Richard J Cortis


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Mark Baber

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MAB Note: Richard J. Cortis was White Star's agent in New York from 1874, when he succeeded Joseph Hyde Sparks, until 1887, when he was replaced by Bruce Ismay. The following is from A History of St. George's Society of New York, published in 1913, as retrieved from Google Book Search.

Richard J. Cortis
Twenty-fourth President
1885-1886


Mr. Richard J. Cortis spent his early life in Hull, in Yorkshire,
England, having been born there on March 7th, 1824. When about thirty
years of age he began business in New York in January, 1855, and was for
a considerable period successfully connected with the Liverpool lines of
steamers. During a period extending over thirteen years he filled the
highly responsible position of General Agent and Manager for the White
Star Line.

Mr. Cortis, with others prominent in the work of the Society, was
largely instrumental, in 1860, in securing the passage by the
legislature of an Act designed to put a stop to the operations of the
swindling ticket-agents in this city. These rascals had for long
ruthlessly robbed ignorant and unwary passengers bound for Europe from
this port, but the Act quickly put an end to their doings, as it turned
out a complete success from the point of view of the purpose for which
it was passed.

In private life Mr. Cortis was a liberal supporter of the St. George's
Society, and, through his influence as General Agent of the White Star
Line, he was able to do a vast amount of good. This took the form of
ungrudging and highly effective aid to the Society's charitable work by
granting free passages, at the request of the Chairman of the Executive
Committee, to many applicants who, from failing health and inability to
gain a livelihood here, were desirous of returning to friends in the old
country. Mr. Cortis's death took place on November 27th, 1910, in
Brooklyn, at the advanced age of eighty-six years.

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Mark Baber

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The New York Times, 28 November 1910

Richard J. Cortis
---
Richard J. Cortis, formerly one of the best-known steamship agents in
this city, died yesterday at his home, 1,722 Albemarle Road, Flatbush, in
his eighty-seventh year. He was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England. He came
to America in one of the old sailing packets and entered the employ of the
White Star Steamship Company, where he gradually rose to be freight and
general agent. He was succeeded about eighteen years ago by James [sic]
Bruce Ismay, now the President of the International Mercantile Marine
Navigation Company, and went to the Hamburg-American Line as General Freight
Agent, where he remained about two years, when he retired.

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