GUGGENHEIM , U.S. family. meyer guggenheim (1828–1905), merchant and industrialist, was the progenitor of the American branch of the family. He was born in Lengnau, Switzerland, and immigrated to the United States in 1848 with his father Simon, settling in Philadelphia. After a period of peddling, Meyer established successful stove polish, lye, and lace-embroidery businesses. In the late 1870s he purchased an interest in the Leadville mines in Colorado. Leaving the embroidery business, the firm of M. Guggenheim's Sons rapidly acquired and built silver, lead, and copper mines and smelters in the western United States, Mexico, and other countries. In 1901 the firm merged with the American Smelting and Refining Company, in which the Guggenheims played a dominant role. At the height of the family's fortune, the company was estimated to be worth over $500,000,000. Meyer's seven sons continued the family's business operations as Guggenheim Brothers, expanding their holdings from Alaska to the Congo.
His eldest son, ISAAC (1854–1922), was born in Philadelphia. He promoted the family's enterprises, including the Guggenheim Exploration Company. He was a contributor to the New York Federation of Jewish Charities, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Hebrew Union College. Meyer's second son, DANIEL (1856–1930), became the leader of the Guggenheim Brothers' far-flung enterprises and was responsible for expansion and modernization. As president of American Smelting and Refining Company for nearly 20 years, he developed tin mines in Bolivia, diamonds in Africa, and nitrates in Chile. A progressive in labor relations, Daniel favored unionization and government economic legislation. With his brother Murry he endowed free music concerts in New York's Central Park; the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation; and the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics. He was a trustee of New York's Temple Emanu-El and one of the founders of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Meyer's third son, murry (1858–1939), participated actively in managing Guggenheim Brothers and the American Smelting and Refining Company. His philanthropies included a free dental clinic in New York. The fourth son, solomon robert (1861–1949), developed the family's interests in Mexican and Chilean mining. A benefactor of New York's Mt. Sinai and Montefiore Hospitals and the New York Public School Athletic League, he formed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which encouraged nonobjective art. The Guggenheim Museum in New York, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, commemorates this interest. A fifth son, benjamin (1865–1912), entered the family mining business and then withdrew from the partnership in 1900 to head International Steam Pump. He died in the sinking of the Titanic. Meyer's sixth son, SIMON (1867–1941), was associated with the family's mining interests and, from 1907 to 1913, served as U.S. senator from Colorado. In 1925 he established the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, which has provided fellowships to thousands of scholars, scientists, and artists. The seventh son, william (1868–1941), managed company property until 1900, and then withdrew from the family firm. His subsequent activities were public affairs, writing, and philanthropy.
Daniel's son harry frank (1890–1971) served the family's mining enterprises and was senior partner of Guggenheim Brothers. As president of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics from its inception in 1926, he did much to advance aviation. He established the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, which supports scholarly research on problems of aggression, and violence. From 1929 to 1933 he served as United States ambassador to Cuba, and later founded and was president of the Long Island daily Newsday. Benjamin's daughter, marguerite (Peggy; 1898–1979), spent most of her life in Europe, aiding the modern art movement, especially American abstract expressionism. Her home in Venice was a center for art display. In 1979 her memoir, Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict, was published.
H. O'Connor, Guggenheims: The Making of an American Dynasty (1937); M. Lomask, Seed Money (1964); E.P. Hoyt, The Guggenheims and the American Dream (1967). add. bibliography: R. Hallion, Legacy of Flight: The Guggenheim Contribution to American Aviation (1977); J. Davis, The Guggenheims: An American
Epic (1978); J. Weld, Peggy: The Wayward Guggenheim (1986); A. Gill, Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim (2003).