William Blair & Company

William Blair & Co. was established in 1935 in Chicago as Blair, Bonner and Company by William McCormick Blair Sr. (Skull & Bones 1907) and Francis Bonner. "After securing capital for a corporate client, the firm would make a long-term commitment to that relationship. Often that meant a firm partner joining the client's board of directors.... William Blair & Company currently oversees more than $22 billion in investor funds through its Investment Management and Private Investor departments. In the 1930s the firm helped finance the growth of such companies as Household Finance Corporation, Continental Casualty and Continental Assurance companies (now CNA Insurance)." CNA is now controlled by Loews, which is owned by the Tisch family who also owned Lorillard tobacco.

"...William Blair's sons, Edward McCormick Blair and Bowen Blair, joined the firm in 1946. In 1961 Edward McCormick Blair became managing partner, succeeding his father who remained active in the firm as senior partner until his death in 1982 at the age of 97." Edgar D. Jannotta was managing partner from 1977 to 1994 and is its current Chairman, with E. David Coolidge III as President and CEO.

History / William Blair & Company
Blair / eprairie.com
Principals of William Blair & Co., 1997 / Securities and Exchange Commission

Among the principals of William Blair & Co. is one Harvey H. Bundy III, a son of the Harvey Hollister Bundy (1909), whom Antony Sutton described as "the key Pentagon man on the Manhattan Project and [who] was [Secretary of War] Stimson's constant companion to conferences in North Africa, Italy and Germany" during World War II. Harvey Hollister Bundy II was also a banker.

Skull and Bones roster / Biblebelievers
Harvey H. Bundy II obituary / Bates 1997
Harvey H. Bundy III / Dartmouth College 2001
Harvey Hollister Bundy I, II, III, & IV / ~ellert

In Blair's 1907 Yale class, fellow Chicagoans William Ellsworth Clow Jr. was tapped for Scroll and Keys, and Donald Mitchell Ryerson joined Wolf's Head. (Honors For Chicago Boys. Chicago Daily Tribune, May 25, 1906.) William McCormick Blair, Albert Farwell [Scroll & Key 1909], and Francis Butler of Chicago, Clark Mitchell of Denver, Jeremiah Milbank [1909] of New York, Maxwell Parry of Minneapolis, and the bride's brother, Theodore Schulze, were to be ushers at the marriage of Theodore Pomeroy to Louise Schulze. (Coming Weddings. Chicago Tribune, Apr. 17, 1910.) William McCormick Blair, G. Brett Glaenzer, and Richard E. Danielson were ushers at the wedding of their Bones classmate, Theodore Polhemus Dixon. Walbridge Taft, the nephew of William H. Taft (S&B 1878), was the best man. (Theodore P. Dixon's Ushers. New York Times, Mar. 8, 1914.) Dixon's uncle, William P. Dixon, S&B 1868, was the son-in-law of Samuel D. Babcock, a founder of the New York Guaranty and Indemnity Company, the Guaranty Trust, and the Central Trust.

"A committee has been formed to make known, especially among alumni and close friends of the University, the work of Yale in medicine and public health, as headed by Dr. Harvey Cushing as general chairman and with Dean Stanhope Bayne-Jones [S&B 1910, of the first Surgeon General report on smoking] as chairman, and and Fuller F. Barnes of Bristol, Conn.; William McCormick Blair of Chicago, George Parmly Day and Thomas W. Farnam of Yale University, Dr. Norman E. Freeman of Philadelphia, Harry C. Knight of New Haven, Dr. Fred T. Murphy of Detroit, Professor C.E.A. Winslow of Yale University and Dr. Milton C. Winternitz of Yale University as members." Their new facilities included the ultracentrifuge. (Yale Will Expand Its Medical School. New York Times, May 14, 1939.)

William McC. Blair married Helen Bowen, whose mother, Louise De Koven, the widow of banker Joseph T. Bowen, was the treasurer of Hull House for approximately 60 years, and lived with its founder, Jane Addams, for much of her life. The Blairs and other prominent Chicagoans vacationed at Bar Harbor, Maine. Mrs. Blair was a patroness of the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory, whose director, Clarence Cook Little, was director of the American Society for the Control of Cancer, and later the scientific director of the Tobacco Industry Research Council. Mrs. Harold A. Howard, Mrs. Robert H. McCormick, Mrs. Charles B. Pike, and Mrs. Charles H. Frost were other Chicago benefactors. (Maine Summer Colonists Plan Cancer Benefit. Chicago Daily Tribune, Aug. 27, 1939.)

