Alfred Lee Loomis was well connected. Some of his most valuable connections flowed from the accident of a fortunate birth. On his father's side, the family came to New England only a few ships after the Mayflower, and Loomis's father was a wealthy Gilded Age New York physician who combined fashion, philanthropy and philandering in ways that could have made him a character in a Henry James novel. More consequentially, Loomis's mother was a Stimson, of the patrician New York banking and professional family. Loomis was extremely close to his older cousin Henry Stimson, who, after establishing himself as a corporate lawyer to the East Coast establishment during the 1920s and 1930s, served in the cabinets of five US presidents, and was secretary of war under Taft, Roosevelt and Truman. Like his cousin (and both Presidents Bush) Loomis went to Andover and Yale, later moving on to Harvard Law School. He started his legal career as a clerk in Stimson's New York law firm, subsequently acting as his cousin's financial adviser, making him even richer through excellent stock-market tips. During World War Two, Loomis was described as Stimson's unofficial 'minister without portfolio', connecting him efficiently with the worlds of business and finance. His marriage in 1912 to Ellen Farnsworth, 'the prettiest girl in Boston', brought him additional Brahmin connections, and their doings in high society were conscientiously chronicled in the quality New York papers.
LRB 15 April 2004 | PDF Download