Henry Varnum Poor
Henry Varnum Poor was a financial analyst
Financial analyst
A financial analyst, securities analyst, research analyst, equity analyst, or investment analyst is a person who performs financial analysis for external or internal clients as a core part of the job.-Job:...

 and founder of H.V. and H.W. Poor Co, which later evolved into the financial research and analysis bellwether, Standard & Poor's
Standard & Poor's
Standard & Poor's is a United States-based financial services company. It is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds. It is well known for its stock-market indices, the US-based S&P 500, the Australian S&P/ASX 200, the Canadian...


Born in Andover, Maine
Andover, Maine
Andover is a town in Oxford County, Maine, United States. The population was 864 at the 2000 census. Set among mountains and crossed by the Appalachian Trail, Andover is home to the Andover Earth Station and Lovejoy Covered Bridge.-History:...

 to Silvanus and Mary Poor, he was the first of his family to attend college, graduating from Bowdoin
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College , founded in 1794, is an elite private liberal arts college located in the coastal Maine town of Brunswick, Maine. As of 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowdoin 6th among liberal arts colleges in the United States. At times, it was ranked as high as 4th in the country. It is...

 in 1835. He joined his uncle's law firm
Law firm
A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers to engage in the practice of law. The primary service rendered by a law firm is to advise clients about their legal rights and responsibilities, and to represent clients in civil or criminal cases, business transactions, and other...

, being called to the bar
Bar (law)
Bar in a legal context has three possible meanings: the division of a courtroom between its working and public areas; the process of qualifying to practice law; and the legal profession.-Courtroom division:...

 in 1838. Later Henry and his brother John established a law practice in Bangor, Maine
Bangor, Maine
Bangor is a city in and the county seat of Penobscot County, Maine, United States, and the major commercial and cultural center for eastern and northern Maine...

. By investing money in Maine's growing timber industry, the Poor brothers made a fortune. John Poor
John A. Poor
John Alfred Poor was an American lawyer, editor, and entrepreneur best remembered for his association with the Grand Trunk Railway and his role in developing the railroad system in Maine. He was the older brother of Henry Varnum Poor of Standard & Poor's, who was his partner in some business...

 became a minor railway magnate in association with the European and North American Railway
European and North American Railway
The European and North American Railway is the name for three historic Canadian and American railways which were built in New Brunswick and Maine....

, and was heavily involved in the building of the Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 rail network.

In 1849, John purchased the American Railroad Journal, of which Henry became manager and editor. In 1860, Henry Poor published History of Railroads and Canals in the United States, an attempt to compile comprehensive information about the financial and operational state of U.S. railroad companies. He later established H.V. and H.W. Poor Co. with his son, Henry William
Henry William Poor
Henry William Poor was an American banker, stockbroker, and author.Henry William Poor was born in Bangor, Maine, in 1844, the son of Henry Varnum Poor. The family moved to New York City when he was five years old, and he spent his youth there. He attended Harvard College, graduating in 1865.The...

, and published annual updated versions of his book. Standard & Poor's traces its history back to this publication.

In 1862 Henry Poor was appointed a government commissioner to the newly-chartered Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

, and left his position as editor of the Journal. That same year he was elected as the railroad company's first Secretary. He left the company shortly thereafter.

Poor was a resident of Tuxedo Park, New York
Tuxedo Park, New York
Tuxedo Park is a village in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 731 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined...

, which was founded by his good friend Pierre Lorillard in 1886.

He died in Brookline, Massachusetts
Brookline, Massachusetts
Brookline is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States, which borders on the cities of Boston and Newton. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 58,732.-Etymology:...

, at the age of 92.


  • History of Railroads and Canals in the United States (1860)
  • Poor's Manual of Railroads (1868)
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