The New York Stock Exchange firm of William Blair & Co. was formed by William McCormick Blair, Wallace M. Flower, Don G. Miehls, Lee H. Ostrander and Daniel J. Ritter. (Two New Firms Planned. New York Times, Feb. 19, 1944; Display Ad 29. Chicago Daily Tribune, Mar. 10, 1944.) William McCormick Blair was chairman of the finance and investment committee of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago. (Name J.P. Hall Treasurer of U. of Chicago. Chicago Daily Tribune, Jun. 2, 1946.)

William McCormick Blair was a client of architect David Adler, and founded the David Adler Cultural Center of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1980. "Adler's most ambitious project in the Chicagoland area was the estate he designed just west of Lake Forest for the Lasker family." Adler was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

History / Adler Center

The Board of Trustees of Rush Medical College is well stocked with representatives of William Blair & Company, and of companies involved in the interlocking group of which it is a part: Mrs. Bowen Blair, Edward McCormick Blair, E. David Coolidge III, Edgar Jannotta and his old friend, Hall Adams Jr.; also Patrick G. Ryan of Aon; David W. Grainger of WW Grainger; Robert J. Darnall of Inland Steel; and Susan Crown and W. James Farrell, directors of Illinois Tool Works.

2000 Board of Trustees / Rush Medical College

Blair, Bonner & Co.

"Formation of the firm of Blair, Bonner & Co., with headquarters in Chicago, was announced yesterday... W. McCormick Blair, who heads the firm, was a partner in Lee, Higginson & Co. He is a director of several insurance companies, a trustee of the University of Chicago and a member of the athletic board of Yale University. Francis A. Bonner, the other active member of the firm, was for five years the assistant financial editor of The Chicago Evening Post and subsequently was associated with Lee, Higginson & Co. More recently, he was a member of the firm of Bonner, Troxell & Co. He is a former governor of the Investment Bankers Association and is now vice chairman of the National Investment Bankers Code Committee." (New Securities Firm. New York Times, Dec. 31, 1934.)

"W. McCormick Blair, who heads the firm, is a member of two pioneer Chicago families. He was born in Chicago and on graduation from Yale entered the Northern Trust Company. A year later he became associated with Lee, Higginson & Co., and has been a partner of that firm for the last ten years. Mr. Blair is a director of the Continental Casualty company, Continental Assurance company, Interlake Iron corporation, etc. Francis A. Bonner, the other active member of the firm, also is a native of Chicago. He attended Lake View High school and after graduation from Harvard in 1907 was for five years assistant financial editor of a Chicago newspaper. Then for five years he was engaged in economic research for railroads. After that work he entered the origination department of Lee, Higginson & Co., and two years later he left the company to form the investment banking firm of Bonner, Troxell & Co." (W. McCormick Blair and Francis Bonner Form New Company. Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec. 31, 1934.) Foster & Co., Inc. was Blair, Bonner's New York correspondent. (Blair, Bonner & Company Open La Salle Street Office. Chicago Daily Tribune, Jun. 8, 1935.) Foster & Co. was founded by Joseph Taylor Foster, S&B 1908, was one of the organizers of Tobacco and Allied Stocks Inc. in 1929 when he was with Marshall Field, Glore & Co.; Bonner was Harvard 1907, Bruce Donald Smith of the Northern Trust was Skull & Bones 1906, Blair was 1907!

William McCormick Blair Jr.

William McCormick Blair Jr. went into government work instead. He was active in the election campaigns of Adlai Stevenson and has been ambassador to the Philippines and Denmark. He is married to the Lasker Foundation's Deeda Blair.

Edward McCormick Blair, Yale 1938

Edward M. Blair was a partner of William Blair & Co., a director of Marshall Field & Co., Lake Central Airlines, Inc., Field Enterprises, Inc., and Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, and a trustee of the University of Chicago since 1962. J. Howard Wood was president of The Tribune Co. (Put E.M. Blair, Howard Wood on U.C.'s Board. Chicago Daily Tribune, Jun. 15, 1962.)

