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Chapter 33: Epilogue - Dane Starbuck, The Goodriches: An American Family 
The Goodriches: An American Family (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001).
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Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man—the biography of the man himself cannot be written.
mark twain, Autobiography
By the late 1960s, the world had changed, and Pierre Goodrich had a difficult time changing with it. Society and business had become increasingly more complex and resistant to straightforward analysis. In Goodrich’s business dealings, long gone were the days when he could attend City Securities board meetings and read thoroughly every company prospectus presented for board action; such proposals had grown from a few pages in the 1930s to dozens, sometimes hundreds, of pages full of legal and technical jargon. (When he served as president of the National City Bank in the 1920s, James Goodrich oversaw the construction of the Railway Exchange Building on Washington Street in Indianapolis. The former governor purportedly had the building erected on the basis of a written contract that amounted to a single page.) Corporate boards increasingly had to rely on hordes of attorneys, accountants, and other advisers just to understand and consummate “simple” transactions. As early as the late 1930s, Pierre had lamented the demise of the general legal practitioner, who was no longer able to function in a society that required more and more specialists.1
Moreover, Goodrich’s coal, telephone, and banking businesses had become increasingly inundated with demands from federal and state regulatory entities—rate commissions and oversight, health, safety, environmental, and labor agencies—for detailed information about everything imaginable that had to do with business operations. Coupled with these demands was the ever-growing attention paid by the media to business practices. Goodrich loathed snooping reporters who wanted to delve into the details of his financial empire. When the sale of the Ayrshire Collieries Corporation occurred in February 1969, the deal, along with a picture of a grinning Pierre F. Goodrich, was reported in Forbes magazine. The article gave the details of the merger, including Pierre’s personal profit. The publicity infuriated him.2
In his later years, Goodrich was described as a “discontented man.” Things had not worked out as he had hoped. First, there were the personal disappointments and tribulations, such as his estrangement from his daughter, Nancy, who lived in Paris until after his death. (She proceeded to hire a string of attorneys, including a former Indiana governor, Matthew Welsh, to contest her father’s will. While her paternal grandparents, James and Cora, had established trust funds that would provide for her comfortably for the rest of her life, she deeply believed that she was entitled to an inheritance larger than the $150,000 her father had left her).3 There was also the death in January 1971 of John Goodrich, a cousin only six months older than Pierre.4 Pierre and John had been very close in childhood, almost like brothers. Moreover, the periodic tax obstacles that impeded Goodrich’s designs for Liberty Fund added to his discontent.5
Second, the situation at his alma mater, Wabash College, continued to deteriorate, at least in Goodrich’s eyes. Beginning in 1970, a number of policy decisions were made on the campus that reaffirmed the wisdom of his decision the previous year to resign as an active trustee: After 137 years of having mandatory chapel, Wabash’s faculty and administration voted to discontinue the twice-weekly service on the grounds that it no longer served as an “education phenomenon” to the students.6 Furthermore, in order to appease black students who were outraged by the firing of a black professor, the college agreed to establish the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies.7 In May 1970, students met in the Goodrich Seminar Room of the Lilly Library to discuss whether to strike against United States action in Southeast Asia and the “political repression of Bobby Seale, Chairman of the Black Panther Party.” The students believed that both acts demonstrated the “callous disregard of the American government for rights.” Within twenty-four hours of the first student meeting, a vast majority of professors supported the protests. Classes at Wabash were suspended for several days.8 It is not known with certainty what Goodrich thought about these incidents, but it is safe to say that they convinced him that the board of trustees had become a weak, ineffective body, with little input into or control over the college’s activities.
Third, on the public front, Goodrich was disappointed about the direction in which he saw the country moving, away from what he believed were the virtues of the free society and toward a growing acceptance of statism, collectivism, and mediocrity. Despite the nation’s temporary alarm over conformity and dependency, memorialized in the 1950s by such popular books as The Lonely Crowd (1950), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1955), and The Organization Man (1956), Goodrich saw that individuals were, in fact, growing more and more reliant upon big government and large corporations for their subsistence.
