The Catskill Fly Fishing
Center and Museum

This page was last updated on
April 1, 2005 2:27 PM


New Exhibit Opens at Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum

Roland Harriman: Banker & Fisherman

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY – MARCH 29, 2005 – While his brother Averell made his mark in politics, Roland Harriman spent his life in banking. But both brothers valued nature, inspired by their father Edward who believed “leave whatever you touch better for having touched it.” The Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum in Livingston Manor, NY recently received a selection of Roland Harriman’s personal fishing collection, along with materials related to the establishment of Harriman State Park in Idaho. These items will be on display through December 31st.

In 1977, E. Roland Harriman generously donated the Harriman Ranch to the State of Idaho "…because we felt such lasting gratitude for our many years of a full life at the Railroad Ranch and because we could not face the prospect of its becoming nothing more than an uncontrolled real estate development with hot dog stands and cheap honky tonks and because we could foresee the necessity for preserving such property for the enjoyment of future generations."

E. Roland Harriman (1895-1978) was the youngest of five surviving children of Mary Williamson Averell and Edward Henry Harriman. He was educated at Groton (1913) and Yale University (1917) where he was a friend and classmate of Prescott Bush. He married Gladys C.C. Fries on April 12, 1917 and they had two children. In 1922, Harriman joined W.A. Harriman Company, investment bankers in New York City, and the following year became vice-president. In 1927, he and Averell formed the banking firm Harriman Brothers and Company, and in 1931 the firm merged with Brown Brothers and Company, with Roland as vice-president.

Roland Harriman followed his parents’ philanthropic example. He and his wife established a professorship in geriatrics at NY Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and provided funds for cardiovascular research. He joined the American Red Cross as a member of the board in 1947 and served in a variety of leadership positions before being appointed its president by President Truman in 1950. His other interests included the Museum of Natural History (NYC) and the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, NY.

But perhaps for this fishermen, his greatest achievement was as a preservationist. Today Harriman State Park is the crown jewel of the Idaho State Park system. It opened in 1982 and protects a diversity of birds and mammals similar to that of nearby Yellowstone National Park. The waters of Henry’s Fork flow through the property, providing anglers access to its magical fishing. When asked about fishing Henry’s Fork, Roland Harriman commented, "It was a matter of love at first sight."
Funding assistance for this exhibit was provided by the Gladys & Roland Harriman Foundation.

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