Mr. and Mrs. Edward McC. Blair are benefactors of the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Other donors include Mrs. Amos S. Eno (who founded the Champlain Society with Edward Blair); Dr. and Mrs. Freddy Homburger; The New York Times Company Foundation; The David Rockefeller Fund; and Mr. David Rockefeller Jr.

Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory 1999

Blair is a life trustee of the University of Chicago, along with Lawrence B. Buttenwieser of Rosenman & Colin; Nancy A. Stevenson, wife of Adlai Stevenson III; and Arthur W. Schultz, former chairman and CEO of Foote, Cone & Belding Communications (now part of True North). He is also a Lifetime Trustee of the Graduate School of Business.

Life Trustees / University of Chicago

Edward McCormick Blair Sr., a trustee of The Art Institute of Chicago, donated forty-one works by Gauguin to the museum. It was said to be their largest gift ever. A $5 million donation from Jean and Steven Goldman funded renovation of the study center. (Gauguin prints and drawings debut in Sept. at Art Institute study center. By Alana Klein. Northwestern University Medill News Service 2002 May 29.)

Art Institute / Medill News Service 2002

Elizabeth Iglehart Blair obituary, Chicago Sun-Times May 1, 2001: She was the wife of Edward McCormick Blair, a managing director and senior partner of the family-owned Chicago investment house, William Blair & Company. She was born in Baltimore, MD, in 1917, and met Edward while vacationing in Maine. They were married in 1941. "She was a trustee or officer of numerous organizations, including Youth Guidance, the Alliance Francaise, the Lyric Opera, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Art Institute of Chicago." Besides her husband and two sons, she is survived by her sister Peale Allen, and a brother, Francis Iglehart. [Francis Nash Iglehart Jr. Francis Nash Iglehart Sr., who died in 1944, was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and a widely-known real estate man in Baltimore, Maryland. New York Times obituary, Feb. 21, 1944.]

Edward McCormick Blair Jr.

In 1999, Edward McCormick Blair Jr., a principal of investment-banking firm William Blair & Co., and Gary L. Crocker, who was President and CEO of Research Medical Inc. from 1983 until it was acquired by Baxter International in 1997, joined the board of Interleukin Genetics Inc. Thomas A. Moore, Chairman of the Board of the American Health Foundation (now calling itself the Institute for Cancer Prevention), has been a member of the Interleukin board since 1997, when it was called Medical Science Systems Inc. before it went public.

Interleukin Genetics Inc. 2002 DEF-14A / Securities and Exchange Commission

Edgar D. Jannotta

Jannotta was on the executive committee of the Chicago Community Trust from 1988-1995. Other past members include Edward L. Ryerson (Inland Steel), 1931-1958; Philip D. Block Jr. (Inland Steel), 1962-1978; Brooks McCormick (great-grandnephew of Cyrus McCormick, and the family trustee since the 1950s), 1979-1989; Barbara A. Foote (Emerson Foote of Foote Cone & Belding), 1979-1985; and Judith S. Block (Inland Steel), 1988-1998.

Executive Committee / Chicago Community Trust

Jannotta was the campaign manager of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's first campaign for Congress in 1962. "Other North Shore luminaries helped raise money -- Dan Searle [Searle Pharmaceuticals, later bought by Monsanto], Arthur Nielsen Jr., William Graham (Baxter International), Robert Calvin (Motorola)." His opponent "probably would have won if the Chicago Sun-Times had not continually reported on a state investigation of his insurance firm. That was the turning point for Rumsfeld, who skillfully exploited Burk's troubles. Steve Neal, then a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, later wrote Rumsfeld 'never made a public comment about his opponent's difficulties,' but his 'operatives' ensured Burk 'was asked embarassing questions at each campaign stop.' (The operatives included Jeb Stuart Magruder, who would later go to prison on Watergate-related perjury charges.)" Rumsfeld served as a senior advisor to William Blair & Co. from 1985 to 1990. (The Don, by Carol Felsenthal. Chicago Magazine June 2001.)

Felsenthal / Chicago Magazine 2001

Jannotta was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund by President George Bush, Nov. 8, 1991. (Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund, Nov. 8, 1991. Bush Library.) Another appointee was Theodore Cooper, chairman of the board and CEO of the Upjohn pharmaceutical company, who was Assistant Secretary for Health from 1975 to 1977, and was a correspondent of Mary Lasker from 1970 to 1992.

