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Becker

BECKER

BECKER , U.S. family of bankers and philanthropists. abraham g. becker (1857–1925), U.S. banker and philanthropist, was born in Warsaw, Ohio, and eventually settled in Chicago. He organized his own commercial paper house, A.G. Becker and Company, which pioneered in the syndication of large loans. Active in communal affairs, Becker helped found the Associated Jewish Charities of Chicago and served as its president for eight years. He was a trustee of Hebrew Union College and the Chicago Orchestral Association and bequeathed large sums to the Chicago Art Institute and the Chicago Jewish charities. His son, james herman (1894–1970), was also a banker and communal leader. In 1914, while an undergraduate at Cornell University, he helped convoke the original Jewish War Relief Conference in Chicago. Becker served with the U.S. Army in Europe from 1918 to 1921, assisting war victims through the American Relief Association and later as director general of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Europe. Upon his return to America in 1921, Becker joined his father's firm, becoming director (1926), president (1947), and chairman (1961). He also directed several other companies and served with many Jewish organizations. In 1936 he was chosen president of the Chicago Jewish Welfare Fund, a post that he held for nearly 30 years.

[Edward L. Greenstein]

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