Seabury Stanton

Seabury Stanton

New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 19 Oct 1971 (aged 79)
Burial Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 80618161 · View Source
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Seabury Stanton was born in New Bedford and a product of its schools, of the New Bedford Textile School and of Harvard University [Class of 1915] Stanton was the son and grandson of whaling captains in the best New Bedford tradition.

He married Jean Kellogg Austin of Ocala, Florida, in December of 1916, and immediately entered the textile industry. He served as treasurer for the Hathaway Manufacturing Company, which merged with Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates in 1955 to form Berkshire Hathaway. "There was a certain nobility to Seabury Stanton, [and]…under his stewardship, Berkshire Hathaway became the largest – and, ultimately, the only – surviving textile manufacturer of any size in New England."

The Hathaway Manufacturing Company was started in 1888 by Horatio Hathaway, a China trader, with profits from whaling in the Pacific. The business of the company was to mill cotton and it made big profits until the start of the decline of the cotton industry after World War 1.
Seabury Stanton, who put much of his own money into the company to keep it going, ran it during these years.

After the Depression, the company once again came into boom years, with off years from time to time. In the 1950s, Stanton decided to merge the company with Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates Inc, a milling company that had operated since the early 19th century. The merged company was huge, with 15 plants, over 12000 employees and revenue of over 120 million dollars. Its headquarters were in New Bedford.

Seabury Stanton was a miller and a manager with the overriding aim of keeping the business going but he was not a financial expert and he continued to plough back most of the company's earnings into working capital, despite ever decreasing cotton prices, resulting from increased competition at home and abroad. There was internal division in the company between the old stylers and those who wanted to get involved in emerging products. By the end of the 1950s, the company had closed seven of its plants and laid off a large number of workers. Its stock price had fallen and many analysts had written it off.

In 1962, Warren Buffett started to buy shares in the company, believing that its then price was substantially below its intrinsic value. By 1963, Warren Buffet and his associates were the largest stockholders and Buffett began to take a more active interest in the company. There was increasing dissension between him and Jack Stanton who had taken over the leadership of the company from his father.

Seabury Stanton served as Chairman of the Northern Textile Association from 1959 through 1962. He also served as a Director of the Association from 1944 through 1950, again from 1951 through 1953 (appointed to fill an unexpired term), from 1953 through 1959, and from 1962 through 1965.

Seabury was a lover of the sea and spent his recreational time sailing.

He died in 1971.

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  • Created by: Jim Grasela
  • Added: 18 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 80618161
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Seabury Stanton (9 Oct 1892–19 Oct 1971), Find A Grave Memorial no. 80618161, citing South Dartmouth Cemetery, Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Jim Grasela (contributor 46482783) .