Kaiser, Henry J., 1882-1967

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Biographical Chronology

  • 1882: Henry John Kaiser born in Sprout Brook (near Canajoharie), New York, on May 9, son of Francis J. and Mary Yops Kaiser, German immigrants.
  • 1895: Left school at age 13, to help support his parents and three sisters, by working in a dry goods store in Utica, New York.
  • ca. 1903 - 1906 : Became a salesman and partner in a photographic business in Lake Placid, New York; bought out his partner, and opened stores in Daytona Beach and Miami, Florida, and Nassau.
  • 1906: Moved to Spokane, Washington, and worked as a hardware and sand and gravel salesman.
  • 1907: Married Bessie Fosburgh on April 8 in Boston.
  • 1912: Began a road paving business in Washington and British Columbia. The Henry J. Kaiser Company, Ltd. established in Vancouver, B.C., in 1914.
  • 1921: Won his first California paving contract, between Redding and Red Bluff, and established headquarters in Oakland.
  • 1923: Started sand and gravel quarry at Radum (near Livermore), to supply the Livermore-Pleasanton paving job. This was the beginning of Kaiser Sand and Gravel Company.
  • 1927: Worked on a 200 -mile, 500 -bridge highway in Cuba.
  • 1929: Formed a consortium called Six Companies, Inc., with Henry J. Kaiser as chairman of the executive committee, to build Hoover (Boulder) Dam on the Colorado River. Also collaborated on the building of Bonneville, Grand Coulee, and Shasta Dams, natural gas pipelines in the Southwest, Mississippi River levees, and the San Francisco -Oakland Bay Bridge underwater foundations.
  • 1939: Built the Permanente Cement plant near Los Altos, California, in seven months, to provide cement and aggregates for the construction of Shasta Dam.
  • 1940 - 1945 : During World War II, coordinated production of liberty ships, "baby flat top" aircraft carriers, aircraft, cement, steel, magnesium for bombs and artillery shells, as well as laying the ground work for post war production of housing, cars and consumer goods.
  • 1942: Granted loan by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to build a steel plant at Fontana, California, the first in the western United States. Broke ground in April, and the first blast furnace was blown in on December 30, 1942.
  • 1944: Considered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as his fourth-term vice presidential running mate. Chairman of the Non-Partisan Association for Franchise Education, to promote voting.
  • 1945: Kaiser-Frazer Corporation incorporated in Nevada, and produced 750,000 automobiles in its ten years of production.
  • 1945 - 1946 : Served as national chairman of the Victory Clothing Collection, the Civilian Production Administration Emergency Food Collection, and the United States Relief Administration.
  • 1946: Began making aluminum at five rented plants, and showed a profit of $5.3 million in less than one year.
  • 1951: Bessie Fosburgh Kaiser died in Oakland. A month later, on April 10, Henry J. Kaiser married Alyce Chester in Santa Barbara.
  • 1955: Turned over day to day operation of Kaiser Industries Corporation to son Edgar F. Kaiser, and moved to Hawaii. There he developed the Hawaiian Village Hotel, and a $350 million real estate development and resort called Hawaii Kai.
  • 1958: Opened Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Honolulu.
  • 1961: Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. died in Oakland. Awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1963: Received the International Broadcast Free Enterprise Award.
  • 1965: Given the AFL-CIO Murray Green Humanitarian Award, "in recognition of notable accomplishments in voluntary medical care, housing and labor-management relations."
  • 1967: Died on August 24 in Honolulu. By the time of his death at age 85, Henry J. Kaiser had founded more than 100 companies, which operated 180 major plants in 32 states and 40 foreign countries, employing 90,000 people and making 300 products and services, with assets of $2.5 billion.

From the guide to the Henry J. Kaiser Papers, 1873-1982, (The Bancroft Library.)

