by Henry V. Poor
Henry Varnum Poor was born on December 8, 1812 in Andover, Maine. He went on to graduate from Bowdoin College in 1835, and then practiced law with his uncle’s firm. Poor became quite rich after he and his family invested in Maine’s timber industry, and then in the incipient rail industry. As part of his investment, he decided to create a compilation of financial information on railroad companies, History of Railroads and Canals in the United States. Ultimately, Poor, along with his son, Henry William, ended up developing Standard & Poor’s, the extraordinary financial information giant. Many of the family’s papers are held at the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library in Harvard University.