Frank A. Vanderlip stated in his book From Farm Boy To Financier (New Plans For the Bank): “the way we conceived the American International Corporation. We had decided, that what was needed, was some kind of organization that would take a foreign business enterprise of great possibilities or even a good idea with management behind it and finance it into strength. Such an organization would be in a position to consider carefully some of the marvelous opportunities that a banker ordinarily would not have to boot out of his path for sheer lack of time.”
The idea of such an investment vehicle, as the American International Corporation, sparked the immediate interest of Stone & Webster (railroad builders) and of the Rockefeller family, (who wanted to purchase five ($5) million dollars of AIC stock immediately back in 1915).
“Well, the American International Corporation had $50, 000.000 of capital authorized; it was to be interested in all manner of promising enterprises in foreign lands, in the Orient, in South America; over the face of the whole earth. The very idea of the thing was exciting in Wall Street. We made C.A. Stone the president and had a remarkable Board of Directors; James J. Hill, Theodore Vail, P.A. Rockefeller, Stone, Edwin F. Webster, Otto Kahn, Ambrose Monell, James A. Stillman, Beekman Wintrop, Henry S. Pritchett, Robert S. Lovett, Joseph P. Grace, Cyrus H. McCormick, Charles H. Sabin, W.E. Corey, J. Ogdan Armour, and C.A. Coffin.”
In a letter written to the Chairman of the Board (National City Bank) Mr. Stillman, Vanderlip wrote: “James A. Farrell and Albert Wiggin have been invited [on the board] but had to consult their committees before accepting. I also have in mind asking Henry Walters and Myron T. Herrick. Mr. Herrick is objected to by Mr. Rockefeller quite strongly but Mr. Stone wants him and I feel strongly that he has gone along with the smoothness that has been gratifying and been surprising to me even though I was so strongly convinced we were on the right track.
I saw James J. Hill today, for example. He said at first that he could not possibly think of extending his responsibilities, but after I had finished telling him what we expected to do, he said he would be glad to go on the board, would take a large amount of stock and particularly he wanted a substantial interest in the City Bank, and commissioned me to buy him the stock at the market.
I talked with Ogden Armour about the matter today for the first time. He sat in perfect silence while I went through the story, and, without asking a single question, he said he would go on the board and wanted $500,000 stock.
Mr. Coffin [of General Electric] is another man who is retiring from everything, but has become so enthusiastic over this that he was willing to go on the board, and offers the most active cooperation.
I felt very good over getting Sabin. The Guaranty Trust is altogether the most active competitor we have in the field and it is of great value to get them into the fold in this way.
They have been particularly enthusiastic at Kuhn, Loeb’s. They want to take up $2.5 million. There was really quite a little competition to see who should get on the board, but as I had happened to talk with Kahn and had invited him first, it was decided should go on. He is perhaps the most enthusiastic of any one. They want half a million for Sir Earnest Castle to whom they have cabled the plan and they have back from him approval for it.
I explained the whole matter to the Board [of the City Bank] Tuesday and got nothing but favorable comments.
Joe Grace had wanted $600,000 of the stock beside what he would get through his City Bank stock ownership; Monell wanted half a million and Corey, Converse and the rest of the Midvale Steel people wanted large amounts. George Baker wanted $250,000, Frank Hine $100,000 and William Rockefeller tried, vainly, to get me to put him down for $5,000,000 of the common.”
Frank A. Vanderlip ended by stating: “ I am recalling all this to explain something that I tried to make clear in my letters to Mr. Stillman in January, 1916. I believed that my chief work for the future was to be the coordination of the efforts of four (4) organizations; the National City Bank, the International Banking Corporation, the National City Company and the American International Corporation.
“This,” I told Mr. Stillman, “has brought me to the very clear belief that the time has come for me to retire from the presidency of the City Bank.”
"I desired to take the chairmanship of the other three (3) companies and at the City Bank to become vice-chairman of the board. That was so as not to disturb Mr. Stillman in the chairmanship; In his reply he posed a difficult problem: who should become the next president of the City Bank?"
Eventually, the American International Corporation created, controlled, owned, or purchased the following companies to fulfill their objectives:
Allied Machinery Company of America, American International Shipbuilding Corporation, American International Steel Corporation, American Balsa Company, Allied Construction Machinery Corporation, Allied Sugar Machinery Corporation, American International Terminals Company, Carter Macey & Company, F. W. Horne & Company, The China Corporation, The Latin American Corporation, Ulen Contracting Company, Grace Russian Company, Holbrook, Cabot & Rollins Corporation, International Merchant Marine, International Products Company, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Pacific Mail Steamship Company, Rosin & Turpentine Export Company, Siems Carry Railroad and Canal Company, United Fruit Company, United States Rubber Company, United States Industrial Alcohol Company, Jones Laughlin Steel Corporation, Midvale Steel Corporation, G. Amsinck & Company, Symington Forge Corporation, Remington Arms, The Robert Dollar Company.
Common Stock, issued in the 1920’s
Printed by the American Bank Note Company
8” (h) x 12” (w)
This certificate has vertical fold lines, punch hole and stamp cancels in the signature areas and body, and some toning and edge faults from age.