• U.S.

Business & Finance: Personnel: Dec. 31, 1934

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¶ Every 30 years or so Harvard University graduates a Robert Treat Paine. The quinquennial catalogue lists seven: in 1749, 1779, 1822, 1855, 1882, 1888, 1922. First and most famed was Robert Treat Paine who signed the Declaration of Independence. His son and namesake became a poet. From the day he answered in couplet the satirical thrust of a classmate “his blessed ruin was inevitable.” He fell in with a theatrical company. His father threw him out of the house when he married the leading lady. He took to drink, drifted into poverty, died in the attic of his father’s house. The best Bostonians attended his funeral. Gilbert Stuart painted his portrait from a death mask.

In Boston today are two descendants of the famed old family named Robert Treat Paine—one sometimes known as “Plain Paine” to distinguish him from Robert Treat Paine II who married a Cabot and lives in Brookline. Robert Treat II, great-great-grandson of the Paine who signed the Declaration, graduated from Harvard in 1882 “to devote himself to the management of corporations, largely in the line of electrical manufactures.” He was elected a director of General Electric Co. in 1894. two years after the company was formed and in the middle of the worst year in its history. Last week, at 73, after 40 years of service, he resigned his directorship because of ill health. Mr. Paine spends most of his time collecting treasures for Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

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