Ames, Edwin Gardner, 1856-1935

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Lumber company executive, banker and political activist of Seattle, Washington, Edwin Ames (1856-1935), was manager of the Pope & Talbot interests in the Puget Sound region and a leading figure in the Seattle business community of the early twentieth century. Born in Maine, he was a cousin of Captain William Talbot, co-owner of the Pope & Talbot companies; and he went to work for Pope & Talbot's subsidiary, the Puget Mill Company at Port Gamble, Washington in 1881. He married Maud Walker, who was the niece of Edwin's superior, Cyrus Walker, and a Pope & Talbot stockholder. When Maud's mother died in 1919, the couple inherited a fortune, which was administered as the Walker-Ames Company with Edwin as president. In the 1890s, Ames led the drive to modernize the mills to reduce waste and to meet the demand for specialied sizes of high-quality lumber. He was active in the Pacific Coast Lumber Manufacturer's Association and it successor, West Coast Lumbermen's Association. A political conservative, Ames supported reforms that benefitted the timber industry. In 1911, he successfully led the effort to pass a workers' compensation program. Although Ames shunned political office himself, he was a key financial backer of conservative Republicans in state and local politics. In addition, Ames served on the board of directors of three large Seattle banks. When his wife died, Ames moved and donated his Seattle house to the University of Washington to become the official residence of its president. He left his personal papers and his collection of over 3,000 volumes to the school. His will created the Walker-Ames Foundation, a fund which still finances numerous programs.

From the description of Edwin G. Ames scrapbooks, 1898-1928. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 263996598

Born in Maine in 1856, Edwin Gardner Ames was a lumber company executive, banker, and political activist in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. As business manager of the Pope & Talbot subsidiary, the Puget Mill Company in Port Gamble, Washington, he worked with his wife's uncle, Cyrus Walker, to make the company the largest lumber operator on Puget Sound during the late nineteenth century. When Walker died in 1914, Ames became general manager, remaining in the company until his retirement in 1931. Ames supported timber industry reforms such as the successful 1911 effort to pass workers' compensation legislation, which gave Washington State the nation's first compulsory workers' compensation program. However, he opposed lumber unions and was a key financial backer of conservative Republicans in state and local politics. Ames served on the board of directors of three large Seattle banks and was also a major benefactor of the University of Washington. He died in 1935.

From the description of Edwin Gardner Ames papers, 1856-1931 (bulk 1887-1927). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 28418336

Lumber company executive and banker, of Seattle, Wash.

From the description of Papers, 1887-1931. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122553802

Edwin Gardner Ames, lumber company executive, banker, and political activist, was manager of the Pope & Talbot interests in the Puget Sound region and a leading figure in the Seattle business community of the early twentieth century. Ames was born in East Machias, Maine, on July 2, 1856. He was a cousin of Captain William Talbot, co-owner of the Pope & Talbot companies. Ames went to work for Pope & Talbot’s subsidiary, the Puget Mill Company at Port Gamble, Washington, in 1881. Soon afterwards, he was promoted to business manager. In 1888 he married Maud Walker, the niece of Edwin’s superior, Cyrus Walker, general manager of the Puget Mill Company and a Pope & Talbot stockholder. Upon Cyrus Walker’s death in 1914, Ames took his position as general manager. When Maud’s mother, Emma Walker, died in 1919, the couple inherited a fortune, which was administered as the Walker-Ames Company with Edwin Ames as president.

The business acumen of Edwin Ames and Cyrus Walker was one of the major reasons why the Pope & Talbot interests maintained their position as the largest lumber operators on Puget Sound throughout the late nineteenth century. In the 1890s Ames led the drive to modernize the mills at Port Gamble and Port Ludlow in order to reduce waste and meet the lucrative demand for specialized sizes of high-quality lumber. Ames directed the company to start hiring its own logging crews and cutting on its own land to avoid having to buy high-priced logs from independent logging companies in the early twentieth century. He was also in charge of the company’s efforts to sell its logged lands in the Alderwood and Broadmoor areas. Ames managed the Puget Mill Company until it was sold to the Richard McCormick interests in 1925. After the sale, Ames remained active in the company, watching after Pope & Talbot’s investments in the McCormick Company until his retirement in 1931.

