Isaac L. Rice
THE unique career of the late Isaac L. Rice :> him as combining great organizing ability, executive genius, profound learning discriminating judgment, sound principles clear vision, broad outlook, alert mind, progressive purpose.
He was born in Wachenheim, Rhenish Bavaria. February 22, 1850, son of Maier Rice, a teacher. And his wife Fanny (Sohn) Rice, and he was descendant of small landed proprietors in Bavaria and Baden. In 1856 his family came to Philadelphia, where he pursued his education in the public schools and Central High School, an excellent institution of college preparatory grade. In 1866 he was sent to Paris, chiefly for advanced musical study, but also studied literature and various other subjects. The Paris Exposition of 1867 was in full operation while he was there, and he corresponded with the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin from Paris. Young Mr. Rice found re could write, and in several years following he :.. Rsued the plan of writing and teaching to pay 5 way while completing his own education. In r 6 S he taught music and languages in London, and in 1869 he returned and taught music for a h:le in New York while following up his liter any work. He wrote a scientific volume entitled hat Is Music?" which elicited high commend from press and public when published in 1875, and it was later republished in a popular ration as a volume of the "Humboldt Library of Science." Another publication on "How Geometrical Lines Have Their Counterpart in Mu- s appeared in 1880. In 1878 he entered the Lav. School of Columbia University, and was graduated with LL.B. cum laude in 1880, also taking prizes in constitutional law and international .aw remained with Columbia University as lecturer and librarian in the School of Political Science. 1882-1883, and as an instructor in Colum- 'a Law School, 1884-1886. He was admitted the bar of New York in 1880, and began practice soon after. In 1884 he was appointed attorney for the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad Company. And decided to specialize in railroad law exclusively. As counsel for bondholders of the Brooklyn Company he became famous for con-ducting the reorganization of that company without assessment, enabling the corporation to secure the necessary funds to finance it through voluntary subscription. In 1886 he was appointed counsel for the Richmond Terminal Railroad, after having conducted the reorganization of the St. Louis & Southwestern Railway and the Texas- Pacific Railroad. He became director as well as counsel for the Richmond Terminal, and also for the Richmond, Danville and East Tennessee Sys-tem, and he also became counsel and director of the Georgia Company, which controlled the Central Railway and Banking Company of Georgia, these companies being later combined in the Southern Railway System, of which consolidation and reorganization Mr. Rice was largely the architect. In 1889 he became chairman of the syndicate formed to purchase the controlling interest in the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, formulating a plan which later was substantially adopted when the company was reorganized as the Reading Company. During 1892 he resided in Europe as foreign representative of that company.
In 1885 he founded The Forum, the widely- known political and general review, of New York City, and became president of its publishing corporation. His own contributions frequently appeared in its pages, as well as in Harper's Magazine, the Century and the North American Review, and cover a wide range of philosophic and informative discussion on subjects in the realm of economic and political science and finance. Bates College, at Lewiston, Maine, in recognition of his literary talents, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws.
After his return from Europe he became deeply interested in the electrical industry, and was the pioneer in many branches of promotion in the electrical industry, and, so far as the commercial point of view is concerned, was the founder of the electric storage battery, electric vehicle and the electric boat industries. He organized and in 1897 became president of the Electric Storage Battery Company of Philadelphia, the first organization in the country to make storage batteries upon a commercial basis. In 1896 he organized the Electric Vehicle Company, pioneer in that line, and was its president from 1897 to 1899, then declining re-election. The Electric Boat Company was also organized by Mr. Rice, and was later the instrument of his largest financial success. He became the president of that com-pany, and also of the Holland Submarine Boat Company, which was purchased by the Electric Boat Company. He thus obtained control of the best basic patents upon the submarine, and made it, with additional patents, a well matured and tested vessel, fitted for the use of the United States when it later became needed.
He also organized the Car Lighting and Power Company, of which he became president until his death; the Consolidated Railway Lighting and Refrigerating Company, the Consolidated Railway Electric Lighting and Equipment Company, Railway Stationary and Refrigerating Company, Electric Launch Company, Societe Francaise de Souomarin (of Paris, France), of all of which he was president and director. He was president, treasurer and director of the Casein Company, National Milk Sugar Company, Dry Milk Company, Rosemary Creamery Company, Quaker City Chemical Company, and Casein Manufacturing Company, and president of the Industrial Oxygen Company, New Jersey Development Company, International Trade Development Company, National Torpedo Company and Lindstrum Brake Company, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Consolidated Rubber Tire Company, and a director of the Buckeye Rubber Company, Siemans-Halske Electric Company of America, and the Chicago Electric Traction Company. In the last few years he had retired from some of these official positions because of failing health, and on November 2, 19x5, he died in his apartments at the Hotel Ansonia.
Mr. Rice was a votary of the game of chess, of which he became one of the world's acknowl-edged masters and preeminent authority. He was an enthusiast on the subject and the inventor of a new opening, known the world over as the "Rice gambit." He was umpire of all the international games played by cable. In 1899 he donated the trophy to be competed for in the international chess matches, which became such a promient feature of student interest. He was also president of the Manhattan Chess Club, a member of the Brooklyn Chess Club, the Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia, the Rice Chess Club of New York, the St. George's Chess Club of London, and the New York State Chess Association. Besides the Rice Silver Trophy, intended for the international matches between America and England, he was the donor of two handsome trophies to the Triangular Chess League.
He was a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Lotus, Lawyers, Harmonie, Automobile and Columbia Yacht Clubs of New York, the New York Press Club, and the Union League Club of Chicago.
On December 14. 1885 while still an instructor in the Columbia Law School."Mr. Rice married Julia Hyneman Barnett. Accomplished daugh-ter of the late Nathan Barnett of New Orleans. They had two sons, Isaac L. Rice. Jr.. And Julian Rice, and four daughters. Muriel. Dorothy. Marion and Marjorie. Mrs. Rice is a woman of classical education, and shortly before her mar-riage had been graduated M.D. from the Woman's Medical College of New York In-firmary. She has been a frequent contributor to magazines, but is best known to the public for her work in the organization of The Society tor the Suppression of Unnecessary Noises, or which she has been president from its inception, and which has accomplished a valuable work, notably in the quieting of screaming tugs, in securing quiet in the neighborhood of hospitals and in many other ways, including as one phase the "safe and sane" Fourth of July celebration, which is a life-saving as well as a noise-subduing offspring of her movement.
In memory of her husband Mrs. Rice has planned the establishing on a site she procured near Tarrytown, New York, of a home for con-valescents, for which she has given a fund of rr.e million dollars, and in recognition of Mr. Rice's interest in the welfare of Bates College she has presented to that institution the valuable collect on of about two thousand volumes of French Memoirs," which were collected by her husband over a period of many years.