Alexander Johnston Cassatt was a giant among giants in the Industrial Age. President of the largest corporation in the world - the Pennsylvania Railroad - Cassatt eschewed publicity and fame. This is largely why so few people know of him today. Yet, he stood toe-to-toe with the famous robber barons of the time, i.e. Morgan, Vanderbilt, Carnegit, Rockefeller and others, fighting the corruption for which those people were known. He did not lose any of these confrontations. He was recognized as a great leader and a man of great integrity. He conceptualized and built Pennsylvania Station, still considered today perhaps the most magnificent building America has ever seen. He also dared to build something nobody thought could be done - the railroad tunnels under the Hudson and East rivers, still in use today.
This podcast is a reading of the only biography of Alexander J. Cassatt. Patricia T. Davis wrote "End of the Line - Alexander J. Cassatt and the Pennsylvania Railroad" in 1975. The motivation for this podcast is best stated by Ms. Davis from the cover of the book:
"In an age when neither business nor government accepted any restraints on the pursuit of profit, Cassatt imposed his own standards. It's all gone now, his empire, his station, the distinctive red cars bearing the PRR logo, and even the memory of the man who fought corruption, competition, other railroad men, even the public, to bring his road to the pinnacle of success. Today the name Cassatt, if remembered at all, is associated with his artist sister, Mary, not with a railroad. He deserves better, and this account attempts to accord him his rightful place in the railroad annals of America."