Furthermore, the world in his later years was driven by technology. It was constantly moving toward standardization and larger operations, as well as consolidation and centralization of power and influence. The individual was no longer front and center, but a cog in the larger machinery driving society. The term mass seemed to be used to describe many new phenomena: mass communication, mass transportation, mass marketing, mass destruction. Goodrich also believed (despite his vehement protestations to the contrary) that the average person’s behavior was continually being adapted to meet others’ expectations, to win approval, to fit in.
Moreover, despite being warned about the dangerous and growing role of influence peddlers—by, for example, Vance Packard’s books The Hidden Persuaders (1957), The Status Seekers (1959), and The Waste Makers (1960)—many Americans were content to be told by slick marketers (the press, Madison Avenue, Wall Street, Capitol Hill, Hollywood, and so forth) what to think about politics, business, economics, virtue and morality, the good life, and freedom. This manipulation of thought angered Goodrich, particularly because of the average person’s unwillingness to examine critically the bombardment of hype. Pierre did not appreciate that many people are not interested in challenging the status quo or in doing more than scratching the surface of ideas. Moreover, the 1960s were even worse than the 1950s for libertarians such as Goodrich, for during that decade many of their values were held up to ridicule.
Finally, Goodrich was disappointed that he had not found greater truths than he had; through all his reading and scholarship, he had come to realize that there were limits to understanding that he could not overcome. As important as liberty, learning, and other fundamental human values and aspirations were to Goodrich, they were not a substitute for spiritual understanding. Spiritual understanding has to transcend reason, and Pierre had a difficult time letting go of his rational side after having worked so hard to develop it. It is interesting how little Goodrich discusses spiritual matters in his writings. I think that was the case not because he thought that religious faith was not tremendously important, but because the notion that man can know anything absolutely, as God knows, seemed to him highly presumptuous. Perhaps he believed that discussion of such matters should not even be attempted.9
Goodrich’s discontent is perhaps best summed up by his good friend, Wabash College president Byron Trippet. In June 1959, Trippet wrote the following for the dedication of the Goodrich Seminar Room in the new Lilly Library:
The Goodrich Seminar Room symbolizes the timeless pilgrimage of man toward truth, goodness, and beauty. It also exemplifies the part of one man in particular in this historic quest. Pierre F. Goodrich, an alumnus and trustee of Wabash College, is a lawyer, industrialist, and a financier. By the standards of the contemporary world, in all of these capacities he is a successful man.
By his own standards of what is important, however, he is a discontented man, aware of his own imperfections as well as the imperfections of others, eager through study and reflection to understand the human drama, and to act as wisely as he can in his own interests and in the interests of others. The highest expression of appreciation those who use this room can make is to emulate his intellectual curiosity, his skepticism of expedient answers, and his resolute effort to act on principle supported by sound knowledge.10
On his seventy-fifth birthday, in October 1969, Pierre was honored in Indianapolis at a testimonial dinner given by Ben Rogge and several of his other close personal and business associates. Frank Barnett, a longtime friend, former Rhodes scholar, and then president of the National Strategy Information Center in New York, could not attend the dinner, but he sent his birthday greetings. He wrote, in part:
I am sure you are spending this evening, not wholly in frivolity, but in the company of other Renaissance Men whose discourse on the nature of power, freedom, God, man and government you find provocative. From pleasant experience, I know that, wherever you sit, there also is a Seminar—say, rather, a Colloquium—on the first order of things.
