied the opportunity for a job could not express their displeasure by picketing and urging all to refuse to buy the products of that company. So instead of being kicked out, Leon found his actions embraced. In fact, before the meeting was over there was a vote to honor a request of Leon Sullivan for financial help to carry out the campaign, which vote was successful. History will record that Tastykake soon changed its position and began to hire Negroes. In addition, Leon Sullivan, who, among other things, became a member of the board of directors of General Motors, traveled throughout the U.S. creating and seeing to successful effect many Opportunities Centers, and the International Foundation for Education and Self Help. Indeed he also led the actions in South Africa--including the development of the Global Sullivan Principles--that had a lot to do with the freeing of Mandela, and

2 As a former law partner of Richardson Dilworth, the mayor of Philadelphia at the beginning of the Philadelphia Downtown Renaissance, I can attest to many occasions when Stewart led the business community to support what Dilworth wished to do. Also, Stewart and I talked often in the 1960s about the need for a Center City tunnel to connect the Reading commuter lines with the Penn Central commuter lines serving Philadelphia. Years later, when serving as secretary of the Department of Transportation in the Ford administration, I signed the papers that made available the money to make this possible.


biographical memoirs

blacks' ultimately having the right to participate freely in the government of that country. Seldom does one event change the course of a nation or of history, but if Stewart had rejected, instead of supporting, Sullivan, life today might have been much different. As I recall this important incident, please enjoy with me the changes in this great nation today when I look at the color and sex of some of the key persons advising President Bush in the difficult foreign and security problems the nation faces today; or look at the color of the man who was the OMB director who gave the nation the first balanced budget in many years and now is chief executive officer of one of the world's largest financial institutions; another who probably will soon be CEO of the nation's largest investment house; and another who is CEO of the nation's largest credit card and traveler's check company; or the color or sex of some others who today guide our great financial institutions, industrial companies, and universities. Of course, others helped, but I do think that R. Stewart Rauch, Jr., had a lot to do with getting things off to a hell of a breakthrough and start. Stew's action, like the acorn, produced a tremendous result.

Elected 1957; Council 1974­77; 1981­84; Committees: Advisory on Election of Members 1976­79; 1983­92; Advisory to the Council on Election 1975­76; Bank Building 1981­82; Bank Building--Development 1982­86; Bank Building--Program 1982­84; Commission on the Bicentennial Congress of Liberty in 1976 1965­74; Council Nominees 1975­76; Development National/Campaign National 1990­93; Executive 1975­ 77; Finance 1957­90; Membership V 1976­86; Nomination of Officers 1976­77; 1983­84; Public Relations/Public Information 1987­94

William T. Coleman, Jr.

Senior Partner and The Senior Counselor O'Melveny & Myers LLP Secretary of Transportation in the Ford Administration (1975­77) Former Chairman NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.



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