1991 Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund / Bush Library

Jannotta was a director of Daisytek, leading distributor of computer and office automation supplies, from 1991 to 1998. "Jannotta is resigning from the Board 'to give full energy' to his new assignment as principle of GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC, a private equity investment firm based in Chicago." His replacement is from Warburg Dillon Read LLC of New York. (James Reilly Will Be Appointed To Daisytek Board. Press release, Oct. 2, 1998.)

Press Release / Daisytek 1998

"The University of Chicago Board of Trustees has nominated Trustee Edgar D. Jannotta, Jr., to replace Howard Krane as Chairman of the Board. Jannotta, a U of C trustee since 1981, will be officially nominated at the Board's annual meeting in June when Krane will step down. Jannotta served as Chair of the Trustee's investment committee in 1985. Since 1996 he has been an executive committee member. He received an AB from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard. currently he is the director of Lighthouse Holdings, Inc, and Trans Healthcare, Inc. Jannotta spent nine years as managing director of William Blair Capital Partners. In 1998, he rejoined GTCR, a leading private equity investment firm, where he began his investment banking career." (The University of Chicago Weekly News, Apr. 29, 1999.)

Jannotta / University of Chicago Weekly News 1999

"Edgar D. Jannotta is the chairman of William Blair & Company, LLC. On 01/02/96 the firm converted from a partnership, at which time he was named senior director. He joined William Blair & Company in 1959 and became senior partner in 1995. Mr. Jannotta is also chairman of the board of trustees of The University of Chicago and the president and a Board member of Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is a former chairman of the Securities Industry Association and former director of the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. In addition to Inforte, Mr. Jannotta serves on the Board of Directors for leading corporations including AAR Corp., Aon Corporation, Bandag Incorporated, Exelon Corporation and Molex Incorporated." Aon was owned by insurance magnate W. Clement Stone and his wife. Its board has or had numerous interlocks with the First National Bank of Chicago, Inland Steel, Northwestern University, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, and the Tribune Company, and Newton Minow is a past director.

Jannotta bio / Inforte
2001 Board of Directors / Exelon Corp.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs endowed the University of Chicago for "The France Chicago Center," and Jannotta is on the Advisory Committee. (Statement. The France Chicago Center, Apr. 11, 2000.)

Statement / The France Chicago Center 2000

Edward McC Blair, Jr. and Edgar D. Jannotta are Trustees of the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health Systems.

Board of Trustees / Univerity of Chicago Hospitals and Health Systems

The Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Group of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is dominated by alumni of William Blair & Company, including Jannotta; John A. Svoboda and Michelle Collins of Svoboda, Collins LLC; Scott Meadow of the Sprout Group; and Jeff Webb, Vice President of Ridge Capital Partners.

University of Chicago Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Group

Edgar D. Jannotta is a president of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Foundation for Education. Deborah R. Jannotta is the Vice President of Development; Shirley yan, presumably a relation of the Patrick Ryan whose firm was merged into Aon, is a Member at Large; Judith S. Block (Inland Steel), and various representatives of The Northern Trust Co. (a multibank holding company that owns The Tribune), Molex Inc. (a William Blair & Co. client), and The Tribune Co. are directors. The Life Directors are Josephine B. Minow, Newton Minow, and Joyce Rumsfeld (presumably the wife of Donald Rumsfeld, who served as an advisor to William Blair & Co).

Board / Chicago Foundation for Education

Jannotta is a member of the original board of RoundTable Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm focused on the healthcare industry. Other original board members are Silas S. Cathcart, former chairman and CEO of Illinois Tool Works; Lester Crown, President of Henry Crown and Co.; Charles F. Knight, chairman and former CEO of Emerson Electric Co.; and Donald S. Perkins, former chairman of Jewel Companies. The new members were institutional investors including 3M Co. and WestAM(US) (the North American investment company of West Landesbank), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (RoundTable Healthcare Partners Adds Advisory Board Members. PR Newswire, May 6, 2002.)

Jay Robert "J.B." Pritzker

"The scion of the Hyatt Corp. and Marmon Group Inc. dynasty teamed up late last year with William Blair Capital Partners LLC, an investment arm of the Chicago-based brokerage and investment banking firm. Mr. Pritzker and his partners at his Evanston firm [New World Ventures] will manage a $100-million pool for Blair, which he acknowledges is a 'pretty big leap' for an operation he started in 1996 with a $6-million stake from his family after a credible but unsuccessful run for Congress." He is the nephew of the late Jay Pritzker and Marmon Group CEO Robert Pritzker. (By Paul Merrion, Chicago Business.)