Since Birthdays are a time for reminiscence, I am moved to recall vivid impressions of the past: standing together on the sidewalks of Chicago, during the 1952 Republican Convention, to practice “street agitation” in the cause of civic virtue; nibbling cheese at Wabash College with the man who was shortly to become Chancellor of West Germany; watching the face of the sommelier at the great restaurant Pavilion as he began to realize that a lawyer from Indiana knew more about rare vintages than the masters; explaining to my wife that a midnight telephone call, that lasted an hour, was only from a friend who wanted to know if the English version of Clausewitz had lost something in translation.
Happy Birthday, Pierre! May your integrity, and non-conformity, and probing intelligence, and sheer decency continue to ennoble others as those qualities have animated so many who have known your friendship and kindness in the past.
Let me raise an imaginary glass to propose an earnest toast: “In America, some men do still dare to dream the Impossible Dream; and one of the most engaging . . . complicated . . . impish . . . and innovative Dreamers and Darers lives in Indianapolis!”11
Goodrich’s health and stamina deteriorated slowly in the early 1970s, but he continued to go to the office daily, conducted business, and read for hours. Ben Rogge was very concerned about Pierre’s taking on any more obligations. He intervened, for instance, to see that Goodrich did not accept an offer to serve again on the board of directors of the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS). Goodrich had been a founding trustee of IHS in 1961.
Shortly after Labor Day in 1973, Pierre was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He had not been particularly ill, but he remained in the hospital with a weakened heart and a blood disorder that had caused clotting. For the first few weeks at Methodist, he continued to conduct business from his private room much as he had done before: He talked incessantly on the telephone and kept several secretaries busy taking dictation.12 He was very concerned with labor problems that had developed at the Indiana Telephone Corporation. He knew that no one would win if relations between management and employees worsened.13
On the evening of October 25, 1973, Pierre Goodrich died in Methodist Hospital. Ben Rogge delivered the eulogy at Pierre’s funeral. The music of the great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Goodrich’s favorite, was played at the service.14 Pierre was buried near his father and mother at Fountain Park cemetery in his hometown of Winchester. His final resting place was among the gravesites of several families with whom he was closely associated as a young man—the Edgers, Jaquas, Macys, Moormans, McCamishes, Kitselmans, and Millers—names that were forgotten long ago. Ironically, Pierre was buried in the same cemetery that saw the humble beginning of the Goodrich family’s fortune, the cemetery where, some ninety-three years before, eighteen-year-old James Goodrich earned ten cents an hour moving dirt and planting trees.
After Pierre’s death, the governor’s mansion in Winchester, which Pierre had inherited from his parents, remained unoccupied for three years. The future of the mansion became the source of considerable controversy in Goodrich’s hometown. The house fell into disrepair despite attempts by Pierre’s widow, Enid, to maintain it. Within a short time, the house was besieged by vandals and thieves. They damaged the walls of the structure and stole valuable copper guttering from the roof and outside walls. A citizen’s group called Save the Governor’s Mansion was formed in an attempt to keep the majestic house from total destruction.15
In the spring of 1976, the architectural school of Ball State University presented a proposal to the Winchester Chamber of Commerce. The plan made the mansion the centerpiece of a community revitalization program. Steps were also taken to place the house on the National Register of Historic Places. The future of the mansion, which had been visited by a former president, Herbert Hoover, a Russian princess, and other American and foreign dignitaries, became such a local controversy that Indianapolis television station WRTV aired a report on its evening news about the community’s efforts to save the local landmark. Despite the citizens’ group’s intervention, a decision was made to raze the mansion in late 1976. At a three-day auction in October 1976, most of the Goodrich family’s home furnishings and personal belongings were sold.16
The destruction of the mansion and the sale of the family’s possessions left little physical evidence to remind the community of the significant influence the original five Goodrich brothers had in Winchester. There is still the park that Elizabeth Goodrich donated to the town in honor of her husband, John B. Goodrich, and Pierre’s cousins Perce Goodrich and Elizabeth Terry had a lovely chapel built in the cemetery where most of the Goodrich family members are buried. Yet within one hundred years, a small town’s family dynasty has come and gone.
