Okay...I'm just about over it. Reading and sharing information about the history of the Singer Sewing Machine Company has clearly been a fascination for me. There were two owners -- Edward Clark and Isaac Singer. The way their children, and then grandchildren -- dealt with being UNBELIEVABLY RICH is fascinating to me.
But -- hey -- I don't pretend to be writing a thesis, folks -- most of this stuff came from one book (the Clarks of Cooperstown) -- and Wikipedia. So beware the internet, eh??
I didn't learn much about the actual Singer family fortune. I'm afraid, with 25 legitimate and illegitimate children fighting over the money -- things ended badly for them.
But, despite the best efforts of the Clark grandsons to SPEND ALL THE MONEY (Robert and Stephen purchased million dollar masterpieces like you and I buy a pack of needles)...their fortune was simply too vast to fritter. And, as it turns out, art IS a good investment. (Of course, they greatly benefited from Edward having ONE son, and Alfred only had four...those are some low numbers...)
Edward Clark's great-grandchildren spent the last 50 years giving back the money. Philanthropy became their full time job.
From Wikipedia: The Clark family, whose fortune originated with a half-ownership of the patent for Singer Sewing Machine,
have lived in Cooperstown since the mid-19th century. The family's
holdings include interests assembled over a century and a half, which
are now held through trusts and foundations. Their dominance is
reflected in Clark ownership of more than 10,000 acres (40km2) of largely undeveloped land in and around greater Cooperstown.
In the village, the Otesaga, the Cooper Inn, Clark Estates, and the
Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home are all Clark properties. In addition, the
Clarks were founding partners of, and retain an interest in, the
Baseball Hall of Fame and the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital.
Cooperstown still receives support from the Clark Foundation, which
has donated to a variety of causes including various scholarships,
non-profit organizations, and village services. The family has also
donated land for the Cooperstown Central School District's new high
school location − formerly horse stables − as well as for parks such as
Fairy Springs and Council Rock, and recently, for a new Little League baseball field.
Jane Forbes Clark II,
the primary family heir today, has continued this commitment. She has
purchased strategic land to ensure the preservation of village entry
points, as well as overseeing the expansion of the various Clark
In late November 2013, Clark discussed her family's continued support
for the community during a meeting of The Women’s Club of Cooperstown.
The Clark Foundation supports a variety of Cooperstown and Otsego
County organizations and causes with donations of $7.5 million to
charitable organizations every year. The family's Scriven Foundation,
formed in 1975, donates only to Otsego County nonprofit organizations,
such as the Cooperstown Village Library. The Scriven Foundation donates
$1.5 million every year.
According to Clark's presentation, the family's
businesses employ 4,198 people, with 3,100 of those positions being