Biographical Chronology

  • 1882: Henry John Kaiser born in Sprout Brook (near Canajoharie), New York, on May 9, son of Francis J. and Mary Yops Kaiser, German immigrants.
  • 1895: Left school at age 13, to help support his parents and three sisters, by working in a dry goods store in Utica, New York
  • ca. 1903 - 1906 : Became a salesman and partner in a photographic business in Lake Placid, New York; bought out his partner, and opened stores in Daytona Beach and Miami, Florida, and Nassau.
  • 1906: Moved to Spokane, Washington, and worked as a hardware and sand and gravel salesman.
  • 1907: Married Bessie Fosburgh on April 8 in Boston.
  • 1912: Began a road paving business in Washington and British Columbia. The Henry J. Kaiser Company, Ltd. established in Vancouver, B.C., in 1914.
  • 1921: Won his first California paving contract, between Redding and Red Bluff, and established headquarters in Oakland.
  • 1923: Started sand and gravel quarry at Radum (near Livermore), to supply the Livermore-Pleasanton paving job. This was the beginning of Kaiser Sand and Gravel Company.
  • 1927: Worked on a 200 -mile, 500 -bridge highway in Cuba.
  • 1929: Formed a consortium called Six Companies, Inc., with Henry J. Kaiser as chairman of the executive committee, to build Hoover (Boulder) Dam on the Colorado River. Also collaborated on the building of Bonneville, Grand Coulee, and Shasta Dams, natural gas pipelines in the Southwest, Mississippi River levees, and the San Francisco -Oakland Bay Bridge underwater foundations.
  • 1939: Built the Permanente Cement plant near Los Altos, California, in seven months, to provide cement and aggregates for the construction of Shasta Dam.
  • 1940 - 1945 : During World War II, coordinated production of liberty ships, "baby flat top" aircraft carriers, aircraft, cement, steel, magnesium for bombs and artillery shells, as well as laying the ground work for post war production of housing, cars and consumer goods.
  • 1942: Granted loan by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to build a steel plant at Fontana, California, the first in the western United States. Broke ground in April, and the first blast furnace was blown in on December 30, 1942.
  • 1944: Considered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as his fourth-term vice presidential running mate.
  • 1944: Chairman of the Non-Partisan Association for Franchise Education, to promote voting.
  • 1945: Kaiser-Frazer Corporation incorporated in Nevada, and produced 750,000 automobiles in its ten years of production.
  • 1945 - 1946 : Served as national chairman of the Victory Clothing Collection, the Civilian Production Administration Emergency Food Collection, and the United States Relief Administration.
  • 1946: Began making aluminum at five rented plants, and showed a profit of $5.3 million in less than one year.
  • 1951: Bessie Fosburgh Kaiser died in Oakland. A month later, on April 10, Henry J. Kaiser married Alyce Chester in Santa Barbara.
  • 1955: Turned over day to day operation of Kaiser Industries Corporation to son Edgar F. Kaiser, and moved to Hawaii. There he developed the Hawaiian Village Hotel, and a $350 million real estate development and resort called Hawaii Kai.
  • 1958: Opened Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Honolulu.
  • 1961: Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. died in Oakland.
  • 1961: Awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1963: Received the International Broadcast Free Enterprise Award.
  • 1965: Given the AFL-CIO Murray Green Humanitarian Award, "in recognition of notable accomplishments in voluntary medical care, housing and labor-management relations."
  • 1967: Died on August 24 in Honolulu. By the time of his death at age 85, Henry J. Kaiser had founded more than 100 companies, which operated 180 major plants in 32 states and 40 foreign countries, employing 90,000 people and making 300 products and services, with assets of $2.5 billion.