Pierre’s influence, however, is still felt in his home community in nonmaterial ways. The Winchester Foundation remains in operation, supporting local community art, music, and literary projects, as well as national organizations.17 Also, the Pierre F. Goodrich Scholarship Fund, benefiting graduates of the local high school, was established in 1988 by Enid Goodrich in memory of her husband.18 Of course, Goodrich’s most important legacy, Liberty Fund, continues to have an important influence nationally and abroad.
It is a shame that Pierre Goodrich did not live to see the successes that have been achieved by Liberty Fund. At the time of his death, Liberty Fund was still very much in its infancy, having held only a handful of seminars. But in another way Goodrich is fortunate: How many people have their most important work continue after they have died?
Through his contributions, Pierre Goodrich has helped us realize that we know too little to be dogmatic and too much to remain passive in the protection of our cultural heritage. Pierre Goodrich knew a great many things, and we can benefit from his example if we are prepared to pursue rigorous study and take appropriate action. The essence of the Goodrich family’s legacy is an abiding faith in man’s ability, through concerted effort and reflection, to bring about and maintain social progress. As for Pierre, he believed deeply that staunch individualism was the necessary foundation for a flourishing Western democratic society. Clearly, the Goodriches were an original American family.
Shortly after Pierre’s death, many testimonials were written. The board of trustees of the Foundation for Economic Education, on which he served for more than twenty years, paid a fitting tribute, which read, in part:
We remember [Mr. Goodrich] as a man of ideas who demanded hard and straight thinking of himself and everyone else. . . . He loved good music, good food, and good books. He was a true individualist, whose occasional irascibility was that of a man who does not suffer fools gladly. He believed in freedom without compromise. His absence will be felt, and we mourn his loss.19
In a memorial resolution by the Indiana Telephone Corporation, the board recognized Goodrich’s pioneering contributions to the telephone industry, concluding:
Pierre F. Goodrich saw that the world of his abstract philosophizing and the world of his business decision-making were, in fact, but one world. . . . [He] contributed his time, his energy and his talents to his community, the state of Indiana, his country and mankind.20
But perhaps the most fitting remembrance was written by Anna Marie Gibbons, a reporter at the time for the Winchester News-Gazette. Ms. Gibbons had known Pierre ever since she was a young girl, asking precocious questions of him when he would visit her father, John Macy, Jr., Pierre’s first law partner:
Pierre Goodrich, who died at Indianapolis Thursday evening at 79, was probably the most remarkable Hoosier of this century in terms of intelligence, range of interests and financial acumen. . . .
Pierre was difficult to talk to or listen to, partly because he spoke in a soft, hesitant voice and partly because his mind darted from thought to thought with such dazzling speed it was too much for the average person to follow. But if you followed, you found the tour both fascinating and rewarding.
If you tried to catalogue all the things he became interested in in his lifetime, you would find the list amazing. And whatever he became interested in he learned about from the inside out, totally and entirely. Just to name a few of Pierre’s interests:
. . . He became interested in coffee, and immediately found out all there was to know on the subject. His interest in education resulted in much support and encouragement on his part for Wabash College. It also resulted in the prominent part he played in the Great Books movement. Here again, he not only read the books but became a prime student of the philosophies of all the writers—and from Great Books he wandered into the field of oriental philosophy and became an A student there.
. . . Pierre was so totally engrossed in the world of ideas that he often lost complete track of time when he became involved in a conversation or discussion that interested him—and had to be reminded by a tug at his sleeve or coat-tail that it was time to be going.
The tug that told him Thursday evening that it was time to be going, was one he couldn’t disregard. But I’m sure he left as reluctantly as ever—not because he was so tied to the things of this world, but because he had a few thousand ideas which he still had not had time to explore and think about, and a few thousand questions his amazing brain had still not had time to find answers for.21
The Goodrich Family Tree
Liberty Fund Book List
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
Pierre F. Goodrich often gave a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” to friends and associates. The pamphlet he gave, which contained the poem, also included the following introduction.
