Jay Randolph MONROE, III

Jay Randolph MONROE, III

Male 1883 - 1937

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All

  • Name  Jay Randolph MONROE, III  [1
    Suffix  III 
    Born  6 Jan 1883  South Haven, Van Buren Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Male 
    Died  29 Apr 1937  Orange, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I657  Munro
    Last Modified  30 Sep 2009 

    Father  Lyman Sylvester MONROE,   b. 28 Mar 1851, Lawrence, Van Buren Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Feb 1910, South Haven, Van Buren Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Carrie Jane CURTIS,   b. 31 Oct 1855, Niles, Berrien Co., Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Mar 1919, Deland, Florida, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  10 May 1876 
    Family ID  F299  Group Sheet

    Family 1  Bette Belle BAUGHMAN,   b. 25 Jul 1888, Youngstown, Mahoning Co., Ohio, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. May 1923, Orange, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  22 Aug 1908  Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Jay Randolph MONROE, IV,   b. 3 Sep 1911,   d. Yes, date unknown
    >2. Marjorie Belle MONROE,   b. 28 Mar 1913, East Orange, Essex Co., New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    >3. Malcolm MONROE,   b. 29 Apr 1917, Maplewood, Essex Co., New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Nov 1988, Short Hills, Essex Co., New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Living
    Last Modified  20 Jan 2009 
    Family ID  F298  Group Sheet

    Family 2  Edith House MONTGOMERY,   b. Abt 1885,   d. 1931 
    Married  1926 
    Last Modified  30 Sep 2009 
    Family ID  F13402  Group Sheet

    Family 3  Ethlyn WHEELER,   b. 2 Jun 1895, Of, Proctorsville, Vermont, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married  1932 
    Last Modified  20 Jan 2009 
    Family ID  F13403  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • Jay was named after his grandfather, Judge Jay R. Monroe, the founder of the town of South Haven, Michigan, and for his uncle, Jay R. Monroe, Jr., a banker in Kalamazoo, who died at an early age. Jay grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan where he first took an interest in sailing.

      He attended Stetson University in Florida and Kalamazoo college in Michigan. In 1906, he graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and was admitted to the Michigan bar. He did not pursue a legal career and did not enter the family banking business, but went to work for the Western Electric Company in Chicago. Assigned to the accounting department, he first became acquainted with the rather primitive adding and calculating machines which were just coming on the market at that time.

      Jay was interested in these mechanical devices and began to develop ideas for improvements. In 1907, a disastrous spring frost ruined the fruit crop in southwestern Michigan, causing Jay's father, Lyman Monroe, to suffer grave financial losses which nearly wiped out his fortune. Jay, who had been brought up in relative affluence was on his own. That same year, the Western Electric Company transferred him to Pittsburgh, where he met his future wife.

      Jay was transferred again in 1910, this time to New York City. He and his new wife, settled in East Orange, New Jersey. There Jay met Frank Stephen Baldwin, who had invented a remarkable calculator in 1874. Baldwin had made vigorous efforts to commercialize his invention but had been unsuccessful. It was said that the machine was ahead of its time. When Jay saw Baldwin's latest model of 1908, he realized that this machine with improvements would have a great potential.

      Frank Baldwin was seventy-three years old when the two met in 1911. He was delighted that Jay, aged twenty-eight recognized the worth of his machine. Jay left Western Electric and worked with Baldwin to perfect the machine which would perform the four rules of arithmetic in a manner so straightforward and simple that it could be operated by the average person without the necessity of special training.

      Frank and Jay became close friends. Baldwin gladly sold his patents to Jay who assigned them to the newly organized Monroe Calculating Machine Company which was incorporated in Apr 1912. Jay's first cousin, Stephen B. Monroe, and a group of his associates in Kalamazoo, Michigan, provided the original capital.

      The company was begun on a very small scale. It was an enormous effort to organize production and to set up a sales force. The first years were difficult and discouraging. By 1915 the corner was turned. The famous K model introduced in 1921 became a world-wide success. This was followed by a full line of automatic calculating machies which became the leaders in the industry.

      Jay pioneered many innovations in enlightened industrial relations. He was greatly respected and loved by his employees who numbered nearly 3000 at the time of his death. He has been characterized as an industrialist with a heart. His motto: "The pursuit of a definite ideal" resulted in the Monroe spirit which lived long after his death in the company he founded.

      Jay was a devoted husband and father who experienced more than his share of grief. His oldest son, Jay Randolph, Jr. (IV), died in 1914 at the age of three. Nine years later in 1923, his wife, Bette, died at the age of 34. His second wife, Edith, died in 1931.

      Because of health reasons, he had been advised to seek outdoor exercise, so after his company was well established, he took up golf. He loved the game and became quite good at it. He became close personal friends with Bobby Jones, Clif Roberts and other well known figures in the golfing world. He was one of the founders of the Augusta National Golf Club and a member of several golf clubs including Baltusrol, Canoe Brook, Essex County, the Knoll and Pine Valley in New Jersey, and many others. He had a reputation as the nicest guy to caddy for in New Jersey.

      In 1932, he married Ethlyn Wheeler of Proctorsville, Vermont. He died suddenly in April 1937 of a massive cerebral hemmorrhage. He was 54 years old. His death was a bitter blow to his family and his company. There was a power struggle there which lasted for ten years.

      Jay Monroe was a man of sterling character, upright and honest in all his dealings. These qualities were happily recognized in his lifetime. He was a natural leader who was looked up to by all who knew him. In 1958, his widow and son established a modest charitable foundation in his memory so that his generous spirit could be perpetuated.

      References:

      (1) "History and Genealogy of the Lexington, Mass. Munroes", 2nd ed. by R. S.
      Munroe - Florence, Massachusetts (1986) - 13-8/11-87-3 - p. 254, 391-393

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Genealogist, Clan Munro Association, USA

  • Sources 
    1. [S693] Clan Munro files - Munro, Ronald Geyer, Ronald Geyer Munro, Letter from Ron & Avis Munro to Mrs. Joseph D. Elder - date d 15 Oct 1984 (Reliability: 3).