From the guide to the Selections From the Henry J. Kaiser Pictorial Collection, 1941-1946, (The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn "March of Time" Collection. 1934 - 1951. March of Time Documentary/Newsreel Films Relating to U.S. History, Government, Politics, Culture, and International Affairs. 1935 - 1953. UNCLE SAM, MARINER?
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. JAPANESE SHIPS SMASHED AT GUADALCANAL [ETC.]
referencedIn Papers of Drew Pearson. 1915 - 1969. Files from the Merry-Go-Round Farm
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [JAN. 16]
referencedIn R. Buckminster Fuller papers, ca. 1920-1983 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Reynolds, D. M. (Del Mar). D. M. Reynolds papers, circa 1943. University of Southern California, USC Libraries
referencedIn Eugene Swarzwald, Pictorial California and the Pacific, Collection of Photographs, 1909-ca.1968, bulk ca. 1925-1968 The Huntington Library
creatorOf Kaiser, Henry J. Scrapbooks, chiefly concerning Henry J. Kaiser's activities in Hawaii, 1955-1956. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. UNITED NATIONS LEADERS CONFER WITH ROOSEVELT [ETC.]
referencedIn Hancock, Lambreth. Lambreth Hancock autobiography : revised typescript (photocopy), [ca. 1986]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Six Companies. Six Companies records, 1931-1941. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [MAR. 30]
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. Paramount news. [Aug. 6]
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. MOLOTOV VISTS KAISER SHIPYARD, RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA
referencedIn S.S. Hobart Victory : photographs. Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Warren Hunting Smith Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [MAY 16]
creatorOf Kaiser, Henry J., 1882-1967. Henry J. Kaiser pictorial collection [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Kaiser, Henry J., 1882-. Liberty ship launching, Nov. 12, 1942 [sound recording]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Kaiser, Henry J., 1882-. Kaiser family [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Eugene E. Trefethen, Jr. Papers, ca. 1930-1980 The Bancroft Library.
referencedIn Leonard Jimmie Savage papers, 1935-1998 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. MANILA ENTIRELY FREE IN SAVAGE LAST-DITCH BATTLE [ETC.]
referencedIn Kaiser, Henry J., 1917-1961. Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. papers, 1937-1961. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Piel, Gerard. Reminiscences of Gerard Piel : oral history, 1982. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [OCT. 9]
creatorOf Kaiser, Henry J., 1882-1967. Henry J. Kaiser pictorial collection [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Kaiser Shipyards (Richmond, Calif.). Kaiser Shipyards collection, 1940-1945. Richmond Museum of History
referencedIn F. Tom Humphrey Photographs Collection, 1908-1946, 1941-1945 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Maritime Commission. 1917 - 1950. Motion Picture Films. 1929 - 1945. THE VICTORY FLEET
referencedIn Eugene E. Trefethen, Jr. Papers, ca. 1930-1980 The Bancroft Library.
referencedIn Savage, Leonard J. Leonard Jimmie Savage papers, 1935-1998 (inclusive), 1935-1994 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Smith, Frederick C. (Frederick Cleveland), 1884-1956. Papers 1936-1954. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [NOV. 17]
creatorOf Kaiser, Henry J., 1882-1967. Henry J. Kaiser papers, 1873-1982. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [JAN. 8]
referencedIn Coordinating Committee of National Jewish Organizations for the United National Clothing Collection for War Relief Records, 1945 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Documentary Films. 1914 - 1944. (MANUFACTURE OF ORDNANCE.)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. Moving Images Relating to U.S. Foreign Policy and Foreign Relations. 1911 - 1972. NEWS REVIEW [NO. 1]
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. U.S. AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY SHOWS LATEST INVENTIONS [ETC.]
creatorOf Selections From the Henry J. Kaiser Pictorial Collection, 1941-1946 The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.
referencedIn Lessman, Jac, 1904-1990. Jac Lessman architectural records and papers, 1925-1975. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. LAST LIBERTY SHIP LAUNCHED [ETC.]
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT'S TOUR OF WAR PLANTS, SEPTEMBER 18th TO 30th, 1942
referencedIn "March of Time" Collection. 1934 - 1951. March of Time Documentary/Newsreel Films Relating to U.S. History, Government, Politics, Culture, and International Affairs. 1935 - 1953. THE WEST COAST QUESTION
referencedIn Papers of Drew Pearson. 1915 - 1969. Files from the Georgetown Office and Residence
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. Paramount News
referencedIn Photographs of the launching of the U.S.S. Alazon Bay [graphic], 1943 April 5. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration). 1945 - 1960. Personal Files. 1945 - 1953. Roosevelt, Eleanor: General [1 of 3]. 1945 - 1953. Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry S. Truman
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. AMERICA REPORTS ON AID TO ALLIES [ETC.]
creatorOf Kaiser-Frazer Corp. Kaiser-Frazer Corporation photograph collection [graphic] UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Kaiser, Henry J., 1882-1967,. [Henry J. Kaiser pamphlet collection]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Henry J. Kaiser Company. Henry J. Kaiser and Kaiser Company foreign operations and visits [graphic] UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn World War posters, 1914-1945 Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library. Claremont, CA 91711
creatorOf Henry J. Kaiser Papers, 1873-1982 The Bancroft Library.
referencedIn D. M. Reynolds papers, circa 1943 USC Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Henry J. Kaiser Company. Henry J. Kaiser and Kaiser Company foreign operations and visits [graphic] UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. U.S. VICE-PRESIDENT CHEERED ON TOUR OF SOUTH AMERICA [ETC.]
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983 person
associatedWith Hancock, Lambreth. person
associatedWith Henry J. Kaiser Company corporateBody
associatedWith Humphrey, F. Tom person
associatedWith Kaiser family family
associatedWith Kaiser-Frazer Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith Kaiser, Henry J., 1882- person
associatedWith Kaiser, Henry J., 1917-1961. person
associatedWith Kaiser Industries Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Kaiser Motors Corporation corporateBody
associatedWith Kaiser-Permanente Medical Care Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Kaiser Shipyards (Richmond, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Lessman, Jac, 1904-1990. person
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
associatedWith Piel, Gerard. person
correspondedWith Reynolds, D. M. (Del Mar). person
correspondedWith Reynolds, D. M., (Del Mar) person
associatedWith Savage, Leonard J. person
associatedWith Savage, Leonard J. person
associatedWith Six Companies. corporateBody
associatedWith Smith, Frederick C. (Frederick Cleveland), 1884-1956. person
associatedWith Swarzwald, Eugene. person
associatedWith Trefethen, Eugene E. (Eugene Edgar), 1909- person
associatedWith United National Clothing Collection for War Relief (U.S.). Coordinating Committee of National Jewish Organizations corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Hawaii
New York (State)
California--Oakland
West (U.S.)
California--San Francisco Bay Area
United States
Hawaii
United States
California--Richmond
Subject
Shipbuilding--Photographs
Shipyards--Photographs
Dams--Design and construction--Photographs
Industrialists
Corporations--Photographs
Construction industry--Photographs
Industry
Occupation
Collector
Function

Person

Birth 1882-05-09

Death 1967-08-24

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6rj4v58

SNAC ID: 56907318