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Dawes, Charles Gates, 1865-1951



  • Existence: 1865 - 1951

Charles Gates Dawes (1865-1951), prominent in U.S. politics and business, served as Comptroller of the Currency (1898-1901), director of the Military Board of Allied Supply (1918-1919), and first director of the Bureau of the Budget (1921). He received a Nobel Peace Prize as chairman of the Reparations Commission which restructured Germany's economy and devised a repayment plan (1924). He was elected Vice-President (1925-1929), and appointed ambassador to England (1929-1931) and chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (1932). Charles and his brothers founded Dawes Brothers Incorporated. Dawes formed the Central Trust Co. in Chicago (1902), guided its successor banks, and was influential in Chicago business, politics, and philanthropy until his death.

Charles Gates Dawes was born and educated in Ohio. He married Caro Blymyer in 1889, practiced law, and incorporated a real estate business in Lincoln, Nebraska, before moving to Evanston, Illinois in 1895. He acquired utility companies and real estate in northern Illinois and Wisconsin; and in 1908, with his brothers Henry, Rufus, and Beman, formed Dawes Brothers Incorporated, to invest assets in banks, oil companies and real estate throughout the country. Various acquaintances who were prominent in political and industrial affairs trusted them to manage their investments as well. Other companies in which Charles Dawes and his brothers played leading roles included Chicago's Central Trust Co. and its successor banks and Pure Oil Company of Ohio.

Dawes made significant philanthropic contributions to the Chicago metropolitan community. He solicited major financial support for food distribution to the unemployed during Chicago recessions between 1908 and 1911; founded and financed two hotels in Chicago and one in Boston for homeless men and women; supported the Chicago Grand Opera company, the American Symphony Orchestra, and various musical organizations and musicians; and donated to countless organizations and individuals. His personal interest in music led him to compose at least two pieces for violin and piano. “Melody in A" has had eleven copyrights and was made famous by adaptations “Let Me Dream" and “It's All in the Game."