Ames took a leading part in efforts to bring stability to the notoriously turbulent lumber industry. He was active in the Pacific Coast Lumber Manufacturers' Association and its successor, the West Coast Lumbermen’s Association. Ames served as president of the latter from 1918 to 1923. The government repeatedly investigated these groups for antitrust violations but was never able to bring charges, largely because their price-fixing efforts almost always fell apart after a year or two. Indeed, Ames had the distinction of crafting one of the few lasting cooperative ventures in the industry: he founded the Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau in 1906. The bureau was composed of industry officials who inspected shipments of lumber to insure that they met the buyer’s specifications. Previously, lumber mills had been at the mercy of buyers who demanded partial rebates, claiming that the shipment was unsatisfactory.

Although Ames was very conservative politically, he supported reforms that benefited the timber industry. Realizing that the high number of logging accidents made it difficult to recruit workers and left the company vulnerable to lawsuits, Ames led the successful 1911 effort to pass workers’ compensation legislation. This gave Washington the nation’s first compulsory workers’ compensation program. During the First World War, Ames led the group of lumber firms that unsuccessfully resisted government efforts to impose the eight-hour day. In his own mills, Ames generally fired any worker with overt pro-union sentiments. Although Ames shunned political office himself, he was a key financial backer of conservative Republicans in state and local politics. He was an astute political observer, and his letters to family, friends, and associates often included commentary on Seattle and Washington politics.

In addition, Ames served on the board of directors of three large Seattle banks. He was also a major benefactor of the University of Washington. When his wife died in 1931, Ames moved to the Rainier Club and donated his Seattle house to the University to become the official residence of its president. Ames died in Seattle on November 20, 1935. His will created the Walker-Ames Foundation, a fund which finances numerous programs at the university.

