Letter from Thomas J. Watson to Willis K. Whitney Regarding George Eastman, 1931

Currency:USD Category:Collectibles / Autographs Start Price:200.00 USD Estimated At:350.00 - 700.00 USD
Letter from Thomas J. Watson to Willis K. Whitney Regarding George Eastman, 1931

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Schenectady, NY.... January 12, 1931 Society of the Genesee, Inc.. Letter to Mr. Whitney (an American chemist and founder of the research laboratory of the General Electric Company) detailing a Society of the Genesee event honoring George Eastman and his contributions to film and celebrating his patents. Hand signed typed letter from Thomas Watson as president of the society. Thomas John Watson Sr. (1874 Ð 1956) was an American businessman. He served as the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM). He oversaw the company's growth into an international force from 1914 to 1956. Watson developed IBM's management style and corporate culture from John Henry Patterson's training at NCR. He turned the company into a highly-effective selling organization, based largely on punched card tabulating machines. A leading self-made industrialist, he was one of the richest men of his time and was called the world's greatest salesman when he died in 1956. The letter refers to an award dinner given to George Eastman, who was frequently approached to receive awards and honors that would have focused public attention on him, but invariably Eastman ÒescapedÓ these offers. His typical reply was this response to the Society of the Genesee, whose membership included most of his long-time friends and business associates: "I deeply appreciate the honor, and deeply regret that it is wholly impossible for me to accept such an invitation. É I should be embarrassed beyond measure on such an occasion and do not feel that I could go through the ordeal." In April 1930, after Tom Watson took over as president of the Genesee Society, the salesman went to work and succeeded in convincing Eastman to attend. He wanted this great industrialist to receive the public recognition of his peers that he so richly deserved. The press documents that Watson made a personal trip to Rochester and Òprevailed upon him [Mr. Eastman] to accept the honorÓ from the Òtwelve-hundred-member society.Ó In June, the Society announced George EastmanÕs acceptance. The organization celebrated WatsonÕs Ònoteworthy achievementÓ in overcoming Mr. EastmanÕs Òever-increasing desire to retire from the public eye,Ó because everyone wanted to say thank you for the employment he had created locally, nationally and internationally, and acknowledge the estimated $80 to $100 million he had donated to worthy projects in his city, state, country and world. (From the John E. Herzog Collection)