Second generation meatpacking businessman who oversaw the creation of the National Packing Company
1866-1913 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Nelson Morris’s son, Ira Nelson Morris, was the American ambassador to Sweden, but son Edward took over the helm of Morris & Company after his father’s death and also had strong ties to several Chicago financial institutions.
Edward married the daughter of another meatpacking industry giant and Saddle & Sirloin inductee, Gustavus F. Swift, Sr. Edward Morris began working in the family business at age fourteen. Edward’s son Nelson, named after his grandfather, was educated at Harvard University, before becoming an executive at Morris & Company.
A philanthropist like his father, Edward Morris purchased university founder John Harvard’s ancestral home in Stratford-on-Avon, England, and donated it to the school in 1909. As an aside to this family story, the younger Nelson Morris was a survivor of the famous Hindenburg disaster in 1937.
Did You Know?
1922 Newspaper ad for Morris & Company
Morris & Company was founded by Nelson Morris in Chicago. In 1902, with Nelson's son, Edward Morris as president, it agreed to merge with the other two (Armour & Company and Swift & Company) to form a giant corporation called the National Packing Company. Conceived primarily as a holding company, National Packing soon began buying up smaller meat companies, such as G. H. Hammond and Fowler.
Between 1904 and 1910, National Packing acquired 23 stockyards and slaughtering plants nationwide, which gave it control over about one-tenth of U.S. meat production. The company owned branches in over 150 cities around the world, along with a fleet of 2,600 refrigerated railcars.