What are the foundations of our beliefs and actions? History has built the civilization we enjoy by accumulating small pebbles of wisdom based upon experience. Every once in a while, some misguided action tears down years or centuries of progress by ignoring or misunderstanding the basic truths that underlie all that has gone before.
Rudyard Kipling, with his gift as a poet and prophet, has put this into focus in his poem, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” Although written in 1919, it is pertinent to the conditions that exist in the world today. His “Gods of the Copybook Headings” are, in effect, those rules of human conduct that are so well defined by centuries of experience that they have become immutable. To disregard them, says Kipling, will inevitably lead to failure and destruction.
. . . . . . .
AMAX Corporation, Englewood, Colo.
Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Hanover College, Hanover, Ind.
Harvard University Law School Archives, Cambridge, Mass.
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, Iowa
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
Indiana Commission on Public Records, Indianapolis, Ind.
Indiana Historical Society Library, Indianapolis, Ind.
Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Ind.
Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, Ind.
Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Ind.
Wesleyan University (Mansfield Free Center for East Asian Studies), Middletown, Conn.
This book is set in Minion, a typeface designed for Adobe in 1989 by Robert Slimbach. Minion is inspired by the highly readable typefaces of the Renaissance.
Printed on paper that is acid-free and meets the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, z39.48-1992. (archival)
Text design by Sandra Strother Hudson,
Cover design by Erin Kirk New,
Typography by G & S Typesetters,
Printed and bound by Edwards Brothers, Inc.,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
[1. ]See Harry T. Ice, History of a Hoosier Law Firm (Indianapolis: privately printed, 1980), pp. 143–44.
[2. ]Gilbert Snider, interview, December 23, 1991. The magazine erroneously reported that Goodrich’s share of the sale would amount to a personal take of $44.5 million. See “Going, Going, . . . Gone!” Forbes, February 15, 1969, p. 55.
[3. ]Goodrich’s daughter brought suit in Marion County Probate Court, Indianapolis, contesting her father’s will. See “Pierre Goodrich Will Contested by His Daughter,” Indianapolis News, December 6, 1973, p. 34, col. 6; “Goodrich Daughter to Contest His Will,” Indianapolis Star, December 7, 1973, p. 37, col. 6; “Goodrich Estate More Than $2 Million,” Muncie (Ind.) Star, January 3, 1974, p. 19, col. 5; “$2,179,368 Listed in Goodrich Estate,” Indianapolis News, January 4, 1974, p. 23, col. 3; “Goodrich Property Sale to Be Private,” Indianapolis Star, December 3, 1975, p. 43, col. 7 (reported the sale of a Stradivarius violin appraised at forty thousand dollars and a Vangelisti violin appraised at three thousand dollars).
[4. ]See “John B. Goodrich” (obituary), Winchester (Ind.) News-Gazette, January 7, 1971, p. 4, col. 1.
[5. ]After Pierre’s death in October 1973, several tax problems developed with regard to income and estate taxes. The Internal Revenue Service initially sought capital-gains taxes of $6.8 million on two trusts valued at $26.1 million owned by Goodrich. As part of those trusts, the IRS disallowed more than $19.5 million in charitable deductions to four foundations that Goodrich had set up and to Wabash College. The IRS finally settled for roughly $1 million. Claude Warren, Jr., interview, July 5, 1993 (Warren, along with his father and several other lawyers, performed the financial work on Pierre’s income and estate tax filings). See also “IRS Settles Estate Claim for 1 Million,” Indianapolis Star, July 24, 1975, p. 30, col. 1; Lou Hiner, “IRS Reviews Goodrich Tax,” Indianapolis News, May 18, 1978, p. 40, col. 1.
[6. ]See Robert S. Harvey, ed., These Fleeting Years: Wabash College, 1832–1982 (Crawfordsville, Ind.: Wabash College, 1982), pp. 169–71.