Pritzker / Chicago Business

The McCormicks and the Blairs

William McC. Blair's father was Edward Tyler Blair, Yale 1879. He was a partner of the hardware firm of William Blair & Co., established by his father, William Blair, in 1842. They sold the firm in 1888. He married Ruby S. McCormick, a sister of Robert S. McCormick. His daughter, Edith Blair, lived in Paris. (Edward T. Blair, 81, Dies; Pioneer Resident of City. Chicago Daily Tribune, Jan. 19, 1939; Bulletin of Yale University, Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased During the Year 1938-1939, pp. 21-22.)

Obituary Record 1938-1939 / Yale University Library (pdf, 329 pp)

Anna Reubenia McCormick and Edward T. Blair: Anna Reubenia McCormick was the daughter of Mary Ann Grigsby and William Sanderson McCormick, of the original Virginia McCormicks; who also produced Robert Sanderson McCormick, whose marriage to Chicago Tribune owner Joseph Medill's older daughter Katherine Medill resulted in Robert Rutherford McCormick. They are related as well to the McCormicks of reaper fame.

Descendants of John Ingram / NT Green

The original firm by the name of William Blair & Company was a hardware wholesaler, founded in 1842. His brother-in-law, William E. Stimson, was briefly a partner. The firm was reorganized as Horton, Gilmore, McWilliams & Co. when he retired in 1886. He was a brother of Chauncey Buckley Blair, president of the Merchants' National Bank of Chicago, and Lyman Blair. The Blair genealogy that is on the Web (Blair family of New England, compiled for Mrs. William Blair, Chicago, by Emily Wilder Leavitt, 1900) shows their connections to the Blair railroad dynasty out of Cortland, New York, which includes DeWitt Clinton Blair and John Insley Blair. William Blair's son Edward Tyler Blair graduated from Yale in 1879. He was the father of William McCormick Blair Sr. (Skull & Bones 1907). After William Blair retired in 1888, "the son has spent much of his leisure in Europe, residing in Paris, France, in the winters of 1889 and 1891, with his family. There he became interested in the study of the life and times of King Henry IV, and this resulted in his writing a history entittled "Henry of Navarre and the Religious Wars of France," which was published by Lippincott, 1898. Later he wrote a short "History of the Chicago Club" by request of the committee."

History of the Town of Cortlandville Part 2, Chapter XX

"The International College of Surgeons owns two pieces of land on Chicago's Lakeshore Drive. The two mansions, known as the Edward Blair House and Eleanor Robinson Countiss House, are connected with a bridge. Together, they house the college's administrative offices and a museum." The Chicago landmarks commission designated them as historic landmarks, but before the city council acted, the college signed a contract to sell them. The contest ended up in the US Supreme Court. (High court steps into Chicago landmark dispute. Richard Carelli, AP, in South Coast Today, April 19, 1997.)

Chicago landmark dispute / South Coast Today 1997
International College of Surgeons v. City of Chicago

The McCormick Blairs are scarcely mentioned in Richard Norton Smith's 597-page biography of Chicago Tribune editor Robert R. McCormick. Regarding his father, Robert Sanderson McCormick: "Hoping to establish a life beyond Medill's long shadow, he and a cousin operated a grain elevator in St. Louis, the city to which Rob took his bride in the autumn of 1876. The venture was not a success. McCormick blamed its failure on a combination of 'my own mistaken judgment' and a trusted associate's fraud. Whatever the cause, the firm of McCormick and Adams was dissolved with heavy losses. The sale of his residual interest in Walnut Grove to his Uncle Cyrus [Cyrus Hall McCormick, of International Harvester] was not enough to restore Rob's spirits or liquidate $130,000 in debts owed to his sisters Ruby and Lucy" (p. 39). In a letter to Ruth McCormick Miller ("Bazy"), Nov. 30, 1951: "I had lunch with William Blair Sr. today. He told me that one of his children said that you were to be divorced" (p.505). (The Colonel. The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880-1955. By Richard Norton Smith, Houghton Mifflin 1997.)

<= Back to Blaming "Big Drugs" to Protect the Lasker Syndicate

<= HOME

cast 01-28-12