Chronology of Charles G. Dawes 1635 William Dawes arrives in Massachusetts Bay Colony. 1775 William Dawes rides from Boston to Concord to arouse the Colonists. 1865 August 27. Birth of Charles Gates Dawes to Civil War General Rufus R. and Mary Gates Dawes in Marietta, Ohio. (Caro Blymyer born January 6, 1864? 1865?) 1881 Gen. Rufus R. Dawes elected to House of Representatives. 1884 C.G. Dawes graduates from Marietta College. 1886 C.G. Dawes graduates from Cincinnati College Law School. 1887 Dawes moves to Lincoln, Nebraska, to practise law. 1889 January 24. Charles Gates Dawes and Caro Blymyer marry. 1890 December 14. Birth of Rufus Fearing Dawes. 1890 C.G. Dawes, R.C. Dawes and W.R. Dawes incorporate The Dawes Business Block Co. to handle real estate. 1892 July 12. Birth of Carolyn Dawes. 1895 Dawes purchases utility companies in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Evanston, Illinois; moves family to Evanston, first living on Chicago Ave., then in brother Henry's property at 1228 Forest. 1896 Dawes manages finances for William McKinley presidential campaign in Illinois; after the election he is appointed Comptroller of the Currency, serving until 1901. 1901 September 5 - 13. Assassination, illness, death of Pres. McKinley with Dawes at his bedside. 1902 Dawes runs campaign for Illinois Senator and fails to beat the downstate political machine. 1902 May 2. Signs articles of incorporation for Central Trust Bank Company of Illinois, initially a $5 million subscription bank. 1907 Dawes composes “Improvisation" for piano and violin. 1908 Incorporates Dawes Brothers Inc. with brothers Henry, Rufus and Beman. 1908 December. Sets up a bread wagon under Malcolm MacDowell to feed the unemployed migrant workers in Chicago. Later, gets Medill McCormack of the Tribune to organize a larger operation. Continues to run own wagon secretly when need arises, in 1910-12. 1910 Dawes, Harold McCormick and J. C. Shaffer form the Chicago Grand Opera. 1911 Dawes composes “Melody in A" for piano and violin. Violinist Fritz Kreisler later plays both pieces, making Dawes famous for his untutored musical talents. 1912 September 5. Rufus Fearing Dawes drowns in Lake Geneva. 1912 December. Charles and Caro adopt Dana McCutcheon Dawes, born February 12, 1912, named after friend John T. McCutcheon. 1914 January 2. Opening of Rufus Fearing Dawes Hotel for Men to house and feed the unemployed homeless, followed in 1916 by the opening of the Rufus F. Dawes Hotel for Men in Boston, and the Mary Gates Dawes Hotel for Women in Chicago in 1917. 1914 March. Adopt Virginia Dawes, born February 20, 1914. 1917 Dawes enlists in the Seventeenth Engineers Regiment to help build roads and bridges. Dawes writes new set of boat drill regulations on voyage across Atlantic; it is adopted by his old friend Gen. John J. Pershing, who also appoints Dawes General Purchasing Agent. Caro donates wool and organizes women's group to knit sweaters for the troops; they outfit two complete regiments. 1918 April. Dawes has idea for Military Board of Allied Supply to coordinate efforts; Pershing appoints Dawes head of American operations. 1919 After Armistice, Dawes heads Liquidation Commission to sell U.S. surplus supplies in Europe. 1921 Dawes testifies before the House Committee on War Expenditures; his frustration with them breaks out in 1921 "Helen Maria," captured in the press as “Hell and Maria." 1921 March. Pres. Harding appoints Dawes to War Risk Board to recommend care of WWI veterans; Dawes prohibits all social functions, completes committee business in three days. 1921 June. Congress passes Budget Act and Pres. Harding appoints Dawes Director. 1923 April. Dawes forms the Minute Men of the Constitution to fight crime. Evanston company is the first to be established; within six weeks it has 6,000 members. 1923 Death of Pres. Warren G. Harding. 1924 Coolidge appoints Dawes to the Reparations Commission Committee of Experts; they designate 1924 Dawes chairman. The Dawes Plan is completed on April 9 in Paris. 1924 June. Republican National Convention nominates Calvin Coolidge for President and Charles G.Dawes for Vice-President. 1924 November. Coolidge and Dawes win general election against John W. Davis and Charles P. Bryan. 1925 March 4. Inauguration. Dawes gives explosive inaugural address in the Senate on rules reform. 1926 December 10. Dawes receives the Nobel Peace Prize for 1925. 1929 March 3. Presentation of silver tray from Senators upon completion of term as Vice-President. 1929 Appointed by Pres. Hoover to chair Dominican Economic Commission to install efficient budget system there. 1929 April. Appointed by Pres. Hoover as Ambassador to the Court of St. James. 1929 Raised over $10 million worth of bonds in Chicago to support Century of Progress exhibition. 1930 Five Power Naval Conference on armament limitation in Geneva. 1931 December. Dawes resigns as Ambassador; appointed head of the Reconstruction Finance Corp. 1932 June. Dawes resigns from R.F.C. to restructure Central Republic Bank and Trust Company; receives $90 million loan from the R.F.C. backed by other banks in New York and Chicago to prevent liquidation. By the following year the Central Republic is liquidated; City National Bank and Trust Company is organized. 1942 Charles and Caro arrange to give (after their deaths) their home and shares of Commonwealth Edison stock to help maintain it to Northwestern University with stipulation that the Evanston Historical Society use it. 1945 August 27. Dawes celebrates 80th birthday. Special issue of magazine commemorates the event with series of articles and interviews. Finance 1951 February 21. R.F.C. loan and interest fully repaid. 1951 April 23. Charles Gates Dawes dies in his library at home after spending the morning at the City National Bank and Trust Co. 1957 Caro Blymyer Dawes dies.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles G. Dawes Archive

Identifier: AS2
Abstract The Charles Gates Dawes Archive consists of personal, business and political correspondence received by Dawes (1865-1951) and drafts or copies of his correspondence written between 1884 and 1951; manuscripts of most of Dawes' journals, speeches, essays and books; some personal and company financial records, including those of the Dawes Hotels and Dawes Brothers Incorporated; annual reports and records of various companies and organizations; newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and scrapbooks...
Dates: 1878-1950