[7. ]“The Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies,” ibid., pp. 162–63; Edward B. McLean, interview, February 15, 1997.
[8. ]See “Students Strike to Protest Cambodian Invasion,” in These Fleeting Years: Wabash College, 1832–1982, pp. 157–59.
[9. ]Goodrich does discuss religious beliefs in the Basic Memorandum, but he devotes little space to them. One of the passages most relevant to the author’s observation is the following: “Religious beliefs and theories must be commented on. Certain rational processes often take place in arriving at the religious beliefs and theologies which each individual holds. However, man’s ignorance and imperfection, as herein referred to, are so extensive that in the end the particular belief enters the area of mysticism and pure belief. This is distinguished from anything which is completely arrived at by observation and reason” (pt. 3, p. 60).
[10. ]The quotation comes from “Goodrich Seminar Room,” the program that was prepared for the dedication, which took place on June 4, 1959.
[11. ]Barnett’s letter is attached to a memorandum that Ben Rogge sent to Thaddeus Seymour, then president of Wabash College. See memorandum to President Seymour, November 17, 1969, and the attached letter from Frank Barnett, dated September 19, 1969, Ben Rogge Collection, Archives, Wabash College.
[12. ]Ruth Connolly, interview, October 25, 1991, and July 30, 1993.
[13. ]Frank Jessup, telephone interview, February 27, 1993.
[14. ]This information was provided by Roseda Doenges Decker, a board member of Liberty Fund who attended the memorial service (letter to author, September 3, 1996).
[15. ]The Reverend Richard Merriman, then minister of the Winchester Main Street Christian Church, was the unofficial leader of the citizens’ group that sought to keep the governor’s mansion from being torn down. What transpired in the fall of 1976 is rather sad. Apparently, Pierre’s widow, Enid, could not understand why all of a sudden there was such a great interest in the Goodrich mansion, when the house had remained essentially empty for the previous thirty-five years. Pierre was the only one who ever used it during most of that time, and after his death the mansion remained unoccupied for three years. Moreover, apparently Enid had no love for the house, since she had never been welcomed into it while Pierre’s parents were alive. Therefore, although it was apparently structurally sound, the beautiful mansion was torn down in the winter of 1976, and a community landmark was lost (Richard T. Merriman, telephone interview, March 19, 1993).
[16. ]Most of Pierre’s possessions were sold at a public auction that took place on October 25, 26, and 27 at the Randolph County 4-H fairgrounds south of Winchester. See “Goodrich Sale Begins,” Winchester (Ind.) News-Gazette, October 26, 1976, p. 1, col. 3.
[17. ]Moreover, the foundation has helped fund construction of a new addition to the local library, which includes a room named for James P. Goodrich. See Janet Fuller, “Library Is Given Foundation Grant,” Winchester (Ind.) News-Gazette, April 15, 1993, p. 1, col. 5.
[18. ]The award provides nearly a full college scholarship to at least one graduating senior annually from Winchester Community High School. Winners since the inception of the scholarship are Jeffrey Chalfant (1988); Steve McCord (1989); Charles Stonerock and Karine Oswalt (1990); Catherine J. Hall, Katrina E. Horner, and Brian N. Peters (1991); T. Meeks Cockerill (1992); Molly C. Smith (1993); Melanie L. Martin (1994); Gary Campbell (1995); and Scott K. Stranko, Wendy R. Holder, and Dawn M. Love (1996).
[19. ]“Tribute to Pierre Frist Goodrich,” December 3, 1973. Pierre F. Goodrich file, Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y.
[20. ]See “Pierre F. Goodrich Memorial Resolution,” ITC Highlights, November 12, 1973, p. 6.
[21. ]Anna Marie Gibbons, Winchester (Ind.) News-Gazette, October 28, 1973, p. 1, col. 1.