From the guide to the Edwin Gardner Ames papers, 1856-1931, (University of Washington Libraries Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ames, Edwin Gardner, 1856-1935. Edwin G. Ames scrapbooks, 1898-1928. University of Washington Libraries
creatorOf Ames, Edwin Gardner, 1856-1935. Edwin Gardner Ames papers, 1856-1931 (bulk 1887-1927). University of Washington Libraries
creatorOf Ames, Edwin Gardner, 1856-1935. Papers, 1887-1931. ND Univ of Washington Libraries (OCLC Worldshare ILL Beta)
creatorOf Edwin Gardner Ames papers, 1856-1931 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Admiralty Logging Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Admiralty Tug Boat Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Alaska Steamship Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Allen, John Beard, 1845-1903. person
associatedWith Ames family family
associatedWith Ames family. family
associatedWith Ames, John Keller. person
associatedWith Ames, Sarah Albee. person
associatedWith Bagley, Clarence, 1843-1932. person
associatedWith Beckman, Victor H. person
associatedWith Bloedel-Donovan Lumber Mills (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Bloedel, Julius H., b. 1864. person
associatedWith Brown, Edward J. (Edward James), 1909-1991. person
associatedWith Carroll, Patrick P. (Patrick Pittman), b. 1844. person
associatedWith China Club of Seattle. corporateBody
associatedWith Condon and Wright (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Condon, Richard W. (Richard William), b. 1867. person
associatedWith Crocker National Bank. corporateBody
associatedWith Davey, Martin L. (Martin Luther), 1884-1946. person
associatedWith Dexter Horton National Bank (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Donworth, George, b. 1861. person
associatedWith Drummond Lighterage Company (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith First National Bank (Port Townsend, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Freemasons. corporateBody
associatedWith Furth, Jacob, b. 1840. person
associatedWith Grays Harbor Commercial Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Grays Harbor Mill Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hughes, McMicken, Dovell & Ramsey. corporateBody
associatedWith Humphrey, William E. (William Ewart), 1862-1934. person
associatedWith Johnson, Albert, 1869-1957. person
associatedWith Jones, Wesley Livsey, 1863-1932. person
associatedWith Landes, Bertha Knight, 1868-1943. person
associatedWith Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen. corporateBody
associatedWith McGilvra, John J. (John Jay), 1827-1903. person
associatedWith Merrill, Edward F., b. 1883. person
associatedWith Metropolitan Building Company (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Metropolitan National Bank (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Miller, John Franklin, 1862-1936. person
associatedWith National Bank of Commerce (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Lumber Manufacturers Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Northern Pacific Railroad Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Coast Lumber Manufacturers' Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Pine Lumber Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Palmer, Edward B., b. 1866. person
associatedWith Parry, Will H., b. 1864. person
associatedWith Plummer, George E. person
associatedWith Poindexter, Miles, 1868-1946. person
associatedWith Pope family family
associatedWith Pope family. family
associatedWith Pope, George A., 1864-1942. person
associatedWith Pope & Talbot corporateBody
associatedWith Pope & Talbot. corporateBody
associatedWith Pope & Talbot. corporateBody
associatedWith Port Blakely Mill Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Progressive Party (1912) corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Lumber Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Mill Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Sound Cedar & Lumber Company (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Sound Commercial Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Sound Navigation Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Sound Tug Boat Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Trading Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Rainier Investment Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Reed, Mark E. (Mark Edward), 1866-1933. person
associatedWith Republican National Committee (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) corporateBody
associatedWith Republican Party (Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Chamber of Commerce. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Mayor. corporateBody
associatedWith Simpson Logging Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Skinner, D. E., businessman. person
associatedWith Skinner, D. E.,  businessman person
associatedWith St. Paul and Tacoma Lumber Company. corporateBody
associatedWith St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Talbot family family
associatedWith Talbot family. family
associatedWith Talbot, Frederick C., 1894- person
associatedWith Talbot, William H., 1858-1930. person
associatedWith Union Savings and Trust Company (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Walker-Ames Company corporateBody
associatedWith Walker-Ames Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Walker, Cyrus, 1827-1913. person
associatedWith Walker, Emily Talbot, 1848-1922. person
associatedWith Walker family family
associatedWith Walker family. family
associatedWith Walker, Talbot C. (Talbot Cyrus), b. 1886. person
associatedWith Walker, William, b. 1840. person
associatedWith Walker, William H. person
associatedWith Walker, William H. person
associatedWith Washington Conservation Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Washington Forest Fire Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Washington Mutual Savings Bank (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith West Coast Lumbermen's Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Western Forestry and Conservation Association (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Winkenwerder, Hugo, b. 1878. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Washington (State)
Washington (State)
Pacific States
West (U.S.)
United States
Seattle (Wash.)
United States
West (U.S.)
Washington (State)
Seattle (Wash.)
Pacific States
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)
United States
Pacific Coast (U.S.)
Northwest, Pacific
Washington (State)--Seattle
Subject
Banks and banking
Lumber trade--Washington (State)
Forest products
Commercial associations--United States
Presidents--Election--1912
Businessmen--Archives
Loggers--Labor unions
Executives
Lumber trade
Executives--Archives
Trade and professional associations
Businessmen--Washington (State)--Archives
Forest products industry--Washington (State)
Banks and banking--Washington (State)--Seattle
Businessmen
Bankers
Banks and banking--Washington (State)
Secret societies
Bankers--Archives
Commercial associations
Political activists
Forest products industry
Shipping
Political activists--Archives
Real property
Shipping--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
Real property--West (U.S.)
Forest products--Washington (State)
Commerce--United States--Societies, etc
Political activists--Washington (State)--Archives
Executives--Washington (State)--Archives
Bankers--Washington (State)--Archives
Fraternal organizations
Occupation
Bankers--Washington (State)
Businessmen--Washington (State)
Function

Person

Birth 1856

Death 1935

Information

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