Simon Guggenheim
United States Senator
from Colorado
In office
March 4, 1907 – March 3, 1913
Preceded byThomas M. Patterson
Succeeded byJohn F. Shafroth
Personal details
Born(1867-12-30)December 30, 1867
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedNovember 2, 1941(1941-11-02) (aged 73)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materPeirce School of Business Administration

John Simon Guggenheim (December 30, 1867 – November 2, 1941) was an American businessman, politician and philanthropist.


Simon Guggenheim Hall, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado
Simon Guggenheim Hall, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of Jewish descent,[1] Simon Guggenheim was the son of Meyer Guggenheim and Barbara Guggenheim, and was the younger brother of Daniel Guggenheim and Solomon R. Guggenheim. He attended Central High School and the Peirce School of Business Administration before settling in Pueblo, Colorado, where he worked as the chief ore buyer for his father's mining and smelting operation, M. Guggenheim's Sons.[2]

Guggenheim moved to Denver in 1892 and married Olga Hirsch on November 24, 1898, at the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York in Manhattan. To celebrate their marriage, the Guggenheims provided a Thanksgiving dinner to 5,000 poor Manhattan children.[3]

He was the Republican candidate for Governor of Colorado early in the 1898 campaign but withdrew after riots broke out at the State Convention in Colorado Springs, during which one man was killed and several injured.[4]

Simon and Olga Guggenheim made their residence in Denver and celebrated the birth of their first child, John Simon Guggenheim, in 1905. To commemorate the event, Simon Guggenheim made an $80,000 donation (equivalent to $2,300,000 in 2020) to the Colorado School of Mines to build a namesake building, Simon Guggenheim Hall. At the time, it was the largest private grant ever made to a state institution.[5]

In 1907, Olga gave birth to their second son, George Denver Guggenheim. In 1909, Simon donated a Law Building at the University of Colorado.[6] In 1907, Simon Guggenheim was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, representing Colorado from 1907 to 1913. During his term in the Senate, he chaired the Committee to Establish a University of the United States, and the Committee on the Philippines.[7] While in Congress, one of his older brothers, Benjamin Guggenheim, died in the RMS Titanic catastrophe. After his term expired, he and Olga returned to New York.

He joined the board of American Smelting and Refining Company, later becoming the board chairman. From 1919 to 1941 he was president of that company.[8]

In 1922, Guggenheim's son John died of mastoiditis[9] just before leaving for college. In his memory, Guggenheim and his wife established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1925.

In 1939, the Guggenheims' second son, George, committed suicide in a Manhattan hotel at the age of 32.[9]

Simon Guggenheim died in 1941 and was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

See also


  1. ^ Davis, John H. (1994). The Guggenheims: An American Epic. New York: S.P.I. Books. ISBN 9781561713516. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Simon Guggenheim". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  3. ^ "NEGRO TROOPS SHOOT WHITES. - Clash Between a Mob of Colored Soldiers and Provost Guards at Anniston, Ala. - View Article -" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  4. ^ "NEGRO TROOPS SHOOT WHITES. - Clash Between a Mob of Colored Soldiers and Provost Guards at Anniston, Ala. - View Article -" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  5. ^ "Jefferson County, Colorado - Place Names Directory". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  6. ^ "Guggenheim Law Building was Senator's Gift to Boulder - CU Heritage CenterCU Heritage Center". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  7. ^ "GUGGENHEIM, Simon - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  8. ^ "GUGGENHEIM, Simon - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  9. ^ a b "Milestones: Milestones: Nov. 20, 1939". TIME. 1939-11-20. Archived from the original on March 8, 2008. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Thomas MacDonald Patterson
U.S. senator (Class 2) from Colorado
Served alongside: Henry M. Teller, Charles J. Hughes, Jr., Charles S. Thomas
Succeeded by
John F. Shafroth