|Joseph William Drexel|
January 24, 1833|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||March 25, 1888
New York, New York, U.S.
|Parents||Francis Martin Drexel|
He was the son of Francis Martin Drexel, and his siblings were Anthony Joseph Drexel and Francis Anthony Drexel. He attended the Philadelphia high school, and traveled through Spain, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Greece. He married Lucy Wharton (1841–1912) and had four children: Katherine Drexel, Josephine Drexel, Elizabeth Wharton Drexel, and Lucy Wharton Drexel.
Although he was a partner in the firm of Drexel, Morgan and Company and his brother Anthony was senior partner, Joseph's battles with the brusque J. Pierpont Morgan caused him to retire from the business in 1876 and devoted his life to the philanthropic and civic organizations. He was chairman of New York Sanitary Commission, the commissioner of education, president of the New York Philharmonic Society, trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, trustee of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and director of the Metropolitan Opera house. He owned a 200-acre (0.81 km2) farm near New York City, where people without work were housed, clothed, fed, and taught agriculture until they could find a job. He owned a large tract of land in Maryland, which was developed into Klej Grange, a planned community, where the lots are sold to poor people at cost. About 7,000 acres (28 km²) in Michigan were bought for the same purpose.
Drexel was also an avid collector of music, eventually amassing a collection of over 6,000 items. Upon his death, the Drexel Collection was accepted by the Lenox Library. When the Lenox Library was joined with those of John Jacob Astor and Samuel Tilden to form The New York Public Library, Drexel's collection became the basis for the Library's Music Division, housed today in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
John Quincy Adams Ward's 1889 bust of Drexel is located on the third-floor vestibule of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
- "Joseph W. Drexel Dead; The Well-Known Banker And Philanthropist. Dying Suddenly Yesterday At His Home.". New York Times. 26 March 1888. "Joseph W. Drexel, the banker, died yesterday morning at 4 o'clock at his residence in this city, 103 Madison-avenue. For a year and a half he has suffered from Bright's disease, which about six months ago assumed a serious shape, although Mr. Drexel was a ..."
- "Mrs. J.W. Drexel Dead. Former Social Leader of Philadelphia and Mother of Mrs. Harry Lehr.". New York Times. 26 January 1912.
- "Joseph W. Drexel Funeral". New York Times. 29 March 1888. "The funeral of Joseph W. Drexel occurred yesterday from the Church of the Transfiguration, (the Little Church Around the Corner) in Twenty-ninth-street, near Fifth-avenue..."
See also 
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